One of the most simple and one of the most sublime facts of life is that men must be taught the principles of Christianity. The teaching of Jesus Christ must be taught, learned, obeyed, and practiced.
Christianity can be taught because there is a body of known truth given by God through men as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:20-21; II Timothy 3:16-17). Jesus said, “And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:45). This does not mean that each individual will be taught the gospel. It means, the system of absolute truth will be revealed by God, and it will be this body of truth, when obeyed, that will make us free (John 8:32). The truth is available, but first, we must be taught.
How is truth taught? Many claim and say it is directly taught, that is, the Holy Spirit influences the hearts of men directly. But, the Scriptures teach that we learn indirectly, that is, by teaching through human instrumentality. Notice Paul said, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher” (Romans 10:14). Thus, we see that human agencies must be used to instruct people. This method of teaching was called “foolishness”, but this is the means God chose to reveal His will to men so that they might believe and be saved (I Corinthians 1:21). Mortals must go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature teaching them to observe all things that Jesus had commanded them (Matthew 28:18-20). Men cannot believe something they have not been taught (John 3:15).
Since those who will be saved must be taught, teaching becomes a pertinent process. We learn this process from the Master Teacher, Jesus Himself. He used various methods such as parables, stories, one on one, groups, proverbs, miracles and debates. He used object lessons such as: nature, people, animals, and a little child. Teaching must take place before learning is achieved. Teaching precedes learning. However, learning does not always follow teaching. Therefore, methods, personalities, equipment, environment and attitudes are of great importance.
When proper teaching has occurred and learning has taken place, obedience of that new knowledge must be forthcoming. Sometimes submission follows, and sometimes rebellion follows (Luke 7:30; I Corinthians 15:2). It is the case, at times, that men have been taught, and know the truth but will pervert the truth into a lie (II Thessalonians 10-1 2). We have false doctrine because we have false teachers.
If obedience follows teaching and learning, faith will be exercised. This knowledge could be a lie, and it could be the truth. Adam and Eve were taught by Satan to believe a lie, and they obeyed a lie (Genesis 3:1-19). We must, however, be taught the truth (John 8:32), learn the truth, and obey the truth.
The above may be implemented in the home, the church, Bible classes, anywhere. A man could teach himself provided someone had taught him (I say this to emphasize the importance of teaching). The teaching of the gospel is the mission and work of the church. We must put into practice these holy precepts to the saving of our souls (I Timothy 4:16).
In teaching, words become the ideas through which we learn. For example, God, Christ, Holy Spirit, Heaven, Hell, Salvation, Sin, and Love are words whose meaning must be imparted, many times by flashcards in the first grade, before learning and obedience can result. What do these words mean? What do they symbolize? How do we learn to read them? We must be taught to learn to read, pronounce, and know the meaning of words before we can believe and obey that which will please God. God chose words to communicate His will to us. We must choose to accept and obey these words (Acts 2:40). Therefore, let us receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save our souls (James 1:21), because “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
The teaching program of the church is important. Are you involved? Do you plan to teach? Study Hebrews 5:10-12.