THE TEACHING MINISTRY
"And He gave ... teachers for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ ... That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine ..." Ephesians 4:12, 14
Copyright © 1977, 1998 by Diane S. Dew
I. Teaching was recognized by the early church as essential
spiritual growth and development of the individual believer.
Acts 2:42 "And
they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine
and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."
Acts 11:26 "And when
he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch.
And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with
the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called
Christians first in Antioch."
A. Instruction from the scriptures immediately followed conversion.
2:41, 42 "Then they that gladly received his word were
baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about
three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles'
doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."
B. It was even made available on a daily basis.
5:42 "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they
ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."
Luke 19:47 "And he taught daily in the temple..."
"From morning to evening" Paul taught those who came to him
even where he was living.
28:23, 30, 31 "And when they had appointed him a day, there
came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and
testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus,
both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning
till evening. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house,
and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God,
and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all
confidence, no man forbidding him."
21:37, 38 "And in the day time he was teaching in the temple;
and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount
of Olives. And all the people came early in the morning to him in the
temple, for to hear him."
D. "And it came to
pass that a whole year they assembled themselves with
the church, and taught much people."
E. "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship ... "
II. The purpose of the teaching ministry is the preparation of believers
to the body, that it may edify itself. (See the diagram below, a breakdown of
Ephesians 4:11-13. The word for "perfecting" in verse 12 may more correctly
be translated "maturing.")
He gave ... teachers for the maturing of the saints (plural)
--> for the work of the ministry --> for the edification of the body
--> ... unto a perfect man (singular)."
A. A solid foundation in the Word brings a spiritual stability to each member.
Ephesians 4:14 "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed
and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight
of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive."
B. The fundamental or elementary teachings are especially important.
Hebrews 5:12 "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers,
need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles
of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."
III. Much responsibility is involved in the teaching ministry.
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least
commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the
kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be
called great in the kingdom of heaven."
I Timothy 4:11-16
"These things command and teach. Let no man despise
thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation,
in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading,
to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given
thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate
upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear
to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in
doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."
James 3:1 "My
brethren, be not many masters (or, teachers), knowing that
we shall receive the greater condemnation."
A. Scripture says that one must
be "apt to teach" (I Timothy 3:2; II Timothy 2:24).
What are the qualifications of a good teacher?
extensive knowledge of the scriptures and the ability to impart this
understanding to others are essential.
II Chronicles 17:7-9 "Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes... to teach in the cities of Judah. And with them he sent Levites... ; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests. And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people."
Nehemiah 8:7, 8 "[And they] ... caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading."
Luke 24:27, 32 "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"
Acts 8:30-35 "And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus."
Acts 18:24, 25, 28 "And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Aphesis. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ."
Acts 28:23, 30, 31 "And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him."
II Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"
2. This involves an acquired skill and much preparation.
Galatians 6:6 "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things."
I Timothy 5:17, 18
II Timothy 2:2 "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
II Timothy 4:2 "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
3. However, more is involved in the training of a teacher than intellectual instruction. Effective teaching requires a divine authority and the anointing of God.
Matthew 7:29 "For he taught them
as one having authority, and not as the scribes."
Titus 2:15 "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee."
B. The best instructor is personal example. Our lives must back up what we say.
Matthew 5:19 "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
Acts 1:1 (1. Do; 2. Teach) "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach."
Romans 2:21-23 "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?"
Romans 12:7 "Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching"
I Timothy 3:2-13 "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus."
I Timothy 4:11, 12 "These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."
C. Age is not a determinant in qualifying
for the ministry. Paul exhorted
Timothy, still a young man, "teach. Let no man despise thy youth."
I Timothy 4:11, 12
IV. Who is responsible for the spiritual instruction of God's people?
A. In Old Testament times, the home was the center for basic spiritual instruction.
Deuteronomy 4:9, 10; 6:6-9; 11:19; 32:46
Proverbs 6:20; 22:6
B. But God also provided for spiritual
instruction through individuals
such as Moses (Exodus 18:20; 24:12; Deuteronomy 4:14), etc.
C. The priests and Levites (Old
Testament counterpart of the New Testament
teaching ministry) "caused the people to understand the law ... they read
in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused
them to understand the reading."
Leviticus 10:10, 11
II Chronicles 15:3; 17:7-9
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 7, 8
Ezra 7:6, 10
D. It is still primarily the
responsibility of parents to instruct and guide their
children in the ways of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4; II Timothy 3:15), but
God has also appointed specific ministries in the church for this particular
Acts 13:1 "Now there were in the church that was at Antioch
certain prophets and teachers ..."
I Corinthians 12:28, 29 "And God hath set some in the church,
... teachers ... are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?"
Ephesians 4:11, 12 "And he gave some ... pastors and teachers;
for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the
edifying of the body of Christ:"
V. The teaching ministry is God-ordained: neither self-appointed nor chosen by man.
I Corinthians 12:28
Ephesians 4:11, 12
A. To a certain extent, teaching becomes a part of every ministry.
Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns
and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
Hebrews 5:12 "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers,
have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the
oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not
of strong meat."
Acts 2:42; 6:2, 4; 15:35
I Corinthians 4:17
I Timothy 2:7
II Timothy 1:11
I Timothy 3:2
Acts 8:29-35 with 21:8
B. However, "God hath set some" in the
body with that particular function,
or specialty (I Corinthians 12:28-29 "some"; Ephesians 4:11, 12 "some").
In this sense, not all are teachers (I Corinthians 12:28, 29 "are all teachers?"
VI. What should be taught?
Doctrinal instruction is essential and has its
place (Hebrews 5:12; 6:1-3; etc.),
but there is a realm of ministry that surpasses intellectual instruction. God is
concerned that His people learn how to live and walk with Him.
A. Respect for God.
Deuteronomy 31:12, 13
II Chronicles 17:10
B. Obedience toward God.
C. Righteousness and holy living.
I Kings 8:36 "the good way"
Titus 2:4, 5, 12
VII. Where did teaching in the New Testament take place?
A. "From house to house."
Acts 5:42; 18:26; 20:20
B. By the seaside.
Matthew 5:1; 13:1, 2
Mark 2:13; 4:1
C. In a desert.
D. On a mountainside.
E. In the temple.
Matthew 4:23; 21:23; 26:55
Mark 1:21, 22; 6:2; 12:35; 14:49
Luke 4:15; 6:6; 13:10; 20:1, 2; 21:37, 38
Acts 5:21, 42
F. On a cart.
VIII. A severe lack of teaching can be very dangerous.
Chronicles 15:3, 5, 6
A. It is the personal responsibility of the individual believer to test doctrine.
1. Is it "the doctrine of the Lord"?
2. Is it "sound doctrine"?
I Timothy 1:10
II Timothy 4:3
Titus 1:9; 2:1
3. Is it "good doctrine"?
I Timothy 4:6
B. Scripture repeatedly warns of the coming of false teachers.
Matthew 5:19; 7:15; 15:2-20; 16:12; 23:2-33; 24:23-26
Mark 8:15; 13:21-23
Acts 15:11, 24; 20:28
I Timothy 1:3-7; 6:3-5
II Timothy 3:13-14; 4:34
Titus 1:10, 11; 3:10, 11
II Peter 2:1
II John 7-10
Revelation 2:14, 15
They teach the "doctrines of men" (Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:7;
Colossians 2:22) and devils (I Timothy 4:1), not the "doctrine
of Christ" (II John 9).
If it is the "doctrine of God" (Titus 2:10), it will in every aspect
correspond with the written Word of God (Isaiah 8:20).
Teachers of "divers and strange doctrines" (Hebrews 13:9), who
use the scriptures but twist their meaning (II Peter 3:16), make
no distinction between right and wrong (Ezekiel 22:26). Often
their motive in ministry is one of monetary gain (Micah 3:11).
Because people without a solid foundation in the Word can so
easily be led astray (Matthew 24:24), "handling the Word of God
deceitfully" (II Corinthians 4:2) will be met with severe punishment
IX. Our attitude and objective in ministry must always be kept pure.
A. The purpose of all ministry should be for the benefit of God's people not self.
Ephesians 4:11, 12
1. Not monetary gain.
2. Not pride.
I Corinthians 3:6 (God causes spiritual growth)
3. Not striving for position or authority.
B. We must minister in the spirit of meekness
(II Timothy 2:25), love
(I Corinthians 13; Ephesians 4:15), sincerity (II Corinthians 1:12, 13),
humility (I Corinthians 2:1-5, 13), and compassion (Matthew 9:36).
X. The greatest key to effective teaching is simplicity.
I Corinthians 2:1-5,
II Corinthians 1:12, 13
Titus 2:7, 8
A. We learn by repetition.
Philippians 3:1 "... To write the same things to you, to me indeed
is not grievous, but for you it is safe."
I Timothy 4:6 "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of
these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ,
nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine,
whereunto thou hast attained."
Hebrews 5:12 "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers,
ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles
of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk,
and not of strong meat."
Jude 5, 17
B. Scripture speaks of the different levels of teaching.
I Corinthians 14:9
1. Milk, for the newly saved.
I Corinthians 3:1-3
Hebrews 5:12, 13
2. Meat (solid food), for the more mature.
I Corinthians 2:13, 14; 3:2
Hebrews 5:12, 14; 6:1, 2
C. Jesus adjusted His message
to meet the needs of His audience
on their own level, in their individual situations.
Mark 4:33 "... as they were able to hear it"
1. He spoke metaphorically, in parables.
Matthew 13:34, 35
Mark 4:2, 33, 34
Luke 13:34, 35
a. To fishermen He spoke of nets.
b. To farmers He spoke of the seed of the Word.
c. To the woman at the well He spoke of living waters.
Scripture depicts Him in a sitting position when He taught.
This was the customary posture of the teacher (Luke 10:39;
Acts 22:3). It symbolizes His coming down to their level.
Matthew 5:1, 2; 13:2; 26:55
XI. Important principles about effective teaching can be learned from
of Jesus Christ (who was Himself a Teacher: Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 11:1;
22:16; Mark 6:6, 34; 10:1; 11:17, 18; 12:14, 35; Luke 13:10; 19:47;
20:1-18, 21; John 3:2; 7:14; 8:2).
A. He spoke with authority (Matthew 7:28,
29; Mark 1:27; 6:2; Luke 4:32;
John 7:46) and boldness (John 7:26, 28).
B. He based His teachings on the scriptures
(Luke 24:27) and read them
Himself regularly (Luke 4:16-21).
C. The atmosphere was informal.
D. He exercised wisdom, speaking
a "word in season" to the right people
at the right time (John 16;12), "as they were able to hear it." (Mark 4;33)
E. His teaching interested the
crowds, for He ministered under the anointing.
People were attracted to hear the Word of the Lord.
1. "The people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God ..."
2. They "were very attentive" (literally, "hanged on Him").
Luke 19:47, 48
3. They were "astonished at His doctrine."
Matthew 7:28; 13:54; 22:33
Mark 1:22; 6:2; 10:24, 26
Luke 2:47; 4:32
4. His teachings "stirred up the people."
F. He did not speak of Himself
(John 7:16-18) but spoke only what
the Father directed him to say (John 8:28; 12:49, 50; 14:10).
XII. No matter under whose ministry we sit and there is an
of teachers (I Corinthians 4:15 "ye have 10,000 instructors in Christ")
still the most important instruction we receive will come directly from the
Holy Spirit Himself.
I John 2:27
A. Jesus imparted understanding of the scriptures to His disciples.
Luke 24:44, 45
B. Although some are given a greater
understanding of the scriptures for
ministry to the body (Acts 18:24; Ephesians 4:11, 12; etc.), every
believer can be individually instructed in the Word by direct revelation
C. A priest or wise man is not needed to interpret for us the meaning of God's Word.
I Timothy 2:5
II Peter 1:20
I John 2:27
XIII. In the final analysis, the effectiveness of any ministry hinges
much on the efforts of the minister as on the heart preparation of the
Holy Spirit within the life of each individual, and their desire to be
conformed (changed into) the image of Jesus Christ..
Corinthians 3:6 "I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave
the increase (growth)."
A. There will always be those
who refuse to receive the Truth, even if
they were to hear it from the very mouth of Moses (Luke 16:31),
Paul (Acts 4:1, 2, 18; 5:28; 28:24), or Jesus Himself (Mark 11:17, 18).
Some simply are not teachable (Jeremiah 32:33; Matthew 13:309, 18-23).
B. The fault lies not in
the seed (Word) or the sower (ministry), but the
ground (heart) upon which the seed falls whether it is stony, shallow,
thorny, or fertile.
Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23
C. The individual himself
must "apply (active verb) thine heart unto instruction,
and thine ears to the words of knowledge." No one can force it upon him.
Copyright © 1976, 1977, 1997 by Diane S. Dew, Milwaukee, Wis.
Complete, printed and bound copies of these studies (100+ topics, over 900
may be obtained from: Diane S. Dew, PO Box 340945, Milwaukee, WI 53234
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