Teaching is a spiritual gift. (Romans 12.7) Of the 5 gifts identified in Ephesians 4.11 that Christ has given for the purpose of equipping and building up the church, teaching is the one with which I most clearly identify. I love to teach. I most love to teach when I am with people who want to learn and want to be challenged. I teach out of the word (Sola scriptura) according to a theology that resonates and makes sense to me, (reason and experience) and is in the realm of what has been passed down for two thousand years (tradition). As a teacher there are a couple of scriptures that guide me:
The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. Isaiah 50.4
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. II Timothy 2.2
Learning from and listening to God are not found just in the momentary time slots for the purpose of a set time of teaching but in the rhythm of life itself. Believing that we journey with God means that any moment of any day has the potential of God providing instruction that can be useful to someone, somewhere. While teaching can be spontaneous, Paul reminds the young teacher Timothy that it is also to be purposeful, identifying and intentionally helping others to become teachers of still others. Having said all of this, one might find it unnerving when I say,
“But…I could be wrong.”
This, too, is a part of my teaching, flowing out of my deepest convictions:
I am human, not God, and therefore am limited.
I must always teach out of humility rather than pride.
God is personal and chooses to teach any and all.
It is this last conviction in which I have absolute trust.
In I Timothy 2.4 we read that God
Wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
God’s heart is that all people know the truth and live in it, so of course he has a vested and active interest in each human being learning. Further, God wants to be known so God is going to reveal himself
This is the covenant I will make with them at that time: No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, “Know the LORD,” because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. Jeremiah 31.33,34 Repeated in Hebrews 8.
Jesus himself affirms God’s desire to be known when he teaches about the Spirit saying that the Father
…will give you another Counselor (Paraclete: one called alongside to help) to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth. He lives with you and is in you. John 14.16,17
I can teach with boldness and confidence because of these convictions. Even if I am a knucklehead and out in leftfield (I always hope that I am at least still on the playing field!) I am absolutely sure of the unique and clarifying guidance of God for any and all who are seeking him (Jeremiah 29.13) and even to those who are not. (Isaiah 65.1,2)
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground. Psalm 143.10
In this I have absolute confidence.