2 Kinds of Teachers

“About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.” – John 7:14-18

According to Jesus, there are basically two kinds of teachers. Paul echoes this saying in 1 Corinthians 8:1, saying “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up”.

Knowledge teachers puff themselves and their hearers up with pride. They echo the scholars so that you know how smart they are. Their authority is from men as they went to the right schools, took the right classes, read the right books, and got the right degrees. The result of knowledge teachers is that they are theological, but not relational. Knowledge teachers produce critics who spend their days tearing others down.

Love teachers build themselves and their hearers up with love. Love teachers echo the Spirit. Love teachers speak with authority that is from God. This is precisely how Jesus taught according to Matthew 7:28-29, “the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” Love teachers produce Christians who spend their days building others up.

There is nothing wrong with studying or getting a degree. But, there is something wrong with become proud and theological instead of loving and relational. When instructing others in the Word, it is important to do so out of love and humility, not pride in order to give all glory to God, not self.

How about you? Do you listen mainly to knowledge or love teachers? Are you more prone to tear others down or build them up?

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