And He Himself gave some to be…teachers, for the equipping of the saints to the work of ministry, to build up the Body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
The spiritual gift of teaching is one that’s near and dear to my heart, because it’s one of my primary gifts. This gifting is so crucially important to the Church because it allows us to understand and apply God’s Word to our lives in a relevant, meaningful way.
As disciples of Jesus Christ and children of God, the Bible should be absolutely precious to us. According to 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21, the Holy Spirit literally “breathed out” (inspired) the exact things He wanted to communicate to us through human writers (the prophets and apostles as well as their close associates) in the form of an all-sufficient, perfect written Word pointing to Jesus, the living Word. Hebrews 4:12 says that God’s Word is alive and active, and sharper than any sword on Earth, because it’s able to cut us right to our core, and expose the deepest parts of us. Those entrusted with the gift of teaching are called to be good and faithful stewards of the Word who study it, are transformed by it, explain it to others, and help them apply it in a way that transforms their lives as well.
As you might imagine, this is a high calling. James 3:1 says that those who teach are under greater scrutiny from the Lord since they’re responsible for equipping and feeding God’s people with His Word; to those who are given more understanding and insight, more is expected of them. While we should “eagerly desire the more helpful gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31), it’s important to keep in mind that the gift of teaching comes with the responsibility to do it well; to diligently study and meditate on Scripture. This is what Paul encourages Timothy to do when he tells him to “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 Tim. 2:15)
So how do you know if you have this gift? Well for one thing, people with this gift have a deep passion and love for the Bible; they find their peace and joy in reading, studying, meditating on, and envisioning God’s Word for longer periods of time. They hate when verses or doctrines are taken out of context or abused, and can’t stand when the people around them, including themselves, aren’t living out what they’ve read! The key sign of this gift, however, is a burning desire to share what you learn with others and explain the deep spiritual mysteries that were revealed to you in a way others can easily understand and apply. If you have that passion, and others seem to walk away from conversations with you possessing a deeper understanding of the Bible, you might just have this gift, and you’d do well to pray about it and develop it!
Examples include Apollos, Paul, and Timothy