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“Preach the Word”
2 Timothy 4
For those of you who like to hunt, it comes as no surprise that there are all sorts of rules and regulations that you need to follow. These include specifics on where, what, how, and when you can hunt. Regarding the “when,” there are certain seasons you can hunt for certain types of animals. Some seasons are short, and some are longer, but a good hunter will always be prepared when the time comes.
It is quite interesting that the Apostle Paul uses this same language to describe how his son in the faith, Timothy, is to preach God’s Word (4:1). Paul knows that his time of earth is ending, but he writes Timothy words of advice and encouragement, as well as commands on how to live life. This is important because Timothy is a leader in the church at Ephesus and will soon be on his own without Paul to talk to and offer wisdom. Therefore, Paul’s second letter to Timothy reminds him of various truths and commands to follow. One of the most important though, is to preach the Word (v. 2).
The “Word” is probably both the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, and also Holy Scriptures. Yet, to proclaim this message, Timothy must be prepared “in season” and “out of season” (v. 2). Another way to translate this, is to preach when it is “timely” and “untimely,”, or “convenient” and “inconvenient.” In other words, Timothy is always to be ready and prepared to preach the Word of God. Not only that, but he is to do this by “correcting,” rebuking,” and “encouraging” people regarding the faith in Jesus Christ, and the truth of the Gospel. These are complementary ideas, with a good balance of severity and gentleness. Paul further explains that this important ministry needs to be done with “great patience and careful instruction.”
The reason? A time will come when people will no longer put up with sound doctrine but will turn away from the truth to believe myths, and to listen to only what their ears want to hear (vs. 3-4). Therefore, Timothy must stand on sound doctrine, endure hardship, be ready to speak the name of Jesus, and be prepared to give an answer for the hope that he confesses (v. 5, 1 Pet. 3:15).
Preaching the Word is not an easy thing to do, especially when people do not want to hear it, and you could be persecuted for what you say. Being prepared to preach is not easy either, as it takes time and discipline. Yet, it is essential that we do these things so that people can come to know the truth. How else will it happen? Therefore, may we be alert and ready in all seasons and situations in life to preach the Word. May we do so by correcting, rebuking, and encouraging others with great patience, so that the Gospel message may spread, and people may escape the trap of the devil (2:26). Preach the Word! Amen.
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