OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


            A Bible class must have a teacher.  The teacher’s main job is to teach, but a teacher does so much more.  In a previous article, we saw that a teacher prays, a teacher imparts knowledge, a teacher inspires his students, and a teacher provides an example for his students to follow.  In this article, we want to look at six more things a teacher does.

            A teacher is a person who guides another in his/her Christian life.  The world is an extremely large and evil place in which to live.  The world calls individuals to walk down roads that are dark and dangerous.  The roads that the world offers do not lead to the destination of heaven.  This is where a teacher plays an important part in another’s life.  The teacher points the student in the way he should go.  The apostle Paul had to do this with a group of men in the city of Ephesus.  “And it came to pass that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus:  and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?  And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.  And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?  And they said, Unto John’s baptism.  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied (Acts 19:1-6).

            Second, a teacher is one who molds the life of the student.  She knows that the Bible can transform the heart and life of her students (Rom. 12:2).  As she teaches, she seeks to mold the students into the image of Christ just a little bit more (Rom. 8:29).  Every lesson is viewed as a molding process.   She pushes here.  She pushes there.  She rubs.  She pushes in.  She pulls out.  Slowly, over time, the child begins to take shape.  She begins to see Christ being lived in the life of her students.  In fact, her students develop this motto:  “For to me to live is Christ…” (Phil. 1:21).

            Third, a teacher challenges his students.  Growth often comes by pushing one beyond his comfort zone.  It comes by requiring more effort than the student believes he can give.  The challenge might involve acquiring more knowledge.  It might involve the exercise of faith in a promise of God.  It could involve an area of service.  Jesus often challenged His listeners.  He did so several times in the Sermon on the Mount.  One of those challenges is found in Matthew 5:43-44.  “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that bless you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”  Wow!  What a challenge!  This is what teaching is all about.

            Fourth, a teacher often has to discipline his students.  Some students can be stubborn and difficult.  Their hearts are not eager to receive the teachings of the instructor.  They rebel.  They act out.  They do that which is in opposition to the teaching.  At these times, the teacher must immediately and aggressively discipline the student.  This discipline might involve a mild rebuke, or, it could involve stronger measures.  As Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, Peter rebelled.  He did not want Jesus to wash his feet.  Listen to how Jesus responded:  “…Jesus answered, If I wash thee not, thou has no part with me” (John 13:8b).  That was a very strong statement, but Peter needed to understand the gravity of his actions.  Peter was a student who needed to be disciplined.

            Fifth, a teacher watches.  There are certain times when a teacher does nothing but observe.  He watches the decisions of the student.  He watches as those decisions are put into action.  He watches the student make mistakes.  He watches as the student gets frustrated and embarrassed.  The teacher knows that this is part of the learning process.  The student must learn to think and problem-solve under pressure.  He must learn to overcome fear and frustration.  He must learn patience.  He must have pride removed from his heart.  Jesus knew Peter would deny him (Mark 14:30; Luke 22:31).  He saw Peter as he went through those dark hours (Luke 22:61).  Peter was allowed to learn some very important lessons with no interference from the Master.  Peter became a better disciple because of this.

            Sixth, a teacher changes lives.  This is a huge assertion, but each of knows that this is the case.  We can all look back in our lives to a teacher who made a positive impact on our life.  Had it not been for that teacher, our life would have been worse.  The teacher changed our mind about a belief we maintained.  The teacher worked with us and changed a detrimental behavior.  The teacher made a difference by making us different.  The twelve who were called to be disciples of Christ were radically altered by their Teacher, and others could tell it.  “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

            Yes, teachers teach, but they do so much more.  They alter minds.  They change behaviors.  They mold their students in the image of Christ.  Teachers your job is of vital importance.  James knew this.  Thus, he wrote:  “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (James 3:1).