And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
We are all commanded to teach the word of God, particularly the gospels of Jesus Christ. Whether it be to our children, our families, our neighbors, those we work with, this is a mandate for all of us. However, as we have discussed in this series “Get to know the 5-Fold”, Christ gives gifts of ministry that he designs with precision and accuracy for those he has called to ministry. The gift of Teacher is masterfully crafted by God to edify the entire body of believers. An individual with the gift (or office) of teacher serves as a vital administration participant with equal standing (and necessity) to the other 5-Fold ministry members. This Kingdom role is one of spiritual authority for accountability to God for Biblical understanding with the other 5-Fold members as well as the entire church body. Many religious efforts try to dumb this gift down, restrict it to Sunday School classrooms, allow only men to operate in this capacity, and in some cases, even limit it specifically to women. This is a strategy of the enemy to keep the body of believers from understanding the word of God for themselves. If the body of Christ, the church, is not equipped with sound Biblical doctrine, they cannot go out and minister themselves effectively. The level of understanding of the word of God in a body of believers is a direct reflection of the level of the personal accountability of the servant who operates in the office of Teacher. As people perish without the vision of a Pastor, they starve without the knowledge and training that a Teacher is called to provide and often go out to make otherwise needless mistakes and blunders as they lack Biblical accountability in their own lives.
To further understand the role (or office) of Teacher we, as always, look to the example set for us by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 7:24-29 we see Jesus teaching and the people’s reaction to Him “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Jesus protected his followers by teaching them. He loved them and gave his life for them. He put everything he had into ensuring they had the knowledge they needed to lead successful and happy lives. It was his passion. His teachings weren’t a list of rules as they had been given in the past by the religious. They were life giving words that had the power, if applied to effectively change the course of their entire lives. Because of His knowledge of God, he was perceived as a spiritual authority.
To better understand the Christ given gift of Teacher, another example we must look at is the example of what (the content or doctrine) Jesus Himself taught. Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. John 7:16-18. Jesus wasn’t fame seeking and He was committed to only teach the words God the Father had given him to speak. He didn’t go off on tangents about his personal experience or talk at length about himself. He used parables and examples his wisdom had gained him. But, if you notice, in the Matthew selection above, Jesus shared wisdom behind construction and the importance of laying a solid foundation he had likely gained from his experience in Carpentry. But he didn’t teach the people specifically about the skill of carpentry here because this opportunity to speak was a gift and he wanted to ensure that God the Father received all of the truest glory. Not to say he never taught about in depth about the needed skill of carpentry in appropriate settings, but the word of God was his main focus entirely. He was called Rabbi, which though it is a Jewish term, means “my master”. It was a title of dignity given to Him by his followers as they were accustomed to using it when referencing doctors of the mosaic law, the Torah, and their distinguished teachers. The Greek word for Teacher is “didaskalos” which also means master, teacher, or doctor. The gift of Teacher in the 5-Fold ministry is meant to be one of honor and spiritual authority. One who communicates knowledge, guides, and makes known or reveals truths to better educate the entire body. This person is a Teacher of many Teachers.
At large, the gift of Teacher is what is missing in most churches today. It’s the missing link that keeps the body of Christ out of proper alignment and working as a whole towards unity and, because of all of the controversy, there are very few teachers who actually teach on the gift of Teaching itself. I believe this saddens Christ, the one who gave the gift of Teacher to begin with. However, we have many solid examples of this gift in action within the Body of Christ. The most common place we find someone who has the gift of teaching as their main gift is in Bible institutes or colleges, training programs, or operating as scholastic authors. A Kingdom Teacher who has been prepared by Christ to teach understands that their role is to expound upon as much knowledge as possible in a relevant manner that is presented in simplest form and pertains directly to the individual church’s mission as well as the global mission of the church collectively. The office or ministry calling of Teacher has a Holy Spirit driven desire and priority to serve God by making clear the word of God with accuracy and ensures that other skills beneficial to the body of believers they are assigned to are being offered, supervised, and taught effectively. A church with a Christ given Teacher in place is blessed and highly favored, can expect fruitful outcome over their participants lives, and should never be overlooked or taken lightly.
Let’s pray. Father, we lift this word presented today regarding the Gift you give us of Teachers. We thank you for those who have given their lives in this fashion for us and ask that you shower your further abundance upon them. Thank you for the example of your son and His teachings you have given us today. Help us to apply it accordingly as we seek our own accountability to further understanding your word with clarity and teaching that word to others. Help us to grow not only in our relationship with you, but in our knowledge contained in your Holy Word. And, for those you have called to accept the mantle of the Gift of Teaching, we ask that your Holy Spirit validates that calling for them through this very teaching today. We ask that you would empower them to seek your face, surrender to your will for them to understand even more about their own identity in Christ, and assist them in operating in your gift accordingly. In Jesus Name, Amen.
To better understand the gift of Teacher in further detail, please watch the following video by Dr. John Marshall of Second Baptist Church.
Notes from the Holy Spirit by Pastor Audra Waters-Leary. 7/29/18 Dedicated to Beth Moore who has given her life and paid the price for the fruit of the Christ given gift of teaching to become evident in the lives so many.
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