Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Basics of Christianity (Pt.5)

In our last time together, we looked at the first two gifts that are found in Romans 12:6-8 which were prophecy and ministry. Today, I want us to look at the gift of teaching. As we talk about the basics of Christianity, we need to understand that there are some basic foundation elements in our life that we always need to return to. We have already discussed prayer and Bible study and now we’re considering spiritual gifts.

Paul continues his list of spiritual gifts in Romans 12:7 by saying, “he who teaches, in teaching” (NKJV).

“Teaching” is the Greek word didasko. “The root word carries the idea of ‘systematic teaching or training’” (MacArthur). This was the activity of the early church (Acts 2:42) and an important element in the Great Commission (Mat.28:19-20). There are many examples that we can look at in the New Testament of those who had this gift. Notice first the apostle Paul. In 2 Timothy 1:11 he told Timothy that he was “appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” Barnabas had that gift and ministered it in Antioch beside Paul, where they were "teaching and preaching, with many others also, the word of the Lord" (Acts 15:35). Jesus, of course, was both the supreme Preacher and supreme Teacher. Even after His resurrection, He continued to teach. When He joined the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, "beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.… And they said to one another, 'Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?' " (Luke 24:27, 32).

As we examine this gift today, we can say that regular, systematic teaching of the Word of God is the primary function of the pastor-teacher. As an elder, he is required "to teach" (1 Tim. 3:2) and to hold "fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict" (Titus 1:9). Above all, Paul entreated Timothy, "pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching" (1 Tim. 4:16). Pastors are not the only ones the Lord calls and empowers to teach. But if a pastor's ministry is to be judged, among other things, on the soundness of his teaching—as the passages just cited indicate—then it seems reasonable to assume that, in some measure, he should have the gift of teaching.

Leslie Flynn says that the gift of teaching is the Spirit-given ability to “explain clearly and apply effectively the Word of God” (Flynn).

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