Frequently a Bible worker asks if there is a generally recognized advantage in the use of a projector in our Bible work. The projector and similar types of mechanical devices are recent inventions which may be used to great advantage in the hands of the skilled worker. But the sword of the Spirit is still the master tool for every worker.
Conservatists and liberalists exist in every calling, with an in-between class sharing the attitudes of both. Some Bible workers boast of their conservatism, while others pride themselves on their new methods. The "middle of the road" group is the more wholesome, however. There is no need to hark back to the "good old days" and their simplicity, or to go to the other extreme of expecting that the present standard of good Bible work must include the projector.
Truth-teaching devices are Biblical, and certainly have a place in the Bible work. The projector or any similar device should be used when the need suggests. Some minds naturally lean toward mechanical things ; others never do. The Bible worker who would require every other worker to use these devices needs caution. On the other hand, the worker who condemns their use without a fair trial should really be persuaded to use the device when the right occasion presents itself. We are in danger of developing attitudes without conviction and experience. We need to be more cautious in our attitudes, perhaps, than in the use of devices.
The nature of our work may tend to make us dogmatic. Our impressions may not weigh as much outside of the sphere of Bible interpretation as we think. Let us be open-minded and tolerant of every good thing.
There are various uses for charts. Those charts diagraming the 2300 days or illustrating the beast powers would never be questioned.
But there are some teachers who simply like to use charts and will spend much energy illustrating truths of lesser importance. Again, some workers have pet ideas which to them seem very important. They may be skillful in the use of the pen or brush and may produce an attractive chart which others with no artistic ability may attempt to reproduce, but amateur reproduction often becomes a work of crudity with little value. A word should also be said against the use of discolored, faded, or worn charts whose illustrative value may be lessened because they have become woefully out of date.
But we need not here discuss at length the value of our prophetic charts, large or small, printed, professionally painted, or homemade.
As we teach the unfamiliar beast symbols, our work is definitely crippled unless we use some such device. Ingenious plywood devices and the felt or flannel projects also have their place, but for a Bible worker to decide that any of these must be used, would be out of place. We should be alert to catch every practical suggestion that may strengthen our approaches to the message, but individuality should always characterize our work.
There is one field of illustrating in which we can all develop proficiency—the use of the human-interest story. The Saviour understood this art. His skill lay in His simplicity of method. The simplicity of writing the sins of the Pharisees with His own finger in the sand, is worthy of our study. We never find Him using an illustration from life or from nature without a real need for it in clarifying truth. Develop the art of using the brief contact story which adds variety to your topical introductions, and the brief appeal story that clinches what you have taught. Avoid dramatic stories and deathbed recitals. Slide out of the rut of repeating the same story at the same place when you present the topic. Keep your eyes wide open for new ideas that suggest new illustrations. There are some stories that are so apt, however, that new ones can hardly replace them. If this is the case, treasure them well, and polish them up with new enthusiasm for each presentation.
Effective Truth-Teaching Devices
1. Devices for Teaching Truth. 7T 25. I. Illuminating truth.
- Lesson-aid devices.
- Simple and economical devices.
- Art and appeal to be considered.
- Fields for creative skills.
II. Usefulness of Various Devices. I. Practical value.
- Occasional value.
- Questionable value.
III. Story-Type Illustration.
- Personal human-interest stories.
- Stories related by others.
- Usable illustrations.
IV. Prophetic Symbols. GW 355.
- Cloth charts.
- Carved wood symbols.
- Plywood cutouts.
V. Picture-Truth Methods.
- Film strips, slides, motion pictures.
- Their value : to win interest ; to teach and emphasize truth ; to establish in the truth.
VI. Children's Evangelism Devices. I. Flannelgraphs. 2. Picture boards.
- Object and chalk talks.
L. C. K.