I travelled to Indianapolis this past weekend from the comforts of my living room.
It was a conference for women who feel called by God to teach the Bible to other women.
And yes — I sat mesmerized and took pages and pages of notes.
My sweet husband hooked up the live stream to the big screen, ran interference with the kids for two days, and offered to make me popcorn. So thankful for him.
Before you abandon this post thinking it doesn’t apply to you, I will remind you that all of us are teachers in one way or another (e.g. teaching and discipling our children, offering biblical advise to friends in crisis, etc.).
But some of you may feel that fire deep in your belly to teach God’s Word. If that is the case, I pray you will be blessed by what I learned at Revive ’15.
(BTW: God spoke to me so clearly through #6 and #8.)
TOP TEN from Revive ’15
1.Teachers must have a love for the people they teach
It is not enough for Bible teachers to have a love of teaching the Bible. They must also have a love for the people they teach. Teaching is not about being right, but about letting the living and active Word do a work in people’s hearts and lives. We must see faces and names and have compassion on those sitting in our classes. Teachers must offer comfort through the Word to those going through difficult circumstances. A love for the students must accompany a love for God’s Word.
2. Not many should become teachers
Jen Wilkin began with this terrifying verse in James 3:1, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”
Teachers are judged with greater strictness because there is much at stake. Everyone will give an account for every word we speak, and apparently teachers even more so. Since words have either destructive or creative power, we as teachers need to learn how to use life-giving words.
She went on to explain right and wrong motives for the desire to teach.
WRONG MOTIVES for wanting to teach:
- personal gain or glory
- wanting to be right
RIGHT MOTIVES for wanting to teach:
- a love for God and His glory
- a deep desire for wanting to serve God in this way
- a deep love for the women you teach
- something burning inside of you for wanting to teach the truth
- a desire to rightly divide the Word of truth
- to be so captivated by what we see on the pages of His Word that we want other women to meet God there to
- a deep desire for God to be known
3. Teachers will never feel comfortable in their role (and this is a good thing)
When teachers begin to feel comfortable it is a sign they are relying on their own abilities. If we lose our sense of neediness, we lose our usefulness. It is when we truly believe that God has to show up that we understand our teaching will only bear fruit through the supernatural workings of the Spirit through His Word, and not through our own abilities. Teachers must stay completely dependant on God, asking Him to never let them get to the place where they don’t’ need Him.
4. Teachers must teach with the divine anointing of the Holy Spirit
Paul said it best, “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake” (I Thessalonians 1:5).
Some teaching is in word only, and is missing the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This kind of teaching goes in one ear and out the other, and people aren’t changed. Without the divine enablement in the teacher, there are no spiritual results.
So how can a Bible teacher teach under the anointing of the Holy Spirit?
First the teacher must lead an anointed life. Preparation of our notes and minds is useless if its not accompanied by preparation of our hearts and lives. Our lives must illustrate what we proclaim to others. In other words, we must live what we teach. Walk the talk.
Secondly, the teacher must have anointed lips and a powerful presentation. We must cultivate and communicate a reverential awe of the Word of God. We must seek and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, and point people to Christ. The message must be communicated with fervency, earnestness and conviction. Teachers must know their audiences, and give them an opportunity to respond to the truth. Finally, and above all, teachers must confidently trust the power of God’s Word to change lives.
5. The role of repentance is HUGE in the life of a teacher
“Create in me a clean heart, O God … Then I will teach transgressors Your ways” (Psalm 51:10-13).
Teachers must fully come clean with their own sin and long for real transformation in their own lives before they can lead people in the same. Every teacher should have one or two people that will lovingly point out areas of sin in their lives.
6. Teachers must determine to maximize every season God gives
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
Pastor Eric Mason urged us never to see any part of life as mundane or useless. We are not to be frustrated with where God has us right now because we will miss what God wants to teach us in this season. Although we often do, God never wastes time. Teachers must always ask how God wants them to maximize the time He has given them right now to be good stewards of all that God has allowed into our lives, using it to deepen their compassion for others going through difficulty and the impact of their teaching.
7. Teachers must resolve that God will be the strongest influence in their lives
A maturing teacher is always in tune with what God is doing in her own life and in the lives of those around her. We must understand what the will of the Lord is and seek Him in every situation, instead of foolishly seeking the advice of the world.
8. If we want to feel more deeply about God, we must think more deeply about Him
Women are often driven by emotions. We want to feel more in love with God. But we often don’t realize that we will love God more when we know God more. To know Him is to love Him. The path to transformation is found in Romans 12:2 where it says we will be changed by the renewing of our minds (not our hearts). Right thinking informs right feeling. An effective Bible teacher will lead her students to love God with their minds, learning more about His character and His ways. When women know God their love for Him will naturally increase.
9. Teachers must teach women to be students, not mere consumers
Good Bible teachers teach their students how to think, learn, and work. The goal is to move women to the place where they can study the Bible for themselves, not remain dependent on the teacher. Therefore Bible teachers must give their students tools to study the Scriptures on their own, encouraging them to have a long-term view and not expect instant gratification. We teach them to study all of Scripture, honour the context, and follow the steps of comprehension, interpretation, and application.
10. Teachers must be women of the Word
If we want our students to be women of the Word, we must be as well. We must learn how to discern error from truth if we want our students to do the same. Our lives must be rooted and grounded in God’s Word, believing it is alive and active to change us as well as those we teach. Just as Paul charged Timothy, we are to teach the Word – the pure Word. When we do this, women will be changed, they will experience God’s grace, they will be a witness to those around them, they will be able to withstand the devil, and will grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.