Daily Reading: James 3:1-2:
“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.”
James 3 has been used incorrectly to dissuade believers to see themselves as they truly are, which is teachers. What if I told you that we are all called to preach and teach the gospel, every single one of us (Mark 16:15; Hebrews 5:12).I believe that if you have been saved, then you know enough to tell others about Jesus. In fact, it’s sort of expected:By this time you ought to be teachers … (Hebrews 5:12).
(1) The Christian meetings were open, unstructured and informal; and anyone wishing to be heard could rise and speak (see 1 Corinthians 14:26-40).
(2)Some of James' readers, perhaps many of them, had come out of Judaism; and the characteristic of many of those was described by Paul in Romans 2:17-24.
The Judaizers what they were trying to do was to attempt to graft the forms and ceremonies of Mosaic law upon the church. They were mixing the Old Covenant with the New Covenant and you can’t do that. As theologian Macknight said: "These teachers of the Law in the Christian church were the great corrupters of Christianity." Paul likewise addressed stern words to this group, thus, "Some ... have turned aside unto vain talking, desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm" (1 Timothy 1:7).
Greater judgment ... is reminiscent of Jesus' declaration that hypocrites making long prayers for show, and at the same time devouring widows' houses, would also receive "the greater condemnation" (Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47). These people were leading people away from the grace of Jesus Christ.
Not all of us are gifted to teach (1 Corinthians 12:29), but all of us are qualified to teach. You are not qualified because you went to seminary or teaching school. You are qualified because Jesus the Teacher lives in you (Matthew 8:19). And you are qualified because his Spirit teaches you all things (John 14:26).
The word for teacher (didaskalos) is sometimes translated as master. Jesus was called master or teacher on many occasions and in a Jewish context that meant something special. A master was revered like an Old Testament judge.In Jesus’ day to be a master or teacher was to be one who dispensed law and passed judgment. James is telling us not to aspire to be one of those religious-types like the Pharisees who delight in condemning others living their lives and teaching according to the Law. Jesus did not come to judge people but to love people (John 12:47).
The text progresses to talk about the destruction the tongue can inflict. However, on the flipside of the destruction the tongue can bring (James 3:5-6), knowing that you are a teacher, a few words that brings forth the glad tidings of Jesus Christ can bring life to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:17-18).