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COACHING AND THE BIBLE

When you hear the word coach, your mind probably goes one of two places. If you travel often, you might be thinking of flying coach class. But I think far more of us are thinking of the coach on the sidelines of a sport’s field shouting directions to his players. And it’s generally that sense of the word that we mean here when we talk about spiritual coaches or coaching. We’re thinking of one person encouraging another person to Persevere, or helping someone correct mistakes so they can perform better. But one thing we’ve been asking ourselves here is if the idea of coaching one another is biblical.

 

Well, to start, the word coach does not appear anywhere in Scripture. That’s not necessarily the end of the story, though. After all, the word Trinity doesn’t appear in the Bible, yet it is a very well researched and established doctrine of the Christian faith. And, it turns out, that even though the word coach is not in the Bible, the meaning behind the word is very biblical indeed.

 

The word itself is derived from the name of an old Hungarian village, Kocs. Back in the 16th century, a local craftsman of Kocs invented a new kind of carriage. This carriage was bigger than the normal horse-drawn carriage. It was covered and allowed passengers greater comfort as they traveled the old bumpy, dusty roads. This new invention put Kocs on the map, and soon everyone was talking about the new Kocs-carriage. By the time the "vehicle" reached England, it was simply known as a coach.

 

And it wasn’t long until people started using the word as a verb. In fact, Charles Spurgeon, the great pastor, used the word like this: “I would sooner see you whipped to heaven than coached to hell.” He didn’t want people riding the carriage of comfort through life into the embrace of hell.

 

It wasn’t long after, in England of the 1800s, that coach took on a new meaning. Students began applying the word to their tutors. Rather than a literal carriage, the tutors were a metaphorical carriage, coaching the students to their destination—achieving passing grades on their exams. From there, it wasn’t long before the term was applied to athletic instructors, each responsible for carrying their team to excellence and victory.

 

From its beginning, the word coach has conveyed a meaning of helping someone reach a destination. Whether it’s by giving them a comfortable ride, or the education and encouragement they needed to achieve their goal, coaching has always been about walking alongside someone else and helping them.

 

In the Bible, you don’t have to look much further than Jesus’ final command to the disciples to see this idea of walking with and teaching someone. “Go and make disciples…. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matthew 28:19,20, NLT). This may have seemed like a daunting task to the disciples, but not long before, Jesus had promised them this: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever…. He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:16,26, ESV).

 

As believers, we have the task of teaching Christ to the nations. We’ve been given the holy mission of teaching them—coaching them, if you will—to obey the commands Jesus gave us. And to help us, Jesus promised the help—the coaching— of the Holy Spirit. And this wasn’t described as a one-time thing. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would be with us forever.

 

We see this kind of relationship demonstrated by Paul and the young Timothy. The two met while Paul was traveling and preaching, and right away, Paul saw something in the young man. Timothy travelled with Paul for a while, but finally settled down as a pastor. But even when separated, Paul couldn’t stop teaching—coaching—his brother in Christ.

 

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:1-2, ESV).

 

And it’s this idea of walking alongside others, teaching them and encouraging them, that is the foundation of what we do here at GOtandem and Back to the Bible. We don’t want to just give you a sermon of the day. We want to stand next to you, ask you how you are doing spiritually today, and then show you in the Bible how you can find victory.

 

Whether you call it mentoring, disciple making, teaching, coaching— it means that we’re here walking with you and are ready to help you find God’s Words for your life today.

 

Is the word coach in the Bible? No. But its definition lies at the heart of our God-given mission to preach Christ to the nations, and of our mission to you.


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