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Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

“Do your best.” This is how the apostle Paul exhorts Timothy and, by extension, Bible teachers today. Many Christians teach within the church. Not all Christians do their best. The best, however, is what God deserves.

The approach a teacher takes to teaching begins with the approach a teacher takes to learning. Doing one’s best to study the biblical text requires a significant commitment—commitment of time, energy, and resources. A Christian who will not make the time to delve deeply into Bible study should not teach. A Christian who will not put forth considerable effort to understand the biblical text should not teach. A Christian who will not invest valuable resources (i.e., money) into understanding how to engage with the Bible better should not teach. If this seems extreme, just consider how much time, effort, and money Christians invest in school, work, entertainment, and hobbies. It should not seem extreme to those who claim the word of God can save the soul to invest significantly in “rightly handling the word of truth.”

Equip

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11–12 ESV

“Equip the saints.” This is what the apostle Paul tells the Ephesian Christians that teachers are supposed to do within the church. The goal of teaching is not to impart information or speak engagingly about the Bible. The goal of teaching is to equip the saints to work effectively as members of the body of Christ. Teachers who do not relate the text of Scripture to the lives of saints are teachers who have failed to teach the way that God requires. The goal of teaching necessitates that teachers prepare not only to teach the text accurately but to teach it applicably.

Entrust

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:2 ESV

“Teach others also.” This is how the apostle Paul exhorts Timothy and, by extension, Bible teachers today. Perhaps the most neglected aspect of teaching in the church is the training of new teachers. Shepherds and evangelists are not only responsible for teaching to equip the saints; they are responsible for teaching to create new teachers. Effective teachers have it as their aim to pass along the passion they possess for studying the word, teaching the word, and equipping the saints.

It does not suffice to have an effective evangelist if he does not teach others how to do what he does, the way he does it. Those who have the skillset and experience to teach effectively must make the time not only to teach but also to train the next generation of effective teachers.