We All Are Teachers
When you come to think about it, we all are teachers whether we know it or not. Our words and actions teach others how to live, whether Biblical or non-Biblical. But we tend to associate teaching with a formal situation: school teacher, seminar leaders, Bible study teachers, or pastors. However, Jesus was a master teacher, but most of His teaching was in an informal setting. Interestingly, Jesus had only 4 major teaching discourses where He taught through lectures:
1. The Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7): This discourse was on the type of righteousness necessary for the Kingdom saints. He used the formula, “You have heard it said…but I say to you.”
2. The Parables Discourse (Matt 13): This message was delivered after Israel’s rejected Jesus’ offer of the Messianic Kingdom (chapter 12). Jesus describes the nature of the mystery kingdom (church) by using the formula, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…”
3. The Olivet Discourse (Matt 24-25): This discourse was delivered halfway between Palm Sunday and the crucifixion. It amplifies the 70th week of Daniel (Dan 9), and urges the Jewish people to look for His promised return to set up His Messianic Kingdom.
4. The Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17): This was Jesus’ final discourse to His disciples about His departure and the arrival of the Holy Spirit as a “Helper or Comforter.”
Throughout the Gospel, on the other hand, we can see how Jesus used a variety of methods to reveal truth:
- He taught through stories and parables- each with a specific truth that He wanted to get across (Mark 4:2).
- He taught through asking questions (Mark 2:9,10).
- He taught by discussing specific subjects: discipleship (Matt 10), forgiveness (Matt 18), divorce (Matt 19), Hypocrisy (Matt 23).
- He taught through using special occasions- healing of the paralytic (Mark 2); resurrection of Lazarus from the death (John 11).
- He taught through demonstrations- washing of the disciples’ feet (John 13:5-20)
- He taught through riddles (Matt 13:9)
- He taught through object lessons (Matt. 18:1-2)
- He taught through assignments (Luke 10:1-2)
The majority of Jesus’ teaching was not in lectures or formal teaching, but by integrating spiritual principles into everyday life situations. Jesus understood how people learned and followed an Old Testament principle: "‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.’ (6)And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; (7) and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut 6:5-7). Deut 6 tells us that real teaching comes through a personal approach, with a variety of teaching styles and methods, and in a variety of real life settings. Teaching occurs in both formal and informal environments. A teacher is one who instructs, guides, motivates, models, and cares- a person who helps others understand truth so that they can change their thinking, attitudes, & behavior.
Now I know what you might be thinking- I’m not a teacher! That is not true. We all are teachers. The real question is, “what are you teaching through your life, words, and attitudes?” We must understand that people are watching how we deal with life situations: are we friendly with our neighbor; are we generous to the waitress; are we kind to the clerk; are we patient with our children; are we compassionate with the elderly; are we encouraging the student; are we helpful to the needy; are we loving the unlovable, etc… You see, you might not teach a lecture, but everyday your life is a lecture to others. Someone noted, “Your life might be the only Bible some people will read.” Therefore, work on being a good Bible teacher to the world you are in.