Why the Condition of a Teacher's Heart is So Important

Because a teacher uses many words, the condition of his/her heart is very important.

A teacher will be held more accountable in large part because of his/her use of words.

James 3:1, written in the context of how we use our tongues, says,

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.


Because a teacher's words are a vehicle for communicating truth from God's Word, it is very important to be accurate.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)

  • Know how to study the Bible to arrive at God's intent, not merely your interpretation. -- good hermeneutics
  • Put enough time into the lesson so you are able to adequately study and pull the lesson together. -- good preparation

A teacher speaks from the overflow of his/her heart.

Scripture is very clear that what is in your heart will eventually come out in what you say.

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (Lk. 6:45)

Unless reading from a script, word by word, what is in a teacher's heart is bound to come out at some time in some way. If a teacher's heart is not rooted in truth, the teacher could misconstrue God's Word. If a teacher's heart is not rooted in love, the teacher could get bad attitudes toward students. If a teacher's heart is not rooted in righteousness, the teacher could lack integrity.


Because a teacher's words are a vehicle for communicating truth from God's Word, it is very important to guard the heart. The best way to guard your heart is to:

  • Understand your need for God's help, that apart from the grace of God you can't do it.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age... (Titus 2:11-12)

  • Yearn for the Word of God and let it saturate your being by meditating on it and memorizing it.

They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. (Ps. 19:10-11)
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Ps. 119:11)

  • Yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. When the Spirit works IN a teacher, not merely THROUGH a teacher, the heart from which he/she speaks is filled with "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23).

A teacher also speaks through actions, not just words.

The Apostle Paul told Timothy, "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers" (1 Tim. 4:16).
As already stated in the first point, it is important that a teacher's words accurately represent truth so one's doctrine must be watched closely. Note, however, that Paul combined the need to be vigilant about our belief system with our lives. That is because they both teach. When students see a discrepancy between what a teacher says and what he does, it becomes confusing for them about what to believe. A teacher can become a stumbling block even though he/she is accurately speaking words of truth.


Because a teacher's words are a vehicle for communicating truth from God's Word, it is very important to back up what one says with actions.

  • To do that, a teacher must watch, paying careful attention to everything he says and does. -- stay alert, don't get careless
  • A teacher must also persevere, not giving up even when he doesn't feel like it or it isn't convenient. -- be self-controlled, don't get lazy

Sunday School and other Bible teachers will benefit from the Be-Attitudes for Teachers which contains 30 devotions to help them "be" the kind of teacher who makes a difference. These devotionals can be used by individual teachers, Christian Education leaders or for group instruction of everyone involved in the educational ministry of your church.

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