Teachers Approved by God

According to Scripture, here are traits of true and godly teachers. This side of eternity no one except Jesus will exhibit these in full maturity. However, teachers/leaders should be marked by these more so than others around them:

  1. Honor/love God and men simultaneously – Do I bless God while cursing men? In other words, do I spend my time attacking, dismissing, or putting down other people, ministers, or ministries who are co-laborers for God? (James 3:9) See also Mark 9:38-41. (Note: There are Scriptural examples of criticizing “false teachers,” “false brethren,” and “false doctrine,” but these seem to be done with the utmost seriousness and care, and it doesn’t appear that there was ever a heart to do this to malign or “one-up” someone else).
  2. Meek and humble – Does my life and conduct show a meekness and humility, where I’m not spending my time and energy esteeming myself or my ministry above other ministers and ministries? (James 3:13)
  3. Not envious or self-seeking – Am I acting out of envy or self-seeking with my ministry, causing me to boast of myself and ministry, and causing me to dismiss, pervert, or minimize the truth for my own private agenda? (James 3:14). Similarly, is my ministry producing confusion and evil because of my own envy and self-seeking? (James 3:16)
  4. Godly motives – Do I teach and minister with pure motives to produce godliness, or do I have extra agendas with my ministry? (James 3:17)
  5. Encourage other teachers – Do I encourage other Christian teachers and ministers, promoting peace and unity? (James 3:17) Do I speak gently of other Christian teachers and ministers? (James 3:17) Do I show grace, and not a tendency toward fault-finding, toward other ministers and ministries? (James 3:17)
  6. Correctable – Am I willing to yield and be corrected? Have I taken my “I-have-to-be-right” to the cross? (Proverbs 9:8; Acts 18:26; James 3:17)
  7. Good fruits – Has my ministry produced good fruits, not promoting ungodly divisiveness, factions, or hypocrisy? (James 3:17) Am I a person of integrity, showing good fruit/character in my own words and deeds? (see Elder Qualifications)
  8. Teach according to Scripture (2 Timothy [esp. 2:15; 3:14-17]; Heb. 13:7)
  9. Lead people to Jesus/Scripture – Do I lead people to go beyond me and go directly to Scripture and Jesus? Do I cultivate dependence on Jesus/Scripture not on me? (Acts 17:11; 1 Cor. 1-4; Gal. 1:6-10; Heb. 13:7)
  10. Recognize the weight/responsibility of teaching (James 3:1)
  11. Driven to find and proclaim truth – this will look like a desire to learn, study, research God’s Word (Acts 18:24-26; 2 Timothy 2:15)
  12. Clear communicator (Acts 18:24-25; 1 Cor. 14:9; 2 Cor. 4:2)
  13. Careful/precise with words – e.g. not sloppy with words or inserting new definitions on established words (Ecclesiastes 12:10; Matt 12:36)

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