The Gift of Teaching

By Dr. Phil Dillingham

Text: Ephesians 4:11

Introduction: One gift many Christians seem to have put on a shelf is that of teaching. Every believer should examine their life to see if they possess this gift.

Teaching is one of the most important gifts the church has been given, for without it, the Bible says; we will be taken captive by the world. (Isaiah 5:13)

We shall begin by studying the concept of teaching in the Old Testament. There, we find six key Hebrew words on teaching us that will give us a meaningful understanding of the subject of teaching:

  1. The Hebrew words “teach” and “learn”.

(1.) Lamad gives the sense of training as well as education. The focus is on knowing and responding to the will of God. (Deuteronomy 31:12-13).

(2.) Yasar means “to discipline” or “to chastise”. It indicates a word or act of correction that results in the education of a learner. Such chastising has the character of loving instruction. (Proverbs 3:11-12).

(3.) Yada means “to know” and often focuses on the ability to distinguish. Such knowledge is personal and practical. Teaching that comes from this knowledge must come from God; we call this revelation. (Psalm 119: 66). God gives knowledge through revelation, and as the Psalm says; through experiences God brings into our lives. (Psalm 119: 65-67).

(4.) Yarah means “to teach”. It is the root from which torah, “law” is derived. Essentially, torah means “teaching” or “instruction,” focusing on how one should conduct oneself in all of life situations. The practical use is found in Proverbs 3:1-2.

(5.) Legah means “learning” and “to receive” or “to acquire”. It focuses on perception, such as: acquiring a perspective. (Proverbs 1:5).

(6.) Sakal means “to understand”, and focuses on intellectual processing. One thinks through a subject to come to an understanding that allows successful application and godly living.

Conclusion: These Hebrew words for teaching and learning give us insight into the biblical concept of the subject. Teaching and learning involves hearing the word of God – from a spiritually mature person and from God. The Word heard; is an instruction designed to form the learner’s godly perceptions. One that expresses the glory of God and the hearer’s loving fear (Awe) of the Lord.