Lay Christians should not turn to just anyone in seeking out Bible teaching. Quite to the contrary, since spiritual realities are in truth the most important things in life, arguably, there are few choices one faces more serious than which Bible teacher to listen to. Giving ear to the wrong person can have eternal consequences, either in terms of compromised spiritual reward, or even in terms of lost salvation.
Bearing this in mind, what makes me qualified to put myself forward as a Bible teacher?
Options you should consider before or alongside this ministry
There’s no two ways about it: I am young relative to most Bible teachers. I have certainly striven to go about preparing in a rigorous and responsible manner, and youth is definitely not itself disqualifying (compare 1 Timothy 4:12), but there is no way that my knowledge base can compete with those of Bible teachers who have been at it much longer than myself.
For this reason, I recommend most people check out Ichthys and Bible Academy. These are two ministries that I can recommend almost without reservation, and both Dr. Robert Luginbill (the teacher behind Ichthys) and Pastor Curtis Omo (the teacher behind Bible Academy) have decades of experience behind them.
If you find either of these to be to your liking (they certainly are not everyone’s “cup of tea,” so to speak – for example, Ichthys’ studies are very long and technical), I would suggest making them part of your spiritual nourishment, if not in lieu of this ministry, then certainly alongside it.
I’m biased of course, so I think that there is value in what I am setting out to do, but I do want to be transparent that these other ministries and teachers may be better choices for some people.
I possess the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher
Being a pastor-teacher (that is, taking on the mantle of responsibility as an office in the Church, as in Ephesians 4:11) requires the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher. No man who does not possess the spiritual gift has any business putting himself forward as a spiritual authority.
This is sort of hard to prove aside from one’s own word. I spent much of 2015 and early 2016 in thought and prayer, trying to discern what it was God wanted me to do. At the time I was studying engineering at Georgia Tech while leading a Bible study, but I knew that if I wanted to prepare most effectively as a Bible teacher, I would need formal study in Greek and Hebrew. Since Georgia Tech is more-or-less solely a technical school, learning the languages would require me to change Universities.
I eventually took the step of faith and transferred to the University of Georgia where I subsequently studied Greek and Hebrew while simultaneously getting a degree in computer science to support myself as a form of “tent-making” (compare 1 Corinthians 9) after graduation. Since pulling the trigger – in studying Greek and Hebrew and leading many more Bible studies – I have become much more sure of my calling.
I also hope the materials of this site speak for themselves; the “proof is in the pudding,” as they say.
I have undergone preparation to teach
Simply having the spiritual gift is not enough. Many callings within the Body of Christ do not have a particularly long lead-time, but Bible teaching does. Doing it right (and all pastor-teachers are called to do it right; compare 2 Timothy 2:15) requires extensive preparation.
Now, not all teachers are necessarily called to learn the languages (compare 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 – even people with the same gift can serve in many different capacities within the Body), but even so, properly handling the Word of Truth requires knowledge in many areas:
- A deep understanding of the whole text of scripture
- Greek and Hebrew (if possible)
- Textual criticism
- Ancient history and ancient culture (Greek, Roman, Hebrew, Babylonian, etc.)
- Systematic theology
- Historical theology (to know “where the bones are buried,” so to speak)
In truth, preparation is always an ongoing matter for us teachers. We never reach a point where we can cease studying or learning. What is important before one begins teaching is to have undertaken enough preparation to accurately handle the topics one is planning to start with, and not overstepping the bounds of what one actually knows.
It is a trap to chase perfection in preparation to the point that one never gets around to doing ministry. More is better than less, it is true, but some learning also only comes through doing.
Based on this understanding, while I can in no way to claim to be perfect in my knowledge and preparation, I do have behind me years of formal study in Greek, Hebrew, and Ancient History/Culture (specifically relating to Greece and Rome) at a respected University, along with personal study in all the areas listed above. As mentioned in the previous section, I do hope that in terms of quality, these materials will speak for themselves.