Intermediate Edition

II. Teaching in the Church


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Chapter 30  Part II

Teaching in the Church

Teaching is one of the main roles of most church leaders. Good teaching is based on God’s word, and should be delivered in accordance with the directions and sound examples found in Scripture. On the topic of teaching, one must also be aware of the characteristics of “false” teachers who are so often present in the church, so as to recognize them and deal with them.

What to Teach: God’s Word

Teach and preach God’s word

Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.   2 Timothy 3:16-17 NET

[Paul, to Timothy:] Preach the word!   2 Timothy 4:2a NKJV

Teach God’s commands and ways

[Jethro, to Moses:] You should teach them God’s commands and explain to them how they should live and what they should do.   Exodus 18:20 GNT

Teach the truths of the faith

[Paul, to Timothy:] By pointing out such things to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, having nourished yourself on the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.   1 Timothy 4:6 NET

In v. 6a Paul exhorts Timothy to instruct the believers in the things that he had been writing about. These things were composed of or in line with the “words” or truths of the faith (v. 6b).

Read God’s word in church worship

[Paul, to Timothy:] Until I get there, concentrate on reading Scripture in worship, giving encouraging messages, and teaching people.   1 Timothy 4:13 GW

How to Teach

Explain God’s word and truths

They [Levites] read from the book of God’s law, explaining it and imparting insight. Thus the people gained understanding from what was read.   Nehemiah 8:8 NET

From morning until evening he [Paul] continued to explain the kingdom of God to them, trying to convince them about Jesus from the law of Moses and the Prophets.   Acts 28:23b ISV

The manner in which to teach

[Paul, to the church leader Titus:] Be sincere and serious in your teaching. 8Use sound words that cannot be criticized, so that your enemies may be put to shame by not having anything bad to say about us.   Titus 2:7b-8 GNT

[Paul, to Timothy:] Be very patient when you teach.   2 Timothy 4:2b GW

False Teachers (I): Their Teaching

False teachers speak lies and delusions of their own, while claiming God’s authority

[Jeremiah:] Then the Lord said to me, “Those [false] prophets are prophesying lies while claiming my authority! I did not send them. I did not commission them. I did not speak to them. They are prophesying to these people false visions, worthless predictions, and the delusions of their own mind.   Jeremiah 14:14 NET

They say what their listeners like to hear – appealing and pleasant things

[Jeremiah, warning his people about false prophets:] They are filling you with false hopes. They are reporting visions of their own imaginations, not something the Lord has given them to say. 17They continually say to those who reject what the Lord has said, ‘Things will go well for you!’ They say to all those who follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts, ‘Nothing bad will happen to you!’   Jeremiah 23:16b-17 NET

False teachers typically deny Jesus Christ

Who, then, is the liar? It is those who say that Jesus is not the Messiah. Such people are the Enemies of Christ—they reject both the Father and the Son.   1 John 2:22 GNT

False teachers (in view here) typically deny or dilute key aspects of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

False Teachers (II): Guarding against Them

Watch out for false teachers and their teaching – so as not to be deceived

Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves.   Matthew 7:15 NET

Let nobody deceive you with empty words, for because of these things God’s wrath comes on the sons of disobedience.   Ephesians 5:6 NET

Test teachers by comparing their teaching with the Scriptures

The people of Berea were more open-minded than the people of Thessalonica. They were very willing to receive God’s message, and every day they carefully examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true.   Acts 17:11 GW

False teachers can be recognized by their “fruit”

You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? 17In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit.   Matthew 7:16-18 NET

As used here, “fruit” is that which one’s inner being or character produces – basically one’s words and actions. In a secondary sense, the effect of one’s words and actions – particularly on other people – is also one’s produce or “fruit”.

Pray for persecuted Christians