“Not many of you should become teachers,” — I laughed after reading this verse.!

Just thinking of how much true it is. I remember, after finishing my first year of studies at Bible college. I was so excited thinking of all that I’ve learned in one year. So whenever I would get an opportunity I would start teaching about the bible.

But there’s an exhortation from the scripture here. Don’t rush to become a teacher but equip yourself and understand what it takes to be a teacher.

Let me set the perspective of this blog before I write any further. This article is aimed at anyone who desires to become a teacher. That is a full-time teacher. It’s for them to understand what it involves and the precautionary measures that they have to take before teaching the scripture.

James 3:1

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.  

The verse contains two things; An advice and a warning

Let’s focus on the advice first.

The Advice is: Not many of you should become teachers.

The scripture does not say that you should not become teachers, but rather says; instead of rushing to become one, wait and understand the responsibilities that you have to undertake as a teacher.

There are two important things for any bible teacher to possess.

  1. Knowledge of the Scriptures.
  2. Interpretation skills.

Knowledge of the scriptures

Teaching scriptures require

  1. Prayer
  2. Meditation
  3. Seeking revelation from God
  4. Research on the background history and context of the verse.
  5. Ability to understand the biblical languages — Hebrew and Greek.

I could explain each of these topics in detail but I think they for speak for themself

  • Prayer: It is an important part of preparation for teaching. Often times our flesh can speak to us more than God’s voice. We need to pray and keep that work of the flesh away before preparing to teach.
  • Meditation: Before you begin your preparation to teach from a passage; Meditate first. Meditation will help you understand the scripture in a personal way. God will speak to you and will work in you as you meditate. God will teach you before you teach others.
  • Seek for Revelation from God: This is one thing that can revolutionize your teaching. That is to seek for God’s revelation. Every verse has something to speak that is still not written in commentaries or in any books. It is only available as a revelation from God. I’ve learned from teachers who teach with revelation and those who don’t teach with a revelation and I’ve learned the scriptures from both of them but my life has been impacted and transformed from teachers who teach with a revelation. It’s important to seek for revelation as you prepare to teach. That will revolutionize and transform those who listen to you.
  • Research on the background history and Context: I can’t stress enough on how important this is. If you don’t research on the background and the context. Please don’t teach.! You will most likely make a mistake in interpreting the scriptures. God gives revelation for us to understand the verse but also wants us to do our part in reading and researching from what other teachers and bible scholars have written in books and in trusted websites. I keep it as a general practice to read the background of the chapter or the book before I talk, preach or teach. Yesterday, as I was preparing to write a blog. I found a passage from the psalm and without much reading I started writing. Later when I read that same passage I realized I was wrong.! Such mistakes can happen if you don’t research the scriptures well. To research the scriptures you can use the following resources.

  • Ability to understand the biblical languages — Hebrew and Greek: It makes a big difference when you can understand the original text in which the bible was written. It’s a Herculean task to study those languages. God knows how I got through Greek in college. One of the easiest ways to understand from the Hebrew and Greek words is by using an Interlinear Bible. Interlinear bible has a verse in English and verse in Hebrew/Greek. Each word contains a number that is linked to Strong’s concordance that will give you a better understanding of the word itself. Learning this way does not need any skills of reading and understanding Hebrew or Greek. Every other word is transliterated and contains meaning specific to each verse. It takes a bit of practice to get used to reading bible this way but once you do. You will understand scriptures in a much deeper way.

Second,

Interpretation

Sometimes, when I hear a sermon, I speak to myself looking at preacher.! No, !! That’s not the interpretation. Quite often verses are taken out of its specific context and interpreted according to their own understanding. Each verse has a limitation in how you can interpret. Bible commentaries are the best resource to help you interpret the scriptures in the right way. Failure in interpretation can be considered as manipulation of God’s word. It’s almost like adding extra words and meaning to the scripture.

 

The Warning:

When James writes, saying, “Not many of you should become teachers.” He also implies the responsibility that you need to have if anything goes wrong. Because if you teach and do not follow you will be judged even more strictly than others. Before you teach, practice. Teaching includes the responsibility of being morally right and staying true to whatever you teach.

There are people who argue that going to bible college to study the scriptures is unnecessary. They don’t accept the system of learning about God and the scriptures from an academic institution. They reject  it saying it can be learned through God’s revelation.

Of Course, we learn about the scriptures through revelation but the bible talks about the calling of a teacher in the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV) And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

And so, those of us who desire to teach others need to train ourselves first.

In Conclusion,

Here’s what you need to check before you teach.

Are you called to teach? If yes, equip yourself, God will give you the grace to teach.

If No, avoid doing that. You can equip people through testimonies, exhortation and preaching but not through hardcore bible teaching.

In short, if you are called to teach, do not rush to teach but wait till you are equipped well.

 

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