The apostle Paul provides a rough and ready list of (some of) the gifts God’s gives to the churches. I’m simply unpersuaded Paul thought to himself “Now what are all the gifts, now here they are, there are four of them, and that’s the complete list…” but instead this is a rough-and-ready list. Anyway, this is what Paul says:
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers …
Since I’ve been in college I became aware that there’s something a little odd about that last one — that some would translate it “pastor-teacher” and not pastor and teacher. So, the pastor is a teacher. Whether one prefers that hendiadystic explanation (saying one thing through two words; one definite article, two nouns) or not, one gift Christ gives to his people is teacher.
What are the marks of a teacher? What would you add to this list?
A teacher is knowledgeable about Bible and theology, life and spiritual formation, self and local context.
A teacher is skilled in the tools needed for Bible and theology, including the languages and the literature.
A teacher is not on the stage to impress people with what he or she knows but to educate the church in gospel ways.
A teacher is a good communicator.
A teacher mixes information and edification, neither resorting to the lecture hall or mere story telling.
A teacher loves to study, and that means time alone to ponder and pray.
A teacher has the capacity for clarity: taking big ideas, complex thoughts, and clarifying their significance for the church.
A teacher is patient enough to listen to new ideas in order to evaluate them with insight.
A teacher is open-minded enough to shift when the evidence suggests so.
A teacher has the courage to teach what is there and not what folks want to hear.
A teacher lets texts and evidence determine what is true instead of letting someone’s authority or a sacred tradition determine what is true.