Of the 5 – fold gifts I find the teacher the most difficult to define. Often the teacher is the theologian and that can be an all too easy quick fall back definition. Its a great start but it will depend on whether the ‘theologian’ is influenced by the supernatural, the unseen, the spirit. The reality is that the bible can be studied by unbelievers, they will read a great book but it may not change their lives and consequently the lives of those that they influence. Studying the book without a relationship will result in tearing apart the characters and content whereas studying the book with a relationship with the Father, Son & Holy Spirit will result in us all being built up.
A way of thinking which I have found helpful is inspired by definitions of Science & Technology.
Science discovers cause and effect, while technology harvests it for the benefit of mankind.
Let me translate this for teachers. Perhaps theology discovers cause and effect and Kingdom or Apostolic thinking harvests it for the benefit of mankind. If therefore my theology is truly the study of God, then when I practice my theology then it should reveal God the father. I suggest that if it doesn’t then I may need to revisit my theology. It stands to reason then that when the Apostolic Teacher teaches they reveal the father and help the student to become more Christlike, reveal the father and be filled by the Holy Spirit.
So what then is the role of the teacher in an Apostolic Culture. I like to think of them as the stewards, the banks of the river. Keeping a watchful eye on truth in relationship with the spirit of truth and at the same time equipping the saints to study God for themselves and apply that to the assignment which they are given as sent ones expanding the influence of King Jesus in the earth.
Like the pastor the teacher will be tempted to stay in the realm of what can be explained. The teacher by nature often wants to have answers and explanations, but the way of the Kingdom isn’t always that way.
The apostolic teacher will study, will understand the word but will never limit it to what can be seen and proved in the natural. The teacher will above all help us all to be life long learners. The Apostolic Teacher cannot be an academic alone, they must be a practitioner, their gift will encourage, not discourage, will not limit but point to the limitless one but at the same time they will provide anchors, be stewards of principles and explorers of the unfathomable depths of God.