For those who rant about the arrogance of the scholars and/or preachers have often demonstrated no little self-sufficiency - pride in not knowing! I want to call it nothing short of blind prejudice. That is what it is prejudice pure and simple. But Scholars have as much a role in the kingdom of God as any other "fool" ... and that is what we all are but some of us don't know it.
The anti-teacher position is explicitly contradicted in the Scriptures themselves. Paul said that God has given some (not all) disciples to be teachers (1 Cor 12.28; Eph 4.11). The Greek term didaskalos is, in the Gospels, a translation of the term rabbi (cf. Jn 1.38; 20.16). Paul says God has equipped the church with these "teachers/rabbis." Teaching is not the only gift given to the church but it is one of them. Further the NT tells us that not every Christian should be a teacher (James 3.1). Likewise, the Hebrews' Preacher scolds disciples in Heb 5.12 along similar lines. All of this, and more, shows that in the NT, and the early church, there were people who had a unique role in the church as teachers/rabbis ... A teacher is simply one who has studied and knows more than some one else that knowledge is not an end in itself but is for the building up of the body of Christ. At least if I read James correctly that is the idea ...
"Not many of you should presume to teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly" (James 3.1)
If language means anything at all then this texts that there are some Christians gifted as teachers and some are not. This does not (contrary to the anti-teacher, anti-preacher rhetoric) mean anyone is "lording" it over anyone. All gifts are given for the common good. Meditation upon the diversity of gifts and the unity of God's people anyway would help us (see 1 Cor 12.1-13).
Those who in their pride, prejudice or arrogance claim that they need nothing and no one other than themselves suffer from a spiritual malady. They suffer from a willful amnesia that robs their lives of depth and direction. To claim that I and my personal experience and my knowledge is the standard for understanding and interpretation is the height of arrogance! It is in fact a mockery of biblical authority. The real authority, in this anti-teacher, anti-scholarship position, is nothing less than "myself" and what "I" think/feel/believe. The canon is ultimately me! Nothing else is allowed to shed light. Beloved readers this is not respect for the Bible. It is nothing less than worshiping at the idol of modernism and the cult of self. There is no place in Scripture that supports this position ... none!
To further examine this position lets focus our thoughts on 2 Timothy that some seem to believe intends for us to have a book and nothing from anything/one else. But first a quotable quote:
"Scripture does not teach that the Bible alone thoroughly furnishes the man of God for every good work, but that the Bible in ADDITION to what had already been given does so ..." (James A. Harding from 1906)
Paul says in 2 Timothy, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
The "logic" of the "Just me, myself and my Bible only ... I don't need a book, a teacher and surely not a scholar" ... folks goes something like this. Paul says that Scripture is adequate. If Scripture is adequate, then nothing more is required. If nothing more is required, then the use of outside material implies the inadequacy of the Bible, contradicting Paul's statement. Therefore, nothing in addition to Scripture can be used to equip us, because nothing else is "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. " This function is the sole province of the Bible.
That's the so-called argument. But it is wrong. Why? For starters the word "adequate" modifies the believer, in the Greek text not the word Scripture. The words Paul uses to describe Scripture are "inspired" and "profitable. " The Torah is useful to accomplish a certain end--an adequately equipped disciple--because it is the very counsel of God. Paul's teaching in 2 Timothy was meant to qualify the nature of Scripture, not to disqualify the usefulness of other material or resources (like a teacher).
Second, the argument proves way too much. The Scripture Paul has in view is the "Old Testament," specifically the sacred writings of Timothy's childhood (note verse 15). These are what Paul identifies as being able to "give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
If the "Old Testament" Scriptures are ALONE (and they are the only scriptures under consideration in the context) adequate, and if Paul means to suggest that the addition of any useful information about man is wrong, then how do we justify adding the words of the New Testament to the fully adequate Old Testament? Even Paul's words (as well as Peter's, John's, etc.) would be inadmissible, including the very words of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which make this claim.
Since this is ludicrous and self-defeating, the entire objection crumbles. Paul did not mean to convey that other sources of knowledge were an assault on the Scripture's completeness.
Perhaps even more problematic to this view, 2 Timothy 3:15 doesn’t even teach that the Scripture is adequate. As stated above, a close look at the text reveals that the words “inspired” and “profitable” describe the Scripture. However, the word “adequate” does not describe the Scripture, but rather “the man of God” who uses the inspired Scripture in a profitable way. Note carefully: “...that the man of God may be adequate , equipped for every good work.” Once again, the proof text itself has unwittingly been maligned to say something it just doesn’t say in its context ... thus James A. Harding was correct and a wise teacher.
What does "adequate" mean here? It probably means what adequate usually means, that the man of God has everything that is essential. Food and air and water are adequate to keep one alive, but their adequacy doesn't imply that nothing else is beneficial.The problem only arises if one imposes a foreign sense of adequacy on this passage, i.e., nothing else is allowed. If we hold that Paul and the Apostles wrote legitimate Scripture, then that proves Paul's didn't intend such a restriction. That's my point.
God has granted certain people to the church. He has given us evangelists, he has given us shepherds, he has given us folks who are generous and a host of other graces. But God has also give the church TEACHERS. The same word is Rabbi ... just a different language. Teachers/Rabbis are folks with certain abilities and personalities that can be of service to others.
Teachers no more retard the spiritual growth of Christians than a math teacher retards the growth of a student in geometry or a dentist keeps people from brushing their teeth. Teachers and dentists serve useful functions. Teaching and "scholaring" are not the only gifts in the church, they are not the greatest gifts in the church ... nor are they the worst. This gift is given by God's grace like all for the building up of the body as a whole ... for service.
"But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says 'When he ascended on high he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men and women' ... It was he who GAVE some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for ..." (Eph 4.7-12)
Thank you God for the gifts, all the gifts, you have given to the church ... including those who have learned the language of Paul, Jesus and Moses.