Saturday, December 13, 2008

Spiritual Gifts pt10: Teacher

By Bill Gothard

Who in Scripture best illustrates the motivational gift of teaching?

* Luke

What guidelines are given for the gift of teaching in Romans 12:11?

* Diligent research
* Fervent spirit
* Serving God

What basic principle does the teacher most need to exercise?

* Meditation

Why is this true?

* It allows the teacher to become mighty in spirit.


* Need to validate information

When a teacher hears important statements, whether given privately or publicly, he will desire to verify them. His motivation is to confirm that the statements are true and accurate and would, therefore, have the authority to bring spiritual freedom. Luke wrote his Gospel to Theophilus, “That thou might know the certainty of those things, wherein thou has been instructed” (Luke 1:4).

* Check out teachers

A person with the gift of teaching will be very alert to false teachers. He will want to find out their background before listening to them. He will also assume that others want to know his qualifications; thus, he will tend to give these before speaking. Luke began his Gospel by affirming that he was an eyewitness and that he “…had perfect understanding of all things from the very first…” (Luke 1:3).

* Rely on established resources

A teacher has a need to go to primary sources to validate truth. He will also use accepted works of recognized authorities to further confirm statements which others make. Luke praised the Bereans for daily checking out Paul’s statements against the Old Testament Scriptures. (See Acts 17:11) Luke also related his writings to the other Gospel accounts and to the Old Testament.

* Present truth systematically

Teachers tend to feel more comfortable when material is laid out in an orderly sequence. The teacher wants to know the events in the order in which they occurred. Luke emphasized the chronological structure of his Gospel when he explained that his approach was “…to write unto thee in order…” (Luke 1:3).

* Gather many facts

Those with the gift of teaching often have a greater delight in researching facts than they do in teaching them. When they do speak or write, they feel constrained to give as many facts as possible. Luke’s Gospel is the longest of the four; he includes information left out by other writers, and he emphasizes the completeness of his account. (See Acts 1:1)

* Require thoroughness

A teacher enjoys giving details which are not noticed or mentioned by others. Luke gives precise descriptions of events, conversations, circumstances and physical conditions. He detailed more names, titles, cities, dates, events, and sidelights than any other Gospel writer.

* Uneasy with subjective truth

A teacher is concerned that truth be presented in balance. He recognizes the danger of using personal experience as a foundation for truth. He wants to go from Scripture to experience, rather than from experience to a proof text in Scripture. A teacher tends to remain silent until information has been heard, observed, and verified. Luke’s silence is conspicuous in the New Testament; none of his own statements are recorded.

* Persevere with accepted teachers

A teacher tends to remain loyal to a mentor or a school as long as any truth remains and does what he can to promote the truth. Luke demonstrated amazing loyalty to Paul and his message in prison, even after others left him. “…Only Luke is with me…” (2 Timothy 4:11)

* Clarify misunderstandings

If a teacher learns that his facts are wrong, he will not simply accept the conclusions but will want to retrace his own investigations to determine at what point he got off the track. He will desire to use the same procedure in helping others who have strayed from the truth.


* Becoming proud of knowledge

With the teacher’s thoroughness in checking out facts, he will acquire much knowledge. Since “…knowledge puffs up…” (1 Corinthians 8:1), it is very easy for him to become proud. He may also appear prideful by giving far more information than is needed to prove a point. Further pride can be communicated by the attitude “It isn’t right until I check it out and say that it is right.”

* Despising lack of credentials

Many teachers attempt to control misinformation by requiring approved courses of instruction. By depending only on these courses, credentials can be overemphasized, and the practical wisdom of those whom teachers consider uneducated can be despised or minimized. In such cases, teachers make the mistake of concentrating on intellectual knowledge rather than spiritual perception.

* Depending on human reasoning

Since he is able to use scholarly resources, a teacher can easily give the impression that he is the only source of truth and that his gift is more important than the other gifts. The teacher may also react to the need to bring his intellect under the control of the Holy Spirit, thus putting his scholarship ahead of the spiritual insight that comes through meditating on Scripture.

* Criticizing practical applications

A teacher’s motivation to verify statements by the authority of Scripture may hinder him in making wider Scriptural application. As he focuses on textual studies, he may miss the underlying principles that tie all Scripture together “…for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16)

* Showing off research skills

When a Christian with the gift of teaching shares a conclusion, he feels obligated to explain how he arrived at it. He often assumes, wrongly, that because he enjoyed the research so much, others will also. Concentration on research may also cause a teacher to live in an unreal world which he has created by his exclusion of other people.

* Rejecting Scriptural presuppositions

If a teacher fails to subject his intellect to the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit, he will need to reexamine the “foundational truths of Scripture.” These are to be understood by faith. His theology will become the reorganization of Scripture around a philosophical base.

* Putting mind above the Holy Spirit

The most effective way for anyone to keep his intellect under the control of the Holy Spirit is to meditate upon God’s Word day and night. Neither the inspiration or the true meaning of Scripture will be understood intellectually, but will be discerned spiritually. If a teacher fails to become trusting of his own intellect.

* Taking teachings to extremes

Truth out of balance leads to heresy. Imbalance begins by studying a doctrine out of its moral setting (i.e., the second coming without its purifying hope; communion without self-examination). Argumentation and division result. Imbalance also occurs by separating related truths (i.e., mercy without justice, grace without law).

* Arguing over minor points

If a teacher leans on his own understanding, it is easy for him to reject an important spiritual truth because he detects a minor flaw in the presentation of it. He may further reject this truth because he is being asked to intellectually accept a conclusion without knowing how the other person arrived at it.


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