The prelude’s importance in Bible study

Mondays on the blog are about sharing a quote from a book that will help you think about your teaching ministry in a new way. Today’s post is taken from the book Basics of Teaching for Christians by Christian educator and author, Robert Pazmino. In today’s post, Pazmino helps us understand one of several “movements” in a teaching session. He uses musical terms to communicate the importance of the prelude, lude, interlude, and postlude as movements found in any Bible study. Today I’m going to focus on the prelude:

The prelude comprises those initial movements that engage students and introduce the teaching content on a particular occasion. The prelude sets the stage for what will follow. The lude designates the major teaching…the postlude brings the teaching…to a conclusion…Students come to a session with various concerns and preoccupations. The challenge for the teacher is to refocus their attention on the matters of the day…In the context of an ongoing group, the prelude builds bridges with what has gone before and what will be coming after the…session. So the prelude more than sets the stage for the major movements that will be explored in the lude of the instruction…The prelude excites the imagination, piques the mind, and engages the will of the participants in ways that anticipate the transformative potentials of the…content. A teacher hopes that an effective prelude will gain the attention of participants – a growing challenge in a culture so fascinated with entertainment…The ultimate threat for teachers is boredom.

So how might you, the teacher, use the prelude as a way to capture your people’s interests and attention?

  • Pose a question
  • Make a controversial statement
  • Share a story from the news
  • Share a story from history
  • Play a video clip
  • Quickly review content covered in the last session and how it ties to the current study
  • Give your people a pre-test (could be a short fill-in-the-blank document, or a multiple choice test to see how knowledgable they are about the topic at hand)

Don’t assume people have interest in the Bible study as they walk into your classroom or gather around your living room! They come to our groups preoccupied with the cares of life. Make sure you use the time leading up to the exploration of Scripture as a time to capture people’s attention and help them get focused on your Bible study’s main truths.


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