All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (esv)
Jesus was called Rabbi, Teacher. One of his gifts is the pastor-teacher (Ephesians 4:11), who shepherds the flock in teaching. We’re people of the Book. We do Bible studies (note that word ‘study’). And we still use preaching as one way of passing on the message.
Here are some thoughts as to why Christians teach.
We do not know
We teach because of lack of knowledge. Growing up not part of a church, I did not know why Jesus died. I had to learn. I thank God that people taught me.
All Christians will always have room to learn more. It starts with the fundamental: Jesus’ death and resurrection. It includes much more that builds upon this foundation: how did Old Testament sacrifices work, and what do they show us about Jesus?
Ask yourself: am I willing to learn new things?, what areas do I need to learn about?
We do know
We teach to remind ourselves, to remember what is important. To avoid forgetting, or a dangerous shift in emphasis towards what is less important.
The New Testament has good examples of this:
1 Corinthians 15:1 Now I would remind you of the gospel I preached to you …
2 Peter 1:12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these …
Jude 5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it …
Ask yourself: have I forgotten what’s important?, am I excited to hear the same good message again or am I bored?
We are wrong
We teach because we need correction. We actively hold in mind a ‘truth’ about God that is not true at all. Perhaps it’s a big, big, big lie – that we are saved by our own efforts. Perhaps it’s less huge, but it will still have an effect – the untrue beliefs of the weak Christians in Romans 14-15 and 1 Corinthians 8 could fit here.
In either case, it’s a blessing to find correction. As Jesus said (John 8:32), ‘The truth will set you free.’
Ask yourself: when was the last time you changed your mind?, are you at risk of apathy or arrogance and therefore unable to admit error?
We live the truth
The first part of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (above) highlights to profit to be found in God’s scriptures. My first three points are a reflection on this. The second part of the quotation directs us to the purpose of reading these scriptures: competence in serving God.
Ask yourself: does my life and service indicate that I am learning?, does what I learn transfer to greater commitment to God’s good works?