In 1 Corinthians 12 Teaching is listed under prophecy and Paul lists the “gift of teaching” after the “gift of ministering [Helps]” in the list of the gifts of the Spirit in his letter to the Romans in chapter 12:
Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 12:7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
The spiritual gift of teaching is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and is given to some as God determines, no one can take this gift for himself. It is also the gift that goes with the “office of teacher” that equips that person to fulfill the job that God assigns to him. God appoints the office of “teacher” to some of the members of the Ekklesia to benefit the whole body.
1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
1 Corinthians 12:18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
What Exactly is the Spiritual Gift of Teaching?
The gift of teaching is a spiritual gift given by the Holy Spirit enabling one to expound upon and communicate the truths of the Bible clearly and effectively to others.
This spiritual gift involves being able to instruct and describe the meaning of the Word of God in ways that make it plain to those who hear or read the teacher’s material.
The gifted teacher is one who has been given an extra measure of the ability to distinctly communicate knowledge, specifically the doctrines of the faith and truths contained in the Word of God. The teacher expounds upon the spiritual things and principles of the Word of God and explains how to incorporate those things into the lives of the believers.
The gift of teaching then helps the body of Christ to learn the sound doctrines and truths of Scripture, thereby the Ekklesia is edified and helped into proper alignment with the whole Word of God; and when those who have this gift minister in this way, those who hear or read what they teach and apply their teachings grow into spiritual maturity. Paul explained the purpose of the offices (including the office of teacher) that God has provided for His Ekklesia and how they are to benefit the body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
The gift of teaching like the other spiritual gifts , are given to edify [build up] the brethren. Those who teach the sound doctrines of God’s Word have a passionate love of God’s truth and have a sincere desire to keep themselves and their brethren walking in the truth. One of their goals is to keep the brethren from going after false teachers and false doctrines that would cause them to go astray.
Paul was called to be an apostle but he was also a teacher of the way of God’s truth and of God’s righteousness and he worked tirelessly to keep the people directed to the whole Word of God. He sternly warned his congregations not to tolerate false teachers and those who taught strange doctrines and who exalted themselves; rather than exalt God and His Word.
2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Individuals with the gift of teaching, like those who have been given the gift of prophecy [inspired speaking], are often given deep insight and revelation into the meaning of what God is saying in Scripture and they often know how to put all the scriptures together on any given topic to bring out the true meaning of a particular teaching or doctrine as Isaiah describes this concept:
Isaiah 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 28:12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 28:13 But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
In this way God reveals His truth to those who are being called and those who want to obey Him; but He hides the truth from those who are stubborn and unyielding to His commands; therefore precept must be upon precept, line upon line, and in this way God teaches His people His plan and purpose which in contained in the whole Word of God.
Teachers teach in a way that makes plain the knowledge of God and His will, and help others to understand the true doctrines taught in the Word of God. The Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle that must have all the pieces put together in order to understand the big picture. It is very complicated and only those who are being led by God’s Spirit can rightly put the pieces together to understand God’s plan. God gifts His teachers to help their brethren see the pieces and how they make up the whole truth contained in God’s Word.
The Greek word for “teach” is didaskó (Strong’s #1321) and means: “to instruct.” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
HELPS Word-studies 1321 didáskō (from daō, “learn”) – to teach (literally, “cause to learn”); instruct, impart knowledge (disseminate information). In the NT, 1321 /didáskō (“teach”) nearly always refers to teaching the Scriptures (the written Word of God). The key role of teaching Scripture is shown by its great frequency in the NT, and the variety of word-forms (cognates). (Word Helps)
The Greek word for “teacher” is didáskalos (Strong’s # 1320) doctor, master, teacher. From didasko; an instructor (genitive case or specially) — doctor, master, teacher. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
Cognate: 1320 didáskalos (a masculine noun derived from 1321 /didáskō, “to teach”) – a teacher, an instructor acknowledged for their mastery in their field of learning; in Scripture, a Bible teacher, competent in theology. See 1319 (didaskalia). (Word Helps)
Throughout the Bible we see many examples of teaching by those God called to impart the knowledge of His truth to others.
And when Jesus was here on earth He was known and called by the name “Teacher” and He alone is our “Master Teacher”.
John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher [didaskalos] come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
John 11:28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master [didaskalos – Teacher] is come, and calleth for thee.
After Christ had taught His disciples for close to 3 1/2 years He commanded them to go into all the world and make new disciples and teach them everything He had taught them, instructing them in both doctrine and how to live by every Word of God. This command is for all of His disciples that would come after; right up to the end of this age.
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Any teacher who teaches God’s Word, including an elder or a minister, is not to teach the commandments of men or anything that is of their own, or other men’s devising, but only that which is truth as taught in the Bible. And when we come into contact with such who would teach things contrary to the truths of the Bible, Paul warns us in Colossians:
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
There are people in the world who have not been called to God, who may have a natural talent to teach and may write many books and win all kinds of awards for their teaching abilities. They may be the most accomplished scholars and have all kinds of teaching degrees from the most prestigious colleges in the world, but this is not evidence of possessing the teaching gift from God. Only those who have God’s Spirit are given the spiritual gift of properly teaching God’s doctrines and precepts.
It is by the supernatural power of God that those called to be teachers in the Ekklesia are able to first understand the teachings of the Bible, and then in turn, to correctly explain or expound the meaning of the Scriptures to others. Those who do not have God’s Spirit cannot understand the deep spiritual things of God therefore they are not equipped to teach them to others. To be able to truly teach God’s Word in all of its spiritual ramifications is a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit. No amount of schooling will give this gift to a person, only God can grant the gift to those He chooses to receive it.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Sometimes God calls those who do not appear to have the capability to teach others, they may be esteemed to be the least in the world or even in the Ekklesia and why is that? God tells us why; it is to confound the wise of the world (and those who proclaim themselves wise in the faith who have exalted themselves above the clear teachings of God) that the power of God (through the weakness of the ones who are despised but who are humble) might be manifest, and in this way all the glory goes to the Lord and not to man.
1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
The Office of Pastor and Teacher
Paul lists certain offices that God gives to some in the Ekklesia with the last two offices on his list being that of pastors and teachers.
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
The gifts and offices of God are given for the edifying of the whole body of Christ. In this verse the offices of “pastor” and “teacher” are listed side by side. This does not necessarily suggest that the teaching gift is the same as the pastor gift, but it does seem to imply that the two gifts can go together, for a pastor is to teach his congregation all the doctrines and ways of God.
These offices of pastor and teacher are often blended for a pastor is one who cares for his congregation in the same way a shepherd cares for his flock of sheep; and his job is also to teach those under his care the whole Word of God. In fact, the Greek word for “pastor” in this verse is poimén (Strong’s #4166) and is translated in other passages as “shepherd”.
A shepherd (poimen) is one that God sets in office to care for the total well-being of His flock i.e. the members of the Ekklesia. Just as a shepherd feeds his sheep, the pastor also has the responsibility to feed [teach] God’s people the spiritual food of the whole Word of God
According to Strong’s definition of “pastor” the Greek word poimen is a shepherd; hence met: of the feeder, protector, and ruler of a flock of men. (Strong’s Concordance)
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
God holds very high standards for pastors and teachers; they must live righteous lives, be diligent to their calling, and be of good character as Paul instructs Timothy in regard to those God sets in these offices.
1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
The Greek word for “bishop” is episkopos (Strong’s 1985) which means: overseer, supervisor, ruler, especially used with reference to the supervising function exercised by an elder or presbyter of a church or congregation. (Strong’s Concordance)
[Likewise, the supervising functions are generally the duties of a pastor.]
The church is edified through the use of the spiritual gift of teaching as people listen to the Word of God, and are shown what it means proven by Scripture, and then learn how to apply it to their own lives. God raises up men and women with this gift and places them in offices to build people up in their faith and to help them to grow in all wisdom and knowledge and in the sound doctrines of God’s Word. To grow in the grace and knowledge of God is what God tells all of us to do.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Luke had the Gift of Teaching and Serves as a Good Example of a Teacher
One excellent example of one who had the gift of teaching is Luke. He begins his Gospel account in the first four verses with statements that show that he was concerned about relating accurately and in order the events that took place in the life and ministry of Jesus.
Luke’s writings in both the Gospel of Luke and in the book of Acts are highly detailed accounts and are presented in a very orderly fashion. This is one of the characteristics of the gift of teaching. (See also Acts 1:1.)
Luke’s Gospel is the longest of all four of the Gospels and is the most thorough of all of them; he includes information that the other Gospel writers leave out and he is much more illustrative in his account with lots of added facts and details. Along with facts, he includes many references to Scriptures in the Old Testament.
In his introduction in the Gospel of Luke, he states in his opening verses that he desires to write an “orderly account.” Another way of saying this would be to write things in a “consecutive order.” A good teacher puts in order the proper sequence of his material so it all points toward a specific theme, with lots of related information that contributes and leads up to the main point of the message.
Luke 1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 1:2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 1:3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 1:4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.(see the whole book of Luke)
As we read through this passage we see that Luke was very diligent in presenting a thorough narrative of all the events that had taken place and that the details of what they had come to believe were exactly as they had been handed down to him by those who (from the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry) had been eye witnesses and faithful ministers of the truth of what had happened.
He says of himself that he had perfect understanding of these things (perhaps by having traced accurately the course of events from all angles and from many witnesses from the very beginning) and that it was his desire to set forth an orderly account for the person he was writing to: the “most excellent Theophilus”.
It was Luke’s desire that this person (and because this was recorded and part of the cannon of God, it would include all those who would read this account) would know the full truth and understand with certainty of all of these things of which Theophilus had heard and had been instructed, mainly that Jesus was the Christ and that the things that he had heard about Christ was the truth.
None of the other Gospel writers included the events of the birth of Jesus and his early childhood as Luke does. He tells us the details of the events that led up to Jesus birth with the accounts of Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth and the birth of John the Baptist. Also, he is the only writer that tells us about Simeon and Anna and what they had to say at the dedication of the infant Jesus at the Temple and much more.
Those with the gift of teaching like to present their material in a very systematic sequence which makes it easy for their students to follow. Gifted teachers also have a strong desire to present God’s truth in a way that is concise, logical, and that makes sense. If a teacher uses analogies and symbolism, he goes to specific Scriptures to show what God teaches as to what certain things mean and that the point he is trying to get across makes sense according to what God has already determined how those analogies and symbolism are to be applied.
An example is the false teaching that the Fall Festivals represent the one thousand year Millennial reign of Christ but if we take God’s definition of how a day represents a thousand years in 2 Peter 3:8, this just doesn’t make sense and the reasoning for that meaning is faulty and not based on Scripture.
Indications of the Gift of Teaching
How can a believer know if he or she has this spiritual gift? Here are some indications that give evidence that a person has the gift of teaching:
First a good teacher of godliness knows that a proper understanding of the Word of God can only come from God himself, and they pray diligently for an understanding mind and for God’s revelation and guidance into all truth as they continually study to grow spiritually.
Second they understand that one learns more by doing than by studying and they are diligent to apply what they learn in their lives and so by adding experience to knowledge they learn wisdom, and with wisdom goes the ability to explain the practical meaning and intent of the scriptures.
Third the good teacher is always a good listener and is willing to quickly correct their own errors as they are revealed; and is always ready and rejoices to embrace truth as they learn.
Fourth the good teacher is continually thinking on the scriptures, what they, mean and how they apply to every situation.
Fifth the things of God are their primary interest and are always on their minds and in their mouths as they cannot keep silent about their chief joy.
Sixth, the qualities of patience and perseverance are required.
*Who should teach? It is most important that a teacher be older in the faith and well experienced in life. He is taking on a very serious responsibility since God will require it of him if he misleads others.
Someone who loves to teach is generally a person who loves to learn themselves. When that person learns about something new that is clearly based on God’s Word and has life changing implications, that is exciting to them… and they are eager to share what they have learned with others so that they too can benefit from what he or she has learned.
*Those with this spiritual gift are especially concerned with biblical accuracy of what is being taught and how well it is being presented. One with this gift wants to impart knowledge and wisdom to others so that they too can grow in these things. The person who is gifted to teach is motivated to teach because he or she loves the truth and wants to impart God’s Word with accuracy and understanding to others.
*Those with the gift of teaching are diligent to convey the accuracy of words and the proper use of language. Good teachers point out the precise definitions of certain key words that show the meaning that is applicable to the text that is being taught. A teacher may make an statement or write about a subject matter and then ask “What exactly does that mean?” and then lists the possible meanings for a particular word from an authorized source, but also with consideration for the context indicating how the word is to be used to back up what he is trying to convey. He wants what he is saying to reflect accuracy as much as possible.
*Those who have the gift of teaching are passionate about researching the facts about their chosen topic and then relaying as many details as they can to their hearers or readers. In the Gospel of Luke we are told of more details about key events than all the other Gospels. To Luke, details were very important and the accuracy of even small details were of importance in the relevancy of the things that took place.
Teachers tend to spend a lot of time researching things out and they tend to get carried away with much research. They take delight in seeing the significance of the meaning in factual details that may have not seem to be that important to others.
When those who have the gift of teaching “discover” information and facts that were unknown to them previously, they want to share what they have learned with others. These teachers tend to go into great detail into the things they find interesting, but that may not be all that interesting to those who do not have teaching gift; so teachers need to be aware of that. Teachers want to include everything that they have come to learn or understand because it is so interesting to them, not realizing that they may be overloading others with a lot of information that these others may not see as all that important.
*Those who have the gift of teaching are interested in knowing as much as possible about a subject that they are researching. These teachers like to gain as much information as they can to present their material accurately and also can be verified with plenty of facts from reliable resources. They like to use as many Scriptures that pertain to the subject they are teaching to back up the truth of what they are trying to teach. They try to avoid illustrations from commentaries and non-biblical sources, unless it is provides further clarification and only if it can be solidly backed up with clear biblical principles.
*Those with the gift of teaching are very cognizant of the fact that the acquisition of right knowledge and understanding based on God’s Word as the foundation of everything that is being taught is vital to the gaining of godly wisdom.
The teacher is aware that God’s children must have a full understanding of the Bible and that they need to know what the commandments, statutes, ordinances of God are and how they are to be applied to life’s circumstances and problems.
They need to understand not only in the letter of those laws and statutes but also to understand and perceive how to apply the fullest spiritual intent of what those laws mean.
Acquisition of knowledge, understanding and wisdom is the goal, as Luke wrote to Theophilus, “That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” (Luke 1:4)
*Teachers know that “the Fear of the Lord” is the very beginning of acquiring wisdom and they stress this in all of their teaching.
Proverbs 1:20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 1:21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,… 1:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: 1:30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 1:31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 1:32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 1:33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
*Some that are gifted in teaching have a need to teach children for they clearly see the importance of the Word of God being passed on to the next generation. They may feel strongly that we need to prepare our young people and to educate them in the ways of God so that God’s truth is carried into the future generations. The psalmists spoke of this concern in several of the psalms which are based on a mandate from God that we are to teach our children.
Psalm 78:4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. 78:5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 78:6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: 78:7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: 78:8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
Psalm 71:18 Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.
*Those with the gift of teaching are primarily concerned with facts and with truth and generally do not employ the use of methods that evoke strong emotional response. A good teacher that is being led by God’s Spirit desires to impart knowledge and wisdom and not try to manipulate their students’ feelings or emotions to get them to believe a certain thing. They should never flagrantly exaggerate or make use of rhetoric nor try to appeal to the hearers emotions, but strive to to express the truth of what they are teaching in a logical, concise, organized fashion in everything they teach.
*Those with the gift of teaching tend to have a very systematic way of gaining their information and they also develop methods of teaching themselves, first, before teaching about any particular subject.
It is also essential that those who are responsible for the teaching of God’s Word and His commandments to others maintain a close walk with God always and that they seek Him daily to hear from Him and to petition Him to inspire them, that all that they teach others would be in strict accordance to what He teaches in the Bible.
They must pray for insight and proper understanding for themselves, first, of the things that they attempt to teach others. They must prove to themselves of what truly constitutes God’s truth before they teach doctrines and the proper application of God’s laws and ordinances to other brethren.
*Those with the gift of teaching want to help those who may not quite understand what is being taught and a good teacher will take the time to clarify and strive to make whatever is causing misunderstandings more clear with someone who may be struggling.
A godly teacher will welcome questions and is quick to answer and clarify when someone has a genuine need to understand the presented material more fully; as long as that person is not argumentative or has a secret agenda of proving something contrary to what is being taught (ideas or beliefs that are not validated according to sound biblical truth).
*Those who have the spiritual gift of teaching do not find teaching a burden and will delight in opportunities to teach the truth about God and His Word to others.
Guidelines For Teachers
It is God who chooses whom He wants to become spiritual teachers and He will provide the opportunities to teach according to His will and purpose. If He places certain ones in the office of teacher He will equip that person with the gifts that he needs.
When people with the gift of teaching begin to teach in the Body of Christ it is best that they start out under the authority and guidance of another gifted teacher who has much more experience and can guide them and correct when necessary as part of their training to become even more effective in their teaching skills.
This is what Paul commanded Timothy and this is God’s way; God mandates that the older and more experienced teachers teach those who are in training to become teachers; and if this is done properly, the knowledge of God’s truth and the adherence to His true doctrines will stay intact throughout the generations and will thrive and flourish in His Ekklesia.
The elders in the Ekklesia teaching and training the younger members is the way that will ensure that God’s truth is handed down to the following generations and that there will always be a supply of trained and skilled teachers to teach as the older teachers fade from the scene.
2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
It is important that a teacher or pastor must not be a hypocrite. Whatever a teacher or a pastor teaches others, must be the things he himself lives by.
1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
God can only use those who keep all of His commandments and live an exemplary life, to not only teach those things but to be a pattern for those who look to them as a their pastor or teacher. Paul addresses this in Romans and says that we must be what we teach others; if we are otherwise, we lose all credibility because we are not walking the talk.
Romans 2:17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, 2:18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 2:19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 2:20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 2:21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 2:22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 2:23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
Paul tells Timothy that those who have a walk [life] worthy of their calling and have purged sin from their lives, will be fit for the Master’s use; this means that they will be useful instruments in all good works, which includes the teaching of others.
2 Timothy 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
It is of utmost importance that teachers pray that God guides them into the subjects that God wants them to teach and not necessarily the things the teacher thinks that their hearers and readers should hear.
Jesus promised that His Spirit would lead His disciples into all truth and a godly teacher depends on this promise to help him plan his lessons and teach only those things that he really believes from his heart and has proven from the source of all Truth which is the Bible.
A godly teacher that is being led by God’s Spirit would never teach things that are merely expedient for him to teach just because he is being told to teach those things without actually proving those things from God’s Word and without being convicted of them… just for the sake of organizational unity or for a pay check.
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
The Value of Teaching
God’s called out people are those who value the wisdom of God and know that one way we gain wisdom is to go digging for it, to seek it out and to seek out wise godly teachers that will instruct us properly and will explain to us the truth of God based on what God has to say in Scripture.
A gifted teacher will understand the value of God’s Word and that knowing it and understanding it is the most valuable thing a person can seek after. A teacher that faithfully teaches others the truths of the Bible is giving the most valuable gift that they could possibly give, in the way of conveying the knowledge of that truth to others, the truth that sets one free; the knowledge that leads us to everlasting life with God in His Kingdom if we zealously heed God’s words of wisdom.
As Solomon taught it is much more valuable to seek after the wisdom of God than it is to spend all of our time seeking after gold and silver. Those things are only transitory, but the wisdom we gain and if we faithfully apply it to our lives will help us attain all the blessings that God has to offer and lead us to eternal life.
Proverbs 16:16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
God through the spiritual gift of teaching desires to uses human teachers as His instruments to help others in the acquiring of His precious truths and sound doctrines. Of course, the true value of the Scriptures are realized when one hears and then heeds what he hears and puts it into practice; the teachers job is to do his best to present the truth of God as clearly as he possibly can, and then it is the responsibility of the hearers to implement what they have learned with God’s help. For it is really the Holy Spirit that teaches and imparts knowledge to the members of the Ekklesia.
All of the called out are in training to be teachers in God’s Kingdom. Part of our job now and in the future when we have been raised to spirit, is to enthusiastically impress on all people the utmost importance of walking in the holy, righteous teachings of God. Isaiah gives us a poignant picture of the kind of teachers that the physical people in the Millennium will have.
Isaiah 30:19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. 30:20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Isaiah 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
All of God’s People are to learn to Teach
All of God’s people are to teach even if they do not have the special spiritual gift of teaching. All those who are called of God typically have opportunities to teach even if they are not called to teach in an official capacity in the Ekklesia.
Most of us have children, and we are commanded by God to teach our children and our grandchildren. By diligently teaching our children now, we not only benefit them in teaching them to live by every word of God; but we at the same time are being trained to teach many others, especially in the future when we will all be teaching in the Kingdom of God.
Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; 4:10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
Deuteronomy 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Deuteronomy 11:18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. 11:19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 11:20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: 11:21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
Many of us are employed in the work force and have opportunities to teach on the job, whether it be our employees if we are employers or managers, and/or our fellow workers.
All of us are to diligently and thoroughly study and learn the whole Word of God and then be able to tell others the reasons (based on Scripture) for why we believe what we do when others ask us.
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Paul told the brethren that because they were long time members they should be able to teach others the more advanced spiritual things of God and rebuked for not being able to.
Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Another important way we are to teach others is by our example. We may not even have to say that much as others see us living our lives obeying the commandments of the Lord and walking in the fruit of the Spirit. When they invite us to be a part of ungodly activities and we politely decline, we send them a clear message that we do not believe in or participate in such things and in this way we are “teaching”.
Paul told both Titus and Timothy that they were be a pattern (a good example) of good works for others to observe and take note of.
Titus 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 2:8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Jesus taught in His sermon on the mount that we are to show forth the spiritual virtues as defined by the Beatitudes. He concluded His teaching about the Beatitude section with the mandate to be the salt of the earth and like a city on a hill that shines God’s way for all to see; and in this way we all can be teachers of God’s ways.
Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
If those observing us mock us, or persecute us for what we practice, they have at least had witness of God’s truth and they will remember that witness when it is their turn to be called; and perhaps our example will have made more of an impact than we realized at the time.
1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
What about women teaching others? Are women to teach the other members of the Ekklesia? Only in a proper forum; never as leaders or pastors in worship assemblies or as leaders over men. We cover this topic in full in our study on the spiritual gift of prophesying (which includes teaching).
Women are most definitely supposed to be teachers. They are commanded by Paul to teach their children and the older women are to teach the younger women. In this way they can teach which is truly a benefit to the body of Christ.
Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Husbands can teach their wives and are to teach their children as well; and sometimes wives can teach their husbands. Friends are to teach each other; and when we get together for our assemblies and High Days it is good and proper to teach each other the things we are learning from our biblical studies and to encourage each other to keep learning and to keep growing in the knowledge and understanding of the whole Word of God.
We are to exhort and teach each other when we come together for fellowship. On the Sabbath it is much better to be conversing on the spiritual things of the Bible and what we are leaning, asking questions and teaching each other about the ways of God, than talking about the weather, sports, or our own pleasure and business on the Sabbath day. In this way we can teach and learn from each other just as iron sharpens iron.
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
To be able to teach is something we all should be striving for. Those who are resurrected to spirit will be rulers and priests but also will be teachers in God’s Kingdom. The multitudes that survive the tribulation will need skilled godly teachers to teach them the whole Word of God and teach them the way to eternal salvation and how they too can become members of God’ family.
Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
What is the Subject Matter That Spiritual Teachers Are to Focus on in Their Teaching?
God through Solomon gives us very much in the way of instruction on what we are to teach. He tells us that the “Fear of the Lord” is the beginning of knowledge and that is a good place to start. It is the fear of God that motivates us to want to be taught and to learn all we can and to obey God in the things He tells us to do. There are many mandates throughout the whole Bible of WHAT God’s teachers are to be teaching the people of God.
Proverbs 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 1:2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 1:3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 1:4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 1:6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.
Psalm 34:11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Exodus 24:12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
Leviticus 10:8 And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, 10:9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: 10:10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; 10:11 And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.
Ezekiel 44:23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
Deuteronomy 11:1 Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway. 11:2 And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm, 11:3 And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land; 11:4 And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord hath destroyed them unto this day; 11:5 And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place; 11:6 And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel: 11:7 But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which he did. 11:8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it; …. 11:16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; (See whole book of Deuteronomy)
Deuteronomy 17:11 According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.
Deuteronomy 20:18 That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the Lord your God.
Joshua 1:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Psalm 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
Psalm 143:10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
Malachi 2:7 For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
Malachi 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
Teachers are to teach God’s laws and precepts faithfully and teach that we are to never compromise with the laws of God; they are not to add any unbiblical meanings or taking anything away from what God says.
Deuteronomy 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
Revelation 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
If a teacher does not emphasize God’s law and the whole Word of God; if he deviates or speaks against the laws and ways of God even subtlety, then he or she is a false teacher and should be avoided; we should run from them.
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Whenever we listen to someone that is teaching us, no matter who it is, we still must search the Scriptures and prove that what he or she is teaching is backed by what the Bible really says.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
A person called of God to be a teacher of biblical truth can only do so much; it is the Holy Spirit that imparts understanding and understanding comes by obeying God’s commandments. Only those who obey God have God’s Spirit thereby enabling them to understand the spiritual things of God (Psalm 111:10, Acts 5:32).
A human teacher cannot do that for any one. A most gifted Bible teacher can teach a person all day long from the Bible but if the person being taught does not have God’s Spirit and if they are not keeping God’s laws, they will not be able to comprehend the truths of God.
Even if those who are being taught can comprehend what the teacher is teaching; it is their responsibly to actually put into practice what they are learning from the teacher and from the Bible. Just as one can lead a horse to water, but it is up to the horse to drink; so a teacher can lead one to the Word of God as the way to believe and to live, but it is up to each one of us to search those things out on our own and then heed what we have come to understand from God’s Word and then actually do it.
Romans 2:13 For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
A person called of God to be a teacher with the gift of teaching is like a hungering thirsty person himself who shows other hungering thirsty persons where to go to find food and water… and those things can only be found in the Bible, which is the whole Word of God.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
John 8:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Revelation 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
God’s true teachers will only point to God the father and Jesus Christ as The Master Teacher; only God is the one that is to be exalted and to Him it is that we look to as the source for all that is taught.
False teachers will point to themselves and exalt their teachings above the teachings of God. We are to only follow our human teachers as they follow Christ. As great a teacher as the apostle Paul was, he admonished the brethren to only follow him as he followed Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity”
Paul made this command referring to himself that all of God’s teachers are to emulate.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
In ancient times, to be a teacher was considered a highly valued profession in both Jewish and Greek circles. That respect for teachers carried over to the early Ekklesia, and to be a teacher was a very responsible office. A teacher was expected to conduct himself worthy of the respect that the office assumed for teachers; they were also expected to to be accurate, wise, industrious in their research, and skilled in their ability to present information with proof, with everything thing that they taught backed up by Scripture. Just as it was expected in the early days of the church, so should these same qualities be exemplified in the modern day Ekklesia by those with the gift of teaching.
Jeremiah 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 3:16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. 3:17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
Psalm 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
Psalm 86:11 Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
Some day all peoples from many nations will come to love God’s truth and will want to be taught to walk with God and walk in His truth. Pray that just as God would provide laborers for His harvest, that He would provide many who have the gift of teaching that they might teach all men the way that they should go.
Constance Belanger and James Malm
~ Featured Scripture ~
“Come, ye children, hearken unto me:
I will TEACH you the fear of the Lord”
2 Timothy 2:2
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among
many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men,
who shall be able to teach others also.”