James once said,
Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1)
Many Christians like the prestige that comes from being a Bible teacher. But there is real danger when they think they know what they’re talking about, and they don’t. That is only compounded when their motives become twisted.
Paul deals with both these issues when telling Timothy to deal with these false teachers. He said,
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. (5)
In the NIV, it seems to say that the goal of Paul’s command to Timothy to warn these false teachers is that they would develop a heart of love, springing from a pure heart, good conscience, and a sincere faith. It’s also possible, though, that Paul was contrasting the false teacher’s teaching with his, and he was telling Timothy that the goal of true teaching should be to produce love in its hearers, coming from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
Either way, it seems here that these false teachers were no longer operating out of love, and had furthermore abandoned a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Many in fact seemed to preach out of a desire to gain money and ultimately, out of a love of the world. (6:3-10). This ironically despite the fact that they were teaching a form of asceticism to their own people (4:2-3). These men also seemed to take great delight in stirring up arguments and creating conflict (6:3-5), rather than promoting the love and unity of Christ that comes from the true gospel.
And again, their teaching was corrupt, the reason being that they truly didn’t know what they were talking about. Paul said of them,
They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. (7)
For these teachers, they seemed to be turning to the law of Moses and teaching it to the Ephesian church, while failing to understand the law’s purpose. The law, Paul says, is not meant for those who are righteous, that is those who have been made righteous by God through faith. Rather, it is for those who are unrighteous, to point out their sin and turn them to God. (8-11)
These teachers didn’t understand this however, and were leading people astray as a result.
Many people today have the same problem as these teachers. They confidently affirm and teach a lot of things concerning the Bible. But the truth is, they have no idea what they’re talking about and people are being led into astray by their false teaching.
How about you? Are you a pastor or teacher in the church? Do you lead a Bible study? A Sunday school? What kind of teacher are you?
What are your motives? Pride? Respect? Or love?
And are you putting the necessary time into your preparation. More importantly, is the Word an important part of your day every day? Do you truly know the Bible well, or are you confidently teaching things you truly know nothing about?
Not everyone should be a teacher. Remember, you will be judged for what you teach.
What will Jesus say to you when you stand before him on the day of judgment?