NOT MANY SHOULD BECOME TEACHERS IN THE CHURCH

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

JUNE 01, 2024

TOPIC: NOT MANY SHOULD BECOME TEACHERS IN THE CHURCH

BY T. O. BANSO

“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1 New King James Version).

There is always a debate among professionals about the most important profession. Each always argues that his profession is the most important. Teachers insist that teaching is the most important because they teach other professionals before becoming who they are. I’m not joining this debate, but I want to emphasize teachers’ importance in the church.

Teachers are critical because they greatly influence their students or listeners; they affect them and shape their lives. Just as a good teacher can affect and shape the lives of his students so can a bad teacher. Therefore, it is important to sit under the right teacher.

In the Bible, the Apostle James said, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1 New King James Version). This is not about teachers in the secular school but teachers in the church or the body of Christ. Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly” (New Living Translation).

The Apostle James was not discouraging Christians from becoming teachers but warning against the intrusion of uncalled or unqualified people into the office of a teacher in the church. Teachers were well respected then, and many Jewish Christians to whom James wrote the letter desired to teach. James said that believers should not all be too eager to become teachers in the church.

In the next verse, verse 2, James says Christians must be careful about what they say. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2 New King James Version). This is more important for teachers. They must be careful what they say as they teach. By saying “for we all stumble in many things” James didn’t exclude himself. Teachers’ words greatly impact their students, and teachers must bridle their tongues, say the right thing, and not become false teachers.

False teachers were a problem in the early church, leading the people astray. False teachers destroy people’s lives by what they teach. A Christian must not appoint himself a teacher in the church or become a false teacher.

The Apostle Peter said, 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 2:1-3 New King James Version).

Paul also wrote to Timothy concerning those who were teaching false doctrine in Ephesus: “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia — remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm” (1 Timothy 1:3-7 New King James Version).

Notice the last part of this scripture: “desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.” The New Living Translation puts it this way: They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently” (1 Timothy 1:7). These people were not called but wanted to be known as teachers. They were teaching out of ambition. But they were ignorant and confident and led the people astray. 

Every Christian is called to preach the gospel and win souls, but not every Christian is called to be a teacher in the church. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” (New King James Versions). From this scripture, not all are called to be teachers. Those not called to be teachers but intrude into this office do havoc.

Hebrews 5:4 warns that no man takes this honour to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was. As James said, not many Christians should become teachers in the church. Only those called should teach, for teachers shall receive a stricter judgment.

Paul says in Ephesians 4:11-12, And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (New King James Version). Again, you can see that not all are called to be teachers. There are other ministries.

Whoever is not called to be a teacher should not dabble in it because teaching is a sensitive ministry. Any error in teaching can lead people to hell. Not every listener goes back home like the Bereans to confirm if the things they are taught are so. Many will believe the error of the teacher completely. Acts 17:11 says,Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (New International Version).

Those called into the office of a teacher in the church must take the teaching responsibility seriously. Teachers must not take it lightly because people’s souls are at stake. They must strive for accuracy and avoid heresy. No teacher falls into error alone; he takes his followers or listeners with him.

Not many Christians should become teachers, knowing they shall receive a stricter judgment. Nobody should intrude into the office of a teacher because of ambition or greed. Those who are called should ensure that they teach the right thing. “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16 New King James Version). Teachers must rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

Teachers must not only teach the right thing but must also practise what they teach. They must not be like the scribes and the Pharisees whom Jesus said they said and did not do (Matthew 23:3). They didn’t practise what they taught the people. They taught one thing and did a different thing.Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves” (Matthew 23:15 New King James Version).

Remember James said, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1 New King James Version). Pay attention to the phrase “we shall receive a stricter judgment.” Teachers must be careful because they will be judged more strictly than others. The Good News Translation says, As you know, we teachers will be judged with greater strictness than others.” The Amplified Bible says, Not many [of you] should become teachers [serving in an official teaching capacity], my brothers and sisters, for you know that we [who are teachers] will be judged by a higher standard [because we have assumed greater accountability and more condemnation if we teach incorrectly].”

The phrase “knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” does not mean that the teachers will be condemned but that they will be judged with higher standards before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10). For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10 New International Version). The stricter judgment teachers will receive is not for condemnation because they are already saved by grace but for reward. The teachers will give more account than others.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 says,For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames” (New International Version).

Jesus said, For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done” (Matthew 16:27 New King James Version). Also, Ephesians 6:8 says God will reward everyone for whatever good he does. Teachers will be judged with stricter standards. Therefore, those God has not called to teach in the church should not, and those called to teach should take the responsibility seriously. Jesus said, From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48b New International Version).

Some Bible scholars have another perspective on the meaning of James 3:1: “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (New King James Version). These scholars believe James warned against a Christian assuming lordship over another Christian and judging him with magisterial authority. According to this perspective, not many should set up themselves to judge others by their standards. Those who arrogantly judge others will be judged with stricter standards. James 2:13 says judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who is not merciful. We all stumble in many things. Everyone should first remove the plank from his eye before trying to remove the speck from his brother’s eye (Luke 6:42b).

Not many Christians should become teachers in the church, for teachers will be judged more strictly. That does not mean that Christians cannot teach one another. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (New King  James Version). This scripture tells believers to teach one another in “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” but this does not mean all should become teachers [serving in an official teaching capacity]” as the Amplified Bible says in James 3:1. May we have, in our churches, teachers who are called, Spirit-filled, and sound, and may unrepentant false teachers be removed.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You must join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to stay in the office God has called me into. I shall not be moved by ambition or greed. I shall take heed to myself and what I teach.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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