Be not many of you teachers, my brethren…James 3:1.
We often shake our heads at people who do their best to make the Bible contradict itself. If they would only check the context, if they would only approach it with the same fair attitude they want others to have toward them, they could see the truth. Yet we are no better when it comes to passages we don’t want to deal with.
I am certain that every time a lesson is taught on speaking to our friends and neighbors about our faith someone has said, “But the Bible says, Be not many of you teachers. Teaching is not my talent.”
I think it is fair to say that God does not expect everyone to stand in front of a group and teach. He gave some to be…teachers…Eph 4:11. But that does not mean there is not some aspect of teaching He expects of us all; that is the only way to reconcile those passages above, and reconcile them we must. Otherwise, why bother to believe any of it?
First, God expects us to help teach ourselves. Whether or not we learn from the teaching that is available is entirely up to us. We should be studying outside of the formal setting laid before us by the elders and preachers, spending time on our own meditating on what we have heard, looking things up, making notes in class and out, and sifting through them. You can’t do that when you miss those Bible studies to begin with. Whether or not the teacher is a good one makes no difference. There is more to being a student than sitting there waiting to have the facts pumped in. A student with the right attitude can learn something regardless the teacher. Parents, you would do well to remember that the next time your high school age child complains about his Bible class teacher too.
God also expects us to reach the point that we can give good advice. The older training the younger (Titus 2:3-5) is a principle that transcends any time period or culture. The only excuse we have is dying young! How many of you are up for that?
He says we should be able to restore the wayward, Gal 6:1. Who should do that? You who are spiritual. Do you want to claim to be otherwise before your Maker?
Finally, Peter says we should be ready always to give answer, 1 Pet 3:15. He doesn’t say we should know the answer to every question anyone might ask, but to give a reason concerning the hope that is in you. Certainly we should know why we believe what we believe. If you don’t know why, then how can you be sure your faith is your own and not something simply handed down by tradition?
And that leads us right back around to where we started. Are you attending Bible studies? Are you studying on your own? Are you asking for help from those who might give good advice and have better knowledge concerning the scriptures? Are you taking advantage of the training offered in how to study, which tools to use, and which methods are most helpful? God said, you ought to be teachers. Are you still in need that someone should teach you the basics?
This is a serious matter—a Divine “ought”—more simply put, an order straight from God. Don’t let the fact that you have been a Christian for twenty years or more keep you from asking for help. If you wait any longer, it will only be worse. You will be even older and still need again that someone teach you.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction, Prov 1:7.