According to Ephesians 4:11-13, teachers have been given the responsibility of equipping God’s people.
The word for equipping in the original language denotes preparing something, like a net used for fishing (Matt, 4:21; Mk. 1:19), by mending any needed repairs, reinforcing deficits, and arranging it to be ready for its intended purpose. Similarly, Bible teachers help students get ready to fulfill God’s purposes as they go out into their everyday lives. This means Bible teachers must see their role as more than dispensers of information.
In their role as equippers, Bible teachers must:
- Pay attention to their own hearts and study the Word themselves
Teachers must be ready, at any time, to give an answer to the questions and doubts students may have (1 Pet. 3:15-16) and to respond to the needs of students, to “correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2). Jesus told a parable that emphasizes the importance of teachers tending to their own hearts. He said, “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” (Lk. 6:39-40) The phrase “fully trained” comes from the same root word as equip. For Bible teachers to adequately equip their students, they themselves must live in alignment with who they are in Christ Jesus.
- Make an assessment of students’ spiritual condition.
- Are there misconceptions that need to be corrected?
- Are there misaligned priorities that need to be challenged?
- Are there moral deficiencies that need to be chastened?
- Help students understand and apply God’s Word to those areas.
God provides the answers in His Word and so it “is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).