In the book of James, God shares with us that not many should become teachers. “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.” James 3:1 (NASB)
Why should a teacher incur a stricter judgment? Because of the influence teachers yield over those they teach. How important is the responsibility of influence? We can see the answer in Jesus’ statement to the disciples concerning children.
“And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:5-6 (NASB).
So the teacher needs two things:
A clear understanding of the Word of God. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB). This verse implies that if you do not have a clear understanding of the Word, you have need to be ashamed. A teacher should be a workman who has a good grasp on the Bible.
A love for helping mold people into disciples who live according to the Word. Our goal is not to fill people’s heads with theological truths. Our goal as teachers is to help people change lives according to the Word of God. Jesus said: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. “Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB).
To accomplish the task Christ gave us, we cannot afford to just teach head knowledge; we must help our members to live it. That is our task and our command. This love of people will help
them in Shepherding and Leading. There are great students of the Bible who make poor teachers because their love is for knowledge and not for changing lives. Jesus commands us to teach people to Observe or live the gospel.
Dr. Mark Yoakum is Director of Church Ministries for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and has served as Executive Pastor and Minister of Education in churches in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. He currently works as a Director of a Young Married Sunday School Class.