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Teach with Authority

“And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matt. 7:28-29). When the scribes taught the law, they would not teach on their own authority but instead would refer to the rabbis as their authority. They would say, “According to Rabbi So-and-so, this law means…. But according to Rabbi What’s-his-name, it means this….” When Jesus taught, he did not rely on the authority of other rabbis. He taught as if he knew what the Word meant. And that is how we are to teach as well.

Mark tells us that when Jesus taught at the synagogue in Capernaum (Mark 1:21-28), “they [the people] were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Jesus then cast an unclean spirit out of a man. “Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” Notice that the people thought that Jesus’ ability to cast out a demon was part of the new doctrine (teaching) that Jesus taught. The authority with which Jesus taught included the authority to cast out a demon, which changed that man’s life. And that is the goal of our teaching as well. We want to teach with authority so that our teaching can change the lives of our listeners.

I have occasionally quoted other teachers in my teaching because they said something better than I could say it. And you may find yourself doing the same thing. But don’t rely on other teachers as your authority. As you study the Scriptures, be guided by the Holy Spirit, not by other teachers, into finding the truth. The Holy Spirit and the Word are infallible; other teachers are not. They could be wrong. For that matter, you could be wrong. But when you teach, teach as if you believe what you are teaching is the truth. If you do not believe it is the truth, why are you teaching it?

I have learned that the Christian life is a balancing act, trying to find the middle ground between two extremes. Do not teach on something until you are convinced that you are 100% correct on what you believe. Then teach it with authority. At the same time, be humble enough to know that you could be wrong and are open to correction.

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