The “verse,” or Bible passage, especially about teachers is a troubling one I can’t forget. After all, teaching and preaching is considered a special gift (see I Cor. 12:7-11) from God.
It’s James 3:1.
For more use the DOOR.
Here it is:
“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
How should we think about this? Here are some personal observations:
(1) First, check the context (as always).
(2) This in no suggests that we should not share our faith, appropriately, in the best way we can. We’re commanded to be sharers, whether we move our lips or not.
(3) There is a special gifting for teaching.
(4) This does mean, however, that a (gifted) teacher is expected to know and teach about everything. Further, even the best of teachers can make mistakes (or so I’ve observed). This is a special problem for pastors who are often expected to give “answers” for many issues that touch upon Christian faith¹, especially from younger or new Christians. One example of where such difficulty arose: A prominent pastor from a large megachurch once gave a strong special sermon on morality and sexuality for couples who were married or planned to be. At the end of the service he asked people who wanted prayer and special help to come forward after his closing prayer. When he raised his eyes, a line of people went all the way to the back door. He was startled by the questions that followed about what the Bible said about this and that. And what he really know about all that?
(5) There’s a danger for even a very intelligent teacher/preacher to say–or imply–things that go far past what he knows. And indirectly suggest that the Bible says things it really doesn’t. End-times scenarios are particularly difficult.
(6) The only general caution I would suggest is to regularly suggest interpretations–as best you can–as you, yourself, continue to educate yourself as to what real Truth can be uncovered.
(7) And not be afraid, when necessary, to say “I don’t know.”
¹ This is that other, more familiar perhaps, use of the word “faith” (see previous post).