The gift of teaching in the spiritual realm is one that can be greatly rewarding (Matt.5: 19), but bears an awesome responsibility.
Spiritual teachers, in that capacity, are specifically warned that they will incur a strict judgment. (James 3:1).
This admonition is primarily directed towards those who hold the position & responsibility of pastor-teachers. As a pastor-teacher, he is accountable for both the quantity (all areas of doctrine) & the accuracy of what he teaches to the members of his congregation. A teacher is accountable for the accuracy of the doctrine that he/she teaches.
The Bible makes a distinction between the qualifications, functions, and responsibilities of the pastor-teacher and the teacher.
A pastor-teacher is one who has administrative authority within a local assembly (Church) as well as the authority (and responsibility) to accurately present the entire realm of doctrine to the members of his congregation.
It is the plan of God that the pastor-teacher, under the Ministry of God the Holy Spirit (John 14:26), be the primary source of instruction and edification in each local assembly (church).
The qualifications for the position of the pastor-teacher are quite specific in Scripture. (2Tim.2: 24/Titus 1:6-9).
In the present day & age, a pastor should also have a background or a reliable reference library for the application of the historical settings and original languages of the Bible in order to interpret & apply the Scriptures correctly.
Teachers, on the other hand, may operate within or without a local assembly. Unlike a pastor-teacher, they do not have administrative authority nor are they have the responsibility of teaching on all the areas of doctrine.
Teachers are, however, responsible for the doctrinal accuracy of the subjects and issues in which they do choose to teach on.
Teachers who function within the local assembly are under the authority and responsibility of the pastor-teacher as to the content of the doctrinal material that they present to the members of the congregation.
Because of the system of authority that God has established for the Church, a woman may be a teacher, but not a pastor-teacher. (1Tim.2: 12).
It is not that men are spiritually or functionally superior to women, it’s just that this is the divine order of authority that God has set established in His Church. (1Timothy 2:12/1Cor.14: 34).
Because of the prestige that comes with such a position, many aspire to secure the office, but have not been called or gifted by God to do so. (1 Cor. 12:11) (John 15:5).
The sad result has been the wide spread apostasy found within the Christian Community. Many pastors have all kinds of secular credentials & endorsements from “religious” (as opposed to spiritual) organizations, but are doctrinally ignorant & Biblically “unqualified”.
Some are very popular (Luke 6:26). They tell their listeners what they want to hear (2Tim4:3), but are denying them the spiritual nourishment (John 21:15-17) that is needed to sustain the post-salvation spiritual life.
If you have the gift of pastor-teacher or teacher, you will have to decide if you are going to seek the approval of Man or the glorification of God.
If you are going to glorify God, you will frequently find yourself asking, “…Have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Gal. 4:16 NIV).
Any preaching or teaching in the spiritual realm that doesn’t “rattle the cages” of the listeners or readers from time to time probably isn’t worth listening to or reading in the first place.
In a sense, we are all teachers & we are all students. It was the Hebrew philosopher Maimonedies who said that every man is my teacher so I may learn from him.
Actions speak louder than words. What we must ask ourselves is what is it that our spiritual lives are teaching others by way of example. Our greatest witness & opportunity to teach on behalf of God is not limited to what we say, but also what we do. (Matt.5: 19).
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R) Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights reserved.