The following paragraph is from Newton’s book, Heart Deep Teaching. This section of the book addresses why it is vitally important that teachers first learn and live the truths they seek to teach to their group members. Newton says the following:
It is not enough for teachers of God’s Word simply to know their material on a superficial level. Christian educators and those encouraging the spiritual development of others must be actively learning and applying truth at an in-depth level themselves before attempting to teach others. This involves studying, wrestling, and discovering, as well as integrating, applying and practicing truth. It is difficult to teach something we have not learned ourselves…the depth to which the teacher is personally connected to the subject often determines the depth to which the listener will respond.
Heart Deep Teaching, pp.60-61
This reminds me of Ezra, sometimes referred to as “the second Moses.” Ezra 7:10 records these words: “Now Ezra determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.” Note the order – it’s the same as Newton recommends. First, we study and learn God’s Word. Then, once we know what we are commanded to do, we do it. Obeying God’s Word then gives us credibility to stand before others and teach it. We can say with confidence, “Thus saith the Lord…”