Exalt the Gift of Teaching
As a denomination we have been remiss in our encouragement of Bible teachers. Yet no form of service is more important to the welfare of this movement. To stand daily before eager, receptive minds, leading them into the deeps of redemption, instilling loyalty to this message, and implanting a passion for service, is a privilege second to none, for the students of today are the burden bearers of tomorrow. And Bible teachers are the preliminary trainers of our preachers of the future. So Bible teaching is one of the most exalted privileges that can come to a man. Even Christ spent a large portion of His period of earthly ministry training a little band of followers in His school of wayside instruction and field experience, instilling principles and implanting basic truths.
The Bible teacher's work is that of a specialist, requiring not only thorough preliminary preparation, but demanding constant opportunity for research. The Bible teacher needs the stimulus and encouragement of occasional exchange of thought and method with fellow teachers. They need " post " work as verily as any other group of teachers in such specialized fields as history, science, or language.
Not every minister who is successful in the evangelistic, pastoral, or executive field, can successfully teach the Bible in the classroom. It requires more than personal knowledge, a pleasing personality, and a ready utterance. One must have the pedagogical instinct, and the genius for stimulating self-activity on the part of his students. Many a voluble and convincing speaker is a poor teacher. Many a successful foreign missionary would make a sad failure in a college classroom, however earnest and experienced he may be. Teaching is one of the gifts placed in the church. Let us give study and encouragement to the unique field of Bible teaching. It will repay us a thousandfold.
L. E. F.
The Form or the Power
One of the greatest perils confronting this movement is the subtle temptation to accept a substitutionary " form of godliness " that may be seen and praised, for the divine " power " of the Holy Spirit that is invisible and perhaps indefinable. With some, the operation of this " power " has never been experimentally known. Imperative for all, such should especially seek it now. With others, it has been a living experience, but because of pressure, carelessness, prayerlessness, or cherished sin, it has leaked out of the life, which still goes on purely from momentum. There is semblance of life without reality; there is motion without generative power; there is a form, a shell, but it is hollow, vacant, and void.
Let us not reserve the depiction of 2 Timothy 3 solely for religious movements not of this faith. Let us not restrict it to the world. It is your peril, and mine. We are handling sacred things, but they may become common. We deal with business matters for the Lord; but we may become hard and callous. Our committee work, our routine labor, our needful activities, yes, our varied ministerial ministrations, may be either filled with or destitute of power. Others may not sense it. Do we? Even we may not be fully cognizant of our own condition, but God knows. The divine warning to Timothy becomes a wooing appeal and a constant challenge to the advent ministry. Forget not that the things that are not seen are greater than the things that are seen.
L. E. F.