February 9-15

SDA Sabbath School Lessons

#7 Teaching Gifts

Read for this  
week's study:

Deut. 11:18-22; 1 Tim. 4:9-11; 2 Tim. 2:2; Proverbs 28; 1 Peter 5:1-3.

Memory Text: "These things command and teach. Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:11, 12, NKJV).

Key Thought: Teaching gifts are used to instruct people in the teachings of the Bible, confirm them in the faith and beliefs of the church, and instruct new believers in the fundamentals of the faith.

The Lessons:

The Discussion: We invite youi to join the  SSNET moderated email discussion group. You are also warmly invited to join a group discussion of this lesson Sabbath morning, January 18, (usually 9:30 AM) with your SSNETlocal Seventh-Day Adventist congregation.

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Sabbath -
 February 8 


It builds faith and practice in individual lives and in the corporate life of a church congregation.  The Bible tells us that Jesus spent much of His time teaching. Paul's advice to Timothy is still relevant today:  "Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.  Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.  Watch your life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers" (1 Tim. 4:13-16, NIV).

Related to the gift of teaching are the gifts of knowledge and wisdom.  Often these gifts are integral functions of the gift of pastoring.

Sunday -
 February 9

(Titus 2:1).

The local church is responsible for ongoing religious education for church members and new converts.

What does the Bible say about the teaching ministry of the church?  Deut. 11:18-22; 1 Tim. 4:9-11; 2 Tim. 2:2.

Text Teaching topic, method, or style
Ezra 7:25   
Psalm 25 Look for the word teach in this psalm.
Rom. 15:4   
1 Tim. 1:3   
1 Tim. 4:11   
Titus 2:1   
Heb. 5:12   

"There are those who want more definite light than they receive from hearing the sermons.  Some need a longer time than do others to understand the points presented.  If the truth presented could be made a little plainer, they would see it and take hold of it, and it would be like a nail fastened in a sure place." - Gospel Workers, p. 407.

What does the Bible say about Jesus as a teacher?  Matt. 22:16; Mark 10:1; John 6:63.

"Of the ninety times the Lord was addressed, as recorded in the Gospels, sixty times He was called 'Rabbi.'  Furthermore, the thought of the speaker in at least part of the thirty remaining cases was directed toward Jesus as a teacher, for the Greek word didaskalos, which refers to ‘one who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of man,’ is translated sometimes ‘teacher’ and sometimes ‘master.’ "C.B. Eavey, Principles of Teaching for Christian Teachers (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan; 1940), pp. 24, 25.
What teaching ministry is your church fulfilling?

Monday -
 February 10

THE GIFT OF TEACHING (Acts 19:8-10).

This gift is vital to the success of the church.  Outside the brief study time allotted to the Sabbath School lesson, teaching is used very little in many churches.  Admonition is utilized far too much, when teaching ought to be the framework for the church's training program.

Definition: The gift of teaching is the special ability that God gives to some members of the body of Christ more than to others to communicate information, attitudes, and skills relevant to the health and ministry of the body and its members in such a way that others will learn.

What does the New Testament have to say about teaching?  Acts 19:8-10; 1 Tim. 3:1, 2; 4:11-14; 2 Tim. 2:1, 2.

There are different kinds of teaching.  Some teachers are good with children, others with adults.  Some people are good at one-to-one teaching, while others do better in large-group settings.  The point is that it is the same gift, and the teachers in the church ought to be those with this gift.  All too often, people asked to teach are simply those who are willing to accept the job, whether they have the gift or not.  (See Friday's lesson.)

People with this gift have the following characteristics:

  1. The teacher himself or herself will have an intense desire to understand truth and excel in the ability to explain it to others.
  2. Others will consistently understand truth as a result of their teaching.
  3. People with this gift are not satisfied with unclear or obscure meanings.
  4. People grow spiritually as a result of the work of these gifted teachers.

Exercising the gift of teaching is serious business.  Because of their extended sphere of influence, teachers are held highly responsible for the exercise of their gift.  "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly" (James 3:1, NIV).  "If anyone thinks he is capable of teaching in the Sabbath school or in the day school the science of education, he needs first to learn the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, that he may teach this the highest of all sciences." - Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 89.

Tuesday -
 February 11


The gift of knowledge concerns the discovery of truth.  Some people have been given the ability to dig deep and accumulate a fund of knowledge about the Scriptures and the way of salvation that is invaluable to the work of the church.

Definition: The gift of knowledge is the special ability that God gives to some members of the body of Christ more than to others of discovering, accumulating, analyzing, and clarifying information and ideas that are pertinent to the spiritual growth of the church and the well-being of the body.

What does the Bible say about general religious knowledge all Christians should have?  Matt. 13:11; 2 Cor. 2:14 (compare Eph. 4:13; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Peter 3:18).

Contrast this with the gift of knowledge given to some members of the church.

Text The gift of knowledge
Luke 1:1-4  
Acts 18:24, 25   
Rom. 15:14   
2 Cor. 11:6   

Paul had this gift.  Notice how he explains it in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16.  It is through this gift that Paul was able to reorganize the facts he had learned previous to his conversion so that they fit the pattern of God given wisdom.

This gift can be easily counterfeited.  And Paul says, "knowledge puffs up" (1 Cor. 8:1, NIV).

How can those "puffed up" by knowledge create problems?   1 Cor. 8:11; Luke 11:52 (compare Rom. 1:28; 10:2).

How does a person with this gift receive knowledge?   Is the gift the ability to study?  Do only scholars receive it?  Is it some kind of "sixth sense" some people have to distinguish truth from error?  Explain your answer.  "Unless our knowledge is a stepping-stone to the accomplishment of the highest purposes, it is worthless." - Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 541.

Wednesday -
  February 12

THE GIFT OF WISDOM (Eccl. 12: 11).

Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge in a practical way.  When the Bible says that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov. 9: 10), it means that understanding what God reveals about Himself will lead to practical applications in everyday life.

Contrast Ecclesiastes 12:11 with Proverbs 9:10.  What connection do you see between the gifts of knowledge and wisdom in these verses?

Definition: The gift of wisdom is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ more than to others to know the mind of the Holy Spirit in such a way as to have insight into how knowledge may best be applied to specific needs arising in the body of Christ.

"Those who have the gift of wisdom know how to get to the heart of a problem quickly.  They have practical minds and are problem solvers.  They have little difficulty in making decisions because they can foresee with a fairly high degree of accuracy what the outcome of the decisions will be.  When those with the gift of wisdom speak, other members of the Body recognize that truth has been spoken and the right course of action recommended.  Formal learning is not at all a prerequisite.  Long hours of digging out new facts may not appeal at all to those who have the gift of wisdom." - C. Peter Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1994), pp. 192, 193; revised edition.

How does the Bible describe the gifts of the men who built the tabernacle in the wilderness?  Exod. 31:1-6.

Not all wisdom is intellectual. In the case of Bezalel and others, the gifts were very practical.  The gift of knowledge to understand the intricacies of the artistry necessary to build the tabernacle was combined with the gift of wisdom to know how to make the entire plan function effectively.

How would you compare the reliability of counsel from someone who has the gift of wisdom with the reliability of a recommendation of your church board?  What are the implications of your response?

Thursday -
 February 13

(1 Peter 5:1-3).

Our word pastor derives originally from the Greek word poimen, which means "shepherd."  This definition reflects the concept of the ministry of all believers and assumes a distinction between the office of pastor and the gift of pastoring.

Definition: The gift of pastoring or shepherding is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to a greater degree than to others of assuming a long-term personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers.

The gift of pastoring is a bit more complex than some gifts, because we tend to see the gift of pastoring and the office of pastor as synonymous.

Study the definition above, and then read 1 Peter 5:1-3. What do these verses say about the gift of pastoring, or shepherding?

It is rather startling to realize that your pastor may not have the gift of pastoring, or shepherding, yet be able to do a fine job in the office of pastor of your church!  It is also rather startling to realize that some members in your congregation probably do have the gift of pastoring, and should be assigned the task of looking after the spiritual welfare of the members, even though they do not fill the office of pastor.

Ellen White illustrates the point: "The duties of a pastor are often shamelessly neglected because the minister lacks strength to sacrifice his personal inclinations for seclusion and study.  The pastor should visit from house to house among his flock, teaching, conversing, and praying with each family, and looking out for the welfare of their souls.  Those who have manifested a desire to become acquainted with the principles of our faith should not be neglected, but thoroughly instructed in the truth." - Gospel Workers, p. 337.  Italics supplied.

The reference is to ministers, apparently with the gift of knowledge, who, while improving that gift, neglect the duties of the pastoral office.

Is there any evidence that church members with the gift of shepherding are presently ministering in your congregation? If so, in what ways? If not, why?

Friday -
  February 14


For insight into a concise philosophy of Bible study and teaching, read "Bible Teaching and Study" in Education, pp. 185-192.

Do you have the gift of teaching?

Yes No Do you enjoy teaching the Bible and find that people learn from your teaching?
Yes No Do you enjoy spending considerable time learning Bible truth so that you can communicate it to others?
Yes No Do you usually organize biblical information in a careful and systematic way so that listeners clearly understand it?
Yes No Have you read the Bible through a number of times?
Yes No Given a choice, do you prefer biblical passages that are rich in doctrine?

Do you have the gift of pastoring?  The gift of pastoring is almost always combined with another gift or gifts.  For instance, there are pastor-teachers, pastor-evangelists, and pastor-counselors, just to name a few gift combinations.

Yes No Do you enjoy spending time nurturing and caring for others?
Yes No Have you been instrumental in helping some people return to the church?
Yes No Can you affirm that your Christian example has influenced a group of Christians?
Yes No Are you considered by people in your church to be a spiritual leader?
Yes No Do you tend to provide guidance for the whole person-relationally, emotionally, spiritually, and theologically?

  1. Could a Christian with the spiritual gift of teaching ever be failure as a Bible class teacher? Why?
  2. What purposes do the spiritual gifts of knowledge and wisdom serve?

SUMMARY:   Through teaching gifts, most biblical knowledge is transmitted to the body of Christ.  The gifts of knowledge and wisdom accompany the gift of teaching.  A person or a team of people with this combination of gifts is invaluable to the church.  The gift of pastoring, or shepherding, should not be confused with the office of pastor.  Many people in a congregation may have the pastoral gift.

Inside Story

A Dream and a Harvest

Sahara de Almérida

The highlands that lie along the borders of Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil are called la Gran Sabana ("the Great Savannah").  Its mountains, colorful prairies, and famous Angel Falls--the highest waterfall in the world--draw tourists from all over the world.  In the midst of this natural beauty towers Mount Roraima, a name familiar to many Adventists, not because of its beauty, but because of what happened there.

Many years ago an Indian chief named Auka (or Awaka) had a vision in which an angel taught him the laws of health and principles of living.  The angel told the chief to watch for a "white man with a black book."  Chief Auka taught his people what the angel had told him.  Together Chief Auka and his people waited for the promised white man with the black book.

In 1910 Adventist Missionary O. E. Davis, stationed in Guyana, was impressed to travel into the interior and teach the people about Christ.  After months of grueling travel, he arrived at the village of Paraitepuy, on the border of Guyana and Venezuela.

When the Indians saw Davis, they cried out, "The white man with the black book!"  Pastor Davis was surprised by this unexpected welcome, and immediately began teaching the people about Christ.  His work was cut short when he died of malaria, but his mission lived on.  The villagers buried their beloved teacher at the foot of Mount Roraima, and continued to live according to the principles he had taught them, and singing the songs they had learned.

When missionaries arrived in this area years later, they found villagers who worshipped on the Sabbath, kept no pigs, and sang familiar songs!  The people wanted to be known as the Davis Indians, to honor the man who had taught them about Jesus.

The work in this area has continued to thrive over the years.  On Sabbath 3,000 Davis Indian Adventists gather in 12 churches and 20 groups to worship.  Nearly half of these members are under age 16.  With missionary zeal they take the three angels' messages from town to town, and from house to house in their different dialects and in Spanish and English, as well.

The Davis Indians have not forgotten their heritage.  They love the Lord and are eager to go home to heaven, where they can show Pastor Davis the fruits of his labors.

Sahara de Almérida is Sabbath School coordinator in the East Venezuela Mission.

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