Notice what the Apostle Paul said about communicating God’s Word to people: This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit … (1 Cor. 2:13-16)
1) He spoke what he was taught.
2) What he learned was that which was taught by the Holy Spirit.
Without the Holy Spirit, Bible Teachers Don’t Learn What Needs to be Taught
What needs to be taught is that which aligns with spiritual truth as defined by God Himself. This passage in 1 Corinthians 2 clearly states that these truths are “discerned only through the Spirit.” Consequently, without the Spirit, teachers don’t learn spiritual truth. And, if they don’t learn spiritual truth, then what they teach will be based on human wisdom.
Words taught to us by human wisdom might result in …
a good lesson plan with a creative approach
… which are important but the objective in Bible teaching needs to go beyond.
Words taught to us by the Spirit results in …
spiritual understanding and spiritual growth,
and people come to know God better and more intimately
… which makes it a lesson worth teaching.
What Needs to Happen for Bible Teachers to Learn from the Holy Spirit?
To answer this question, let’s go back to the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2. The beginning verses of the chapter show what led up to him being able to speak in such a ways that people’s “faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:5).
- His focus was on Christ. – For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Cor. 2:2)
Sometimes we think we need to focus on the Holy Spirit to acquire His power. Rather, the way we know the Spirit’s at work is when the focus goes to Christ. Jesus said, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (Jn. 14:26) Jesus also said, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (Jn. 16:13)
- He faced the truth about his own inadequacy. – I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. (1 Cor. 2:3)
Until we get out of the way and cease striving to do it in our own ability, the Spirit can’t fill us because we’re in control (Eph. 5:18).
- He found the source of the power he needed outside of himself in the Person of the Holy Spirit. – My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power … (1 Cor. 2:4)
We must yield to the Spirit as the real source of power needed to effectively teach. Teacher training and good lesson preparation shouldn’t be minimized. By themselves, however, without the Holy Spirit at work we won’t arrive at the true essence and power of what God is saying in His Word.
So, by the time we get to verse thirteen, Paul was able to say, “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit …” (1 Cor. 2:13-16). He could speak with such confidence because he knew he wasn’t relying on himself to make it happen. The Spirit had taught him and now he could explain it to others.
As Bible teachers, we too need to focus on Christ, knowing that apart from Him we can do nothing of eternal value (Jn. 15:5). As we do, His Spirit will teach and empower us so we in turn can communicate life-giving truth to others.