The gift of teaching (instruction) is as necessary to the Christian life as nutrition is to the body. You can survive (for a time) without it, but you will be very unhealthy.
This gift of teaching is the supernatural ability to break down the Word of God for the church to understand. This gift goes hand in hand with two other gifts: prophecy and exhortation. Often, in one teaching, all three gifts will be working together. Whereas teaching is explaining God’s Word, prophecy is speaking forth and boldly saying God’s Word no matter the consequences, and exhortation is allowing the aid of God’s Word to come alongside of one’s life. Oftentimes, they can be easily confused for one another but they are actually unique gifts in their own rights.
Encouragement for the Gift of Teaching
There is too much to say about the gift of teaching in one devotional, so let me simply encourage those who have this gift with a few thoughts. First, the best way to instruct the church through God’s Word is by demonstration. For example, if you teach the congregation to be grace-filled, but you yourself are not grace-filled, the words you say can be considered empty and will not matter much to most. Living what you teach sharpens the blade of your words and gives them the ability to cut deep. A teacher whose life is contrary to their words is a cloud without water. Teachers, it is imperative that we live what we teach in order to be effective.
Teaching the Word of God
My second encouragement is to observe that the spiritual gift of teaching means that one is gifted in teaching the Word of God. Stage presence and eloquence, while appealing, are not spiritual gifts. It is tempting for the teacher to over concern themselves with what isn’t spiritual or beneficial to the congregation. Obviously, a teacher should always be themselves when they teach, but they shouldn’t be intentionally boring either. In fact, their teachings should be engaging and captivating! The important distinction I am making here, though, is that the teacher should have it as their express aim to keep the Word engaging and captivating and not themselves. Simply put: elevate Christ and His Word, not yourselves.
My third encouragement is to be faithful. It’s easy to grow weary from teaching because the congregation doesn’t listen or because what you are called to teach flies in the face of the culture. But keep at it, get your head down and faithfully plow that ground! Don’t look up and focus on the lack of harvest (that’s God’s job) or compare your field with your neighbor’s, simply do the work that God has called you to do! If you have been given the essential spiritual gift of teaching, you are needed! Don’t give up!
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8 ESV
This is part of a series of articles about spiritual gifts. Click below to read more as they’re published.