Study is, of course, the first step in a teacher’s preparation. The Apostle Paul, when writing to his beloved son in the faith, told him: “Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” 2 Tim. 2:15. John Cotton Dana said, “Who dares to teach must never cease to learn”
We have a key to becoming a teacher of righteousness in Matthew 13:52 where Jesus said, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.” A scribe, speaking of a teacher of God’s word, must bring forth the old, foundational truths, while also constantly seeking the Lord for fresh, greater truths. There is so much more of God to be known. We can never exhaust the knowledge of God in our few short years upon the earth.
That a teacher must seek out truth is further explained in Proverbs 25:2, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.” This is referred to as the hidden manna of God’s Word that is reserved for the overcomer, Rev. 2:17. As we learn to search out truth we are becoming kings and will qualify to reign in Christ’s coming millennial kingdom.
Daniel 12:4 says, “…even to the time of the end, many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” We have seen a vast increase of knowledge in the natural world. Scientists and medical researchers are constantly having breakthroughs as mankind’s circle of knowledge gets bigger and bigger. That is the way it should also be in the revelation of God’s Word. Our circle of knowledge of His Word, including the end-time events, should be getting larger and larger.
As we seek to study God’s Word, our next question will be, who do we study under? It is very important under which mantle you are taught. Whether you are studying in a church Bible class, in a school, or reading a book, different impartations can be given you which will affect the direction of your life and future teachings.
Once when I was young I had considered studying at the divinity schools of Oxford or Cambridge. I was contemplating this one night when an angel appeared to me, with a path behind him which began with golden light. I saw that the path went through the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and when I looked at the buildings of these universities, I saw many demons there. I understood that if I went on that path and studied in these universities I would be taught by demons. Then I saw that path, which had started in shining light, change and disappear into darkness. By this vision I understood that God was telling me that I was not to go through these schools or the end of my path would be darkness.
Once Harvard University declared, “We have born-again professors in every department except the Divinity School” (the religious department). It is extremely important that we study at the correct schools and under teachers of righteousness. We have someone in one of our churches who has a doctorate in theology, yet his pastor will not allow him to even teach in the Sunday school because he does not understand the gospel.
As a teacher you must be on the right path yourself, or you can turn your students off of their proper path even without saying anything, because of the impact that your life can have on them. There was a certain evangelical Bible school in the USA, and every year they would graduate one or two atheists. So the school leaders carefully examined what the faculty was teaching. They found that they were not teaching any atheistic doctrines, but that they had faculty that were atheists in their heart, and they reproduced what they were in the students. It is not sufficient that you teach the truth, but that you are the truth. You reproduce who you are. You can say to someone, “Don’t do that,” but if that wrong desire is in your own heart, your words will have no effect. To become a teacher of righteousness we must first become righteous.