B. Childress
Aug 10, 2007

Whenever we study church government, we should go to the Word of God to understand how God wants His church to
be established:  God has given us his guidelines and principals in His Word, but He leaves the responsibility of how to
apply those guidelines and principals to us.

What is the origin of the word "church."  The word "church" in 1 Corinthians 12:28, comes from the Greek word
ekklesia.  Ekklesia comes from another Greek word ekkaleo.  Ekkaleo is a compound word .  It is made from two word
ek-  and kaleo. Ek means "out" and kaleo mean "to call."  Thus, what the word "church" really means is "the called out
ones" or the "chosen ones" as translated in Ephesians 1:4.  When Paul said we were chosen in Him before the
foundation of the world, the same word is used

What is church?  First Corinthians 12:27-28 says,
"Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular."  Today,
the word "church" is loosely used to describe a building made of brick and mortar, which could also house a disco,
school, industry, or retail store.  The universal church is made up of every born-again believer on the face of the
earth.  Every group of believers who worships together is a segment of the "universal church."  Those segments that
meet together are "local churches."

The church has been called out.  If the church is the "called out" or "chosen" ones, there has to be someone calling or
 "God hath set some in the church." 1Corinthians 12:28  God is doing the calling or choosing.  Ephesians 4:
11 says,
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;"
- but who is "he."  To understand. we can look at Ephesians 4:8-10,
CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE, AND GAVE GIFTS UNTO MEN. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended
first into the lower parts of the earth?  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens,
that he might fill all things)."
 The Lord Jesus Christ is the "he" who ascended, and the He Who gave gifts to men

Referring back to 1Corinthians 12:28, God the Father is the One who sets the ministry gifts in the church:  these
ministry gifts are chosen by God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ in combined authority.  Jesus is the One who
calls and appoints the ministry gifts.  The One (Jesus) who does the calling has authority over the one He calls
(whoever chooses the ministry gift has authority over the one He calls);  whoever chooses the ministry gift has
authority over the one who is chosen.  So, who is head of the church?  Ephesians 1:22-23 says, "
And hath put all
things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body the fullness of him
that filleth all in all."
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church.  He was given that position by God the Father.  
He was given authority over the church by God the Father as well all ministry gifts He chooses to distribute.

"And he gave some, apostles, and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For
the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
 Ephesians 4:11-


  • The definition of "teach" is "to cause to know a subject; to accustom to some action or attitude; to make to know
    the disagreeable consequences of some action; to impart knowledge; to guide the studies of; to instruct by
    precept example, or experience.  The meaning of this word has not changed.  The difference between
    preaching and teaching is that to preach means to proclaim, and to teach means to explain.

  • The fifth ministerial office is that of the teacher.  The teaching gift is a divine gift and an office.  God is talking
    about an office when He talks about the teacher in  Romans 12:4.  He is talking about men and women who are
    called by Himself and are set by the Spirit of God to stand in that office to teach by supernatural ability.

  • Jesus stood in all of the five-fold ministry offices (Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Evangelist and Teacher).  We know
    Jesus was a teacher because the New Testament in general, but the Gospels in particular, contain the
    teachings of his earthly ministry.  Jesus taught his disciples and knew before hand that some would not believe
    and turn away, "Then said Jesus unto the twelve, 'Will ye also go away?' Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord,
    to whom shall we go?  thou hast the words of eternal life." John 6:67,68

Jesus was identified as a teacher in John 3:1-2,
"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the
Jews:  The same came to Jesus by night and said unto him, 'Rabbi we know that thou art a teacher come from God:
for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.'"

General Characteristics of a Teacher:

  • A teacher is a person who has been set in the Body of Christ by God for one specific purpose: to teach the
    Word of God.

  •  As with the other offices, there is an "anointing" attached to this office.  This "anointing" opens people's
    understanding of God's Word.  No teaching ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit is dry - It will convey rivers of
    living water.

  • A teacher is not a teacher merely by virtue of a natural ability or a natural inclination to teach although these
    qualities may provide a background for this gift.  The teaching gift is not a natural gift, it is a divine endowment
    to teach God's Word.

  • Teachers and teaching hold a well-defined and important place in the New Testament.  Some feel the teaching
    ministry gift is an inferior calling.  It is not.  Remember, each ministry gift complements the other.

  • The teaching ministry is an absolute necessity to the Church because the saints need to be taught, edified, and
    matured by the teaching of the Word:  the teacher is more important to the Church, to those who are already
    saved, than the working of miracles or gifts of healings.  Look at the order established in scripture, "And God
    hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that
    miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."  1 Corinthians 12:28

  • The working of miracles, and gifts of healings will never establish a Christian in faith, but the teaching of the
    Word will.  Besides, the working of miracles or gifts of healings often indicate the evangelist's office, which is not
    to the Church, but to the sinner.

  • Many have the impression that Sunday School teachers are the ministry "gift" outlined in the Bible.  First, the
    Early Church did not have Sunday School.  Sunday School did not start until the 18th century.  Secondly,
    anyone who knows the Bible can teach what he knows - any Christian can and should share with others what
    they know by teaching and helping them.  But this is not that teaching gift God is talking about in
    scripture where the teaching ministry gift  is listed.

  • One can stand in the office of pastor and teacher, or prophet and teacher, or evangelist and teacher, etc.  In
    other words, one can stand in more than one office.  The offices are separated to better define them.

Acts 13:1 names five men who were either prophets or teachers, or prophets and teachers, "Now there were in the
church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius
of Cyene, and Manaen..."

-  Barnabas was a teacher (Acts 11:22-26; 13:1)

-  Paul was a prophet and a teacher (Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:3)

-  Both Barnabas and Paul became apostles (Acts 14:14)

  • Pastors and teachers often work closely together and are somewhat joined together as in Ephesians 4:11, "And
    he gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers."

  • I mentioned earlier that, "No teaching ministry in the power of the Holy Ghost is dry.  It will convey rivers of living
    water."  Paul describes the teaching ministry as watering:  "I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the
    increase.  So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God giveth the increase.  
    Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one:  and every man shall receive his own reward according to his
    own labour.  For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."           1
    Corinthians 3:6-9

When the watering process, the teaching of the Word of God, is carried out by a spiritual gift  (one  called and
endowed to teach), it leaves people refreshed and revived; just as watering a plant leaves it revived and refreshed.  If
teaching does not leave people refreshed, it simply is not being executed and carried out in the power of the Holy
Spirit.  Note, however, that divisions can be caused by unbelief and hardess of heart even when teaching is in the
power of the Spirit based on the Word of God (refer back to John 6:66-68).

Apollos was a teacher.  In Acts 18:27, we see where his teaching gift inspired and enlightened those at Achaia,
when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who when he
was come, helped them much which had believed through grace."
 These people had already believed through grace
and were saved, but Apollo's  teachings enlightened them.

  • A true teacher of the Gospel of peace will never teach doctrinal error which will split the Body of Christ.  He will
    not cause divisions by what he teaches.  On the other hand, a true teacher cannot compromise on the
    fundamental principals of the doctrine of Christ.

Hebrews 6:1-2 lists the fundamental principals of the doctrine of Christ.  These things are fundamental and cannot be

1)  Repentance from dead works

2)  Faith toward God

3)  The doctrine of baptisms

4)  Layng on of hands

5)  Resurrection of the dead

6)  Eternal judgement

  • Sometimes it is wisdom to avoid teaching certain truths for a period of time if those truths are causing confusion
    and division.  The apostle Paul did so at the church at Corinth when he said, "'There are some things I would
    like to tell you, but you could not bear it, so I'm not going to tell you now.'" (1 Corinthians 3:1,2); Hebrews 5:11-
    14)  They were babies and needed to grow up spiritually.

  • The work of a teacher is to build up not tear down.  Christ gave teachers for the edifying and building up of the
    Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12).

  • The teacher must use wisdom. They must not try to convert everyone overnight to the faith message.  Some will
    never get it.  Just love them anyway because the Lord loves them, and he is not going to forsake them.

  • Teachers should always be ready and open to receive fresh glimpses of truth from the Word of God.

n summary, the characteristics of a teacher today are:

1)  Revelation marks a teacher's ministry.

2)  One who is teachable, willing to be taught.

3)  Keeps a humbleness of spirit and humbleness of mind.

4)  Keeps an open mind and always ready to learn.

5)  One who is not a know-it-all.  The more you learn, the less you see you know.

6)  Keeps within the fundamental principals of Christ.  Teaches the Word without doctrinal error and  without
compromising the truth.

A teacher may have a "roving" ministry.  One who is a pastor-teacher is usually stationary even though he may go out
at times to teach.

Lester Sumrall recounts his work with Howard Carter - they travelled together.  Lester Sumrall says that Howard  Carter
filled the ministerial office of teacher and he (Sumrall)  filled the ministerial office of evangelist.  While Howard Carter
had the ability (anointing) to simplify the Word so that even a baby could understand, he also realized that he could
not get even one of those who attended their meetings saved:  He (Carter) was not called to be an evangelist.  But
Lester Sumrall would step in after Howard Carter finished teaching  and bring the Gospel message of salvation -
getting the people saved.  Brothers Howard Carter and Lester Sumrall travelled together as a team for many years.

"...Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, "All power is given unto me in
heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them
to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with
you alway, even unto the end of the world.' Amen.
"  Matthew 28:18-20


Decently and In Order
, Bob Yandian, Copyright 1983, 1987 by Whitaker House.

The Ministry Gifts,  Kenneth E. Hagin, Copyright 1998 by RHEMA  Bible Church.

The Gifts and Ministries of the Holy Spirit, Lester Sumrall, Copyright 1982 by Lester Sumrall Evangelical
Association (LeSEA).