Last week, in my post “Teaching Workshop: Who Teaches?“, I explained that last Sunday I began leading the church through a discussion of the concept of teaching in Scripture. The “workshop” will continue over the next few weeks, but that first week’s topic was “Who Teaches?”
In this post, I’m going to offer a few reflections from our time discussing that topic. I was not trying to stuff information into people’s heads. Instead, I was simply leading people through passages of Scripture and asking questions. So, these reflections are not based on things that I taught. Instead, what I’m sharing here came from other people. (In most cases, I’m summarizing and paraphrasing, since I did not record our discussion.)
I’ll share these reflections within the outline that I used to guide our workshop:
I. The Ultimate Teacher
Scripture: Matthew 23:8, 1 John 2:27
While God is certainly our ultimate teaching, this does not give us license to be individualistic or isolationist. God often teaches us through other people.
II. There is a Spiritual Gift of Teaching
Scripture: Romans 12:4-8, Ephesians 4:7-11
Like the other spiritual gifts, the purpose of the gift of teaching is to benefit the church, not to benefit or exalt the one teaching.
III. Everyone Does Not Have the Spiritual Gift of Teaching
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:29-30
The focus of 1 Corinthians 12 is that we all need one another. We cannot rely on one person or the gifts of one person.
IV. However, Everyone is Instructed to Teach and is Able to Teach
Scripture: Matthew 28:19-20, Romans 15:14, Colossians 3:16
While this is definitely true from Scripture, it’s not possible because of the way that teaching is usually practiced and modeled in the church. This causes us to ask the question: What is teaching? (Of course, this will be the topic of our third session.)
V. Those Gifted in Teaching Have the Added Responsibility of Helping Others Teach
Scripture: Ephesians 4:11-13
If we keep reading in Ephesians (Ephesians 4:11-16), we see that the church grows in maturity when the teachers are helping others to teach, the shepherds are helping others to care, the apostles are helping others to go, etc.
VI. What about Elders and Teaching?
Scripture: 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:9
The word translated “able to teach” in 1 Timothy 3:2 can also be translated “teachable.” The idea of elders being both teachable and able to teach is also in Titus 1:9. This is a different kind of characteristic that what is usually expected of elders or pastors, which is being able to present a good sermon.
VII. Consider Seemingly Contradictory Passages about Teachers
Scripture: Hebrews 5:12, James 3:1
We can’t just look at those verses. We have to consider the context. Each context helps us understand what the author is talking about and helps us see that they are not contradictory.
Obviously, these are simply summations and snippets of conversations. But, I’d love to hear your thoughts on these points and passages of Scripture related to the question, “Who teaches?”