Eight Traits of Good Teaching

David Mathis: It’s a very short book on spiritual leadership — just a booklet, really — but the walls of this small cave are lined with gold. You won’t even need a pickax to pluck off a nugget. In The Marks of a Spiritual Leader, John Piper points to an “inner circle” and an “outer circle” of traits. The inner circle is “the absolute bare essentials,” or what must happen in the leader’s own soul if he is going to take even the first step in leading others spiritually. These include prayer, meditating on God’s word, and acknowledging your helplessness. The outer circle, then, is comprised of “qualities that characterize both spiritual and non-spiritual leaders.” Piper gives 18 of these traits. One is skill in teaching. “It is not surprising to me that some of the great leaders at our church have been men who are also significant teachers. According to 1 Timothy 3:2, anyone who aspires to the office of

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What You Teach Really, Really Matters

John Bloom: Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16) Do you have a communication gifting? Have others commented on how well you speak or write? Do you find yourself dreaming about using your gifts in ministry? Wonderful! We are praying for more herald-labors in the gospel harvest (Matthew 9:38). Consider it strongly. But as you consider, consider this: Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1) When it comes to people being saved, it all hangs on what they believe. So when it comes to teaching, heaven and hell are in the balance. What you teach people really, really matters. You will be judged by what comes out of your mouth and your keyboard. And you will be judged more strictly than others.

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Is Your Church a Learning Community?

David Wells reflects on the fact that apostolic Christianity was shaped into a set of clear teachings and doctrines: “Christianity, in these and texts like them, is described as the faith, the truth, the pattern of sound words, the traditions, the sound doctrine, and what was delivered in the beginning. This is what the apostles taught, it is what they believed, it is what they “delivered” to the church, it is what is “entrusted” to the church. Christians are those who “believe” this teaching, who “know” it, who “have” it, who “stand” in it, and who are “established” in it. The New Testament letters were written to remind believers about their responsibilities in relation to this teaching, this faith that has been delivered to the church in its final and completed form. The apostles, we read, write to “remind” them of it, urge them to “pay close attention” to it, to “stand firm” in it, to “follow” it, to “hold”

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What’s the Difference Between Teaching and Preaching?

R.C. Sproul on the Difference Between Teaching and Preaching: Like prose and poetry, these two terms are better understood as opposite ends of a spectrum, rather than raw opposites. When we write prose we are given to sundry poetic devices, word-plays, metaphors, etc. and when we write poetry we are communicating information. In like manner it is rather difficult if not impossible to teach without preaching to some degree, or to preach without some level of teaching. One way to illustrate the distinction however is to note the difference between the indicative and the imperative. The former tells us what is, the latter tells us what we’re supposed to do. Teaching, obviously, tends toward the indicative while preaching tends toward the imperative. But what if we made the distinction absolute? Would not any teaching utterly bereft of any imperative cause us to yawn, to reply, “So what?” In like manner, were we to drain preaching of all indicative, and be left

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Doctrine and Doxology: Why we must fire boring teachers and preachers

Carl Trueman writes: Preaching on 1 Timothy 1:16-17 on Sunday, I was struck by a number of things.  First, doctrine and worship go together.  Doctrine may often seem a dry word but in fact it is simply the description of who God is and how he has acted.   As Paul reflects in 1 Tim. 1 upon how God has dealt with him, his language becomes exuberant and he speaks of God’s grace `overflowing’ towards him.  Then, able to contain himself no more, he bursts into a doxology.  This is hardly surprising.  The description of God’s actions should naturally call forth worship; and here Paul offers a paradigm of a worshipful response in which he ascribes to God glory and honour, i.e., that to which God’s person and actions entitle him.  Paul’s praise is doctrinal in origin and doctrinal in content.  To state what should be obvious, praise and worship that is neither is simply not praise and worship as the Bible would

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The Dominant Purpose of Jesus’ Ministry

From Kevin DeYoung: James R. Edwards, The Gospel According to Mark: Jesus again [6:6b] embarks on a mission circuit, “teaching from village to village” (1:14, 39; also Matt. 9:35). As earlier, the defining element of his ministry is teaching. Jesus is popularly conceived of as undertaking a ministry of “presence” or of compassion and healing. These were indeed important elements of his ministry, but they do not identify the dominant purpose of his ministry, which, according to Mark, was teaching. The doing of a deed, even the performing of a miracle, does not necessarily exact any commitment from those who behold them. They may, if they choose, remain simply impressed, without considering the possibly significance of the event for their lives. Even if they consider the event further, they may be mistaken in its significance (e.g., 3:22). But teaching involves “the word” (2:2), which affords a clearer and more precise window into Jesus’ person and mission, and with it the possibility of greater

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