Language can condemn
The first reason we need to control our language is because language can condemn us. Language can condemn us.
There are so many occasions when the language can condemn us. Today, we want to consider a specific way in which language can condemn us. Language can condemn us if we teach the things of God wrong.
We read James 3: 1,2.
1 My brothers, do not be many teachers, knowing that we will suffer a more severe judgment, 2 for we are all lacking in many things.
How great is the privilege and responsibility of teaching the things of God! However, teaching things wrongly or with the wrong heart can also lead to condemnation!
In this passage, God declares to us, through James, that whoever teaches the things of God to others will be subjected to a more severe judgment. Therefore, no one should take this responsibility lightly.
It is very important to understand that when James says: “do not be many to be teachers”, this sentence does not mean that God does not want teachers in the Church. Indeed, it is God’s plan for there to be masters, teachers, and doctors in the church. We see this truth repeatedly.
For example, the Bible teaches that the Holy Ghost gives the gift of teaching. In Ephesians 4, we read that Jesus gave pastor-doctors as a gift to the Church.
Paul declares that he was required to preach, in the form of evangelization:
“Because if I evangelize, I must not boast, since necessity is imposed on me; and woe to me if I don’t evangelize! ” (1 Corinthians 9:16)
In Deuteronomy 6, and also in Ephesians 6, every father is called to teach the things of God to his children.
In 1 Timothy 3, Paul declares that it is a good thing if a man wishes to serve as a bishop. Teaching is a major part of the bishop’s role. Therefore, it is good and necessary that there be teachers in the Church.
So when James declares “don’t be many teachers,” he is not saying that it is not a good thing to be a teacher.
Rather, James is warning us of the danger of wanting to teach without a clear call from God, or without good preparation. He says “my brothers” and therefore is talking to those who claim to be true believers. He’s saying, “Don’t be in a hurry to teach, because your words can condemn you if you’re wrong.” It is a grave sin to teach the things of God wrong. So don’t rush to be a teacher.
What does James mean by the term master? The Greek word he uses is “didaskalos”, which is translated “teacher” and “rabbi” in the Gospels. So he is probably speaking mainly of teachers recognized by the Church. It is not good to be in a hurry to be recognized by others as one who teaches the Word of God.
Remember that not all teaching that is done is public teaching. In addition to the teachings being given to the whole church, or to church groups, there are many examples of believers teaching in an informal way. For example, one can teach the Bible informally to a group of friends, just as a more mature believer can teach a younger believer in the faith face to face. When we evangelize, we are teaching God’s truths to someone. There are so many ways in which one can become a master.
So why does James, guided by the Holy Spirit, consider it necessary to warn us not to be in a hurry to be teachers? What is it that might attract a person to want to teach?
Teaching can be an important way of self-esteem and to be esteemed by others. By teaching, one can seek honor, one can seek to satisfy one’s pride.
Typically, those who teach know more about the topic they are explaining than those who listen to them. Thus, teaching can be a way to make others see you as someone who is highly educated on the subject they teach and, in this way, that teacher can feel important.
We see this sin described by Jesus when he spoke of the rabbis, or teachers of the Jews, who loved the honor they received from others because of their role.
There are people who like to have something to say. For such a person, teaching is a way to satisfy his desire to speak. This is absolutely the wrong reason for wanting to teach.
So, James is warning us against the danger of teaching for the wrong reasons. Whenever we have the opportunity to speak about the things of God, that is, to teach, we should examine our motivation.
Let’s look at an example of some who taught for wrong reasons in 1 Timothy 1:
“6 Some have deviated from these things and indulged in nonsense talk. 7 They want to be doctors of the law but in reality they don’t know what they say or what they affirm with certainty. ” (1 Timothy 1: 6-7)
Now let’s go back to James 3: 1. Giacomo warns us:
“Do not be many to be teachers, knowing that we will suffer a more severe judgment”
The judgment for those who teach will be more severe, and therefore, the sentence for those who teach wrong things will be a severe sentence.
We must be cautious before putting ourselves in a position to teach others precisely because our words can doom us if we fail. We find this same principle in James 1:19 “let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” We must be ready to hear the Word of God, and slow to announce it. We must be slow in the sense that, before speaking, we must be very careful to say things in a right and true way, faithful to what the Bible declares and we must have pure reasons.
Since it is so dangerous to teach in the wrong way, or with the wrong motivation, what is the solution? Should we all avoid becoming teachers?
No, the solution is not in keeping silent, it is rather in being careful to speak correctly about God’s truths, and with a humble heart. It is important to take the role of teacher seriously, whether it can be a one-on-one teaching or a teaching in front of several people.
Clearly, wanting to teach another with the purpose of feeling important is always wrong. However, it is also wrong to teach without being well prepared. It is wrong to want to give one’s opinion, rather than faithfully reporting God’s truths.
Therefore, it is important that those who teach, both occasionally and very regularly, pray each time before speaking of the things of God: Oh Lord, guide me not to say anything of mine, only of Your truths, and in a clear and faithful way to Bible.
However, it is not enough just to pray. We must also strive to know the Word of God more and more, in order to be able to say only what faithfully reflects It, and we must also strive to prepare ourselves in a way to teach faithfully the Word.
the responsibility of those who teach
The Bible repeatedly teaches us the great responsibility of those who teach. For example, in Ezekiel 33, the prophet, who is a type of teacher, is compared to a watchman, who will be found guilty if he does not warn people of the coming judgment.
In Acts 20, when Paul speaks to the elders of Ephesus, he declares that he was not responsible for their blood, because he had announced all of God’s counsel to them. In other words, if he failed to say something, he would be found guilty. of that serious lack.
In Hebrews 13:17, we read that spiritual leaders will be accountable to God for the care of believers who have been assigned to them by God, which consists primarily of teaching them the truths of God. their teaching.
In 2 Peter and Jude we read of God’s terrible judgment against false teachers. Just as it is a grave sin to teach wrong things or in a wrong way, so it is equally very serious to teach a partial and unbalanced message.
Teaching with the right heart and the right motivation means teaching with a clear sense of responsibility to teach the things of God. I pray that we may all increasingly bear the burden of responsibility to announce God’s truths.
A famous preacher of a few centuries ago, John Knox, understood the weight of this role. The first time he went up to the pulpit to preach, he wept so much thinking of the great responsibility he had, that they had to get him down, and that time Knox couldn’t teach. Oh brothers, do not rush to become masters.
language can condemn us
The reason why we shouldn’t be in a hurry to become masters is because our language can doom us. Whoever is a teacher will be judged more severely. Teaching, in any role, whether from the pulpit or talking about God with friends, is not only a privilege but also a very big responsibility. For this, Paul declares to Timothy:
“Make an effort to present yourself before God as a trustworthy man, a worker who has nothing to be ashamed of, who correctly dispenses the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
It is a great shame before God to teach something wrong. That is why Paul exhorts Timothy to make an effort, that is, to make a great effort to get to know the Bible well, so that he can divide it righteously, that is, so that he can teach it right. It’s easy to teach wrong.