Students in my Medieval Church History class recently read Augustine’s book, On Christian Teaching. As I was working my way back through this little volume, I was struck by a statement Augustine (354-430) makes which seems to have application to those who would be preachers and teachers of God’s Word in the local church. Augustine says,
The teacher who expounds what he understands in the Scriptures expounds it to his listeners like the reader of a text articulating the letters which he recognizes; whereas the teacher who teaches how to understand Scripture is like the teacher of the alphabet, one who teaches how to read (Augustine, On Christian Teaching, preface, 18).
Paul is quite clear that pastors are responsible to study God’s Word and to preach what they’ve studied to God’s people (1 Tim 4:13–16). But especially in a culture where God’s people have ready access to God’s Word, surely pastors should also invest some time in specifically teaching God’s people how to study the Scriptures for themselves.