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Preach the Word

2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV) … “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”

Paul’s charge to Timothy was: Preach the Word. Through the course of his two letters to Timothy, Paul had referred often to God’s revelation, his Word. Timothy understood that the Word was the same as Paul’s teachings (2 Tim. 2:2), “sound doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 1:13), the “glorious gospel” (1 Tim. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:11), the “true faith” (1 Tim. 2:7; 4:1; 2 Tim. 1:5), and the “Scriptures” (1 Tim. 4:13). All pastors are bound by their duties as ministers of the gospel, to herald, or proclaim, the words of God. Whether on Sunday mornings or throughout the week, as they teach and instruct, their duty is to pass on what God has revealed.

Personal opinions and theories provide interesting discussions, but conviction about the essential truths of God remain necessary. The mandate for the church and its leadership remains: Preach the Word.

The subject of ministry is God’s Word. The duty of ministry is preparedness and accessibility: in season and out of season. The pastor, the Christian, is to view ministry as full-time, all the time, because faith involves all of life. There is no moment of the day that Christ cannot redeem if his people are prepared to seize the opportunities as they come. Those who remain ready and alert in their faith participate willingly in proclaiming the gospel, whether it is convenient or not.

The manner of ministry is to correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. God’s Word is extremely practical for every encounter and situation in life.

To correct means to convince or reprove. The pastor works to guide a person along the proper path of obedience and faith. To rebuke means to chide or censure, even blame. The pastor seeks to put a stop to wrong behavior or belief. To encourage means to exhort, give courage, or come alongside. The pastor walks with his people, living the example of faith and urging other to follow.

All these duties are to be carried out with kindness. Our battle is not against the weak, the errant, the sinful, but against Satan, who enslaves people to do his will. We are commissioned to offer peace in the name of Christ, and we must extend it in love and care as we proclaim the truth. It is the Word that confronts and convicts, not our spirits. We are to tell the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), allowing God’s Word and Spirit to work in people’s minds and hearts.[1]

[1] Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 319). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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