This Verse Should SCARE Every Sunday School Teacher

Teaching children isn’t something to take lightly. Just like any other ministry opportunity within the church, those who want to teach Sunday School or Children’s Church should prepare well and treat their “job” with the utmost respect.

God made us all different, and gave us different spiritual gifts, so that as a church body we can fulfill all the necessary roles. You can compare it to the different organs in our bodies— each one has a role to fulfill so that the body can function properly. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). However, there’s a Bible verse containing a special warning just for teachers. And yes, that verse should SCARE you.

James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (NIV)

Is it fair that teachers are judged more strictly?

Why should we teachers be “judged more strictly”? Is that even fair? It is when you consider the fact that teachers are entrusted by God to teach His Word. Some people take God’s Word too lightly, even going as far as to teach it without taking the time to study it. They should smack a sticker on their Bible covers that says, “HANDLE WITH CARE!”

How would you feel if someone took something you said out of context, or minced your words to make people think you meant something totally different from your original intentions? You’d certainly be angry, or at least upset. Unfortunately, that’s what we do with God’s Word all the time. We grab a verse, take it out of context, and tell kids, “God says this…”

That’s exactly why teaching is such an important job. God wants trustworthy teachers— not teachers who love the title, but not the work involved. That’s why James 3:1 states, “not many of you should become teachers.” It’s not a job for everyone.

It’s not a job for everyone.

Who should be a teacher?

On the other hand, that certainly doesn’t mean that NO ONE should become a teacher out of fear of messing up or accidentally taking a verse out of context. Rather, it means that God will empower certain individuals to fulfill the important role of “teacher” (see Ephesians 4:11), and those who teach must do their best to help others understand God’s Word better. We should never intentionally mislead kids to think the Bible says something it doesn’t, or teach a passage without reading it or studying it. In addition, we must remember that our job isn’t to reveal new truths or prophesies from God’s Word. Instead, teachers take what God has already revealed in His Word and essentially “break it down” in a way that others can understand clearly.

As a teacher, the more authority you claim, the more God will hold you accountable. John 9:41b says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (NIV) Some people love being called a teacher, but don’t want to put in the effort required to do it well! Don’t let that be you!

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