his loving concern for others. His keen discernment was enhanced by miraculous knowledge of the background and reasoning of others. (Matt. 12:25; Luke 6:8; John 1:48; 4:18; 6:61, 64; 13:11) “He himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:25) His heart went out to the people to such an extent that he sacrificed needed rest to teach them. On one occasion Jesus and his disciples took a boat and headed for an isolated spot to rest up a bit. “But people saw them going and many got to know it, and from all the cities they ran there together on foot and got ahead of them. Well, on getting out, he saw a great crowd, but he was moved with pity for them, because they were as sheep without a shepherd. And he started to teach them many things.”—Mark 6:31-34.
Jesus treated his listeners with understanding. When his disciples did not get the point of an illustration, he patiently explained it to them. (Matt. 13:10-23) Aware of their limitations, he did not give them too much information. (John 16:4, 12) When needed, Jesus repeated practically identical information. (Mark 9:35; 10:43, 44) In answering questions, Jesus often fortified his reply by means of illustrations or object lessons, thereby leaving a deep impression upon the minds of the listeners and stirring up their thinking faculties.—Matt. 18:1-5, 21-35; Luke 10:29-37.
GOD’S SPIRIT TEACHES
During the three and a half years of his earthly ministry, Jesus trained his apostles to continue the work he had started. As imperfect humans, they could not possibly remember every detail of his teaching. But Jesus promised them: “The helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all the things I told you.” (John 14:26) This meant that God’s spirit would teach them whatever they needed to know to accomplish their ministry. Particularly would it open up to their understanding what they had previously heard but not understood. As a remembrancer, the holy spirit would bring back to their minds things that Jesus had said while with them. And, as a teacher, it would show them the correct application of his words.—Compare John 2:19-22; see TRUTH (“The Spirit of the Truth”).
When brought before public assemblies, kings and men in high governmental station, Jesus’ disciples could confidently rely on God’s spirit as a remembrancer and teacher. Like a friend, it would bring back to their minds things to say and help them to make appropriate applications. This would result in giving a good witness and also would silence opposers. (Matt. 10:18-20; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11, 12; 21:13-15) That is why Peter and John were able to speak boldly when questioned by the highest Jewish court, the Sanhedrin, about their having healed a man lame from birth. Their outspokenness was something completely unexpected from ‘unlettered and ordinary men.’ It caused the members of the Sanhedrin to wonder. And Peter’s words, coupled with the presence of the cured man, left these learned men with “nothing to say in rebuttal.”—Acts 4:5-14.
Since all of God’s Word was written under inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16), it alone contains the spirit’s teaching. Therefore, teaching that conflicts with God’s Word is not to be given any attention by Christians. As the apostle John wrote: “You do not need anyone to be teaching you; but, as the anointing from him is teaching you about all things, and is true and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in union with him.” (1 John 2:27) Those to whom John directed these words were spirit-begotten Christians. They had come to know both Jehovah God and his Son Christ Jesus. They were fully acquainted with God’s truth. So they did not need persons as teachers who denied the Father and the Son. Such teachers would only mislead them from what they knew to be the truth as taught by God’s spirit and plainly set forth in the Sacred Writings. (1 John 2:18-26) For this reason Christians were not to receive apostate teachers into their homes or even to say a greeting to them.—2 John 9-11.
MAKING AND TEACHING DISCIPLES
After his resurrection Jesus Christ commissioned his followers to make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them all the things he had commanded. (Matt. 28:19, 20) This extensive teaching work had its beginning on the day of Pentecost in 33 C.E., when about 3,000 Jews and proselytes accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah and were baptized. The teaching of these new disciples did not end with the apostle Peter’s discourse that led to their becoming followers of Christ Jesus. There was much more for them to learn. For this reason those who had come to Jerusalem from distant places to be present for the festival of Pentecost extended their stay in order to be able to devote themselves to the apostles’ teaching. Day after day they would assemble in the temple area, evidently to listen to the apostles. Other Jews and proselytes also got to hear the good news there, and the number of believing men eventually increased to about 5,000. (Acts 2:14–4:4) Besides teaching publicly at the temple, the apostles also declared the good news about Jesus Christ from house to house.—Acts 5:42.
Later, the scattering of the believers through persecution and the beginning of the preaching among the non-Jews extended the disciple-making work to distant places. (Acts 8:4-12; 11:1-26) As in Jerusalem, however, often public preaching and teaching was employed to locate interested ones, after which those who became disciples continued to be taught. In Ephesus, for example, the apostle Paul taught publicly in the synagogue. After opposition arose, he separated the disciples from the unbelieving Jews, delivering discourses to them in the school auditorium of Tyrannus. (Acts 19:8-10) Paul also taught disciples in their homes. (Compare Acts 18:6, 7 regarding Paul’s activity in Corinth.) As he reminded the older men of the Ephesus congregation: “I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house.”—Acts 20:20.
TEACHERS IN THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION
Through the activity of the apostle Paul and others, Christian congregations were established in many places and these continued to enjoy increases. Qualified teachers were needed to assist all associated with these congregations to “attain to the oneness in the faith and in the accurate knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of growth that belongs to the fullness of the Christ.” (Eph. 4:11-13) This placed a weighty responsibility upon those serving as teachers, one that had a direct bearing upon the lives of fellow Christians. The position of teachers was of such importance that it is listed third, right after apostles and prophets, in the placement of members in the congregation. (1 Cor. 12:28) It was not a position filled by Christians generally (1 Cor. 12:29) and never by women. Wrote the apostle Paul: “I do not permit a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over a man.” (1 Tim. 2:12) Overseers or older men appointed to their positions by holy spirit served in this capacity.—Acts 20:17, 25-30; 1 Tim. 3:1, 2; 5:17.
These older men had to be examples worthy of imitation and accurate in their teaching, always adhering to the inspired Word of God. As qualified teachers, they served as a bulwark against the falling away from true belief, being ever alert to correct those who had fallen victim to wrong teaching and taking action against those promoting sects.—1 Tim. 4:6, 7, 16; 6:2b-6; 2 Tim. 2:2, 14-26; 3:14-17; Titus 1:10, 11; 2:1, 6, 7; 3:9-11; compare Revelation 2:14, 15, 20-24.
The older men (Gr., pre·sbyʹte·roi) who worked hard in teaching fellow Christians were deserving of respect, consideration (compare Hebrews 13:17) and even voluntary material assistance. This is what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote: “Moreover, let anyone who is being orally taught the word share in all good things with the one who gives such oral teaching.” (Gal. 6:6) “Let the older men who preside in a fine way be reckoned worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching. For the scripture says: ‘You must not muzzle a bull when it threshes out the grain’; also: ‘The workman is worthy of his wages.’”—1 Tim. 5:17, 18.
Men who unselfishly sought to be overseers, qualified to teach others in the congregation, were “desirous of a fine work.” (1 Tim. 3:1) Obviously, therefore, it was not with reference to such men that the disciple James wrote: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment.” (Jas. 3:1) Evidently these words were not intended to discourage men from becoming qualified to teach, but emphasized the heavy responsibility that as a result comes upon teachers in the congregation. Evidently some had set themselves up as teachers, although not being appointed or qualifying as such. The persons whom James had in mind were probably much like those of whom Paul wrote to Timothy: “Certain ones have been turned aside into idle talk, wanting to be teachers of law, but not perceiving either the things they are saying or the things about which they are making strong assertions.” (1 Tim. 1:6, 7) Evidently such men desired the prominence that came with being a teacher of fellow believers. But James placed matters in the right perspective in showing that more would be required of teachers in the congregation. They would have to render a more serious account than Christians generally. (Compare Romans 14:12.) Yet like others, they too would stumble in word.—Jas. 3:2.
How all Christians should be teachers
While relatively few served as teachers in the congregation itself, the desirable goal for all Christians was to have the ability to teach their beliefs to others, at least privately. This point was made clear to Hebrew Christians: “Although you ought to be teachers in view of the time, you again need someone to teach you from the beginning the elementary things of the sacred pronouncements of God.” As the Jews had been the first to receive the good news about the Christ, they really should have been, not spiritual babes, but examples in Christian maturity and ability to teach others. (Heb. 5:12–6:2) Thus the inspired writer is here evidently speaking of teaching in a general sense, rather than in an appointed capacity. Somewhat similar, therefore, is his reference to the Jew who, on the basis of his knowledge, becomes a “corrector of the unreasonable ones, a teacher of babes.” (Rom. 2:17-20) Paul shows, however, that in such teaching also one’s life course must harmonize with what is taught if the teaching is to bring honor to God.—Rom. 2:21-24.
Christians could also learn from one another. Younger women, for instance, could be taught by aged women about such matters as ‘loving their husbands, loving their children, being sound in mind, chaste, workers at home, good, subjecting themselves to their own husbands, so that the word of God may not be spoken of abusively.’ Such teaching in private was effective when backed up by a good example.—Titus 2:3-5; compare 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14, 15.
The postexilic name of the tenth Jewish lunar month of the sacred calendar, but the fourth of the secular calendar. (Esther 2:16) It corresponds to part of December and part of January. It is generally referred to simply as the “tenth month.”—1 Chron. 27:13.
The name “Tebeth” is believed to mean “sinking” or “sinking in,” and this may have reference to the muddy conditions that prevail during this winter month when rainfall is at its peak. The winter rains are often torrential, like the one that ended the three-and-a-half-year drought in Elijah’s day or the kind that Jesus described in his illustration of the house, the sand foundation of which was washed away by the lashing rain. (1 Ki. 18:45; Matt. 7:24-27) According to The Geography of the Bible by Denis Baly, the latter part of December brings frequent frosts in the hill country and occasional snow flurries in Jerusalem. (2 Sam. 23:20) Though it is unusual, there have been times when roads were temporarily blocked by heavy snowfall. It may have been during this month Tebeth that a heavy snowfall hindered the Syrian army commander Tryphon when on his way to Jerusalem. (See Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIII, chap. VI, par. 6; 1 Maccabees 13:22.) The month Tebeth was very evidently neither a month for traveling nor a month in which shepherds would spend the night in the fields. For these and other reasons it could not have been the month in which Jesus was born.
It was on the tenth day of Tebeth in 609 B.C.E. that Nebuchadnezzar began his siege against the city of Jerusalem. (2 Ki. 25:1; Jer. 39:1; 52:4; Ezek. 24:1, 2) The “fast of the tenth month,” mentioned at Zechariah 8:19, was thereafter observed by the Jews in memory of this event.
Job, the faithful servant of God, barely escaping death in his sufferings, said: “I escape with the skin of my teeth.” (Job 19:20) This Biblical statement is accurate. The Encyclopedia Americana (1956), Volume 26, page 321, comments: “On the enamel surface [of the teeth] is a highly indestructible pellicle [thin skin] or film indistinguishable to the naked eye known as the enamel cuticle (Nasmyth’s membrane).”
Grinding or gnashing of the teeth is frequently used to denote rage (Job 16:9; Acts 7:54) or anguish and despair. (Matt. 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30) Such gnashing may be accompanied by bitter words and violent action against the object of anger. At Amos 4:6 the expression “cleanness of teeth” is paralleled with “want of bread,” representing famine conditions.
Teeth also symbolize destructive power of a nation or a people. (Dan. 7:5, 7, 19; Joel 1:6; Rev. 9:8) David likens the wicked enemies of the righteous to ferocious lions, and he petitions God to strike them in the jaw and to break their teeth. This would render them powerless to do harm. (Ps. 3:7; 58:6) The false prophets of Israel are pictured as greedy and voracious, “biting with their teeth,” and sanctifying war against anyone who does not feed them.—Mic. 3:5; compare Ezekiel 34:2, 3; Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29.
In the days before Jerusalem’s destruction, a common saying of the people was: “The fathers were the ones that ate the unripe grape, but it was the teeth of the sons that got set on edge.” (Jer. 31:29; Ezek. 18:2-4) By this means they tried to excuse themselves of the blame for the adverse conditions brought upon the nation because of its wickedness, saying that what they were experiencing was as a result of what their fathers had done.
See TAHPANES, TAHPANHES, TEHAPHNEHES.
Descendant of Chelub in the genealogies of Judah. He is also identified