Burdens of Teaching the Bible

Text: James 3:1

The previous lesson focused on the blessings of teaching the Bible. We need to look at the “rest of the story” – not to discourage us from teaching, but we must recognize that there are burdens/responsibilities that come with this. So in this lesson, we will consider the burdens that come with teaching the Bible.

Greater Accountability

  • Those who teach will incur a stricter judgment (James 3:1) – through our teaching, we can lead others astray (Matthew 15:14)
  • We will be held accountable by God (Ezekiel 3:17-18; 2 John 9)
  • We will be held accountable by others, often in the form of opposition (Acts 22:21-22)

Our Lives Must Be Exemplary

  • Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their hypocrisy (Matthew 23:13-33) – even though what they taught was right (Matthew 23:2-3), they were still condemned
  • Jesus was the perfect example for us in this regard (1 Peter 2:21-22; John 8:29)
  • Paul presented himself as an example (2 Thessalonians 3:7; 1 Corinthians 11:1)
  • Elders are to be examples (Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 5:3)
  • Preachers are to be examples (1 Timothy 4:12)
  • All Christians are to be examples (Matthew 5:16)
  • We cannot expect others to heed our instruction to follow Christ if we are not doing that ourselves

The Message Must Not Change

  • The fact that the message does not change is one of the blessings of teaching the Bible – however, with this fact comes a great responsibility on our part
  • We must be sure we speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11) – those in the first century were prohibited from changing the message (Galatians 1:8-9); so are we

Error Can Creep in Unnoticed

  • Proponents of error do not announce their intention to deceive (Matthew 7:15; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Jude 12) – those who are deceived are those who are unsuspecting (Romans 16:18)
  • Therefore, teachers have the responsibility to help others recognize error (cf. Hebrews 5:12, 14) – more than just recognizing it, we must refute error (Titus 1:9; 2 Corinthians 10:5); not enough to tell people something is wrong, we must show why it is wrong

Error Can Be Taught Innocently

  • Some who teach error may be intentionally deceiving others (Matthew 24:24) – others may simply have been deceived themselves (2 Timothy 3:13); it is possible for one to be sincere, but wrong (Acts 18:24-26)
  • Therefore, we must examine ourselves and our teaching (1 Timothy 4:16)
  • We must help others to clearly understand the difference between truth and error (1 John 4:1-6) – not about one’s motives, but the message (Acts 17:11)

Truth Always Has Opposition

  • Jesus was opposed for His teaching (John 1:11) – His followers will be as well (John 15:18-20); examples of this throughout the book of Acts (Acts 4:1-3; 5:40; 7:57-8:3; 14:19; 16:22-24; etc.)
  • We need to be willing to defend the truth (1 Peter 3:15) – even when we face opposition (1 Peter 3:14, 16-17)

Conclusion

  • There are responsibilities/burdens that come with teaching the Bible
  • This is not meant to discourage us – but we must take our responsibility seriously
  • We need to teach the word of God as He has revealed it, regardless of the consequences in this life

Adapted from a chapter in Success at Bible Teaching by Sam Binkley, Jr. and Martin M. Broadwell (p. 35-40).


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