The character of Teachability has two aspects to it; one is being a learner and the other is to pass it on, to share insights and what we have learned with others to disciple them. It never means being condescending or thinking we know it all. This is not the spiritual gift of teaching, rather the call to pass on God's love and insights to others. It is first being a learner, absorbing and applying what God has for us, then replicating that in others. To be a person who can teach we have to be a person who is teachable (Ex. 33:13; Psalm 25:4-9; 86:11; Proverbs 9:8-9; Matthew 7:28; 11:28-29; 28: 19-20; John 7:16; 14:26; Mark 4:2; Luke 5: 1-11; Acts 16:1-4, 18:5, 19:22, 20:4; 1 Thess. 3:2-6 2 Tim. 2:2; 2 John 1:9)!
Refusing to pass on to others what you have learned and experienced is the opposite of God's call! When we are too full of ourselves, we will not see the value in others, so we cannot learn from them or from God. Then, we will not be passing on anything of value or importance; in fact, we will, instead, be passing on a bad reputation for Christ and His Church!
Solomon was, perhaps, the wisest person who ever lived. He wrote, guided by the Holy Spirit, the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes as well as the Song of Solomon. However, even though he "wrote" the wisdom books in our Bible, it appears he did not always pass on that wisdom to others, especially his own family. As soon as his son Rehoboam took over, he exercised extreme foolishness and became the very person his father warned us all about in Proverbs-a fool (1 Kings 12:1-19; 14:21-31). To be a fool can have many causes, pride and being too full of ourselves for a start, but usually there is an underlying problem too. The fool either does not know how or refuses to learn. Or, he/she can know how, yet reject truth out of fear of conviction or to hold on to what he/she thinks is power. Usually, they just never learned and thus, established a lifetime of bad habits that beget the pattern of a fool. Being wise has nothing to do with intelligence or even knowledge; rather, it is applying that wisdom. Rehoboam, who knew all he had to know to be a good king as his father and grandfather were, had the best advisers. However, he refused to apply it and even got rid of his good advisers in exchange for young fools like himself. This leads me to wonder whether Solomon ever took the time to disciple his sons, to show them, not just in writing, but also with hands-on instruction to be a person who teaches. There is no evidence that Rehoboam received any discipling from his father!
Teaching is not something we do in a classroom; it is a lifestyle, learning that can be passed on to others. This comes from the willingness to see others' experiences and knowledge as valuable, no matter what our own experience and education level is, so we can catch what is being taught without any misgivings or barriers
People who are teachable will be open to new ideas and truths as long as they do not contradict God's precepts. They will be careful with motivations and lifestyle! They will not allow bad or false teachings to tamper with God's truth or their call. They will be willing to submit to others for correction so they can improve their attitude, character, and ability to glorify God. They do not have all the answers, but perhaps can point to where the answers may be. They are willing to admit their mistakes and failings and, with haste, make any necessary corrections. At the same time, they are also able to apprehend real truth and discern what is false. Teachable people are not afraid to point out errors in others, but always in the parameters of the Fruit of the Spirit in a loving and caring way. Being teachable will allow us to make our character real in the lives of others by how we act, react, and respond! Teachable people will have an eagerness to learn and pass on God's precepts to others in meaningful and creative ways. This means not only the seeking of academic enrichment, but also how to apply it in our lives and the lives of others. We will able to accept good changes in life and ministry and not allow prejudices and bad attitudes to cloud what God has given us to say and do.
Proverbs gives us a contrast of being wise and learning versus refusing to learn (Prov.10:8,17; 12:1,15; 12:1,11; 13:1,18;15:31; 21:11; 23:12, 25:12; 24:6; 29:1). Remember, a growing Christian is always learning-no matter how old or how educated! A growing Christian is always seeking wisdom and ways to apply it. When we stop learning, we stop growing; then we are unable to pass on information or apply what we have learned in meaningful ways!
Is the Character of Teaching or Teachability working in you?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Teaching from God's most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:
1. How do I exhibit Teachability in my daily life?
2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be more teachable?
3. What blocks Teachability from working and being exhibited in me?
4. How can I make Teachability function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture: Dan.1: 3-20; 2:17, 49; 3:12-30; Matt. 28:1-8; Mark 16:9; Luke 19:11-19; 24:1-12; John 3:1-21; 20:1-9,18.
· Here are negative examples from Scripture: Judges 8:33-34; Eccl. 3:1-12; Luke 19:20-27; 2 Thess. 2:3-4; 1 Tim. 1:20; Rev. 2:9.
1. How would you define Teachability? Are you a person who naturally passes on your knowledge and experience in a loving and encouraging way? If not, why not?
2. What part does teaching play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? If you see someone who needs some instruction, what do you do? What should you do?
3. How does refusing to learn or pass on your knowledge counteract Teachability? What is the cost to the Kingdom of God when the church does not feed its sheep? What does it mean to you and your church to feed sheep? What should it mean (John 21:16-17)?
4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you refuse to learn, or feel you have had enough discipleship?
5. When have you exercised Teachability the most?
6. In what situation did you fail to pass on information or learn something when you should have?
7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Teachability?
8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Teachability into action in a specific instance. For example, what can you do to overcome your fear so you can pass on the truth of Christ to someone who needs it? What can be done to make sure discipleship is a main ministry at your church? How can you be involved?
© 2005, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org