Teachers of God’s Word must be aware of their responsibilities. Accordingly, James offers an intimidating warning that we must understand.
“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1, NKJV).
Christianity is a taught religion (Matthew 28:18-20; Titus 2:3-4) so it can’t be that James is trying to dissuade us from teaching (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The ancient world had immense respect for orators and philosophers. They developed a following and their money and fame spread as their reputations increased (Acts 24:1-9).
With the scribes, Pharisees and the Judaizing teachers as a backdrop, God’s warning is very important. If we teach the gospel, we must be committed, faithful and humble. Unqualified, greedy and covetous teachers have no place in the kingdom.
Spiritual leaders did great damage to God’s people throughout the Old Testament (Ezekiel 34:1-10; Malachi 2:1-2, et al). We must remember that Christ is everything and we’re nothing (John 1:1-5; 14:6; Job 40:3-5).
A Jewish maxim proclaimed, “Love the work, not the title.” Despite the legions in the religious world, God’s Church is not the path to fame and fortune. We bow to Christ, not the other way around (James 4:10). Jesus is Lord, not a stepping stone.
The Bible has extraordinary power and we must be focused on glorifying Christ to bring its power to the world (Ephesians 3:20-21). When we’re trying to steal the spotlight, we need to put down our robes, titles and diamonds and stay far away from rostrums and pulpits.
Instead, let us bow low, so Christ can stand tall. His message is far too important for our interference (Galatians 1:8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17). Let us stop promoting ourselves and study with all of our being (Acts 17:10-11).