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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. prop. לָמִל, but also many other words; Gr. prop. διδάσκω, but often other terms). Teaching is an important branch of the commission which Christ gave to his apostles before he left the earth. "Go," said he, "teach all nations," or, as we have it recorded by another of the evangelists, "Preach the Gospel to every creature." In this way they were to make disciples, as the word μαθητεύσατε imports. It is one of the precious promises of the new covenant that all its subjects shall be "taught of the Lord" (Isaiah 54:13). The Lord Jesus quoted these words in the days of his public ministry (John 6:45), and describes the effect of this teaching thus: "Every man, therefore, that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me," which he afterwards explains to mean neither more nor less than believing on him. (See PREACHING).

Teachers, or "doctors" (v.r.), are mentioned among divine gifts in Ephesians 4:11, and it is possible that the apostle does not mean such ordinary teachers (or pastors) as the Church now enjoys; but as he seems to reckon them among the extraordinary donations of' God, and uses no mark of distinction or separation between apostles, with which he begins, and doctors, with which he ends, it may be that he refers to the nature of the office of the Jewish doctors; meaning well-informed persons, to whom inquiring Christian converts might have recourse for removing their doubts and difficulties concerning Christian observances, the sacraments, and other rituals, and for receiving from Scripture the demonstration' that "this is the very Christ;" and that the things relating to the Messiah were accomplished in Jesus. Such a gift could not but be very serviceable in that infant state of the Church, which, indeed, without it, would have seemed, in this particular, inferior to the Jewish institutions. With this agrees the distinction (Romans 12:7) between doctors (teaching, διδάσκων ) and exhorters, q. d. "he who gives advice privately, and resolves doubts, etc., let him attend to that duty; he who exhorts with a loud voice (παρακαλῶν ), let him exhort" with proper piety. The same appears in 1 Corinthians 12:28, where the apostle ranges, 1st, apostles, public instructors; 2d, prophets, occasional instructors; 3d (διδάσκαλοι ), doctors or teachers, private instructors. (See GIFTS).

For monographs on our Lord as the Great Teacher, see Hase, Leben Jesu, p. 130 sq. (See JESUS CHRIST).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Teach'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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