Launching out from James 3:1, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly," we are rolling out three blog posts explaining Biblical foundation for teaching, warnings for teachers, and our teaching philosophy at Midtown. This is the first one that explains the Biblical foundation for teaching and preaching. God is a speaking, teaching and preaching God. In Genesis 1, the Bible starts with a picture of God speaking. In the first picture of God, He is talking, using words and language. But He’s not just talking because He likes the sound of His own voice. His words are vibrantly full of purpose. He could have created in any way He wanted to, but He chose to use words to do so. Genesis 1 has been called God’s creation sermon. The whole chapter displays the amazing effect of God’s words. God’s words create things. They create life. They create order and an environment in which living things can exist. They separate and divide and organize. They reveal who He is and what He’s like. They accomplish his purposes in powerful authority.
Not only does the Bible start with God speaking, but it also ends with God teaching. Revelation 21:1-8 and 22:7-20 record Jesus preaching two powerful sermons about Himself and the gracious life that He offers free of charge to those who are thirsty as well as the righteous judgment He has stored up for sin and sinners.
Jesus’ public ministry starts in Matthew 3:17 when God declares who Jesus is with a short, quick sermon. Immediately, Jesus’ response is to start preaching and teaching in Matthew 4:17. His preaching ministry led and paved the way for all his other ministry.
God uses people to be His mouthpiece. In light of the reality that God teaches, speaks and preaches, we now have a foundation for why we teach. We are formed in God’s image and through the cross of Jesus, God is welcoming and inviting us to join Him in going to work with our Dad. Romans 12:5 says that if you have the gift of teaching, you should teach. 1 Peter 4:11 raises the ante when it says, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.” When you teach, teach like God does. When you speak, speak like God does. Let your words have the same purpose that God’s words have.
God teaching is the foundation for our philosophy of teaching. God invites all of us to join Him in what He’s doing, and some of us to join Him specifically in His practice of teaching and preaching.
Coming soon: How do I know if I’m supposed to teach? What is Midtown’s teaching philosophy?