The Bible seems to contradict itself. 2 Timothy 3:16 instructs us to teach. But James 3:1 says that not many of us should
presume to be teachers because of the higher standard applied to us.
Jesus resolves this contradiction as he talks about the
teachers of his day in Matthew 23. He
actually defends the Pharisees, telling his followers to do what they say. But in the next breath he says, “but do not
do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
So many of us are eager for the authority conferred upon a
teacher, but we are not ready for the responsibility, and our lives can’t hold
up to the scrutiny to which our pupils subject them.
Any person or institution that would raise up teachers must
first of all assess the integrity of their pupil’s walk and testimony. Conversely, all of us, whether we aspire to
be teachers or not, will do our share of teaching.
It’s unavoidable, whether as parents, or with
our coworkers, or in a more formal context with the title “teacher” next to our
name. As we pass information along to
others, we endeavor to teach them.
Perhaps another reason we’re cautioned against assuming the
role of “teacher” is because, even if we impart the truth, we so often do so
poorly. So little of the information
teachers impart in classrooms is ever retained.
Even the best of teachers, those whose words drip like honey from their
lips, trade in a very inefficient methodology.
The brain is simply not wired to absorb and retain a steady
flow of facts from the lecture podium to the notepad. Studies show that over time, just 10% of
information imparted in this way ever lodges in a person’s gray matter in such
a way that it can be recalled.
Those who would aspire to the high calling of spiritual
teacher should do so recognizing that the classroom is a highly inefficient
Subscribe to Radical Living:
Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.