The spiritual gift of teaching is one of the gifts  of the Holy Spirit (Romans  12:6-8; 1  Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians  4:1-12). It is a gift given by the Holy Spirit, enabling one to effectively  communicate the truths of Bible to others. It is most often, but not always,  used in the context of the local church. The gift of teaching involves the  analysis and proclamation of the Word of God, explaining the meaning, context  and application to the hearer’s life. The gifted teacher is one who has the  unique ability to clearly instruct and communicate knowledge, specifically the  doctrines of the faith and truths of the Bible.

God gave spiritual gifts  to edify His church. Paul instructed the church at Corinth to seek to edify and  build up Christ’s church, telling them that since they were “eager” to have  spiritual gifts, they should “try to excel in gifts that build up the church”  (1  Corinthians 14:12). A spiritual gift (charismata in Greek) is a  supernatural, God-given ability to perform a ministry for the building up of the  body of Christ. It is given graciously by God and cannot be earned. While a  spiritual gift can be developed, it does require a supernatural ability to  exercise it. One of these gifts is teaching.

The Greek word for teacher  is didaskalos, which means to teach or instruct. We see examples all  through the Bible of teaching. Jesus Himself was the Great Teacher, and Jesus  commanded His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them  in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching  them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew  28:19-20). Jesus commanded His disciples to teach new disciples everything  He had commanded, instructing them in both doctrine and holy living. Christ’s  ministers are not to teach the commandments of men or anything that is of their  own, or other men’s devising, but only that which is ordered by Christ.

There are several contexts in which the gift of teaching can be used: Sunday  school classes, Bible schools and colleges, seminaries, and home Bible studies.  The one with the gift can teach either individuals or groups. A person with the  natural talent to teach can teach just about anything, but a person with the  spiritual gift of teaching teaches the content of the Bible. He can teach the  message of a book, as a whole book, or break it down to individual paragraphs or  verses. No new material originates from one with the gift of teaching. The  teacher simply explains or expounds the meaning of the Bible text.

It  is a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit. One without this gift can understand  the Bible as he hears/reads it, but he cannot explain it as one with the gift  can. Although it can be developed, the spiritual gift of teaching is not  something that can be learned or acquired, as with a college degree. A person  with a PhD but without the gift of teaching will not be able to expound the  Bible as one without a degree but having the gift of teaching does.

In  Ephesians  4:11-12, Paul lists foundational gifts for the building up of the local  church. The gifts are given for the building up of the body of Christ. In verse  11 teachers are linked with pastors. This does not necessarily suggest one gift,  but it does seem to imply that the pastor is also a teacher. The Greek word for  pastor is poiemen which means “shepherd.” A pastor is one who cares for  his people in the same way a shepherd cares for his sheep. Just as a shepherd  feeds his sheep, the pastor also has the responsibility to teach his people the  spiritual food of the Word of God.

The church is edified through use of  the gift of teaching as people listen to the Word of God, what it means, and how  to apply it to their own lives. God has raised up many with this gift to build  people up in their faith and enable them to grow in all wisdom and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18).

How  can Christians know if they have the gift? They should begin by asking God for  opportunities to teach a Sunday school class or Bible study, under the authority  and guidance of a gifted teacher. If they find they can explain the meaning of  the Bible and others respond favorably, they probably have the gift and should  ask God for further opportunities to use and develop their gift.

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