Teach, Teachers, Teaching

<<educate, instruct>>

Jesus was called ‘teacher’ many times in the gospels, for He spoke with authority about the Kingdom of God. He taught His listeners its principles, using illustrations and parables to impart truth, with His actions and ministry confirming what He taught (Mt 5:13-16, 13:3; Mk 1:22, 9:17,38; Act 1:1). Many times after giving the disciples teaching, He said, “You do likewise” (Mt 10:1-11; Lk 10:1-18; Jn 13:14-17).

Teaching (the imparting of knowledge) is to equip, so wherever possible it should be accompanied with demonstration and actual application – tell and show – yet unfortunately, today much of what is taught in churches is just knowledge, the imparting of Bible truth, without the powerful, practical outworking in supernatural experience. Don’t settle for good theology, crave a divine encounter for the

All teaching should have a                    practical content

Bible declares, “These signs shall follow them that believe…” (Mk 16:17,18). Teaching lays a solid foundation, for the Holy Spirit’s conviction and sets the stage to inspire faith for the outworking of God’s power (1 Cor 2:4; 1 Thes 1:5). Pray for open ears and a receptive heart that leads to lifestyle application and transformation as we apply the Bible’s teaching to put off the old nature, and put on the new nature (Eph 4:22-24). Paul said, “Stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you” (2 Thes 2:15).

“Those that are wise will instruct many” with teaching being one of the ministry gifts of the Spirit, which should be evident in church leaders (Dan 11:33; Eph 4:11,12; 1 Tim 3:2; 2 Tim 2:24). The aim of spiritual instruction is to impart divine principles in a structured approach, by continually building on previous knowledge so the hearers become mature in the faith – not being ‘walking encyclopedias’ but vibrant believers transformed through connection to Christ and living lives based on sound Bible values and commands. What is taught should be reinforced by repetition and asking questions that require a clear understanding of the material to ensure it has been comprehended and firmly ingrained in the mind (Phil 3:1; 2 Pet 1:12-15). In contrast, preaching is less systemized yet more confrontational by presenting a challenge.

The great commission that Jesus gave is to “make disciples of all nations...teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19,20). Once a person has become a believer, they should be nurtured or discipled in their newfound faith so they have a proper foundation established on God’s principles (Act 11:26, 18:11). Solid teaching and

What is the degree of my love for Him for           He said, “If you love me, you will obey                             my teachings” – Jn 14:23,24?

accountability with open communication between the instructor and the new disciple are vital keys. Converts must be instructed to live uprightly, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” for what is the point of looking in the mirror if we immediately forget what we saw and fail to act on it; likewise receiving knowledge is of little use unless it is put into practice (Mt 7:24-27; Mk 4:24; Jas 1:22-24). Does my life confirm what I teach or am I like the Pharisees whose lives did not match their beliefs?

We are challenged to “Grow in grace and the knowledge of God” (2 Pet 3:18). Opportunities for growth are constantly coming our way; welcome and learn from them for all of life is a learning experience. Do I have a teachable ‘I don’t know it all but am ready to learn’ attitude, or do I think I know more than others? To be taught requires humilty and willingness to submit to others. What we have received (learned) we are to pass on to other faithful people who will also competently instruct others (Rom 15:14; 2 Tim 2:2). There is a learning-teaching cycle and nothing is truly learnt until we have shared it, so don’t keep it to yourself, pass it on. Share your heart with others (as appropriate) on a deep personal level rather than only in the academic, soul realm. A good teacher relates to and knows their students by communicating not just in ‘class’ when imparting information, but informally, sharing the process the Lord has used to bring them to this point in their journey with Him, including the struggles they have (Rom 7:15-20).

Before NT times Jewish women had traditionally been excluded from religious study. After some of them were converted they had limited spiritual knowledge and so Paul instructed them not to teach the men who knew more than they did (1 Tim 2:11-15). Similarly, today new Christians should be encouraged to witness by telling what Christ has done for them, while any actual teaching should be done by more mature believers, who have a greater understanding and so “correctly handle [explain] the word of truth” and knowing that those who teach will be held responsible for what they explain and spread (2 Tim 2:15; Jas 3:1). There are serious consequences for those who misrepresent the Bible message, while there are corresponding blessings for those who share it accurately (Mt 5:19; Rev 22:18,19).

Much of the Bible doesn’t make sense, to the natural or carnal mind because its message is only spiritually discerned or understood – echoing the words of the Ethiopian, “How can I understand unless someone explains it to me?” (Act 8:30,31; 1 Cor 2:14). The Holy Spirit lives within each believer so we have the guiding principles of light and life within and He leads and directs by “bringing things to your memory” so “there is no need for anyone to teach you what is right”. This does not negate the valuable input of God-inspired teaching, from various reputable sources who speak the truth of God’s Word (Jn 14:26; 1 Jn 2:20,27). However, don’t blindly accept the teaching you receive, rather examine the Scriptures yourself to verify what has been taught, as even Satan can misrepresent it – like he did to Jesus (Mt 4:6; Act 17:11.There are also many false human philosophies and theories about today (Col 2:8). The Bible warns, “Watch out for false teachers” for in the last days anti-Christs with various false teachings will arise and deceive many (Mt 7:15, 24:4-35; 1 Tim 4:1-3). Patiently, humbly, and lovingly correct and teach the truth to those who are ignorant of the facts, have a wrong understanding, or incorrectly interpret what is clearly written (Act 18:24-26; Tit 2:15).

Jewish teaching made religion an integral part of everyday life with its focus on God. The people  were instructed  to “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands…teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up…” (Deut 6:7-9, 11:18-20). This is one of the primary roles of parents who teach by example as well as instruction.

We should constantly reinforce and encourage sound teaching and its application in everyday life. By meditating, to extract more insight and value from what you have

A teacher is a change agent

received, helps the impact to go from head knowledge to being outworked in daily life through genuine heart response. Rather than giving all the information, a technique increasingly used in schools is to give guidelines about a topic and let the students do their own research as what is discovered for ourselves is often more meaningful than it all being given so is only a memory exercise. It is equipping for life, like giving a person a fishing rod, showing them how to bait the hook and where the fish are likely to be found and letting them catch their own rather than supplying them with ready caught fish. Whatever the field of education there is always more information available and further knowledge we can learn and as we do not know when practical intelligence may prove beneficial seize all the opportunities you can to learn and share God’s truth.

See also: application, facts, false teachers, disciple/discipleship, doctrine, education, information, knowledge, learning, meditate/meditation, mentor, parables, reinforce, training.



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