Teaching Pentecostal Distinctives

August 04, 2023

Teachers in Pentecostal churches have the great privilege of transmitting the Pentecostal faith from generation to generation. While some passages such as Acts 2, 1 Corinthians 12–14, and Romans 12 clearly proclaim the basis of our Pentecostal faith, we should not confine our teaching of that truth to these favorite passages. Our Pentecostal distinctives are found throughout the Bible. The Holy Spirit was active in Creation and throughout the Scriptures. After all, the Holy Spirit inspired the entire Bible. First Peter 1:21 says, “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (NIV).


It is important to identify the work of the Holy Spirit in each passage where it appears and weave that truth into the lesson of the day. Let’s look at ways this can be done.


First, you must become fully acquainted with the foundational distinctives of the Pentecostal faith. These include:

  •  The ongoing revelation of the Holy Spirit through His gifts to the Church
  •  The Holy Spirit’s guidance and illumination of the minds of believers
  •  The Holy Spirit’s grace in the life of the believer through miracles, healings, and answered prayer
  •  The Holy Spirit's empowerment of believers to evangelize the world.

Next, look for these concepts in the biblical text you are preparing to teach. Begin by identifying the type of literature your class will be studying. When preparing to teach a narrative or historical portion of the Bible, be aware of the Holy Spirit’s role in the lives of the Bible characters as He provides comfort, help, or guidance in the passage. Show your class how God worked in a biblical character’s life to resolve a conflict, and consider how that event serves as an example for our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in our own lives. Help your students identify similar needs in their lives and develop confidence that the same God who solved problems in biblical times is available to help them as well.


When teaching from the epistles, look for statements of fact concerning the Holy Spirit and His work in the believer’s life. The epistles are foundational for many of the facts and doctrinal truths of Scripture. Much of what we know about the Holy Spirit’s work comes from the epistles. Whenever a truth that reflects Pentecostal distinctives occurs, be sure to highlight this truth and challenge your students to adopt it as their own and put it into practice. The baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, and healing are not simply experiences of others to learn about, but ones to personally experience.


In poetic or wisdom literature, look for the writer’s perception of the Holy Spirit’s intervention in his or her personal circumstance. In these passages, the writers were often struggling with a difficult situation or rejoicing over the help the Holy Spirit has given them. Help your students to feel the author’s struggles and see the help that person received through the power of the Spirit. Students in your classroom struggle with similar issues in their lives. They may wonder if God has forgotten them because they have been attacked physically, spiritually, or emotionally. Help them to seek guidance from the Holy Spirit as the biblical writers did or to reflect on the Holy Spirit’s previous acts of protection, healing, or guidance thus turning their struggles into faith.


When preparing to teach from a prophetic book, look for ways the Holy Spirit spoke to correct and direct the people of God both at the time of the writing and for periods in the future. All of these can help your students learn to interact with the Holy Spirit in their own lives. Prophetic material lends itself to helping people see how God speaks to people through the power of the Spirit. Listen to the message being proclaimed by the prophet, and challenge your students to be open to the Spirit’s instructions to believers today based on that prophecy. Point out the various ways the Spirit continues to communicate through such vehicles as tongues and interpretation, prophecy, the Word of God, pastors, teachers, evangelists, prophets, apostles, and His still small voice. Use these opportunities to help prepare your students to hear directly from the Spirit and respond to Him obediently.


The message of Pentecost is found throughout the Bible. The key to teaching these truths is to intentionally look for them in the passages we study and to then find ways to help students see the truth’s value to them. Being Pentecostal should touch every aspect of our Christian experience. It is the Pentecostal teacher’s privilege to help share this truth with students.


by Clancy Hayes

How to choose a Sunday School curriculum

Sort through your curriculum options with this checklist to find the right choice for your ministry.