We are all God’s servants regardless of position or type of ministry (1 Cor. 3:5). We follow the example of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1) who humbled Himself and took on the nature of a servant (Phil. 2:6-7). He came to serve rather than be served (Matt. 20:28).
As Bible teachers, we have many opportunities to demonstrate that servanthood.
What Being a Servant Looks Like in Bible Teachers
Servant teachers are in it for the right reasons, motivated by love and compassion rather than duty, there to serve and not be served.
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. (Gal. 5:13)
They see themselves first and foremost as God’s servants, accountable to Him, instruments in His hands, stewards of what He has given them to do, working in cooperation with God and not the other way around.
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. … So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. … (1 Cor. 3:5-15)
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. (1 Pet. 5:2-3)
They treat those who seem unlovable, difficult, hard to reach, and those who criticize or with whom they have differences of opinion, with gentleness and respect, not having to come across as always right, always the winner.
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth … (2 Tim. 2:24-26)
Bible teachers who are servants show it in their attitudes not just how they treat students.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross! (Phil. 2:5-8)
They are more concerned about showing off Jesus than thinking about their own status, humbly accepting praise and graciously learning from criticism.
The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matt. 23:11-12)
Being a servant teacher often means sacrificing time, willing to prepare, setup, and connect with students even when it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable.
being found in appearance as a man humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross. (Phil. 2:8)
Teachers there to serve relinquish the need to control, giving choices in the learning experience, not expecting responses to exactly replicate their expectations, etc.
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you.” (Matt. 20:25-26a)
Servant teachers find ways to adapt, not needing to always push their own agendas.
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. … I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. (1 Cor. 9:19-22)
As servants, they willingly tend to the more menial and non-gratifying types of tasks to enhance the learning experience, not getting caught up in pride and superiority as the upfront teacher or viewing certain tasks as below them.
… Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. … (Jn. 13:3-17)
Teachers who take their role as servants seriously demonstrate Christ-likeness, becoming a good example for others to follow.
The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. (Matt. 20:28)
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Cor. 11:1)