We are so used to interchangeably using the words ‘preaching’ and ‘teaching’ that we forget that they do not mean the same thing. And when someone is asked to explain the difference, more than often, it results in a flustered expression and stammering statements that are completely nonsensical when you think about it.
So, what is the difference between preaching and teaching? If you study the meaning between the two words and their application in many esteemed theological works of literature, you will find the answer to be quite straightforward.
We will be addressing some of the misconceptions surrounding it and point the dissimilarities in their meaning so that you can explain them just as clearly if the opportunity arises.
Misconceptions Surrounding Preaching and Teaching
Preaching and teaching are considered to mean the same thing. But before we clear that up, we would like to quickly go over these common beliefs we came across.
The Difference Is Between the Matter of Mind and Heart.
Many people might argue that preaching directly affects the heart, invoking deep emotions and awakening them while teaching enriches knowledge and sharpens the mind. There is no doubt that the former affects the heart, but you cannot ignore the impact it has on the latter as well.
The mind and heart are a powerful duo and must work together for both preaching and teaching to be effective. If one fails, you should expect the whole system to collapse.
The Difference Is Between Information and Application.
It is believed by most that teaching is related to generating information, while preaching is about implementation. But once you try to decipher it, it seems highly illogical.
You are at risk of being called a hypocrite if there are dissimilarities between what you say and what you do. On the other hand, you cannot learn and understand things by simply memorizing without questioning how or why they came to be.
Thus, information and application are intricately interdependent and cannot be used as a difference in this case.
So, how can we tell them apart?
Preaching vs. Teaching: An Overview
The difference lies in the meaning of the word themselves and the ways they have been used in the Bible’s New Testament.
What Is Preaching?
Preaching is about the proclamation and announcing. It means to spread the word of God by thoroughly explaining it to your listeners, correcting them when necessary, guiding them using exhortation, and motivating them when they fall behind.
Preaching is about persuading people by imparting the truth you strictly believe in. You must be passionate and compassionate and aim to invoke the people’s feelings while letting the words register in the minds.
Like we mentioned before, if the connection between the mind and heart breaks, then people will have a harder time finding conviction. They will forget what you have been preaching right after your sermon.
When you trace back ‘preach’ from the translated New Testament to its original Greek, you will find that it has been derived from two works. Kerysso and euangelizo, meaning to proclaim and to announce the happy news, respectively.
So, you could say that it clearly means announcing and proclaiming the gospel to those who need it.
What Is Teaching?
The translated new testaments “teach” were derived from Didasko. It has a similar meaning in English, which means to instruct. You could also define it as educating people by imparting the truth and exploring its possible denotations.
It is a discipline-oriented task that enables the students to understand what they hear and know how it works to help in easier acceptance.
Teaching can be accompanied by visual media and audio and discussion sessions to objectively analyze the lessons and let them sink in. The process is about explaining the implications of what you say and guiding the students on their response, according to their situations.
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Preaching and Teaching Are Intertwined
The difference lies in the meaning; one means to herald while the other means to explain. And now that you know it, you should be aware that there is a healthy overlap between the two.
If you reveal shocking statements to the unaware community and continue with similar statements, they would be at a loss on how to accept it and incorporate it into their lives. On the other hand, if you lay out a manual without telling your students what it is for, they would never be able to comprehend it and succeed.
Preaching requires both to be able to proclaim the great words of God, his rules, and the consequences of going against them while educating people to understand what it says and why it says that, along with how they act.
Not every preacher is a good teacher, and not all teachers are sensible preachers. That is why if you want to be a good preacher, you must be able to hone sufficient skills in both educating and proclaiming.
A good preacher should not be afraid of dwelling deep into their announcements, explaining them, and uncomplicating them for his listeners. And an excellent teacher should not hesitate to be openly passionate and let that desire ring through their lectures.
The difference between preaching and teaching is not shouting fiery comments and relaying meticulous lectures but between what their meanings represent. In the present context, we often use preaching to mean a combination of both announcing and education. And if you to create an impact, you must learn to do both.