The Greek word for “teacher” is didaskalos, which means master, teacher or doctor. The teacher is one who communicates knowledge, guides, makes known or relays facts.
The Christian with the gift of Teaching is not the person we often think of as a teacher in the Sunday school class. The Teacher is the scholar, the person who learns and teaches with more depth than the average Sunday school teacher. The Teacher usually becomes a Teacher of teachers, having the desire to go to great depths to research a project or topic.
There are two areas for which Teachers live: learning and teaching (or writing, if teaching through the written medium). Teachers would rather gain knowledge than to eat, sleep or do just about anything else.
If you are a Teacher, you have the Spirit-given capacity and desire to serve God by making clear the truth of God’s Word with accuracy and simplicity. You are the scholar clarifying and explaining the doctrine and teachings of the Bible.
Teachers must learn to teach in two manners that are contrary to their nature. First, the material must be kept simple so students can understand it. Students normally do not have the hunger for knowledge at the detailed level of a person with the gift of Teaching. Secondly, the lessons must be practical, for the Teacher will love knowledge whether it is in practical form or not. The most effective Teacher is the one who can teach more than average knowledge with more than average simplicity.
Many churches don’t even have one teacher, while others may have one or two, depending on their community and church needs. Most Teachers (scholars) are found in full-time Christian vocations. The Teaching gift (in its scholarly sense) involves the lowest number of laypeople. The most common place to find the believer with the gift of Teaching is in a church with a Bible institute program, or in a Christian college.
We need gifted Teachers to handle interpretation problems, deeper theology and to teach those with the other Teaching gifts in a more complete manner. People with the gift of Teaching do not necessarily have to teach the Bible to be a help to the church ministry. Teaching in such areas as education, business, finance or computers, for example, may greatly benefit some churches and schools.
Remember that the scholarly Teacher is only one of four teaching or communication gifts. The other three, the Shepherd, the Prophet, and the Exhorter usually have to rely on resources from the Teacher in order to fulfill their responsibilities in the local church.
The most common problems in connection with the Teaching gift are those created by believers who have desires in other areas and find the Teachers to be dull or too deep for their liking. Teachers tend to be heavy on details and light on application. The blessing is that the Teachers (scholars) can challenge us to learn more rather than being complacent with what knowledge we think we already have.
Most teaching aid books, reference books, and commentaries are written by people who have the gift of Teaching.
Dr. Larry Gilbert is founder and chairman of Ephesians Four Ministries, and founder of ChurchGrowth.org. For more on spiritual gifts, see Dr. Gilbert’s books from which this article was excerpted: Team Ministry: Gifted to Serve (for pastors and group leaders) and Your Gifts: Discover God’s Unique Design for You (for individuals and groups).
Articles in this series include…
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Shepherding?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Administration?
- 10 Characteristics of The Teacher
- 13 Burdens, Desires and Strengths of The Teacher
- 13 Special Needs and Weaknesses of The Teacher
- 5 Ways in which The Teacher is Misunderstood
- 4 Ways Satan Attacks the Gift of The Teacher
- 7 Places where The Teacher Gift can be Used
- The Witnessing Style of The Teacher
Lead others to discover their spiritual gifts.
For pastors and group leaders.