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Learning from great teachers

My mom was a teacher. She taught second grade at Southside Elementary School down the street from where I grew up in Cairo, Georgia. My two aunts, who lived next door, were both teachers. One taught first grade and the other taught high school. My wife taught middle school math and science for 30 years. My mother-in-law taught business English and math at North Fulton High School in Atlanta. Even I taught high school biology after college for half a year. And now my son teaches special education at Thomas County Middle School.

The Department of Education says there are approximately 3.1 million teachers and 46.5 million students in America — for a student-teacher ratio of 15. Seventy-six percent are female, 56 percent are under 40 years of age and 44 percent hold master’s degrees.

Paul writes to Timothy about his education, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3).”

Paul lists the church leaders in Ephesians 4:11-13, closing his list with pastor-teachers. Some versions of the Bible say “pastors and teachers,” while other versions say “pastor-teachers.” My Greek professor liked “pastor-teachers,” so that’s what I’ve lived with for most of my ministry.  As pastors, Paul and I want people to know Jesus. As teachers, Paul and I want people to know about Jesus. Both are important — do you know the difference?