Write a Teaching Outline

Why Write an Outline?

Often when I’m teaching the Bible I will provide some sort of outline. This practice began when I was in college doing Bible studies, and a friend suggested that a written outline be given because people were having difficulties retaining what I was saying. And ever since then, that philosophy kind of stuck.

Further than this, I think we do see the power of the written word in Scripture itself. Though Paul spoke many things in his ministry, we only retain and remember what he committed to writing through the Holy Spirit (which is now Scripture). Of course, our writing will not be Scripture, but it does show us a principle that the written word has value to preserve teaching even long after the teacher or spoken teaching pass on.

So, I’d definitely recommend writing an outline or something of the sort if you want extra reinforcement of your teaching.

How to Write an Outline

Now, to explain how to write a teaching outline is honestly more difficult for me. I think it just comes naturally/supernaturally, so it’s difficult to teach. I also think there is clearly no right/wrong way on doing this. Rather, whatever works best for you will be the best.

With that said, here are some principles that work best for me in writing my outlines:

  • pray for revelation and the Lord’s wisdom and care BEFORE starting to type
  • keep in mind this goal: the outline can stand on its own as a skeleton even when people don’t hear or forget your teaching
  • use Google Docs (or similar thing) that can easily be accessed from other devices, so you can refine it during your day as God reveals more to you
  • start by writing down anything that seems relevant to the teaching to come (at this point, it only has to make sense to you)…this is your brain dump
  • start giving shape to these thoughts by writing down main points / headings
  • then place subheadings and supporting points under these
  • add Scripture references that support your main headings (refer to the “brain dump” mentioned above)
    • if you have only 0-1 Scripture references for a heading, lose that as your main heading and get one that is more Scripturally supported
    • if you have a lot of references (which is good) you probably want to disperse these passages in the subpoints/subheadings rather than dump a ton of Scripture in the main heading
  • write out the entirety of any Scriptures or quotes that you wouldn’t want them to miss (these are the things that if they don’t remember anything else they NEED to know these) – there shouldn’t be more than 3 of these
  • try to keep it to 1 page (if some content needs to be longer, consider writing an article and attaching it to the 1-page outline)

Again, these are just some general principles I might think about (while occasionally breaking all of them myself :). So please see principle #1 and abide by that first and foremost: “pray for revelation and the Lord’s wisdom and care BEFORE starting to type”

Dr. Peter Williams vs. Dr. Bart Ehrman: Are the Gospels True?

Ladies and gentlemen,

I thought this was an excellent debate from 2 respected gospel scholars who have come to completely contradictory conclusions regarding the gospels. Peter Williams has done tremendous work (in my humble opinion) showing why it is very reasonable to trust the gospels as authoritative. In contrast, Bart Ehrman is a self-professed Christian-turned-skeptic. The debate is a little academic, but worth it to mine through (praying for Ehrman to have a “Saul of Tarsus” moment!):

Peter J Williams & Bart Ehrman – The story of Jesus: Are the Gospels historically reliable? (1.5 hours)

God’s Teachers 2: Imparting Life

God’s Teachers 2: Imparting Life Video (1 hour, 33 min)


  • 1 Tim. 4:11-16: faithful in doctrine and life
  •  2 Tim. 1:12-14: by dependence on God’s Spirit

Impart Life

  • Psalm 128:1-4; Acts 20:28: You
  • 2 Cor. 3:1-3 (cf. Acts 9:1-2): Others

Grow Yourself in Christ

  • Acts 2:37-41: Begin
    1. Repent
    2. Be baptized
    3. Receive the Holy Spirit
  • Acts 2:42-47: Continue
    1. Study Scripture
    2. Fellowship
    3. Prayer

Grow Others in Christ

  • 1 Thes. 1:4-2:12 (especially 1:5): 
    1. Speak (Eph. 6:18-20; Col. 4:2-4: with prayer)
    2. Holy Spirit conviction
    3. By example

2 Timothy Notes: With Attention on Teaching/Discipling Principles

  • 1:2 – focus on individuals at the end of Paul’s life, not “projects” or “movements” directly
  • 1:3 – constant prayer/praise for Timothy
  • 1:4 – intimate bond with those he disciples–tears when he left; joy when together
  • 1:5 – knew his family
  • 1:6-7 – impart Spirit —> ultimately for ministry
  • 1:8-12 – God’s teachers suffer–it’s our high calling
  • 1:12 (compare with 1:14) – God entrusts and guards the deposit in us
  • 1:13 – follow what I taught you
  • 1:14 – we guard by the Holy Spirit the deposit
  • 1:15 – MANY departed from Paul
  • 1:16-18 – praises 1 who was loyal
  • 2:1 – sees Timothy as his child
  • 2:1 – strengthened by God’s grace
  • 2:2 – faithfully share and entrust to others good deposit
  • 2:3-6 – you must suffer–endure it well
  • 2:7 – think + God’s help = understanding
  • 2:8-13 – I endure; we endure —> salvation for others, salvation for me: 
    1. look to Jesus without
    2. trust Jesus within
  • 2:14 – Pass on what Paul teaches
  • 2:14 – Pass on: don’t argue over words
  • 2:15 – rightly handle God’s word
  • 2:16-19 – reckless teaching leads astray in doctrine and character
  • 2:19-21 – only holy vessels honor God, though all vessels serve their purpose
  • 2:22 – pursue holiness with others who are pursuing holiness
  • 2:23-26 – God’s servant = kind, patient, gentle to all; able to teach
  • 3:1-5 – avoid those rejecting God’s ways
  • 3:6-9 – some with depraved minds will keep learning but not find truth – stay away from them!
  • 3:10-17 – persevere in doctrine and life – see me + Scripture as teachers in this
  • 4:1-5 – patiently and persistently preach God’s word (even when less want to hear it)
  • 4:6-8 – Paul about to die and be crowned with all Christians
  • 4:19-22 – greet some, and some greet you; Jesus be with you

“Is Thy God Able…?”

This is one of my favorite poems of all time, I have it affixed to my Bible.

Poem by M.E. (Margaret) Barber (a mentor to Watchman Nee):

Thou servant of the living God,
Whilst lions round thee roar,
Look up and trust and praise His name,
And all His ways adore;
For even now, in peril dire,
He works to set thee free,
And in a way known but to Him,
Shall thy deliverance be.
Dost wait while lions round thee stand,
Dost wait in gloom, alone?
And looking up above thy head
See but a sealed stone?
Praise in the dark! Yea, praise His Name,
Who trusted thee to see
His mighty power displayed again
For thee, His saint, for thee.
Thou servant of the living God,
Thine but to wait and praise;
The living God, Himself will work,
To Him thine anthem raise.
Though undelivered, thou dost wait,
The God who works for thee,
When His hour strikes, will with a word,
Set thee for ever free.
(Dan. 6:20)