How does one qualify to be a teacher of God’s Word? Must he possess the credentials, resources, and seminary background? Or is there only a minimum requirement: at least some core foundations already settled within himself, like basic training and a deep personal relationship with Jesus? Or are his salvation, personal Bible reading, and willingness to teach already enough?
I’m not here to dwell on these questions, however. I think that many of you are of the same opinion as I am, and that is, one doesn’t need to be a graduate of a seminary to qualify for teaching, but he does need basic training and a mature relationship with God. After all, this is how my own church works: I myself am being discipled and will soon finish our workers’ training, and so qualify to be a Bible-study leader of small groups.
I ask these questions, and I state my own position, because this is simply my way of affirming in my own heart that I am qualified to serve on this website, teaching the Word of God. Personally, I need this affirmation, and having this is only my first step towards fighting the doubts that sometimes attack me. You see, God has called me here to do things that are beyond myself, beyond my abilities, and so I need his help and power to accomplish them. But before I can depend on him, on outside help, I need first to believe in the things that are already in me. I need to put in perspective the things I can do, and the things I cannot do without God.
When I first conceptualized this website ten months ago, I only wanted to write expository articles on Biblical topics. For years I used to blog about my personal experiences, especially about my own spiritual journey, but now I felt that I’d already outgrown my need to express myself in that way. And so this time I wanted to focus instead on God and his Word.
And acknowledging my own limitations, I had planned to write posts based on published Bible-study guides — to depend on the works of others who are far more qualified than I am in teaching the Bible. Yes, it was just a simple idea for a blog, and it was something that I could handle on my own.
However, that first idea was shelved; my circumstances did not allow for it, and I wasn’t yet sure that this blog (or website) is something that God wants me to do. Furthermore, this past year, my life did not turn out the way I expected and hoped.
God and I are in the process of rebuilding my life — from when it was broken many years ago, when I first surrendered to Jesus. Though not perfectly, I do try to submit to his Lordship, and I do try to find his will in every significant decision and plan I make. But you know how it is with God: his timetable for my life requires much longer periods than my own timetable, and his plans for me are far more sophisticated than my own plans. To make a long story short, not one of my three major goals last year (a wider biblical knowledge, a stable and satisfactory job, and a love relationship) came to pass. Instead, there had been much struggles, and much pain.
And while all that has been happening, my simple idea for a blog has grown into a full-blown plan for a website: I will write not only articles, but also in-depth Bible studies and personal essays. And while I may still use Bible-study guides to help me, I will do my own research to enrich my writing.
The fact is, my friends, I have a mission to be part of the discipleship of the Body of Christ through this website and my writings; and I have a vision that someday this place will become a true online community of believers, and a real organization. In other words, I have now this great assignment from God that I definitely cannot handle on my own. Yes, I have the foundations and the skills, but they simply do not suffice.
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Before I continue, I want to tell you first a few things about myself.
My name is Arjay B. Araña. I’m a Filipino.
From being a Roman Catholic since birth, I became a Christian in 2004 when I was in college. In 2006, I fell in love with Jesus, and I surrendered my life to him. For some reasons though — reasons that I won’t talk about — it was only a decade later that I became really connected to the Body of Christ, when God finally led me to my present church. Yes, it might seem deeply regretful, but that “lost decade” I just think of as my time in the wilderness, where God had molded my character and soul, and where he had brought me to an intimate relationship with him.
Alone during this time, I did try to serve God in my small ways, and I did try to prepare myself for the ministry. But there was only so much a solitary Christian could do without the support of other believers. I did try to connect with other Christians through the internet, but I never found that true sense of belonging, and no door had ever opened for me.
Now, blessings have come to my life. After ten years of being alone, I now belong to a good evangelical church, and I’m being mentored by someone I respect and love. I’ve also just started attending a Bible school — in preparation for my calling as a teacher, and for my commitment to become a preacher. And though there are still areas of my life that God is working on (like my goals last year that didn’t happen), you can now say that I’m well on my way towards having that blessed life as a servant of the Lord Jesus.
As I’ve said above, I do qualify to teach the Word of God. Nevertheless, even with this affirmation, and even with a church now to back me up, and even with my life undergoing reconstruction, I sometimes still feel inadequate and unprepared to start and maintain a website such as this — much less to claim the title “Swordsman of the Word”.
I am no Swordsman of the Word — not yet anyway. But that is my dream, and the goal of this journey.
A Bible-school class that I finished recently is about experiencing God by knowing and doing his will. It is based on the book Experiencing God by Blackaby and King (1994). One key concept I’ve learned is that when God gives an assignment, it is God-sized, that is, it is something that only he can do. Therefore, if God does not help him, the servant who received the assignment, he would not be able to do it. The only way to pull it off, that God-sized assignment, is for God to work through that servant, manifesting his power and glory. The reason for this is that God wants to reveal himself to the world: people will be drawn to him when they witness something that demonstrates his presence and his power.
I am thinking that with this website, I am in such a situation.
You must understand; this isn’t just about my abilities, but also about my circumstances. My life that is being rebuilt is still a life of change and instability. For example, I still struggle with financial freedom, and I still have responsibilities that hinder my service to God. Therefore, working on this website, while my life is still like this, is really going to be hard for me. Without God’s help and blessings, I will certainly fail.
For these reasons then, and more, I truly had a crisis of belief when I received this assignment. Can I really do this? And will God really help me like he said he would? But in spite of these misgivings, here I am now, obeying God on this matter.
What is my greatest reason for serving God? Love. And yes, this endeavor may still come to nothing, despite my courage and faith, but what is important to me is that I have obeyed God. What is important to me is that I have shown God that I love him.
“One who has my commandments, and keeps them, that person is one who loves me…” (John 14:21 WEB).
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This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ. — John 17:3 WEB
How has this ministry helped you, my friend? Have you started to know God more?
The truth is, all these things I’ve talked about won’t have any real meaning to you unless you first have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know how to start such a relationship (and to know the story, the privileges, and the responsibilities that accompany this relationship), please read this: God’s Plan of Salvation.
Maybe you already have a relationship with God, my friend. Or maybe you’re not ready yet to take that step. Either way, if you are blessed by what you’ve read, even if only a little, and you want to stay blessed and grow in your knowledge of God, I’m inviting you to join my mailing list now, and receive my posts in your inbox.