The spiritual gift of teaching – What is it?
The spiritual gift of teaching is mentioned in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, and is listed as an office of teacher or pastor-teacher in Ephesians 4. Because the truth of God's Word is of great importance to spiritual growth, the gift of teaching holds important value. Those with the gift of teaching have a special ability to communicate God's principles to others in effective ways.
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The Greek word translated "teach" is didaskalos, which means to "instruct." Just as Jesus taught both His disciples and many others, those with the gift of teaching are called to help other people better know God's truth.
In Ephesians 4:12-13, teaching (along with other leadership offices) is designed "to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." The goals are to equip believers to serve, build up believers, lead toward biblical unity and knowledge, and ultimately to maturity. This maturity leads to truth in love (v. 15).
Though the spiritual gift of teaching can help both unbelievers and believers in Christ, the emphasis is on helping those who are already part of the church to grow in maturity and action. Both growth and application are important. James noted this aspect as well, commanding, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22).
The gift of teaching can be useful in many contexts. People of all ages and backgrounds need to grow in understanding of God's Word and its application. Teaching can take place in a sermon, a class, a home, an office, and many other locations. Teaching can help those behind a desk or behind bars, serve both intellectuals and the illiterate, and change the lives of both mature and new believers.
Some people with the gift of teaching are additionally called to serve as elders or pastors in the local church. First Timothy 3 and Titus 1 both list the ability to teach as essential to those who lead in this role.
How can you know if you have the gift of teaching? One way is to accept volunteer opportunities to teach a small group of people to see how God works through your teaching. While not many should pursue being teachers due to the high accountability involved (James 3:1), those who are called and gifted can use their abilities to change lives for Christ.
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How does God give spiritual gifts? Will God give me the gifts I ask for?
What is my spiritual gift?
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