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There is something about a bridge that is fascinating.

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is one of the world’s longest single-span suspension bridges. Its rust-colored structure is strikingly beautiful when partially shrouded in a morning fog and illuminated by rising sun. Colorado’s Royal Gorge bridge has a total length of 1,260 feet and is suspended 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River, which flows through the bottom of the canyon below. This height makes the Royal Gorge Bridge the world’s highest suspension bridge and one of America’s most spectacular attractions. Florida’s Tampa Bay Bridge spans seventeen miles on Florida’s gulf coast. The list goes on.

When you see one of these incredible monuments to modern construction they seem an impossible achievement. How do they build a bridge to connect two land masses thousands of feet, or even many miles, apart over choppy seas or across towering cliffs?

There are answers, of course – answers that involve elaborate construction processes. A qualified structural engineer specializing in bridge design could tell you of the theory and process of bridge building that is behind such accomplishments. But, for the uninformed or the inexperienced, building a bridge is still a mystery.

Effective Bible teaching is also a bridge-building task only a few have mastered.

The Bible teacher must build a bridge from the ancient world of the Bible to the modern world of the student.

What are some of the gaps a Bible teacher must bridge?

  • Time: The student must be able to cross not only to the past but to his own future as well.
  • Meaning: We must be able to take what it meant to original hearers and cross over to what it means to our hearers today.
  • Culture: This bridge must take the student into a society far different from his own and back again.
  • Needs: Must bring the Biblical truths to the needs of the learner.
  • Level: We must bridge the gap between Biblical truths and the level of understanding of the learner.

 

The teacher must help the student construct a bridge that will carry biblical principles from the world of Abraham, David, Jesus, and Paul to one of stock markets, housing projects, school hallways, and the Internet. This is no easy bridge building project, but it can be done.

In the next installment of “Building Bridges” we’ll look at an important question that we need to ask ourselves before we can build an effective bridge from the Bible to the youth of today!


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