I’ve already done it.
I’ve taught an interpretation of Scripture that has been totally wrong. Of course, I didn’t know I was wrong as I confidently shared the lesson, sketching it on a white board. I had studied, prayed, and prepared for this lesson! And yet, after some discussion and pouring over Scripture, I learned that I had been totally wrong. How awful is that?
It shut me down for a very long time and made me wonder, how can a person with a desire to teach Scripture ever get over this very realistic fear? Teaching about God is the most terrifying thing for a mere human to do. It’s hard to understand why He allows it – let alone loves it. Our pastor recently expressed it this way, “Teaching Scripture is a powerful, enthralling, and scary gift to be given!” He’s so right.
To top it all off, there’s James 3, which says that not many people should assume to be teachers because teachers are judged more strictly. This warning leads into the well-known passage about our words being deceitful and double-sided. I take James’ warning very seriously and often wish that I wouldn’t long to teach people about God, or feel strongly that He is calling me to do it, or find enormous joy in it. Then I could opt out of this warning and simply pray for all those poor folks who assume they’re teachers…
But I can’t seem to wiggle my way out of this one.
Three things come to mind when I talk to God about this fear:
1. Instead of being my great fear, James 3 must become my great treasure. I must hide it in my heart so that I won’t sin against God. I must kneel before God and say, “Always, always, always show me the truth about my heart, my words, and my teaching! Please don’t let me be deceived. Please don’t let me deceive.”
2. I must be humble and keep growing. I hope I learn from my mistakes, confess my selfish agendas, and always point to Christ (and not myself) as the source of all truth.
3. I must rejoice that God’s Word is perfect, that Jesus will never mislead anyone, and that the Holy Spirit is the perfect teacher. Every day, God will shed more light on my path. I can’t beat myself up that I didn’t see it yesterday. I must rejoice that I see it today!
I find great encouragement from a story in Acts 18 about a man names Apollos…
“At that time a Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus. He was an educated man from Alexandria. He knew the Scriptures very well. 25 Apollos had been taught the way of the Lord. He spoke with great power. He taught the truth about Jesus. But he only knew about John’s baptism.26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. Priscilla and Aquila heard him. So they invited him to their home. There they gave him a better understanding of the way of God.”
May God surround me with Priscilla’s and Aquila’s!
And may I, in turn, be like them to every Apollos who comes my way.
What are your thoughts about today’s post?