Biblegateway Verse of the Day

Proper Biblical Teaching

By Benjamin H. Liles

There are certain things that many people can teach on: finances, history, business, accounting, atc. But one of the hardest things to teach well on is God's word, the Bible. Why? First off, without properly understanding the Bible, all sorts of error and deception can take place. Secondly, doing so with the mindset of an unbeliever heaps a load of trouble on those shoulders of the person teaching scripture. Lastly, as James points out, "Not many....should become teachers...[we] will be judged more strictly" (James 3:1). So, the bottom line about teaching scripture is to do so while properly handling His word correctly, and not in deception.

          This whole thing about being deceived comes from James 1:!6 where he writes to the church, "Do not be deceived, my dearly loved brothers and sisters." At this moment in time there are many who claim they come in the name of Jesus Christ saying things such as "Touch not mine anointed," "Do not question my authority," as well as "What I teach is right, so don't think you can correct me." Whereas when I do my best in teaching I seek His word out on the matter and give my utmost in teaching rightly.

          That's not to say I can't and won't make mistakes. But you don't see me ever using those kinds of words. Here's why: within the context of the Bible, we see that "You were called to be free, brothers and sisters; only don't use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love" (Galatians 5:13). If we do things out of a sense of love for one another, and this includes teaching the Bible, ensuring sound doctrine, to - as Paul puts it to Timothy, "Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say not the things which they affirm" (1 Timothy 1:5-7).

          What Paul is asserting there within those verses is that there are some who are driven by other things, than out of a deep brotherly love, to mislead - "turning aside to fruitless discussion...not [understanding] either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions" (1 Timothy 1:6-7, New American Standard). In other words, there will be some who claim they teach, but they are motivated not by love but by other things.

          In all my time, having devoted myself not only to being a servant of Jesus the Messiah, but to teach right and well, serving all who read this blog, I have not once asked for anything except to simply read and to make sure what is being taught is right and true. Even at the beginning of the letter James produces to the church, he writes, "My dearly loved brothers and sisters, understand here: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger" (James 1:19). As a pastor I once heard said it best, "We have two ears to listen with, and one mouth to speak with, we should hear more, and speak less."

          My purpose here is to not simply talk about right and wrong teaching, but to show how misunderstandings about a verse is being taken out of context by certain men and women on teaching the Bible. There is a verse, where David is on the run from King Saul. He's been a favorite to Saul, even going to so far as to play in his court easing being tormented by a spirit that makes Saul mad. But in this one instance David has to flee from Saul as Saul is intent on killing him, and for what reason? But we read this verse when Saul catches up to David, "Then David crept up secretly and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe" (1 Samuel 24:4).

          Immediately after this, however, we also read David's conscience is struck by what he did, so he tells his men, "The LORD forbid I should do a thing to my master, [God's] anointed. May I never lift my hand against him, as he has been anointed" (slight paraphrase of 1 Samuel 24:5-6). Again, there are those who use the word "touch" from these verses to mean we shouldn't correct bad teaching. David uses the words "May I never lift my hand against him" as if to kill. It's not talking about correction or even about handling someone's bad teaching. It's strictly a verse talking about taking a life.

         What I can surmise in this article I've written is that teachers are held to a standard where they have to be accountable to Lord Jesus. answers the question about "teachers will be judged more strictly" in this way: "Those who aspire to leadership within the church are held to a higher standard than other believers because of the great influence teachers wield. Their works and their words carry a greater weight than those who are not teaching. If teachers fall, they can take many people with them; therefore, God will judge teachers of the Word according to the kind of impact they had on those they aspired to lead."

          And it is within that context I desired to write this so that those who seek understanding out of God's word as to why good teaching results from having been taught well to begin with. The biggest takeaway on teaching is that those who aspire to do so should do it because they love a certain subject so much they want to give back, not out of compulsion, but out of a sincere, abiding sense of wanting to give others their expertise on the matter. We all have our own beliefs and opinions, but suffice it to say love should be the biggest motivation to do better for others. As it has been said, "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12).

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