Should I Teach or Should I Go Now?

One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it. I encourage all Christians to find opportunity to teach someone else. This doesn’t have to be an official church role, it can be as informal as you like. But teach.

At the same time, a lot of people who are out there teaching should probably stop.

Although I just gave seemingly contradictory advice, I am merely quoting the Bible. Observe:

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–Hebrews 5:12

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.–James 3:1

One one hand, believers are being lectured for not teaching; on the other hand, believers are being told to stop being teachers! What gives?


The context in Hebrews is about Melchizedek and the changes to the priesthood brought in by Jesus Christ. Jesus brings in a new and better covenant, fulfilling the types and shadows of the old. They’ve been in it, they’ve been taught it, but now they are reverting. They are becoming like babies again needing milk. The writer of Hebrews can’t give them any meat because they will choke on it. He’s frustrated with them. They’ve been in it long enough to be experts and out teaching others, instead they need to be taught their ABC’s again.

The context of James is coming out of chapter 2–faith without works is dead. Many people were claiming faith as an intellectual thing, while lacking all practical obedience. James confronted their shallowness. Chapter 3 talks about the difficulty of taming the tongue. If you aren’t living up to the claims of faith, don’t put yourself in as an expert on the faith! If you aren’t living it, if your tongue isn’t controlled by faith, then please, for the love of all things holy, pure, and good and for the general good of the church, SHUT UP!

There are people who should not teach, they are not mature enough. Therefore, they should keep their mouths shut. However, instead of moping about your immaturity, put the time in so that eventually you can be a teacher.

Being a teacher is a responsibility to be taken seriously. There is greater judgment on a person for assuming the role of telling others what faith is about. It is to be taken seriously. It’s why Paul says officially recognized teachers in the church should be tested first, not a novice, not a new convert, someone who has been around a while.

At the same time, if you’ve been around a while and know some stuff, you should be finding someone to teach. God doesn’t give you spiritual maturity so you can isolate yourself in a cave. He gave it to you so you can edify others.

Teaching the Bible is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. It’s a responsibility we should all desire to take, as long as we’re willing to grow in it first. If you aren’t going to do it, please don’t teach it.

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


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