Teaching to Change Lives

Last month I read a classic book on teaching, Teaching to Change Lives, by Howard Hendricks. If you are not familiar with Howard Hendricks, he was a beloved teacher at Dallas Theological Seminary for over fifty years. His book Living by the Book was a textbook of mine in undergrad and has sold hundreds of thousands of copies through multiple editions.


In Teaching to Change Lives, Hendricks gives seven basic principles about teaching effectively. Using the acrostic, T.E.A.C.H.E.R., Dr. Henricks discusses the following “Laws”:

  • T – The Law of the Teacher. Stop growing today, and you stop teaching tomorrow.

  • E – The Law of Education. How people learn determines how you teach.

  • A – The Law of Activity. Maximum learning is always the result of maximum involvement.

  • C – The Law of Communication. To truly impart information requires the building of bridges.

  • H – The Law of the Heart. Teaching that impacts is not head-to-head, but heart-to-heart.

  • E – The Law of Encouragement. Teaching tends to be most effective when the learner is properly motivated.

  • R – The Law of Readiness. The teaching-learning process will be most effective when both student and teacher are adequately prepared.

Teaching to Change Lives is a helpful book to any teacher. Dr. Hendrick’s passion for teaching, education, and the learning process is evident on each page. Be forewarned – his passion is highly contagious! Pastors, Sunday School Teachers, Small Group Leaders, and Children’s ministry teachers will benefit from reading Henricks’ book.


While the “Laws” are helpful and merit serious thought, I appreciated how Dr. Hendricks concluded his book:

Keep in mind that these really are only principles. When it comes to carrying out his purposes, God doesn’t use principles; he uses people.

Have you read this book? If so, what were your thoughts about it?


What other books on teaching would you recommend?

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