NT Tuesday: Spiritual Gifts – Teaching
Last week we looked at Ephesians 4:11-12 as key passage in understanding the New Testament principle that each believer is given a spiritual gift to be used for equipping the saints to do the work of ministry. The verse reads: “And He 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.” And also, 1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administration, and various kinds of tongues.”
This week we are going to continue to look more in-depth at the spiritual gift of teaching. Teaching is a heart-to-heart endeavor that, with all the other gifts, is designed to equip the saints to do the work of ministry. Keep in mind that the goal is to equip the saints to do the work of ministry. The goal is NOT to give every brother a chance to explain a Bible passage or to share how much we have studied and learned about a particular passage, the goal is unarguably to equip the saints.
Biblical teaching is NOT the same as explaining or expounding a Bible passage. Think, as well, on the passage in 2 Timothy. Paul writes to his younger brother who is actively engaged in ministry “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 competent, equipped for every good work.” Notice again, that the goal is to equip the man of God for work – not to inform him (or her) so that they can pass a test or impress their co-workers, but to EQUIP them!
Both Jesus Christ and Paul handled the Truth in the same way – like a manual for life and ministry. Their teaching was more like that of a trade school than an academic setting. Paul’s letters clearly show that even in the structure where he lays out (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) biblical principles in the first part of his epistles and then the last section is filled with what to do with the principles. In other words, “here’s the truth and here’s what you do with it.” Neither of these men merely explained a passage, neither of these men spoke to their students’ heads, they were speaking to their hearts.
As believers who must be equipped by other believer’s faithful use of their spiritual gift, we need to be in prayer that the men of God who provide the biblical instruction to us and our dear brothers and sisters are men of God equipped to teach – equipped to teach with the goal of equipping to do work. We need to pray for men of God to take the platform who have a heart burden to speak to their listener’s hearts, not their heads. Most believers can explain a passage, but I would suggest that few, the ones given to the assembly by a Sovereign God as a teacher (or teacher-shepherd) are able to teach like Paul and the Lord.
Until next week, fulfill YOUR ministry using the gift given to you…