It need hardly be said that this gift is one of greatest importance in
the Church, and a rapid glance at its characteristics will be helpful. The gift of teacher
is closely connected with that of pastor; both have to do more specifically with the
saints, though all the gifts are "knit together". And He Himself gave some to
be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers (Eph. 4:11). The
tender, firm heart and aptness to teach are most helpful in the evangelist. But his is
necessarily the initial work, followed by the pastor and teacher in the care for and
upbuilding of the flock of God.
I. The teacher must be born again.
Men are undertaking to teach who
are not born again. God forbid that we should speak harshly, but is it not too clearly
manifest that many of the teachers in the universities are strangers to God in Christ.
Bible study and teaching have been taken up as a profession. Men are experts in language,
archaeology, history, and other branches of learning, and take up the Word of God as
another department of knowledge. They approach it with little or no thought of having to
do with a holy, heart-searching God, to whom they can only approach through the atoning
sacrifice of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. No wonder that they neither understand nor
value the great foundation truths of the "common salvation". But the natural
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him;
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). The
teacher, therefore, must be identified with the Truth by life - he must be "born of
God," united with Christ, sealed and anointed by the Spirit.
II. The teacher must have the faculty of reception of truth.
The teacher must have an ear for the truth, a mental grasp capable of
taking in, and a judgment capable of coordinating and holding in proper proportion all
revealed truth. Hence it is absolutely essential that he whom God has called to be a
teacher of His people, should have a clear grasp of the contents of Scripture. Further,
the teacher must rightly divide the word of truth. He must understand the dispensations of
God. Especially must he be a diligent student of the truths of Christianity, as unfolded
in the Epistles. One of the responsibilities of the teacher is to meet error in its
countless forms, to protect the beloved sheep of Christ.
III. The teacher must have the faculty of imparting knowledge to
One could not rightly be a teacher unless he could share his knowledge
with others. Let us then look at some of the requisites for this.
1. The teacher must have simplicity. It is a great mistake to
think obscurity means depth. Usually, when one clearly understands a subject he is able to
explain it to others. The true teacher will utter "words easy to be understood".
2. The teacher must have adaptability. We must not feed
"strong meat" to babes. It is the mark of a good teacher that he can adapt
himself, both in matter and language, to those he is seeking to instruct. Should he do
this, he will be enabled to make his teaching progressive. The learners will not stand
still, they will pass from class to class, until they can largely do without their
teacher, who indeed has been learning with them, and so is a companion as well as a guide.
3. The teacher must have thorough subjection to the Word of God.
We must beware of allowing ourselves to indulge in mere speculation. There must be the
assurance of certainty in what the teacher seeks to impart. The teaching should be
well-rounded and in due proportion. Thus the even balance of the truth will be preserved.
4. The teacher must have enthusiasm. If a teacher is not
commanded by his subject, how can he expect to interest others? How it misrepresents the
great theme if he has an air of indifference, or speaks in a hesitating or apologetic way.
For those who are seeking to use the gift of teaching, may we suggest
that fresh manna should be given, not truth that has become dull in our minds. For
this reason, the teacher should never cease to be a student.