“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)
“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (Jms. 3:1)
“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” (Heb. 5:12)
There is an expectation that as Christians, we mature to become teachers of the Word. But we must realize that raising up teachers in the Body of Christ, requires understanding in the things of the Spirit. Teaching; as with anything done for God, must carry an anointing and a testing of character, especially if it is to feed the hungry with Truth. Jesus, praying to His Father said, “Sanctify them by Your Truth. Your Word is Truth” (Jn. 17:17). With maturity comes responsiblity, and with responsibility comes accountability. Without a doubt, the greatest work of the Bible Teacher is to mature the believers so that they correctly and consistently divide God’s Words of Truth for themselves.
The “Sophomore Effect”: (Prov. 18:2)
The word “sophomore” comes from “sophus” which means wise, and “moros” which means fool (where we get the word “moron”). A sophomore will often feel smarter than they really are. This sophomore effect is a dangerous reality that most recent converts must wrestle with. The Apostle Paul instructs overseers to “not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil” (1 Tim. 3:6). He goes on to say that “they want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” (1 Tim. 1:7)
Influence Requires Maturity:
As teaching can have a huge impact on many people, teachers are to be judged more strictly, and not just by God. Teachers need to be scrutinized by the leaders and mature believers around them. They need correction and instruction in their gift, so they become workmen who accurately divide and offer practical instruction in the Truth. God’s Word, is what we are aiming to teach; and while there may always be a variety of methods, there are no real shortcuts. God’s Word must be taught in a way that releases the revelation of God’s heart.
The Real Issue – “Itching Ears”
Too often people listen to teachers only to affirm what they want to hear, what sounds good to their “itching ears”. Yet, what sounds good; may actually offer no benefit, or worse - it may be harmful to their walk of faith. The Apostle Paul tells us, “the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim. 4:3-4) Too many Christians replace the Bible with their own theories and find their lives wandering off the solid paths of Christ. Even teachers who are products of a Bible College education can become mindless drones whose allegiance is to a denomination, religious tradition or worse, a “new revelation” of some sort, rather than the Word of God.
Warning to Teachers - ”Wolves”:
There are reasons why the Bible warnings us to beware of false teachers! Its because they are wolves in sheep’s clothing and have done great damage to the faith of honest believers. The Apostle Peter points out that, “…there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Sovereign Lord who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up” (2 Pet. 2:1-3). Even Jesus tried to warn us, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Mt 7:15).
Yet teaching the Word of God in an accurate way, releases abundant joy and spiritual strength into the Body of Christ! (Eph. 4:11-16)
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