Verse 1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
Now that we have looked at the importance of deeds and faith working together James takes us to a specific danger for all Christians – the tongue.
While this verse before us today could act as a deterrent to those who are called to teach in the Church, it shouldn’t be. It should stand as a caution for sure, but not a scare tactic. Teachers in the early Church were held in high regard and so many may have been vying for a teaching position themselves so other would look up to them. Of course this was prideful and that is one reason that James is giving this sobering reminder.
Teachers weren’t given a clear shot to righteousness. To be a teacher didn’t mean that you were a shoo-in to heaven. In fact James was trying to help them see that it was a greater responsibility than most would want or do well with. It was important that they understood that to be a teacher meant more than just spewing information. The information is what made this role so important and required such a special person.
The topic that each teacher needed to be proficient in was the teachings of Jesus. They needed to be able to show Christ as the Messiah from the Old Testament. But more than any of that they had to be living as Christ. The reason the weight of the role is so heavy is because to falsify any of this information could lead many in a different direction than the path of holiness that Jesus laid out for His followers.
The weight of this role has not changed. The role of teacher of the Word is still very important, maybe even more important. The danger of teaching something that isn’t in line with the Bible is something that every teacher must be aware of. Each word and thought must be weighed carefully to make sure that it isn’t distorting the message in the least way. James points out that teachers are going to be judged more strictly. If nothing else gives us pause about wanting to accept the role of teacher the seriousness of a stricter punishment should.
We, as students, are not free from responsibility though. We are to be learning from the Bible ourselves so we can recognize a false teacher. If we aren’t able to recognize false teaching we won’t know when to flee from wrong teaching.
Making It Personal
Have you ever desired to be a teacher? Does knowing that teachers are going to be more strictly judged cause you to want to stay as just a student? Have you ever found yourself under false teaching?
Making It Personal Kids
What is something that a teacher would say that would not be something Jesus would teach? Have you ever heard someone say something you knew was wrong? How can you learn what is truth?
Father, thank You for setting guidelines so that we will be taught truth. Keep teaching us through Your Spirit so we can be sure we know truth. In Jesus’ name, amen.