Whoever wants to do God’s will can tell whether my teaching is from God or whether I speak on my own. John 7:17 (CEB)
Being a teacher was a popular profession in Jesus time as it is also today. In church gatherings, Bible Studies, small groups, huddles, and one on one discipleship; there is a lot of teaching. Secular teachers dispense knowledge. Teachers and those taught have knowledge of a topic, from drivers education to astrophysics. Jewish and Christian Bible teachers teach doctrine, knowledge of the scriptures; what the scriptures mean and how they apply.
When Jesus was living his earthly life, some people were concerned that his teaching was wrong and that he might be a false or heretical teacher. He told those concerned ones that his teaching came from out of God, rather than from himself.
For those investigating him and his teaching, he said that God is the common denominator: If a person is desiring God, desiring God’s path, has passion in their heart to know God; then they will recognize God in Jesus’ teaching. If you truly desire God, you will recognize God in someone’s teaching.
Conversely, if someone’s pursuit and passion is doctrinal purity to the detriment of desiring God, and that person is so invested in certain doctrinal interpretations and even traditions; then a different interpretation or application of scriptures might be deemed threatening to them and stamped heretical, in the name of doctrinal purity.
Today, we can all fall into the trap of being more enamored with our doctrines, the way we believe or make sense of the Bible, rather than being in love with God.
There is a difference between a teacher who just teaches well, from whom you take away something good and a teacher who’s teaching comes from out of God. We need our teachers to give us something to take away from them. We need to leave the class room or learning table with something. Teaching is not an entertainment. Questions and answers, dialogue, homework, written papers, presentations, assignments, and field trips are all part of the learning experience where we take away the learning and internalize it, systematize it, and apply it. This is all well and good.
But teaching that comes from God is a whole other dimension. People said that Jesus was different when he taught because he taught with authority. Jesus was intimately acquainted with The Author. Jesus was going to the well of God and getting right knowledge of God’s word. There was a weight and a power and an anointing on Jesus teaching because there was life from God in it.
None of us are Jesus, but Jesus showed us the way and he is the way to God. Jesus went to the well in his relationship with the Father. We also are called to follow Jesus’ way by going to God and hearing from God, and being changed by God. Teachers need to have God’s heart imparted to them; so that they can impart it to others. That’s the Jesus way of getting your teaching. Do we want to impart from God or from ourselves? Do we want to just pass on what we heard or read someone else say, or do we want to teach from what we heard or saw from God? What if Bible teachers and ministers only taught what they got from God? What if we didn’t teach or preach if we have not been to the well?