The Four Elements of a Life-Changing Lesson

Hook, Book, Look and Took remain excellent handles for structuring, developing, delivering and evaluating a Bible lesson!  These four simple words were first introduced to me during my seminary days through a required reading book by Lawrence Richards, entitled Creative Bible Teaching.  (Lawrence O. Ric

hards, Creative Bible Teaching, Moody Press, 1976.)  Thirty-four years later I am still urging Bible teachers to teach for life-change using this basic lesson structure.  I urge teachers to use these four elements of a lesson because they are easy to remember and picture in your mind, because the design is Biblical and because you can know you are teaching for life-change if you follow through to the last step.  Each of the four elements is critical so I would like to deal with each of them in four future posts within this blog.

First, let me overview these four steps from my prospective.   I will discuss each step in the blog posts to follow throughout the month. Consider the four elements:

  1. HOOK. The first step prepares the learner to hear the word of God and guides him or her to anticipate the teaching or encouragement that is found in the lesson’s Bible passage.  We are talking about Bible study so we must get into the Book.
  2. BOOK. The second step focuses on reading the passage and providing some commentary on the actual words of scripture.
  3. LOOK. Step three in the structure is the Look or basic application.  Here the class must look at key questions concerning the text, such as what did this passage said to the very first reader and what does it say to our class today.  Together the class should look at how they could and should live their lives based on what these scriptures teach us.
  4. TOOK. Fourth, a life-changing lesson must have a personal outcome.  Each attendee should be challenged to make a decision!  The Took guides them to decide what they will take away from this session and place into their daily life.  The fourth step is critical and yet is the most neglected by today’s Sunday School teachers or small group leaders.  Unless the Took is included in the lesson plan, when all is said and done, more is said that done – as a result the lesson and, thus, life goes on without a genuine life-changing encounter with the Word of God.  

Lawrence Richards writes “It’s best to avoid thinking of these as mechanical steps. They are more like four parts of a continuous, systematic but exciting process. In class the students probably won’t even notice passage from one part of the process to another. No part is marked by routine; each is full of opportunity for spontaneity and interaction. Yet each of these parts in the process has its own – and essential – role” (p. 108). Now, join me as we revisit each step in additional posts.

Used by permission