Basic 5: Teaching-Francis Chan
Acts 2:42, I Peter 2:2, 2 Peter 1:16, Matthew 17:1-5, Galatians 1:8-9, 1 Corinthians 12:27-28, Romans 12:4-8, I Timothy 6:3-5, 2 Timothy 4:2-4, 2 Peter 2:1-3, I Timothy 4:16, I Timothy 3:14-15
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…Acts 2:42. Do we long for the Word of God in the same way that a baby longs for its mother’s milk (1 Peter 2:2). What are the practices or habits that you have in studying the Bible? It is not just about the discipline, but about changing our perspective on the Bible not as a book to have to read but rather the Word of God-personal communication from almighty God telling us of His love for us and His mission for our lives-then we might actually begin to desire God’s Word.
“The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” Hebrews 4:12
We should all be teaching one another. But the only way to keep such a group from degenerating into an ongoing argument where every person passionately defends his or her own opinion is for each person to be grounded in Scripture. As we develop a passion for the Word of God, it will begin to transform us and the people around us.
As passionate as we may be for the Word of God, we will also encounter obstacles that will try to keep us from devoting ourselves to it. In the Bible, God reveals Himself to us. We find God’s perspective on who He is, who we are, and the way this world operates. The more we study Scripture, the more confident we become in the answers that God gives to life’s most important questions. The confidence in the Word of God should lead us to teach the other people in our lives.
The problem is that we don’t always differentiate between the eternal and unchanging nature of God’s truth and our own incomplete and often inaccurate perception of what the Word of God is saying. I’m not at all trying to say that we can’t know God’s Word truly. Rather, I’m suggesting that we don’t know God’s truth comprehensively, which can lead us to an incomplete and therefore skewed understanding of God’s truth.
Be bold and humble. We should be bold about what God says but humble about the way the way we understand what God says. I believe that’s what Paul had in mind when he told us not to go “go beyond what is written,” so that “none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6). What does it look like to be bold in the Scriptures but humble in our interpretations?
One important way of fostering this type of humility is to study the Scriptures in fellowship with other Christians. This is really what it means to be teaching one another. It’s about everyone learning together, from the Word of God and then sharing what they’ve learned in humility and love.
The Christians life as a race in which he pressed on to reach the prize (Philippians 3:12-14). If we apply learning to Paul’s race imagery, then it isn’t a me-against-the-world type of race. Instead, it’s a three-legged race where one of your legs is strapped to the person next to you. It’s not about me crossing the finish line alone; it’s about all of us crossing the finish line together.
The reality of the church is that I am not responsible only for my own spiritual growth; I am also responsible for the people God has placed in my life. Teaching is not about me building myself up-it’s about me strengthening the people around me. Teaching is an inherently selfless act (or at least it should be). If all that mattered was my own spiritual growth, then I would just study the Bible on my own and never share with anyone else. But that’s not the way God designed the church to function. In this type of community, everyone is involved in the discipleship process and no one is off the hook.
Whereas most Christians may think the pastor is the one who is supposed to be ministering, Paul said the pastor’s job is to train the rest of us to minister to the people in our lives. How does this play out? “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesian 4:15-16
No matter how much knowledge you gain or how deeply you may be affected by the truth of the Bible, you will not be operating as a member of the body of Christ until you start investing in the lives of the Christians around you. Recovering our role as the church may require you to restructure your life around the gospel. So while we should all be teaching one another, we need to be careful about how we do it, in love. People are learning by what we say and what we do. Pride is insidious, blinding, and relentless. Unless you work diligently to build humility into your character, any role you take on, even if it’s for the sake of serving other people, will be tainted with pride. One of the best ways to keep pride in check is to remember that you’re teaching God’s truth. We should be should searching the Bible for God’s truth and then sharing that truth with the people around us. Billy Graham was a great example of this.
In light of your calling to bless the people in your life, begin thinking through what God has been teaching you. How might you use what God has been teaching you to be a blessing to them?
Additional Scriptures on Teaching
Matthew 13:52 Ephesians 5:42 II Timothy 3:14-17
Acts 4:2 II Thessalonians 2:15 II John 1:9-10
Acts 5:42 I Timothy 4:13-14