By Kevin Cauley
I’ll be the first one to admit that when it comes to math I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. This means I have to apply myself a bit harder and pay closer attention to my mathematics. I have had the privilege of working with Charlie’s third grade class on multiplication and while there are some tricks to help remember how to multiply, the bottom line is that you’ve just got to use it repeatedly to learn it. That means that one must practice again and again and again in order to learn. Repetition, in various methods, is fundamental to learning.
The Bible teaches the same principle of learning. Isaiah prophesied about the coming kingdom and the teaching of the King in Isaiah 28:9-10. He wrote, “To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” (ESV) Teaching is done a little at a time with a lot of repetition involved.
There is a story of a gospel preacher of by gone years who was hired to do the preaching at a small country church. The first Sunday he was there, he got up and preached a fine lesson and one that everyone agreed they all needed to hear. So it was with some surprise that the next Sunday morning, he preached the exact same sermon again. Most thought, “Oh well, it never hurts to get a double dose.” When the next Sunday rolled around, the same lesson was presented. So a group of men got together and asked him if he was just going to preach the same lesson over and over. To which he replied, well, when you get this one down, then we’ll move on!
Sometimes we tend to get frustrated because “we hear the same lessons, sermons and verses over and over again.” Sometimes preachers get frustrated with hearing the same questions, comments, and complaints over and over again. I’m sure that elders get frustrated dealing with some of the same problems repeatedly. We need to remember, though, that teaching is an ongoing process and that it takes time for individuals to learn. It’s just like those 3rd graders in school; you’ve got to go over it again and again.
Peter’s words come to mind here: “Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things” ( 2 Peter 1:12-15 ESV).
May God bless the Bible class teacher, the elder, and all faithful gospel preachers who patiently and lovingly teach the word of God “precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”