What Is The Spiritual Gift Of Teaching?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What is the spiritual gift of teaching? How do you know when you’ve got it?

Gifts of the Spirit

We know from Scripture that every believer has at least one or more gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul said, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ” (1 Cor 12:12), but “as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function” (Rom 12:4). The body of Christ would not function very well if everyone tried to do the same thing. That would mean other parts of the body would be absent and not function as God had designed them too. Parts of the Body would be neglected. There would be others doing what someone else is supposed to be doing, but also, others would be doing something that God’s not equipped them for. If everyone wants to be a particular member of the body, what happens to the function of the body? It becomes dysfunctional, so even though we “are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Rom 12:5), we must find our place within the Body.

The Body of Christ

Looking at a human body, you can see that there are a variety of members, but all are essential. Each of us have different gifts, therefore, we all fit into the Body of Christ in different places. We know “there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit” (1 Cor 12:4), so to one it is “faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:9), but the main point is, these gifts are not for the believer’s benefit. These gifts are “for the common good” (1 Cor 12:7b) of the church. For that reason, they’re not to be flaunted before others. We have nothing that we did not receive from God, so what right do we have to boast about it (1 Cor 4:7). And it is not we who decide which gifts we receive but “the same Spirit who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Cor 12:11b), or as God wills. We should neither covet other people’s gifts, nor try to serve in the church in areas we’re not gifted in. It is all God’s choice, not ours. It is for God’s church, not us. It is for His glory, not ours.

Teachers and Preachers

Some pastors have a gift of teaching, but is preaching and teaching the same thing? Absolutely not. A preacher may be able to teach, but teachers are not typically able to preach. Someone who has the gift of teaching may or may not be called to preach, and someone called to preach may or may not have the gift of teaching, but when someone who has the gift of teaching and is not called and they try to preach, they are an uncomfortable fit for the Body. They are trying to fit into a part of the Body of Christ that was not intended for them. Likewise, the preacher who tries to teach, and is not gifted in that area, will be a round peg in a square hole. Being called to preach is not a gift…it is a calling by God. Teaching is a gift, and several people may have this gift, but you can’t have all members be teachers because there’d be no students in the class! This is all the more reason we need to discover what gifts God has given us. Paul writes, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching” (Rom 12:6-7). Teachers are God’s gift to the church. The Apostle Paul writes that God “gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11-12), so teachers hold a God-ordained office, but they also likely have the gift of teaching.

                                                    Teaching

How Do We Know The Bible Is TrueThe one who has the gift of teaching has an unusually intense hunger to study the Word of God, and probably in different translations. They have a strong desire to find the meanings of particular passages, even checking what the original Greek or Hebrew words might be. They’ll also be knowledgeable about the author of the book, the customs of the time, and the historical facts of certain events, places, or people. The teacher will know what is most important in the lesson, and have certain expectations about the outcomes of the lessons. If you think you have the gift of teaching, ask your pastor or Sunday school director for an opportunity, or at least ask to be put on the substitute teacher list. One of the best ways to know if you have the gift of teaching is if you’re consumed by biblical knowledge. You’re surrounded by Bible dictionaries and concordances, and you love the maps of the Middle East and maps that showed the Israelite travels as well as Paul’s missionary trips. It’s almost like you can’t help yourself. You want to share what you know so badly that you’ll burst if you don’t teach someone something!

Conclusion

Every church needs good Bible teachers. They may be just as important as good Bible preachers. If you’re blessed, you’ll have a pastor that has the gift of teaching, but if not, you know someone there in the church has that gift. God has ensured to equip the Body in ways that will function just as the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, desires. There is nothing like sitting under good Bible teaching. I’ve sat under some of the best seminary professors there are, but a good, solid Bible teacher can do just about as good as they can. Thank God for Bible teachers. The gift of teaching, like all gifts, is for the good of the Body of Christ. God places those whom He calls into offices and gifts others with gifts from the Holy Spirit, and it’s all intended to “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:12-13), and one of the greatest benefits of learning under a good Bible teacher is “that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Eph 4:13).  That’s a great outcome, wouldn’t you say?

Here is some related reading for you: How to Recognize Your Spiritual Gifts

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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