Issues of Life

Reader Questions: How can I begin to teach God’s word with insight, boldness and clarity?

“Good evening ma. Thanks for the other time. I have always admire your you ability to teach the word of God with humility, boldness and clarity. I have loved God’s Word since I was a kid and I’m always drawn to good teachers of God’s Word (the major reason I started following your blog). These are my questions..

Over the years I have found myself teaching God’s Word in my fellowship, but what I notice is that
1. I seem not to know really much about the scriptures (especially Pauline’s epistle. Hence I refrain from ‘deep issues’)
2. Some times I’m filled with doubt about what I’m teaching that what if it is wrong.
3. I’m always overwhelmed with my responsibility.
4. Some of the things I believe are contrary to the Church’s doctrine thus I refrain from some things to avoid conflict among members…. Though people still see me as a good teacher. I believe that there is more to do.
How do you from your experience think practically I can begin to teach God’s word with insight, boldness and clarity. Thanks

Dear Reader,

Thanks for reaching out to me for counsel on this issue.  I am honoured, but I may not be the best to answer you in this regard.  Have you approached your Pastor in Church to talk to them about your passion for teaching?  They may also have more insight for you, because they might have observed you teaching others, or maybe received feedback from those you taught in fellowship.

I don’t believe everyone is gifted to teach, just as not everyone is gifted to be a Pastor or Prophet or Apostle.  Teaching is also a ministerial calling (Eph 4:11-12), and if you have been doing it for years, you should be able to know by now if you have been gifted as a teacher or not.  Having passion for it is a good start, but you also need to work to improve your understanding.  You can’t give what you don’t have.  Paul told Timothy that he ought to “…study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15).

Going by what you have written, I definitely see you as a Leader, and that will require you to do some teaching, but that is different from being a Teacher.  As a leader, you are actually able to teach people more through your actions and lifestyle, because of those who are following and seeking to imitate you.  As a leader, you need to be sure what you believe, and make sure that your walk and your talk are in agreement.  As a leader, you should always be ready and able to say when you are not sure about something, and when you don’t know, and never try to pass off that you know something that you are not sure of…but always be ready to learn so that you can do what is right, and lead others rightly.

You are doing a good job of that by leading in fellowship and by seeking counsel on how to teach better.  Leading Bible studies doesn’t always require you to be the teacher.  As a leader, you can appoint someone to teach a class, who you know is very knowledgeable in that area or you can decide to have a discussion among everyone, with the aim of learning from each person’s perspective.  This way, you are also learning, and God may open your mind to something through the discussion, which you can impart back to the group, to round it off well.

You are right to feel the weight of your responsibility as a leader, and as a teacher.  There is a reason why James said “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (Jam 3:1).  You are also right to be careful about your doctrine, because as Paul said, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Tim 4:16).  It is easy to stray, even with zeal for righteousness, into error.  We need to be humble and sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

There is no formula for this.  This is simply a faith walk, a day by day growing closer to God, knowing Him more intimately.  You will falter, you will fall into pride, but if you don’t despair of hope, you will allow God to pick you up again, dust you off and keep going in faith.  The Bible says “…for a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief” (Prov 24:16).  As long as you are human, you will falter, but by His grace, it will be an irregular and uncommon occurrence!  And you will always rise again and learn from it…and be compassionate with others and help them to avoid error and to stand again when they fall.

So to address the points you raised:

  1.  This can be overcome with more time spent studying.  You shouldn’t just read the Bible, study it.  Meditate on the Scriptures.  Use a study Bible or devotional to sharpen your understanding.  Pray to God to open your heart and mind to know and to obey the truth.  If you are not willing to obey the truth, it is unlikely that God will reveal His truth to you, so submission to His will is important!
  2. This can also be overcome with more studying and reading of Christian literature.  There are some things that may be hard to grasps that Christian scholars (and bloggers) have looked into and expanded on.  Read widely and pray for God’s guidance and the spirit of discernment (1 John 4:1).  Of course, for absolute confidence, you need to have a relationship with God, so that you are able to discern His voice and distinguish His love and wisdom from that of the world (John 10:27).  If you feel you might be teaching error, you probably are.  It’s better for you to take the issue to God and ask for His Spirit to lead you to the truth, as Jesus promised that He would (John 16:13), and refrain from expressing an opinion on that matter, until God has increased your understanding.
  3. Remember that you are a tool in God’s hand, and you are not God!  Trust God to USE you, and don’t be afraid of failure, because ultimately, God is in control.  He has promised that no one is able to snatch His own from His hand (John 10:29), and we also know that “all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28).  So, no matter what you do, you are not ultimately responsible for someone else’s destiny!  You need to trust that God has got this, and just allow Him to use you and to speak through you as often as the Spirit leads.  This requires KNOWING and TRUSTING God more.
  4. I totally feel you with your last point.  God has been helping me to speak more boldly about issues of contention I was once afraid to address.  This has also led to growth in my understanding, in as much as I believe I’ve been able to edify others.  Don’t be too concerned about having a DIFFERENT opinion from the mainstream Christian religion.  There is a reason that there are so many divisions within the Church…  We do not see eye to eye on everything, and organised religion has led many astray and made many complacent.  We have to remember that it’s as much an individual walk as it is a communal walk.  Paul says “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).  This still comes back to knowing God and trusting Him to lead, not only you, but all who call upon His name with sincerity.  I believe that His Holy Spirit will unite His true Church in the end, and all we need to do is be sincere to what we believe and speak the truth with boldness.

So the bottom line is how well do you know God?  Are you able to discern His voice?  How well do you trust Him?  How well do you know the Scriptures?  Are you able to distinguish His wisdom and love from the world’s.  Are you following God or men?  “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God” (Rom 8:14).  When you are walking with God, you will grow in knowledge of Him and His wisdom and will be able to discern error and speak the truth with boldness.

May God grant you more grace to know Him more and walk in His calling on your life.  Amen.

Sincerely, Ufuoma.

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