We see in this command of Christ the importance of teaching. Teaching is basic in the formation of the Church. For this reason, God has given teachers to the Body of Christ. They are necessary in order that we might grow up into Him in all things (Eph 4:11-15).

A. The Definition Of Terms

The main Greek word which is used in regard to the teaching ministry is didasko. The root word simply means “to teach” or “to instruct”. It is the process of explaining something. By this process, knowledge or doctrine is given or imparted to another.

B. Origin Of The Ministry

There have always been teachers among the people of God in one form or another. Parents taught their children. Moses taught the leaders in Israel the principles by which they could rule the people. The people were taught the ways of God by the priests.

After their captivity by the Babylonians, the people of Israel were taught mainly by the scribes in the synagogues. It was the duty of the scribes to study and explain the Scriptures. During Christ’s day, the scribes were held in very high esteem.

C. Christ: The Master Teacher

In many places in Scripture, Jesus is called “Master” or “Teacher” (John 3:2; 13:13). We can easily see why: Jesus spent much of His time teaching the crowds of people (Matt 4:23; 5:2; 9:35; 11:1; 13:54; 21:23;22:16;Mark 10:1; Luke 20:21).

There was something about the teaching of Jesus that was very different. He taught with power, authority and the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Matt 7:28, 29). His words were Spirit and life because He spoke only what He had received from the Father (John 6:63; 7:16; 8:28).

As a master teacher, Jesus relied on the words of His Father and the work of the Spirit. That was the key to His ministry. It is also the key for anyone today who seeks to be a successful teacher of God’s Word.

D. Teaching Levels In The New Testament

Every believer should be teaching others about the Christian life (Matt 28:20; Col 3:16). However, that does not make every believer a teacher in the Church.

Every father and every elder (l Tim 3:2) should be able to instruct others in the ways of God. But again, that does not mean they are all teachers in the Body of Christ.

There is a specific calling and ministry for teaching in the Church. It is one of the five-fold ministry gifts that operate at the leadership level (Eph 4:11; lCor 12:28, 29).

Paul, it seems, was a teacher before he became an apostle (Acts 11:26; 18:11; 2Tim 1:11). When he was not active in apostolic ministry, he returned to this function (Acts 15:35). We also know there were other teachers in the church at Antioch {Acts 13:1).

Teaching was looked upon as a very important ministry in the early church. It was taken very seriously, and the position carried with it a great sense of responsibility (James 3:1).

E. A Special Note On The Teaching Ministry Gift

By the very sentence structure of Ephesians 4:11, we can see that there is a close relationship between the ministry gifts of pastor and teacher. However, these two gifts are not the same thing, even though there is a certain amount of overlapping.