The Berean Expositor
Volume 22 - Page 209 of 214
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Words in Season.
pp. 159, 160
"Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, so as to
instruct others, than ten thousand words in an (unknown) tongue" (I Cor. 14: 18).
The exercise of the ministry of teaching draws upon all the gifts and graces of the
Spirit. Not only must there be in the first instance an "aptness" (II Tim. 2: 2), but such
graces as "patience", "gentleness", and "meekness" must be continually manifested in
face of opposition (2: 24, 25). Moreover, not only must the doctrine be true, but there
should be a close relationship manifested between the doctrine and the manner of life
(3: 10). All these requirements were abundantly fulfilled by the apostle Paul.
Apart from these more personal and spiritual accompaniments, we have some very
practical exhortations for the teacher in the epistles and example of Paul. One of these
we have placed at the heading of this article. Before any preaching or teaching can be of
service to him that hears, it must be understood. The apostle placed five words spoken
with understanding, so that others could receive instruction, against the thousand words
in a tongue unintelligible to the hearer, though they be spoken under the influence of the
"With all thy getting, get understanding" says the Scripture in Prov. 4: 7.  While,
however, the words of the wise urge us to get understanding, they also utter balancing
warnings against a spirit of fleshly independence that forgets the spiritual side of the
matter, such as,
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding"
(Prov. 3: 5).
Coming to the practical side of our subject, we turn to the example of Nehemiah.
There is a passage in Nehemiah that should be pondered by every teacher and preacher--
pondered and prayed over until it becomes a reflection of the teacher's own practice:--
"So they read in the book of the law of God DISTINCTLY, and gave the SENSE,
and caused them to UNDERSTAND the reading" (Neh. 8: 8).
The word "distinctly" is used on two occasions in the law, and in both passages there
is manifested the necessity for clear cut and incisive statement:--
"And they put him in ward that the mind of the Lord might be SHEWED to them"
(Lev. 24: 12).
"And they put him in ward, because it was not DECLARED what should be done to
him" (Numb. 15: 34).
In both these passages Moses is seen to be uncertain how to act until a special
command was given by the Lord. This emphasizes the idea of the reading of the law