If a person really has the gift of teaching, then he will communicate well. As he’s communicating the content of the passage of Scripture before him, he will never make a mistake in interpretation or an error in communication strategy, because how could the divinely given gift of teaching go wrong? Is the Holy Spirit working through him, or isn’t He? If it turns out he was wrong on a content issue, or he just screwed up the delivery beyond repair, then clearly the Holy Spirit wasn’t at work, and the guy doesn’t really have the gift of teaching.
And let’s face it, most of what passes for “teaching” today is pretty weak stuff. I mean, we know what real, Spirit-directed teaching looked like, right? Paul’s speeches in Acts, his address to the Ephesian elders — that’s powerful stuff. How many sermons do you hear today that measure up to that standard? None, that’s how many. You know why? Because it’s not the Spirit’s gift of teaching at all, that’s why; it’s just a guy saying some stuff that occurred to him in the study.
Reasonable, yes? How can it be flawed and imperfect if the Holy Spirit is the one who gives the gifts? God gives perfect gifts; says so right there in James 1.
So today, we have folks who claim to teach, but they make mistakes, and even occasionally have to issue retractions because they realize they were wrong about something they said earlier. They don’t measure up to the power and vibrancy of the biblical examples of teaching, at all. It would appear, in fact, that the biblical gift of teaching is not being dispensed by the Spirit today.
Of course this is all hogwash. But isn’t it exactly the standard that many of us apply to the gift of prophesy? Why is that gift different?