5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. (1 Timothy 1:5–7, NKJV)
To faithfully teach the gospel one must first be willing to be taught (see 2 Timothy 2:2). Commitment to the commands of God produce love from a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith. Love for God, for truth, and for others compels us to learn God’s word before trying to teach it. Desire to teach the gospel without having a knowledge of it may well result in leading a person astray from the very truth he desires to teach. Like zeal without knowledge, desire to teach that is not fettered to knowing the truth produces vain, yet confidently asserted babbling, instead of “godly edification which is in faith” (1 Timothy 1:4). Take time to study and learn God’s word. Examine your motive for desiring to be a teacher of the word. Is it “love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith?” And remember, faithful teachers never stop studying to learn and know the truth they teach.
Then He arose from there and came to the region of Judea by the other side of the Jordan. And multitudes gathered to Him again, and as He was accustomed, He taught them again. (Mark 10:1, NKJV)
There is value in repetition. In elementary school, my classmates and I memorized and repeated the alphabet, the multiplication table, the U. S. states and their capitals, and many more such things. Good teachers do not teach something only one time. They teach, they review what has been taught, and they test their students on the lesson. Whenever the multitudes gathered around Jesus, His habit was to teach them “again.” He repeatedly taught His apostles of His approaching death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34; 9:31-32). We should not be yearning for some “new thing” when it comes to gospel teaching, because its message is the same today as it was in the first century. What we yearn for is to hear the same message again and again. Repeatedly teaching the truth of the gospel is for our spiritual safety (Philippians 3:1). By its repetition, we remain strengthened and resolute in the face of life’s trials and temptations (2 Peter 1:12-15). You may have heard the gospel over and over. But remember, someone is hearing it for the first time. May we never grow weary of hearing God’s word taught again, and again, and again.
“And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.” (Mark 6:34, NKJV)
Teaching the gospel to the lost is an act of compassion. We do not accept the judgment that clear, decisive teaching to sinners about their sin and salvation “runs people off” and “hurts people’s feelings.” We should notice this verse occurs on the day Jesus fed 5000 men with five loaves and two fish (Mark 6:35-44). Jesus did not feed the people to gather an audience. His first act of compassion upon seeing the crowd was to “teach them many things.” At the end of the day, when the teaching was over, Jesus challenged His disciples to feed the crowd (Mark 6:35-38). His miraculous feeding of the multitude met a temporary need of the body. The gospel satisfies the eternal need of the soul. Instead of offering food in an attempt to get people interested in the gospel, let us be moved by the compassion Christ, and feed their souls with the life-giving gospel of God. We are not showing compassion when we remain silent, instead of teaching the gospel to the lost. We will be held accountable for such lack of compassion (Acts 20:26-27).
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2, NKJV)
God expects His word to be taught to successive generations. Teaching the gospel of Christ is not covert indoctrination. Bible instruction is an open exercise, where the truth is heard “among many witnesses.” Having been taught by the apostle Paul, Timothy was to deposit that same apostolic instruction to trustworthy souls, who could competently teach others. So goes the cycle of teaching and learning and teaching – from the teacher to the student, who then becomes the teacher of others. Parents, your children do not inherit your knowledge of the truth, any more than they inherit your sin. Each generation must be taught the word of God so they can learn and live God’s will, and be saved (Phil. 2:12). One final note: it is “faithful” ones who are equipped to teach others. One who cannot be trusted to faithfully follow the word of God is ill prepared to teach others (1 Tim. 1:5-7). Listen to the apostolic teaching. Learn it. Live it. Teach it to others, so they can do the same.
33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. 34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. (Psalm 119:33–34, NKJV)
God will teach you His way, when you are willing to learn. Notice that the psalmist wanted to learn the way of God’s statutes because he was committed to keeping them with his whole heart. He was not interested in learning merely for the sake of gaining knowledge. He wanted to gain understanding so that he could obey God properly. Do you want to learn God’s way? If so, why do you want to learn? Is it to justify yourself in what you already believe and do? Is it to prove somebody else wrong? Or, is it to actually do the will of God in your own life? God will teach you His way when you listen to Him. The way you listen to God is by hearing His word that is contained in the inspired Scriptures (John 6:44-45; 2 Tim. 3:16). God speaks to all of us by His Son, Jesus Christ, who sent His apostles into the world with His message of truth (Heb. 1:2; Matt. 28:19-20). When we listen to the apostles, we are listening to Jesus (Matt. 10:40; John 13:20). This is how God teaches us His way (Matt. 11:29; 13:9). Commit yourself to doing God’s will, then let His word teach you what to do. Then, do it with your whole heart.
18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house,” (Acts 20:18–20, NKJV)
These words were spoken by the apostle Paul to the elders of the church of Ephesus (Acts 20:17). He had lived among them for three years (verse 31). His service to the Lord was marked by humility and zealous endurance, even while the Jews of that city plotted against him (Acts 19:8-9). In spite of this, Paul continued to courageously proclaimed the gospel of Christ. He understood what we must also perceive, namely, that the gospel saves sinners and protects Christians from the enemies of the faith. This is why we seek to declare the gospel publicly and privately. The gospel is God’s power to save the lost and equip the saved to do God’s work (Rom. 1:16; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Nothing should be held back; It must all be preached. Avail yourself of every opportunity to teach and to be taught God’s word. It helps you serve God “with all humility” and with the zealous courage of faith.
28 …And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. (Acts 8:28–31, NKJV)
Do you understand the Bible when you read it? If not, you are not alone. We are not suggesting the Bible is impossible to understand; just the opposite, in fact. Jesus said we can know the truth (Jno. 8:32). We are commanded to understand the will of the Lord (Eph. 5:17). To do so, we must be willing to be taught. One way God helps us understand the Scriptures is through the work of teachers. Just as we need teachers to guide us through our academic training, we need teachers to guide us in understanding the word of God. Jesus “gave some to be…teachers” in order to equip us to serve Him and His people (Eph. 4:11-12). We should never let pride or any other obstacle keep us from humbly admitting that we need to learn God’s word, and to ask for help to do so. The Ethiopian knew he needed someone to guide him in understanding the prophet Isaiah. God knew it, too, so He sent the man a teacher, who taught him about Jesus and salvation (Acts 8:34-39). God is willing to teach you today, if you are will to be taught by those who teach the truth (Jno. 6:45).