Part I: The Importance of Biblical Teachers | Part II: Defining the Teacher’s Responsibility

In the past two posts we have been looking at the importance of sound teachers in our local churches and the responsibility that spiritual gift entails. Here I would like to present an additional aspect that further expresses the high responsibility we all have in making sure our teachers are Biblically founded.

In Deuteronomy, Moses warns the Israelites against false prophets, he simply commands them to be put to death (see Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 18:20-22). Yet despite the various warnings, the Old Testament Scriptures depict numerous instances of the people turning from God and following false prophets. The true prophets of God taught the people the direct revelations of God (see 2 Chronicles 17:7-9, et al.). Today’s teachers can gain a better understanding of how they are to function through examining the means by which prophets performed their duties. Prophets communicated God’s revelations to the people; they gave warnings and instruction, they sought after God’s will and proclaimed his message to the masses. A further connection revealed between teachers and prophets can be found written in the epistles of Peter; for the Apostle Peter wrote:

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. (2 Peter 1:20-2:3)

First, Peter connects the false prophet and the false teacher; there is a transition from prophet leading to the teacher. Additionally, Saucy also notes this connection in the order Paul lists the gifts in Ephesians: “Even as the missionary activity of the apostles passes over to the evangelist, so the prophetic work of edification is carried on by the teachers.” While the transition is more clearly seen in the writings of Peter, his furthers one of warning. No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation; this statement directly contrasts pragmatic thought—which hinges on interpretation as relative to each and every individual; the notion of truth being what you make it goes against all Biblical teaching. Yet, Peter explains prophecy cannot be relative: “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21); prophecy from God is not open to relative individualistic interpretation. Furthermore, there will be false teachers who secretly bring in destructive heresies. With the rise of the critic, a great number of false teachings have appeared in the world waiting for our youth to uncover. Often these false teachings were developed so scholars would become recognized and make money; they use Christianity for personal and financial gain (see 2 Peter 2:3). Nevertheless, Christians have a divine imperative to pass on proper teaching (cf. 2 Timothy 2:2); for if we do not, the consequence is God’s wrath as it was poured out in the Old Testament—those who pervert the truth of God will not escape punishment (see 2 peter 2:4-9). For this reason, Christians should be highly concerned with who teaches our youth.

-Next, the often neglected element

Saucy further extrapolates from Eph 4:11 the ministry of teaching therefore carries with it responsibility (The Church in God’s Program, p. 140).