Shepherd His Sheep
The Biblical Foundation of “Teaching”
 By Dr. Timothy Lin
The Biblical Foundation of “Teaching”

​Raising a child withou teaching is the father's fault;
Teaching a child without discipline is the instructor's sloth

     “This renowned Chinese adage is from the Three Character Classic by Confucius. From it two other maxims evolved: “tigers do not breed puppies,” and “from strict instructors come remarkable pupils.” Stern teaching and discipline lead to remarkable pupils and tiger cubs (instead of puppies). It is no wonder that the Apostle Paul claimed that his mission as an “appointed apostle” was to be “a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.” (1Timothy 2:7)

     Nonetheless, the eschatological churches have completely erased these ancient words of wisdom from their treasure trove of knowledge. The renowned adage has been revised to say “Raising a child without teaching isn’t the father’s fault; teaching a child without discipline isn’t the instructor’s sloth.” Consequently, churches today are filled with members who “need milk, not solid food!” (Hebrews 5:12) Tiger cubs turn into puppies, and remarkable pupils are reduced to inferior apprentices. Is this a result of “raising (a child) without teaching,” or “teaching without discipline?” Most likely both! Some churches would take in members, but neglect to teach or shepherd them, claiming euphemistically, that “God will provide!” Some churches do have teaching organizations or activities in place, but they are nothing more than a façade! Getting to the heart of the matter, the problem stems from not knowing what a church is all about.

     So, what is a church? Jesus Christ made this very clear to us when He gave the Great Commission—a church is a place for teaching and learning about God. There are four important action verbs in the Great Commission—“go,” “make disciples,” “baptize,” and “teach.” In other words, a church is God’s school, a training center for God’s people. As such, not only should a church enroll (“go”) and register (“baptize”) members, a church should also hold classes (“teach them to obey”). Many churches have been involved in “enrollment” and “registration,” but have neglected “teaching.” Even though Old and New Testaments both stress the importance of biblical teaching, often churches have ignored or overlooked this emphasis. As a result, many so-called “Christians” fail to grasp or understand that it is Jesus Christ’s expectation for them to teach others about God and His commands, as He had said, “whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 5:19b) Praise the LORD! Those who are willing to teach God’s commands will not only be included in the kingdom of heaven, but will also be called “great!” Needless to say, in order for one to teach others, he himself needs to be taught first.

     Listed below are the outlines of the teaching ministries of Jesus Christ and early churches. It is my hope that they are helpful to all brothers and sisters who follow and love Christ.

I. The teaching ministry of Jesus Christ:
     1.    The importance of teaching (Mt. 4:23; 5:2; 9:35; 11:1-28:20)
     2.    The authority of teaching (Mt. 7:28, 29; 11:7; Lk 5:17; Jn 7:16, 17; 8:28, 38)
     3.    The methods of teaching (Mk. 4:22, 33, Mt. 13:3; 21:23, 24, 31; 22:41, 42; 18:2; 19:13, 15)
     4.    The motivation of teaching (Mk. 6:34; Mt. 9:35, 36)
     5.    The results of teaching (Mt. 7:28; 13:54; 22:33; 11:18; Mk 6:6; Lk 4:15, 32; 13:26; 19:47; 20:1) 
     6.    The teacher of teaching (Mt. 5:19; 10:5-15; 23:1-3)

II. The teaching ministry of early churches:
     1.    The emphasis of teaching (Acts 2:42; 15:35; 18:24, 25; 2Ti 2: 2)
     2.    The basis of teaching (Acts 4:2; Rom 15:4; 2Ti 3:16; 1Jn 2:27)
     3.    The fervor of teaching (Acts 5:42; 8: 30-31; 18:25)
     4.    The purposes of teaching (Acts 11:26; 1Co 14:26; Eph 6: 4; Col. 2: 7; 1Th 4: 1, 9; Tit 2:12; Heb. 6:12)

     Four Nevers and Four Musts of Teaching the Bible

I. The Four Nevers
     1.    The teaching must NEVER be in conflict with the thematic truth 
     2.    The teaching must NEVER be in conflict with the other Scripture passages
     3.    The teaching must NEVER be in conflict with the literal meaning of the passage
     4.    The teaching must NEVER reverse the importance of the messages (NEVER put the trivial above the                   important truth)

II. The Four Musts
     1.    The contents of the teaching MUST be derived only from the biblical truth in it entirety – Initiation  
     2.    The teaching MUST be always rooted in God and His eternal purpose as outset – Transcendence 
     3.    The teaching MUST be in accordance with the revelation of God’s Word – Accuracy
     4.    The teaching MUST lead people to realize and experience God – Application