By Bill Jeter
In Acts 8, Philip asked a man traveling from Ethiopia to Jerusalem to worship if he understood what he was reading. His reply was, “How can I except some man guide me?” He needed a teacher.
The word “teacher” is in reference to “one who teaches, instructs, trains, directs, and guides.” As we see from the definition, a great responsibility is placed upon a “Bible class” teacher, for he/she has a great part in forming the minds of our children by instilling in them all things pertaining to God, such as creation, his purpose for man, his Son, salvation, heaven, torment, and living the good life.
All Christians should study and strive toward the time they will be able teachers of God’s word. The desire to be a Bible teacher (as elders desire the office of elder) is in my opinion the first qualification of a teacher. As Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 5, we should “hunger and thirst after righteousness” so that we may “commit the same to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
Secondly, the teacher must be well grounded and fully convinced that his knowledge is true and understands that teaching error will result in loss of his own soul (1 Cor. 9:16-17; Gal. 1:8). Continuing to study God’s word is a must for the teacher to rightly handle and teach it.
Again, I would think it necessary for the teacher to have a knowledge of the pupils’ life situations and family backgrounds in order to do the most good with them. Be one to show your care and concern for your students not only in the class room but in their daily lives as well.
Last, but not least, the teacher should be one of good character, pure life, and godly living (Tit. 2:12; 1 Tim. 5:22). An example before the students should be one of stedfastness, and abounding in the Lord’s work (1 Cor. 15:58). What kind of influence would he/she be if they were unfaithful in worship assemblies? What influence would you have in teaching Hebrews 10:25, (“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…”) if you forsake the assemblies? Do as Paul states in Colossians 3:2, “Set your affections on things above and not on things on the earth,” and instill this in the minds of the students. As the student grows, you as a teacher should grow. Grow to teach, teach to save!
What greater reward in this life could we have than to know we have had a part in developing someone to grow in grace and knowledge in the Lord, and to live a happy, peaceable life on this earth. The greatest reward will be when we hear our Lord say, “Enter thou into the joy of the Lord” (Matt. 25:23).
In conclusion, let us remember as Bible teachers, class time is not a time for fun and games, but a time for teaching and learning. So our need today is for congregations of God’s people to not be neglectful, but to seriously examine our teaching programs and to search out dedicated and knowledgeable teachers able to impart (make known) the truths of God’s word. There is also a need to thoroughly examine the materials used in teaching to be sure error is not being taught.
Let us, as teachers, determine to not just get by but to take our responsibilities seriously and do as Paul said in Colossians 3:23, 24, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 4 p. 11
February 16, 1995