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The Mission of Preaching

1 Corinthians 1:17 (ESV) … “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

Paul was engaged in preaching. First, the prompting of the mission. “Christ sent me … to preach” (I Corinthians 1:17). A true preacher is one who is called and sent by the Lord. Preaching is a service one must not take upon himself without a Divine call. Second, the priority of the mission. “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (I Corinthians 1:17).

This shows the priority of preaching. Preachers so often get away from their primary call. As an example, they get so involved in the Christian school movement, they limit their preaching. Paul does not say it is wrong for the preacher to baptize, rather, preaching must come first in his priorities. Third, the plainness in the mission. “Not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (I Corinthians 1:17). Preaching is to be plain speech, not sophisticated speech. This does not mean the preacher is to be crude and unlearned in speech or that he cannot use intelligent speech, but rather his speech is to help make the message about Christ effective.[1]

[1] Butler, J. G. (2009). Analytical Bible Expositor: I & II Corinthians (p. 16). Clinton, IA: LBC Publications.

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