1. QUALITIES OF A TEACHER
a. To what should the teacher direct the students? 1 Corinthians 11:1.
“Teachers are to do more for students than to impart a knowledge of books. Their position as guide and instructor of youth is most responsible; for to them is given the work of moulding mind and character. Those who undertake this work should possess well-balanced, symmetrical characters. They should be refined in manner, neat in dress, careful in all their habits; and they should have that true Christian courtesy that wins confidence and respect. The teacher should be himself what he wishes his students to become.”—The Signs of the Times, March 14, 1900.
b. What spiritual experience is needed? Deuteronomy 10:12.
“Every educator should daily receive instructions from the Great Teacher, and should labor constantly under his guidance. It is impossible for him rightly to understand or to perform his work, unless he shall be much with God in prayer. Only by divine aid, combined with earnest, self-denying effort, can he hope to fill his position wisely and well.”—The Review and Herald, September 22, 1885.
2. BEING EQUIPPED TO TEACH
a. What should be the attitude of a teacher toward the Word? For what purpose? 1 Peter 2:2.
b. What should the leaders in God’s church seek from God? Psalm 145:15. What should they do with this?
“Because [those who are watching for the Lord] know that the Lord is at the door, their zeal is quickened to cooperate with the divine intelligences in working for the salvation of souls. These are the faithful and wise servants who give to the Lord’s household ‘their portion of meat in due season.’ Luke 12:42. They are declaring the truth that is now specially applicable.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 634.
“Our standing before God depends, not upon the amount of light we have received, but upon the use we make of what we have. Thus even the heathen who choose the right as far as they can distinguish it are in a more favorable condition than are those who have had great light, and profess to serve God, but who disregard the light, and by their daily life contradict their profession.”—Ibid., p.239.
c. What was the example of the Bereans in searching the Scriptures? Acts 17:11.
“Oh, that those who minister in holy things would awake, and, like the noble Bereans, search the Scriptures daily! Brethren in the ministry, I entreat of you to study the Scriptures with humble prayer for an understanding heart, that you may teach the way of life more perfectly. Your counsel, prayers, and example must be a savor of life unto life, or you are unqualified to point out the way of life to others.”— Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 343.
“Men, women, and youth, God requires you to possess moral courage, steadiness of purpose, fortitude and perseverance, minds that cannot take the assertions of another, but which will investigate for themselves before receiving or rejecting, that will study and weigh evidence, and take it to the Lord in prayer.”—Ibid., p.130.
3. MENTAL PREPARATION FOR TEACHING
a. What should we ask God to grant us in preparation for sharing truth with others? Colossians 1:9, James 1:5.
“Set aside a portion of each day for a study of the Scriptures and communion with God. Thus you will obtain spiritual strength, and will grow in favor with God. He alone can give you noble aspirations; He alone can fashion the character after the divine similitude. Draw near to Him in earnest prayer, and He will fill your hearts with high and holy purposes, and with deep, earnest longings for purity and clearness of thought.”—Gospel Workers, p. 100.
“Ministers who would labor effectively for the salvation of souls must be Bible students and men of prayer. It is a sin to be neglectful of the study of the Word while attempting to teach it to others. Those who feel the worth of souls realize that too much is at stake for them to dare to be careless in regard to their advancement in divine knowledge, and they flee to the stronghold of truth, whence they may obtain wisdom, knowledge, and strength to work the works of God. They will not rest without an unction from on high.”—Ibid., p.99.
b. What danger do those face who do not make appropriate preparation and who are spiritually unstable? 2 Peter 3:16.
“Some who enter the ministry do not feel the burden of the work. They have false ideas of the qualifications of a minister. They think that it requires little close study of the sciences or of the word of God in order to gain a fitness for the ministry. Some who are teaching present truth are so deficient in Bible knowledge that it is difficult for them to quote a text of Scripture correctly from memory. By blundering along in the awkward manner that they do, they sin against God. They wrest the Scriptures, and make the Bible say things that are not written therein.
“Some think that an education or a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures is of little consequence if only a man has the Spirit. But God never sends His Spirit to sanction ignorance. He may and does pity and bless those who are so situated that it is impossible for them to obtain an education; and sometimes He condescends to make His strength perfect in their weakness. But it is the duty of such to study His word.”—Ibid., pp.105, 106.
4. MEETING OPPOSITION
a. What must those who teach the gospel be prepared for? Jeremiah 12:5.
“Those who do not love to study, are ever in great danger of becoming dwarfs in spiritual and mental growth. They consider that they have a moderate understanding of Scripture subjects, and they cease to investigate, cease to plow deep that they may obtain all the treasures of knowledge possible. Instead of cultivating studious habits, they yield to inclination, and are content to skim the surface, without going with energy to the bottom of the question under consideration. Those who have this superficial manner of study would not be prepared to meet an opponent in discussion should one oppose them. They penetrate only deep enough into a subject to meet the present emergency, and to conceal the real ignorance of their lazy minds.”—The Review and Herald, April 6, 1886.
“The Holy Spirit’s work is to guide into all truth. When you depend on the word of the living God with heart and mind and soul, the channel of communication will be unobstructed. Deep, earnest study of the word under the guidance of the Holy Spirit will give you fresh manna, and the same Spirit will make its use effectual. . . . Those who make persevering efforts in this direction, putting the mind to the task of comprehending God’s word, are prepared to be laborers together with God.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 163, 164.
b. What spiritual lesson can we learn from David’s refusal to use Saul’s armour to meet Goliath? 1 Samuel 17:39.
“Young men should search the Scriptures for themselves. They are not to feel that it is sufficient for those older in experience to find out the truth; that the younger ones can accept it from them as authority. . . .
“No man should be relied upon to think for us. No matter who he is, or in what position he may be placed, we are not to look upon any man as a criterion for us. We are to counsel together, and to be subject one to another; but at the same time we are to exercise the ability God has given us, in order to learn what is truth. Each one of us must look to God for divine enlightenment. We must individually develop a character that will stand the test in the day of God.”—Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 109, 110.
5. MAKE THEM YOUR OWN
a. What inspiring example was left by Ezra the scribe? Ezra 7:10.
“In order to make full proof of their ministry, those who open the word of God to others should search the Scriptures diligently. They should not be content to use other men’s thoughts, but should dig for truth as for hid treasures. While it is perfectly right to gather ideas from other minds, they should not be satisfied to take those ideas and repeat them in a poll-parrot manner. Make these ideas your own, brethren; frame the arguments yourselves, from your own study and research. Do not borrow the productions of other men’s brains and pens, and recite them as a lesson; but make the most of the talents, the brain power, that God has given you.”—The Review and Herald, April 6, 1886.
“By rising early and economizing their moments, ministers can find time for a close investigation of the Scriptures. They must have perseverance, and not be thwarted in their object, but persistently employ their time in a study of the word, bringing to their aid the truths which other minds, through wearing labor, have brought out for them, and with diligent, persevering effort, prepared to their hand. There are ministers who have been laboring for years, teaching the truth to others, while they themselves are not familiar with the strong points of our position. I beg of such to have done with their idleness. It is a continual curse to them. God requires them to make every moment fruitful of some good to themselves or to others. ‘Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.’ ‘He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.’”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 500.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What should a teacher be in order to best fill his position? How does he achieve this?
2. How did the Bereans find “meat in due season”? How can we?
3. What habits must be cultivated by those who teach others?
4. Why must we study deeply for ourselves in order to be able to teach?
5. How can we improve the quality of our teaching in every department?