Where to begin? You don't have to look far to find a plethora of lists of qualities of good teachers. Indeed, there may be more lists of qualities than there are good teachers. Far too long we have chosen teachers carelessly. "If they can read they can teach," we say, forgetting that understanding is an essential part of reading. So we add another condition. "If they can read and repeat what they read they can teach." That is not true either. All it establishes is that they can read the same material twice, first silently to themselves and then out loud to a group of people. So we advance a step farther. "If they can teach public school they will surely make good Bible Study teachers." Wrong again. How many of us have had bad teachers in public schools from first grade to college? I still remember my geometry teacher in the 10th grade who would drink a quart of buttermilk for lunch, and in my class, the first after lunch, would put the assignment on the board, lay her head on the desk, and go to sleep. I liked the history teacher better even though she threatened to tear my arm off of my body and beat me to death with the bloody end of it! She at least cared. But what does make a good teacher? More specifically, what are the qualities that make a good Bible Study teacher?
Perhaps we ought to start with the obvious. Surely the primary quality, the most essential quality, is a true spirituality created by an extensive knowledge of Scripture and manifested in the teacher's life! Unless the teacher of the Bible lives the life of a devoted Christian, that which is taught will die in the air.
Sadly, this basic quality is often overlooked. In many instances congregations first determine the number of classes they wish to have. Having settled on say eight adult classes, and believing that the load is too heavy for one teacher, they next conclude that 16 teachers per quarter are needed. Since it is too much to ask that the teachers teach more than one or two quarters a year, that enlarges the number to a minimum of 32 adult teachers. Talk about the cart before the horse! The number of classes should not determine the number of teachers. First find the number of good, spiritual, biblically knowledgeable teachers available and then determine the number of classes. This approach will educate more for teaching and, combined with proper training, will prepare them to become good teachers of the Word.
These qualities are requirements, not electives. While perfection is not required, continuing progress is. Phil. 3:14 applies to the teacher in a special sense: "I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." The teacher who is not getting better is by definition getting worse. Getting neither better nor worse is not an alternative because standing still prevents one from getting closer to the goal, resulting in falling behind from where one should be.
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)