To prepare a good Bible lesson, you need some squirrel-like characteristics.
Scamper. The initial phase of any lesson prep is surveying. This is an important part. The more you survey the less likely you are to wind up in some dead end. In English class, they sometimes call this phase of paper writing simply “finding a topic.” To do this, you must survey lots of verses, materials and resources quickly. Look in commentaries. Make quick word studies with concordance software. Don’t stay any one place too long. This is not the time to drill down but to look around and get your bearings.
Scavenge. As you scamper, you scavenge. You start to make little notes. You record questions and insights. You note remarkable facets of the passage. You jot down quotes you like. At this point, there’s no need to categorize and order. There’s no need to have a lesson yet. In fact, if you step into logic too quickly, you will paralyze the search process and miss other important details. You’re just stuffing your squirrelly cheeks with as much stuff as seems palatable. So keep your notebook handy because you will find bits and pieces everywhere…in movies, commentaries, music, theologies, conversations, word studies, etc.
Store. Finally, you should always pack away what you might need for later. Get ready for winter. Pile up stories and illustrations. Keep copious notes. Some of the material you’ve scavenged will be immediately digestible and helpful for your current lesson. Other fragments may reappear years later in some distant winter. A good teacher, to change the analogy, is a good packrat.