Has public education reached a tipping point? Pre-pandemic, teacher shortages and the declining numbers of college students pursuing education were already a growing concern. However, as controversies over curriculum grow, political mandates create divides, and pandemic protocols wax and wane, I see many in education crying, “Uncle!”
It’s a mess of epic proportions. And while some of those wounds are self-inflicted, many grow from the whims of bad politics and policy. My heart hurts for those working so hard to do the right thing, the ones feeling pressed and caught in the middle. Yes, there are bad apples in the bunch — like in any profession — but most teach because of their love for students and learning.
Do you look with empathetic eyes at the controversy and think, “Goodness, they need so much; what will a few Bible verses for teachers do?”
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What does God say about teaching others?
However, before we dive into a roundup of encouraging Bible verses for teachers, let’s consider what it says about teaching. God has much to say about our approach to spiritual teaching at home and in the church. It’s an undertaking he does not take lightly, nor should we. But notice the distinction.
The Bible specifically talks about spiritual teaching — teaching God’s Word and parental instruction. Among other things, here are some of the ways we see Biblical teaching highlighted:
- It’s a spiritual gift (Romans 12:4-8).
- It’s a requirement for pastors (1 Timothy 3:1-2).
- It’s a responsibility in parenting (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
- It’s held to a higher standard (James 3:1).
So if that’s the case, how do we marry Bible verses about teaching with the role of classroom educators? Can we? How do we apply these Scriptures appropriately without misusing the text? While the application to teachers in Christian settings might be clear, what about our Christian men and women who teach in public schools?
Encouragement for Christian teachers in public schools
For the Christian teacher in a public school, let me just give you a virtual hug right now and thank you for all you do. You have the opportunity each day to reflect Biblical principles and characteristics in your work. How you teach and interact with students, colleagues, and parents sets you apart. While that same opportunity to shine the light of Christ is true for every believer, your influence on students and families often far exceeds others.
I love all teachers, but I especially have a heart for those who teach in our public schools because I think their work there is so important. Unfortunately, I think the role of educators has become increasingly difficult as politics (internal and external) bleed into the classroom, students arrive at the door with greater and more challenging needs, and national narratives deliver misinformation and drive divides.
So let me encourage you with this:
Your ability to teach is a gift.
Please don’t let those who have never stepped foot inside a classroom to teach minimize your professional talents. Each of us was designed by our Creator to fulfill our unique place in his sovereign plan. Prayerfully consider your position; remember your why.
Teaching is more than just sharing knowledge. Most people could do that. But great teachers have the unique ability to help students understand and learn content while also inspiring and encouraging them. Any parent who has tried to teach their child something, and the result was frustration and tears, should understand we don’t all have the special qualities great teachers possess!
Jesus was the ultimate teacher, and in his earthly ministry, we see countless examples of him sharing the same message in different ways to reach the hearts and minds of those who came to hear him.
Excellent teachers do the same. They consider their students; they modify lessons to make a point, cause their students to think. They use creative methods and practices to build knowledge and encourage understanding. Every student has a different need, and dedicated teachers work diligently to meet them.
Let your light shine.
Every day, you have the opportunity to exemplify the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
You may not be sharing the Gospel with your words, but you are doing so with your actions. Living out your faith (Colossians 3:1-17) is perhaps one of the strongest testimonies of all. And for many students, staff, and parents, you’ll be the first glimpse of Jesus they see.
You are a teacher, but you also are on the mission field. Never lose sight of that privilege and responsibility. And through your silent witness, know you are potentially planting seeds of faith.
You are a refuge.
For many students, school is a place of refuge. And as a teacher, you likely know that the most difficult students are the ones hurting the most. This spans all levels of socioeconomics. Whether your students live in poverty or great affluence, many of them walk into your classroom looking for an escape from the shattered realities of their home life.
Thank you for keeping your eyes open to the needs of your students, for staying after class or after school to listen to their burdens. As a Christian, you hold the power of prayer and have the unique ability to intercede for your students. You are the soft place to land, the adult with a kind word or an encouraging smile. Your power and presence can’t be overstated.
If you are a teacher, you can find additional encouragement at Truth for Teachers.
Is it still hard? Yes. So as we encourage those who teach, let’s point them to God’s Word with the following Bible verses for teachers.
Bible verses for teachers
Below you’ll find an assortment of Bible verses for teachers that you can add to a card, print on a tag, or pop in a small frame. Here’s a printable version of the Bible verses for teachers, as well.
So who do you know that needs your encouragement, the reminder of God’s calling, or the prayerful support for the challenges faced.
Your work is for the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…”
“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
The Lord will strengthen you.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
“[D]o not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
1 Peter 5:7
“…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
The Lord shines through you.
“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
“May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb.”
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Note: Verses above from the English Standard Version (ESV) translation.
Y’all, our teachers are weary.
For those of us on the outside looking in, it’s easy to see the struggles but not know how to help. But here are a few ideas:
- Stay informed: Pay attention to what’s going on, but seek out the truth, not sound bites. Have a question about public education? Go to the source. Set up a meeting with your teacher, principal, or someone in upper level administration. Don’t allow social media to be your primary news source.
- Stay engaged: Vote in elections, local and on up. If you have children in school, stay involved where you can. If you don’t have children in school, engage — mentor, volunteer to read, etc. I assure you there is a school nearby that could use your support. Get involved with a committee or your school district’s education foundation.
- Express your appreciation. Only the disgruntled tend to speak up; be the exception and make someone’s day with your gratitude. So send an email today to the teacher(s) you think are special. Gifts, while appreciated, will long be forgotten, but your kind words and thoughtful praise won’t be and goes a long way toward soothing a tired soul.
Whether it’s Teacher Appreciation Week (which, by the way, is celebrated nationally during the first full week of May), the kick-off to a new school year, or somewhere in between, let’s shower our teachers with all the fun things but not forget the power of prayer. It’s perhaps one of the most overlooked and undervalued things we can do to support those who are working so hard to be the light.
God has not left our public schools, as some may claim. The courts didn’t “kick him out,” and his power and authority can not be constrained by court rulings and human intent.
And every day he is working through Christian educators and students to show a lost and darkened world a better way. Living differently, the faith-filled men and women who show up to teach point others to Christ where peace, joy, hope, and eternal life reside.