My initial reading of the Bible, just before my marriage, was to familiarize myself to be a better husband and to be able to answer the disparity of doctrines of the various "Christian" denominations. But it wasn't until I was asked to teach children's Bible classes in my church that I seriously considered how to impart that understanding to someone else.
I recently read Ron Dart's letter (Living To Win 6/15/05) entitled "The Love Of Your Life" that dealt with this issue, and I saw within it a common experience relevant to the calling pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles.
(The Feast of Tabernacles is one of the seven festivals of God recorded in the Scriptures and listed in order in Leviticus 23. This festival was kept by Jesus in John 7 and it pictures the millennial Kingdom of God established on earth by Jesus Christ after His return and He will be ruling as King of kings and Lord of lords with the resurrected Saints ruling with Him as kings and priests for one thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6)).
I realized how relevant this is to us as disciples, to become like the "Teacher" (Matthew 10:24). To be able to impart truth to this world you must do more than just familiarize yourself with it. You must know your subject intimately, how to present it and how to answer every question.
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15).
So let's examine our job now (to prepare) and our future job (to teach).
First let us establish our vocation.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19,20 ).
How personally do you take that? Is it just the job of the church?
According to 1 Corinthians 12 we are all given different gifts. And in verses 28 and 29 we see only some are appointed teachers in the church.
But all are witnesses now to the power of God to transform and renew your mind.
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).
And we bear God's name on us. The third commandment tells us not to take that name in vain. (The word "take" there could also be translated to "bear up".)
But in the Kingdom of God, ALL of the resurrected saints will teach.
"Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3).
How is He going to teach us? With thunder? Like in Exodus 19:16? That was somewhat frightening. Exodus 20:19
"And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:10).
Kings rule, Priests teach. (See also 2 Chronicles 15:3 which says they had been without a "teaching priest".)
"For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; You shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; When He hears it, He will answer you. And though the Lord gives you The bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers" (Isaiah 30:10-21).
How To Prepare To Teach
There are two prerequisites.
1. Enthusiasm for the subject. You don't want to be a boring teacher where it's just a job. But you want to be an excited teacher where your enthusiasm is contagious.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You" (Psalms 51:10-13).
2. No hypocrisy. (Unconfessed sins) In other words, no "do as I say, not as I do". " Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom" (Psalms 51:6).
‘For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge" (Romans 10:2 ).
Four Points to Prepare to Teach
1. Bible Study
It's absolutely critical to keep your nose in the Bible.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).
"Test (or prove) all things; hold fast to what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Here is where you evaluate your gifts and your strong subjects.
"There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He will" (1 Corinthians 4:4-11).
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (John 14:26).
"The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him" (1 John 2:27).
"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" (Luke 11:13).
This is where you organize your areas of expertise.
"Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all" (1 Timothy 4:13-15).
This is where you hear yourself think. I'd like to quote from Ron Dart's letter of June 15, 2005. "The teacher is, if anything, more affected by the process than the student. I can sit down for a personal Bible study and learn a great deal through research and study. But when I do this with a view to teaching the material to real students, something entirely different happens. Even that is not the end of it. When you stand in class and actually teach, with an awareness that students are going to ask questions, something still more different happens."
The process of teaching makes knowledge available that otherwise might be left undiscovered.
For most people who are not actually teachers at this time, you have to do this out loud, in private. Try defending a doctrinal issue, such as the validity of the Sabbath. I do this a lot in my truck on the way to work. Ladies could do it at home or in the car if they are alone. When you hear yourself out loud it organizes it in your mind. You'll have a better appreciation of how it would impact your audience.
But some may say, what about the verse that says don't prepare beforehand what you will say? (Luke 12:12) This is relevant to those who are brought before authorities to give an accounting of their faith. They are not trying to teach anyone there.
In Conclusion: So it is important now to prepare to be an effective part of God's teaching team. I'll conclude by reading several millennial verses.
"Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young" (Isaiah 40:10,11).
Compare this with John 21:15-17 where Peter is told to "feed My sheep".
"Return, O backsliding children," says the LORD; "for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days," says the LORD, "that they will say no more, `The ark of the covenant of the LORD.' It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore. At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts" (Jeremiah 3:14-17).
"O you afflicted one, Tossed with tempest, and not comforted, Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, And lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, Your gates of crystal, And all your walls of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you" (Isaiah 54:11-14).
"And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the foreigner Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But you shall be named the priests of the LORD, they shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, And in their glory you shall boast. Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs. "For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, And will make with them an everlasting covenant. Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the posterity whom the LORD has blessed" (Isaiah 61:4-9).
Recapture your first love and your joy and you'll be ready to teach. Then you'll shout: "TGIF - Thank God I'm Forgiven."