hether or not we give them an apple, we all appreciate teachers. Without them, we could not read, write, or balance a checkbook. We could not bake our favorite pie, understand metamorphosis, or appreciate great leaders like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
The same is true in the church. We need God-called teachers who influence our daily lives.
The Purpose of Teachers
As we approach the Second Coming, more and more wild doctrines will arise. Every member of Christ’s body must have a solid understanding of Bible truths in order to stand against error and grow to spiritual maturity. This is why Jesus gives teachers to the Church (Eph. 4:11-16).
Considering ancient passages such as Leviticus 10:8-11 and Ezekiel 44:23, we see it has always been critical for God’s people to distinguish between the holy and the unholy. Teachers fulfill this role in the church, explaining the difference between truth and error, between holy and unholy living, and between sound doctrine and false teaching.
The Responsibility of Teachers
Teachers serve a vital function in Christ’s body, so they carry a great responsibility. They are “stewards of the mysteries of God” who must be “found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:1-2).
While 2 Timothy 2:15-16 speaks to all Christians, it carries special emphasis for teachers of God’s Word. Teachers are devout students who spend hours studying the Bible so they can understand, apply, and communicate its rich treasures. They are committed to “rightly dividing” (literally, “cutting straight”), or “accurately handling” (v. 15 NASB), the Word of God.
The Scriptures contain truths that some have twisted into false doctrines. The diligent teacher, however, knows how to dissect the lies and properly expound the truth.
Being a teacher myself, the Lord imparted 3 John 5-6 to me as a foundation for my ministry:
Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren, and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well (NKJV).
I believe this passage applies to all ministries that influence others down a particular path. By sending them on their Christian walk “in a manner worthy of God, [we] will do well.” In other words, we can expect to hear “Well done!” from the lips of our Savior if we use our giftedness to help others on their journey.
As stewards seeking to be found faithful, teachers need to exercise diligence in many areas:
- The Word of God—researching carefully and studying prayerfully
- Time management—properly prioritizing daily responsibilities
- Talent—continually developing the gift of teaching
- Health—making sure personal health and grooming needs are met consistently, including the need for rest
- Personal devotions—ensuring personal time with God is guarded and thriving
- Family—ensuring proper attention is given to the family while not ignoring God’s call because of family
- Anointing—guarding it and seeking the Holy Spirit’s revelation of biblical truth
- Delivery—“speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15) and following the leading of God’s Spirit
- Examples From Scripture
• Moses taught the Law to Israel and taught artisans how to build the Tabernacle (Deut. 5:1ff.; Ex. 31:1-11).
• Aaron and his descendants taught the Scriptures as one of their priestly functions (Ex. 40:13-15).
• Ezra taught the returning captives from Babylon, helping them to understand God’s Word and apply it (Neh. 8:1-4).
• John the Baptist taught those who would listen about repentance and preparing for the Messiah (John 1:19-23).
• Jesus expounded the Scriptures, showing God’s heart and how He is revealed in the inspired pages (Luke 24:27).
• The apostles became powerful teachers after being filled with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:42).
Are You Called to Teach?
How do you know if you have the gift of teaching?
- Ask God to show you.
- Consider your spiritual passion. A teacher loves to study and share God’s Word.
- Seek confirmation from your family (if possible).
- Seek confirmation from your pastor, other church leaders, and fellow Christians.
For those with the gift of teaching, the Bible’s pages contain the guidance needed to fulfill this calling with skill and excellence under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
However, as with any of God’s treasures, teaching requires diligent and sincere searching. This process deposits a fire in our bones that must get out (see Jer. 20:9)!
When we teach God’s Word in genuine love for others and with a desire to help them move forward in a manner worthy of God, we do well. I believe when we hear “Well done!” from our Savior’s lips, it will be worth more than a case of apples, don’t you?