For thirty years, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) faithfully proclaimed the gospel at London’s New Park Street Chapel. Though quite capable of literary allusion and rhetorical flourish, Spurgeon explained that the heart of effective teaching is simplicity and love for one’s subject. In this passage from “The Mustard Seed: A Sermon for the Sabbath-School Teacher,” he talks of the gospel, but the principles apply to teaching in general.
It is well for the teacher to know what he is going to teach; to have that truth distinctly in his mind’s eye . . . Depend upon it, unless a truth is clearly seen and distinctly recognized by the teacher, little will come of it to the taught. It may be a very simple truth; but if a man takes it, understands it, grasps it, and loves it, he will do something with it. Beloved, first and foremost let us ourselves take the gospel, let us believe it, let us appreciate it, let us prize it beyond all things; for the truth lives as it is loved, and no hand is so fit for its sowing as the hand which grasps it well.1
1 C. H. Spurgeon, “The Mustard Seed: A Sermon for the Sabbath-School Teacher,” The Parables of Our Lord (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2003), 704.