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Priesthood, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

41- Teachers

 

The authority to teach is not for everyone, but for those granted such authority:

(Rom 12:7) or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;

Saint Paul also said:

(1 Cor 12:28) And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

Here we see an important link between the work of the shepherds and teaching. We observe also the prerequisite for a bishop is to be fit to teach.

(1 Tim 3:2) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;

Also in Saint Pauls epistle to Titus said;

(Titus 2:1) But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:

He also implores Saint Timothy the bishop of Ephesus:

(1 Tim 4:16) Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

(2 Tim 4:2) Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

Teaching has been synonymous with priesthood even in the Old Testament (Malachi 2:7). In the New Testament teaching has been the duty of the apostles, bishops and the clergy.

The Lord Jesus Christ has assigned the work of teaching to the apostles:

(Mat 28:19-20) "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

(Mark 16:15) And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

And the apostles, in turn, handed over this responsibility to the bishops and ordered them to teach the congregation.

The bishops ordained priests and deacons to be faithful teachers. We see Saint Paul speak about the priests as teachers;

(1 Tim 5:17) Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.

We still uphold the teaching of Malachi;

(Mal 2:7) "For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

St-Takla.org         Image: Icon of Saint Timothy the Bishop صورة: أيقونة القديس تيموثاوس الأسقف

St-Takla.org Image: Icon of Saint Timothy the Bishop

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: أيقونة القديس تيموثاوس الأسقف

It is amazing to read that the priest is described as the messenger of the LORD of hosts

Therefore a priest is not limited to the service of offering the sacrifice, but also his most important duty is to propagate the law of God to the congregation, both in the New and Old Testaments.

What About Those People who want To Derive Their Knowledge Directly From The Spirit?

Some want to bypass the Church, assuming that each person, can have their direct encounter with the Holy Spirit, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. Such people are misinterpreting the verse:

(John 6:45) "It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

But if God intended that all of us be self taught directly from

Him, why is it then that He gave some to be teachers (1Cor 12:28)? Whom would they then teach if we are destined to be self taught?

(Eph 4:11) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

And why did God appoint teachers?

(1 Cor 12:28) And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

And if all were to be directly tutored by the Holy Spirit, why would God exhort the bishops to teach?

(1 Tim 4:16) Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

And why did God exhort missionary work?

(2 Tim 4:2) Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

One should understand You shall be taught by God in the above verse (John 6:45) in the light of (Luke 10:16):

(Luke 10:16) "He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me."

This means that teaching emanates from God, and His law proceeds from the priests mouth and not through heretics, false prophets or from pretend teachers.

If you learn from Gods vicar, you learn from God Himself who said to His vicars:

(Mat 10:20) "for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

A form of hidden pride is for a believer to waits for God to directly teach him in any and every matter, assuming that every person in the congregation is a prophet of God.

It is evident that the spirit of the devil can deceive such people. We also see our teacher Saint John the beloved explicitly warning us not to believe every spirit, but rather to be on guard:

(1 John 4:1) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

I suppose that we do not need to labour this point in great depth, as we see that even among the Evangelical denominations, have teachers who must be accredited by their denominational system.

But How About the verse in Matt 23:9?

(Mat 23:9) "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.

This saying was only directed to the disciples and not to every one, He never intended to eliminate teaching from the Church.

The same applies to Gods instructions Do not call anyone on earth your father such instruction was also specific to the disciples and their successors. But as for the rest of the believers, they require shepherds and fathers.

It is obvious that some of the words of the Lord Jesus Christ were directed to the disciples and not all the congregation.

This is evident by the question of Saint Peter:

(Luke 12:41) Then Peter said to Him, "Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?"

As for people who rely on one verse (usually out of context) we would ask them to consider Gods admonition;

(Mat 22:29) Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.

Through every teaching we ought to understand the full meaning, and, without partiality or bigotry, and delve in the depth of what is intended:

(1 Cor 2:13) These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Here we should move forward to the matter of Guides and Rulers.


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