The First Task of the Teacher in the discipleship process involves helping the new believer understand what kind of book the Bible is. Any time the Holy Spirit is leading someone into the local Church, there are certain beliefs about the Bible that will begin taking shape in a person’s mind.
#1. The Doctrine of the Word of God
God really does talk to people.
The Church needs to be ready to help people understand that the Bible is the best place to hear God speak. When the Holy Spirit is working to reach someone, they will believe that God does communicate with us, although they may be confused on what we are supposed to be listening too.
There needs to be someone available to the local Church that who recommends the Bible when this begins to happen.
#2. The Doctrine of the Canon of Scripture
“The Canon of Scripture is the list of all the books that belong in the Bible.”
The Church needs to be ready to recommend the Old Testament and the New Testament as the Word of God. These books were given to the Church so that we could have guidance on how to recognize when God is speaking.
There needs to be someone who can defend the importance of the Bible when someone begins to have doubts that are raised by listening to other books that are not a part of the Canon of Scripture.
There needs to be someone in the local Church who can restore confidence in the Bible when doubts about this issue arise.
#3. The Authority of Scripture
“The Authority of Scripture means that all the words in Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.” (Wayne Grudem)
The Bible is given to set the standard for what God will and will not say and do in our lives. The Word of God in the Canon of Scripture is supposed to be given special treatment in our minds when we think about God.
There needs to be someone in the local Church who can remind us of this when we begin to look elsewhere.
#4. The Inerrancy of Scripture
The Inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact.” (Wayne Grudem)
In the Bible there are some things that are hard to understand. Was Jonah swallowed by a whale or a really big fish? Are angels and demons real? Are miracles possible?
Those are just a few questions about things the Bible mentions which people may consider to be unreliable. While there are some details we have questions on, there is no reason to doubt the Bible’s integrity.
The Bible is simply a record of what God remembers about human history and there needs to be someone in the local Church who can explain why we think this way when questions are asked.
#5. The Clarity of Scripture
“The Clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God’s help and being willing to follow it.” (Wayne Grudem)
Bible reading programs are becoming very popular in Western Christianity, and I have met many people who participated in these reading programs who did not understand anything they read.
The Bible can only be understood when God decides to explain its meaning to us, and there needs to be someone in the local Church people can turn to for help and support when God is silent in scripture.
#6. The Necessity of Scripture
“The Necessity of Scripture means that the Bible is necessary for knowing the Gospel, for maintaining spiritual life, and for knowing God’s will, but is not necessary for knowing that God exists or for knowing something about God’s character and moral laws.” (Wayne Grudem)
There are some things can happen without having access to a copy of the Bible, and there are other things only happen when we have access to the Bible. There needs to be someone in the local Church who can help others understand what is possible with and without access to the Bible.
#7. The Sufficiency of Scripture
“The Sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.” (Wayne Grudem)
There are certain methods recommended in Scripture to provide guidance on how we interact with God. There needs to be someone available to the local Church who knows what those methods are who can provide warnings to others about the consequences when those methods God recommends are being replaced in our lives.
I like to call this the First Task of the Teacher, and I wonder what would happen if the local Churches shared their resources and man power to pick one person (or one group of people) to be an “expert” on these subjects?
What if someone volunteered to take responsibility for helping the Church understand the information in chapters 2 through 8 of Wayne Grudem’s book, so the Pastor(s) in your area could have some help answering questions and concerns on these issues?
Here is a book that can help you, if you want to volunteer for this assignment.