What Does James 3:1 Mean?

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

James 3:1(NASB)

Verse of the Day

The epistle of James was probably written by Christ's younger half-brother and is considered to be the first New Testament book to be penned. It appears to rely more heavily on Christ's own, pre-Cross teachings to Israel, rather than focussing on post-Cross revelation to the Church, which was mainly given through Paul and the other apostles of Christ.

However, there is much important teaching in this little letter that we would do well to consider. The middle section, under review, gives valuable instruction on the influence of the tongue - its uses and its abuses. This section opens with the following caution: "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such, we will incur a stricter judgment."

We read that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. However, for the gospel to be shared in those early days of Christianity, before the New Testament Scripture had been written and compiled, the gospel was generally shared by word of mouth.

This warning from James that teachers would be judged more harshly than other Christians, was very pertinent then, as it is today. Teaching the Word of God should never be treated lightly, for we are counselled that those that teach God's Word will be under greater accountability and be judged more severely than other believers.

James warns us that no one should be in a hurry to be a teacher, nor should we be overly ambitious to become a teacher because the ones who take up this important role will be more harshly judged by the Lord.

A Bible teacher takes upon himself the responsibility of teaching and training others in the ways of the Lord. He teaches the lost the way of salvation and he teaches the saved how to grow in grace, how to live the Christian life, and how to mature in the faith. And unless that person has sound, biblical understanding themselves, is mature in the faith, and is able to share the good news clearly and correctly, they could cause others to stumble or be led astray. It is therefore not surprising that we read this caution from James: "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such, we will incur a stricter judgment."

Although this is certainly a serious warning against treating this issue carelessly, or without understanding the tremendous responsibility incurred in teaching God's Word... this verse is also a great encouragement for us all to study the Scriptures daily, to show ourselves approved unto God, be in a position to tell others the good news of the gospel of grace - and to be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have in Christ.

Teaching should never be carried out for selfish motives, financial gain, or to secure some authoritarian control over others, but should always be regarded seriously, knowing that the eternal destiny of men and women, rests on the accurate dissemination of Scripture.

But just as teachers who abuse their role will be judged more severely at the Bema seat of Christ, there is also great reward for those that teach the truth of the gospel of God, in season and out of season. Indeed, there are crowns and rewards for teachers who shepherd the flock of God, bring others into a closer understanding of His Word, and edify the Body of Christ - through their desire to teach the truth of our wonderful Saviour.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, I praise You for the truth of Your Word, and thank You for those that You put in my path, to teach me the glorious gospel of Christ. I pray that I may grow in grace, walk in spirit and truth, mature in the faith, and be ready and willing to tell others the hope that I have in You. Help me to be faithful in all I say and do, and give me opportunities to tell others about Jesus, and the joy of our salvation. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.

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