1 Corinthians 12:28-31 “Thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way” KJV
Paul continues to list God’s Hierarchy in His Church and comes to the third in rank being the teachers. This English word teacher or teachers Paul uses here is translated by the Greek word didaskalos which means an instructor or one who teaches concerning the things of God expounding the Holy Scripture in a systematic interpretation or explanation in the proper context it was originally written. During the days our Lord Jesus walked the earth all of the Jewish Rabbis were often referred to as “teachers” and this is exactly the way one of them (a man named Nicodemus) referred to our Lord Jesus with this word (didaskalos) in this passage, “Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him’” (John 3:1-2). The person who is gifted by the Holy Spirit as a teacher is primarily opening up the Word of God to fellow believers in our Lord Jesus Christ in order to instruct them on the aspects of the Christian life as revealed in the New Testament epistles and letters. The office of the teacher and his responsibility is not to bring the believers in Christ together in order to make them feel good, but rather he is to work diligently in the Word of God to make disciples, pupils, students, or learners of Christ and every believer that sits under his teaching is his student.
Paul said it in this manner writing to the Ephesian believers, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13). Paul declares by these words he wrote here to the Ephesian believers that the teacher’s job is to accomplish three (3) things in the life of every believer who sits under his teaching: The first job of the teacher is the perfecting of the saints and the English word perfecting Paul uses here is translated by the Greek word katartismos which means complete furnishing or equipping. We know that we send our children to schools in order that they would learn so they will be able to make their way in this world. Likewise when a person comes into the kingdom of God, they need to be instructed or taught the “ways of God” found in His Holy Word and this is the function of the office of the teacher. The teacher provides instruction form God’s Word to the saints so they can be equipped or prepared secondly for the work of ministry. I must say that all of my childhood I thought that it was solely the job of the Pastor to seek to see lost men and women saved or in the true way I looked at it was that it was the Pastor’s job to get people to come to church.
Paul declares here that it is the teachers job to instruct the believers or Christ Body to do ministry work or in other words to labor with serious effort as Christ official server or attendant seeking to witness the gospel of grace to every creature. Thirdly the teacher’s office and the work therein are for the edifying of Christ Body. The English word edifying is translated by the Greek word oikodome which means the act of building, building up; metaphorically it means the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, and holiness; the building built up is Christ Body. It is the teacher’s heartfelt desire to instruct from the Word of God only and present truth from the Word of God that every individual disciple of Christ will be built up into complete spiritual maturity. The next office or the fourth (4) in rank is miracles. The Apostle Paul declares that God does give some in His Church this gift the working of miracles or the Greek word dunamis which means strength and power or a miracle itself. The fifth (5) in rank is the gift of healings and somewhat overlaps with the office of miracles. The sixth in ranking is helps which is most likely the work of deacons and deaconesses in the church.
The seventh (7) in ranking is governments and these are those that serve as elders or bishops or some other lead role within the Body. Last or eighth (8) in ranking as listed here by Paul is various tongues and Paul wanted to make this list and its rankings from God’s viewpoint because these Corinthian believers had so elevated the gift of speaking in tongues, even in their worship service that Paul wants them to understand how it ranks in importance and he will in more detail write to them clarifying this matter in Chapter 14. Paul concludes by doing what he is so brilliant at doing as he surely has learned well from our Lord Jesus by asking questions to put an emphasis on the point he is making and that is none of them were given every one of the gifts by the Holy Spirit, but each one of them can exercise their spiritual gift under the control of the Spirit and motivated by the love of God which Paul declares to be the “a more excellent” way. The English phrase “a more excellent” is translated by the Greek word huperbole which means a throwing beyond others; figuratively superiority, excellence, pre-eminence, supereminence, beyond measure, or far more excellent. Paul wants these Corinthian believers and us to understand completely that God’s Love is the Engine which drives the Bus carrying these spiritual gifts.
“Preaching is teaching with a tear in the eye.” Jack Hyles 1926-2001
“The man who is going through with God to be used in healing must be a man of longsuffering. There is a fruit of the Spirit that must accompany the gift of healing and that is longsuffering.” Smith Wigglesworth
“Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.” Augustine
“A preacher should have the skill to teach the unlearned simply, roundly, and plainly; for teaching is of more importance than exhorting.” Martin Luther
“In God’s Church there should be order, structure, and precision because everything He creates operates by His Pre-Ordained Designed Precision (and we are “new creations”), the animal world and the horticultural world testify to this eternal truth.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…