The Difference Between Preaching and Teaching
Him [Jesus] we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Colossians 1:28
What is the difference between preaching and teaching? Several verses mention both, but do not quite tell the difference. 2 Timothy 1:11, “I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” What did Paul mean by saying preacher and teacher? The Greek word for preacher is kerux which means a herald or messenger, who conveyed the official messages of kings. The definition of herald is a messenger bringing news. The verb of kerux, kerusso, is used over 60 times in the New Testament to describe preaching. Kerusso means to proclaim openly something that has been done. Basically, preaching is sharing news of what has been done. This is generally referring to witnessing to others about what Jesus did for them on the cross, but preaching is not always limited to that. The Greek word used for teacher above is didaskalos, meaning instructor. They give instructions, teach or explain things. Say a herald rides in to town to tell the people “Jesus died for your sins. You do not have to live in bondage any longer.” He is preaching. When a person asks how can I be set free, the herald can move into teaching and give applicable instructions to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9-10), seek God first daily (Matthew 6:33), obey the Word (Joshua 1:8), etc…
As Jesus did (Matthew 4:23, Matthew 9:35), He also called us to preach and teach when He gave the Great Commission if we piece the verses together. In Mark 16:15-16 He tells us to “preach the Gospel” and “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” Then if you read Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” After we have preached the Good News, in an ideal situation the person gets saved. Now Jesus calls us to teach them to apply the Word of God to their lives.
We Are Called to Preach the Gospel
Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1 Corinthians 14:26
If you meet an unbeliever that is intrigued by the things of God, what do you do? Do you invite them to church in hopes that your Pastor will preach and get them saved? This is what most people do, but that is not what Jesus told us to do. In Mark 16:15 Jesus commissioned US to preach the Gospel. We can then encourage them to follow Christ by getting into the Word, and attend a church that teaches the Word. This is confirmed with the five-fold ministry in Ephesians 4:11, “He Himself gave some to be (1)apostles, some (2)prophets, some (3)evangelists, and some (4)pastors and (5)teachers.” Notice the absence of preacher above and in 1 Corinthians 12:28. “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.” The appointed people can preach if necessary, but the church was not designed for preaching the salvation message every week.
God’s design for the church can be seen the clearest in the book of Acts and the epistles. We, as a church, should be teaching the Word and allowing the gifts of the Spirit to be in operation so the body can be built up, grow, and mature in Christ – The Word (Ephesians 4:12-15). However, most churches have been diluted because believers are not living and sharing the Gospel daily. They are inviting unbelievers to church to hear the Gospel. Because those who are attending are unsaved they do not understand the Word and the move of the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14). So instead of teaching, and flowing in the gifts of the Spirit, pastors have regressed to preaching the salvation message every week. You may have been saved in church, Praise God. However, if we would rise up and preach the Gospel outside of the church, then the Church could operate as God originally designed it, a place for believers to grow and mature in Christ (2 Peter 1:1-11).