December 18, 2017

Every Christian is a Teacher

Thomas Overmiller

What common feature do you find in the following four verses taken at intervals from the book of Acts?

  • And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7).
  • But the word of God grew and multiplied (Acts 12:24)
  • And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks (Acts 19:10).
  • So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed (Acts 19:20).

These verses highlight a noteworthy phenomenon that Luke recorded from the first century church – that the influence of the Word of God expanded exponentially. It expanded citywide in Jerusalem and as far as the imperial city of Rome. How did this happen?

The Word of God expanded exponentially.

The ministry of Paul, and other apostles, certainly facilitated the expanding influence of Scripture. But their ministries alone did not produce such wonderful results. The key to the rapid expansion of Scripture is the faithful teaching ministry of unheralded church members, simple disciples of Jesus Christ teaching the gospel and the whole counsel of God to other members of society – one person at a time.

As a church shepherd, I am responsible to motivate and equip church members to engage in this phenomenal work of gospel ministry. Ephesians 4:11-12 makes this very clear.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

And what is this “work of the ministry?” What does Hebrews 5:12 say?

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

I believe that the “work of the ministry” is primarily the teaching ministry, and that every church member should be a teacher.

So what should they be teaching?

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

This ministry first includes Bible teaching that results in Christian baptisms. (We sometimes call this evangelism.) But this ministry of teaching also includes Bible teaching that results in conscientious obedience to everything else that Jesus commanded, whether obvious or obscure. (We sometimes call this mentoring or discipleship.)

As more members of a church embrace their responsibility to teach the Word of God to other people in their various spheres of life, the Word of God expands exponentially. This does not happen through printed publications, radio, television, or internet – though these mediums of communication provide powerful platforms for broadcasting Scripture. The rapid, exponential expansion of the influence of the Word of God occurs as personally committed, convinced church members embrace their responsibility to teach the Word of God to others on a regular, individual basis. And it is the solemn obligation of pastors to motivate and equip them to do this phenomenal work.

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2).

Thomas Overmiller serves as pastor for Faith Baptist Church in Corona, NY and blogs at Shepherd Thoughts. This article first appeared at Shepherd Thoughts and is used with permission.

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