The Scriptures tell us how to minister God’s word (2 Timothy 4:1-4).
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (NIV)
Prior to the Reformation people were in error about salvation and the true Christian life, and they were also in error about how the church and her ministers should minister for God. It is always necessary to be continually transformed in ministry according to the Scriptures.
The apostle tells us what to do: Preach God’s word (4:2).
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction.
The world is not perishing for lack of information, but for lack of correct information about Christ and the good news that is empowered by God the Holy Spirit. A minister must correct, must point out wrong ideas and practices.
- I Timothy 5:20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.
- Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
- Titus 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
A minister must rebuke, must tell people to stop continuing in their present, sinful course of life (Luke 4:39, 41; 8:24; 9:42; 17:3).
- Luke 4:39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.
- Luke 4:41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
- Luke 8:24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm.
- Luke 9:42 While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.
- Luke 17:3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,
A minister must encourage, he must help people along the right way. He must be a helper for the joy of others.
II Corinthians 1:24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.
Next, he tells us how to do this good work (4:2). Do it with great patience—waiting calmly upon God for his action in the hearts and lives of people. He needs to humble himself before the Lord. Do it with careful instruction. The battle is for the souls of people, and the battleground is the mind (1 Timothy 4:11-16). He needs Biblical precision.
I Timothy 4:11-16 Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Then he tells us why to do this good work (4:1, 3-4). We must preach the word because of the wickedness of people. Evil is the common human condition. We can go “from zero to sixty” in seconds in rebelling against God. But we must also preach the word because of the coming glory of Jesus Christ. Since you know the glory of Christ, read the Scriptures that speak of him, pray in conformity with the word, and tell others the good news.
Grace and peace,