What does the Bible say about teachers? What godly principles can we apply to teachers in the church and at home?
Luke 6:40 “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
The outcome of every good teacher is to become like the teacher, knowing what is true and what is false. Jesus was the truth but so much more. He says “I am the way the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). This is what our Master teaches us. To go to heaven we must go through Christ. When a teacher can teach this, then they will be like the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ. Is there anything more important than to teach people how they might inherit eternal life?
Second Peter 2:1-2 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.”
We cannot stress the importance of teachers without telling you about the danger of false teachers. I heard one man teaching that if a person observes Sunday as the Sabbath, then they have the mark of the beast on them and are destined for the lake of fire. Teachers cannot square their teachings with the Bible and the best way to discern false teachings is to learn what the Bible truthfully teaches. Note that it says that many will follow their way…and just a few. Some deny even the Master (Jesus Christ) by teaching that there are many ways to God but Jesus said that there is one way and as you read earlier in John 14:6, He is the one and only way..
James 3:1-2 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
To be a teacher of the Word of God, even it if is in a Bible study or Sunday school, there comes a warning with this teaching. James says that there should not be “many [that] should become teachers.” Why? Because they will be held to a higher standard and they “will be judged with greater strictness.” That is a serious consideration if you desire to become a teacher for you will be more accountable to God for all that you teach.
Titus 2:7-8 “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”
A pastor (or bishop) should be above reproach so as to not bring shame on the church and on Christ, so too are teachers to live in “integrity, dignity, and sound speech.” This is in order that no one can say anything evil about you. If you are a Bible teacher, you must be careful in what you say and do for the eyes of the church and unbelievers are fixed upon you. If you don’t live what you teach, they will call you hypocrite for indeed you will be.
Second Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Here we see that all a man’s or woman’s teachings are not God-breathed but only Scripture is God-breathed and this teaching from God’s Word can be profitable and sometimes the profit is in rebuking sinner’s; for correcting those who are in error; for training believers in the ways of righteousness. This has the obvious goal of equipping the man or woman of God for every “good work” for the Lord and to make them strive for perfection (or to make complete).
Second Timothy 2:2 “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Here is the principle of passing it on. When you have been taught enough biblical truth to be able to teach others, then you are ready to be a teacher but something must be guaranteed. Paul was telling Timothy to “entrust [this] to faithful men.” If time and experience has not revealed that these who would teach are trustworthy, then they ought not to be teachers but if they are found to be trustworthy, you can trust them to be able to teach others also. They would not teach their own ideas but the biblical truth that they themselves have been taught.
Deuteronomy 11:18-21: “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.”
Every parent is also a teacher. They are their children’s first and most impactful teachers for they lay down principles for life. Deuteronomy 11:18-22 may be the most important Scriptures about teaching in the entire Bible. Let me explain why as I break down these verses with inserted commentary:
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.”
What God is saying here is that they should be bound up in the “frontlet between [their] eyes” as a way of saying that they ought to be instilled into their thinking…into their very heart (the seat of intellect in the Jewish vernacular) and in the soul (where the will is involved).
“You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise”
Which means that during the daily and weekly activities they should be taught during the routine events of everyday life. When they go to bed (lie down), when they wake up (when you rise), while at home (sitting in your house), and anytime you go anywhere (you are walking by the way).
“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth”
Which is saying that the children should have visible access to the Word of God in Bible study, and at Sunday school, at home. If this is done, their days may be long on the earth because by the seeing and hearing of the Word of God from their parents, they will make better choices and live longer because of the choices they make. The consequences of godlier choices will naturally prolong a person’s life. This is what Paul was saying in Ephesians 6:1-3 when he was writing, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land. That is a promise from God…a longer life is the effect and obedience to God is the cause.
The ultimate teacher is the Holy Spirit for Jesus said that “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13) and that “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26) and the Spirit “will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me” (John 16:8-9). If you have never been convicted of sin then you have never been saved. Better today to be convicted of your sin so that you can repent of it and trust in Christ than to be convicted and found guilty before a holy and just God. You will either be guilty and condemned (John 3:18) or found innocent on account of His righteousness imputed toward you (2 Cor 5:21). There is no middle ground for you are either for Christ or you are against Him (Matt 12:30).
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon