The Responsibility of Being a Teacher: A Biblical Perspective

by Robert Driskell · Print Print · Email Email

Teaching and/or preaching the Word of God can be an extremely fulfilling ministry.  It is a much-needed service, especially in a day when the culture seems to be moving further away from God and His Word.  Many people actually feel that God has called them to teach and preach His Word as their life’s vocation.  This is a solemn duty and a great privilege that comes with great rewards and great responsibilities.

We find a warning in James 3:1 that should cause anyone wanting to be a teacher to evaluate the proposition carefully.  Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1 ESV).

Those who use the King James Version of the Bible will notice that it has the word ‘masters’ instead of the word ‘teachers’.  The Greek word ‘didaskalos’ is best translated ‘teacher’.  However, the idea of ‘master’ is indeed contained within the Greek word ‘didaskalos’ because one who teaches others is often looked upon as a master, or as one who has more knowledge than someone else.  Therefore, both meanings are inherent in the Greek word and both meanings are appropriate.

Biblical Responsibility of Being a Teacher

The teacher must never forget the Person behind the message. We must never get so caught up in teaching a particular view or favorite doctrine that we forget we are saved because Jesus paid for our sins on a cross.

One Should Take Care to Teach Truth

In I Timothy 1:5-7, the apostle Paul warns that certain people should stop teaching.  The doctrines these certain people were teaching were described by Paul as ‘different’.  These doctrines centered around frivolous and speculative imaginings instead of the true Gospel.  The men teaching these false doctrines, wanting the prestige and power that comes with being looked upon as teachers, were actually leading people away from the Truth of God.  Not only were they teaching false doctrines but also they were doing it for selfish reasons.  Instead of being motivated by, “…a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (I Timothy 1:5), they engaged in ‘vain discussions’ (ESV) about things they did not understand but about which they still made ‘confident assertions’ (I Timothy 1:7 ESV).  In other words, they delivered these false doctrines with an air of authority, as if what they were saying should be accepted without question.

We see much of this type of rhetoric today.  Leaders, both secular and religious, who confidently claim to have knowledge others do not have, or they claim to know how everyone should behave or what is best for everyone.  However, their only source of authority is their own selfish ego.  We must get back to teaching what the True source of authority, God’s Word, has to say about our priorities and our lifestyles.  To teach otherwise is to teach ‘myths and vain discussions’ (I Timothy 1:6 ESV).  This type of teacher is strictly condemned by Paul in Romans 1:20-24 and by Jesus in Matthew 23:15.

Tips for Teaching Biblically

We must pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17).

The believer should always rely on the Holy Spirit’s guidance, strength, and wisdom.  We must never believe that we have everything so figured out that we no longer need to trust God to superintend our ministries.  Christians should bathe every endeavor in pray to our Lord and Savior.

We must make sure our motives are right.

There are already too many professing Christians who do what they do merely to make themselves look good, to seem important, or to gain wealth.  The Bible tells us to, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3 ESV).  The believer should teach others from a humble heart, thankful for the opportunity to be used by God for His glory.

We must make sure our relationship with God is right.

Notice how the classic passage on defending the faith begins, “…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:15 ESV).  This passage does not say that we should charge headlong into an argument, debate, instruction, teaching, or preaching at the drop of a hat, crushing our opponents with our well thought out apologetic rhetoric.  Rather, it says that Christ should be the Lord of our hearts at all times.  The Holy Spirit will give us the ability to make our defense in a gentle and respectful manner.

We should study diligently the topic on which we will teach.

Although this passage may be directed at leaders in the church, it certainly applies to anyone wishing to teach spiritual truths to others.  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth”  (II Timothy 2:15 ESV).  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” KJV Anyone considering teaching must first be a student of the Bible.  This passage tells us that it requires commitment to study God’s Word in order to know it well enough to teach others.

We must remember that we are not infallible.

God is infallible, we are not.  There are certain essential truths in the Bible that are non-negotiable.  However, there are other verses, passages, and portions of Scripture for which there may be more than one interpretation.  We must leave room for honest differences of opinion amongst Christian brothers and sisters.  There may be something that we have not understood properly.  Leave room for other views as long as they do not contradict clear biblical teaching.

Conclusion

To be a teacher of God’s Word is a lofty and honorable undertaking.  However, anyone embarking on such a journey must meet some prerequisites: first, one must be a committed follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.  No one is able to correctly interpret the Word of God if he or she is not dedicated to Him and His glory.

In addition, the man or woman who desires to teach the Bible must have a deep love for God’s Word.  The prospective teacher must believe that everything to live a godly life is contained within the pages of God’s written message to humanity.  The teacher should be convinced enough of that fact that he or she patterns his or her life on its precepts and desires to see others do the same.

Lastly, the teacher must never forget the Person behind the message.  We must never get so caught up in teaching a particular view or favorite doctrine that we forget we are saved because Jesus paid for our sins on a cross.  Salvation is not based on the accumulation of knowledge.  Saving faith is not based on what we know; it is based on whom we know.

Interested in reading more related posts? Check out these articles:

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The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Miracle October 14, 2012 at 10:32 am

U’re really inspiring

Reply

Robert October 15, 2012 at 7:18 am

Miracle,
I thank you for you kind comment. However, I must give the glory to God, it is He who is the inspiration behind the article, I am merely a messenger. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

Mabel October 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Mr. Driskell, God Bless you for this article, God is certainly using your skills to edify others. This has confirmed in my heart what the Spirit of God wants me to do and how to do it, in very simple and easy to understand words. Thank you and to God be the Glory forever. Amen! 🙂

Reply

Jack Wellman October 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Superb work Robert. I think this should make every one of us think about the huge responsibilities of teaching. Even parents. I think you are equipping many of us Robert and I include myself too. Thank you and I thank God FOR you Robert.

Reply

Robert October 15, 2012 at 7:20 am

Thank you, Mabel,
It is my deep desire that God use me, so you have lifted my heart with you comment. I thank you very much and pray that God will continue to guide and strengthen you in your spiritual journey. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

Robert October 15, 2012 at 7:21 am

Jack,
You are a true brother in Christ and I am grateful for you friendship and support. I believe we exemplify the “iron sharpens iron” verse and I thank you for all I am learning from you. God bless you, brother.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

KANGWA October 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm

LETS PRAY HARD SO THAT GOD CAN GIVE US STRENGH IN THESE LAST DAYS

Reply

Robert October 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Amen to that. Only God is able to heal our nation.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

Derek Hill October 16, 2012 at 12:23 am

Wonderful job Robert. Your explanation was so easy to understand and I know I have benefited from it. God bless you brother.

Reply

Robert October 16, 2012 at 7:01 am

Thank you Derek,
James 3:1 is the verse that comes to mind everytime I begin to write an article. I must keep in mind that it is an incredible responsibility (and privilege). God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

Lea Baker October 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I was wondering if you could answer me a question about women who teach the word of god. Are women to teach and be head of a church looking forward to your answer thank you

Reply

Robert Driskell October 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Lea,

First of all, thank you for reading and thanks for your question. The issue of women’s roles in the church is an issue that elicits passionate and opinionated responses from whomever it is asked. Some seem sure that the Bible strictly prohibits women from certain positions and functions in the church body. Others are just as certain that the passages pertaining to women in the church were directed meant for those to whom they were written.
The factors affecting my view on the subject are these:

(1) We are all part of the body of Christ. We are all called to live for Him and share the Gospel with others.

(2) Much like many other non-essential beliefs, such as once saved always saved; the end times; the age of the earth; and others, there are differing interpretations of women’s roles in the church. Good, Holy Spirit filled, sanctified, Christians disagree on this issue.

(3) This subject has been, and is still, being discussed and debated by dedicated followers of Christ all around the world. If this issue were simple to nail down, it already would have been. Now, I know that there are denominations that have taken a stance on this issue one way or the other, but there is not a consensus among all Christians as to which view is correct.

(4) The subject has not been settled enough for any quick, simple, or pat answers. There are too many faithful respected scholars who differ on this issue for anyone, in my opinion, to be absolutely certain concerning this issue. There are Christians who think it is absolutely clear what a woman’s place is in the church and there are those who are absolutely certain they are absolutely wrong.

(5) If a woman decides to be involved in the ministry, as a leader or a pastor, she must be sure that it is God’s calling upon her life. She should be fully convinced that she is doing what God wants her to do. She must not be doing it for any other reason than the glory of God, because she will most certainly meet with objections, some of them abusive and violent.

I fully expect some to lash out at me for not taking a firm stand one way or the other. I never shy away from a biblical discussion. However, I think this issue, as well as any other, should be evaluated biblically, not simply because it is tradition. And, I am more concerned with doing God’s will than I am with others thinking I’m smart or right.

I hope this helped. I pray that anyone, man or woman, thinking about entering the ministry, realizes the gravity and responsibility of that decision and honors and glorifies God with their lives.

Yours in Christ,
Robert

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