2 Timothy 4:1-8: Preach the Word
August 16, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Now we come to the very center of the charge that Paul is giving to Timothy. There are dangers facing Christianity. There are issues of struggle within and without the church. Timothy must step up and do the job that he has been called to do. And now, in particular, he must “preach the word.” Paul tells him what to do, why he must do it, and why Paul will soon pass the baton on to him.
First, what Timothy must do (verses 1-2) is “preach the word.” But this is all in the context of the vision of Christ’s “appearing” (verses 1 and 8) which motivated Paul and which gave weight and solemnity to the charge to preach the word. He is to preach whether it is a good and fruitful season or not, whether there is spiritual fruit or not, and to do it with great patience and careful instruction. This is the focal point and center of his ministry: preach the word. Today, we should ask ourselves whether this is the central focus of our churches? Of our lives? Of our missions and para-church organizations? That the Word of God be proclaimed is Paul’s great desire and final full charge given to Timothy, and through that, to us as the church even today.
Second, why Timothy must do it (verses 3 to 5) is because of the nature of humanity and the times in which we live. The reality is that people will gather around them so-called Bible teachers who will instead of telling them the truth tell them whatever it is that they want to hear. Timothy must, therefore, be all the more diligent to preach the word. Again, today we must ask ourselves whether we shy away from Bible ministry, from hanging on to the truth of God’s Word, because the times are against the full counsel of God? Instead, Paul wants Timothy (and us) especially to press into biblical ways of living, speaking, and doing church and ministry because there are people who will not put up with sound doctrine. There is a famine for the Word of God, and as a result people are filling their spiritual bellies with junk food; our response is not to avoid giving people good spiritual food, but all the more to preach the word!
Third, the reason why Paul is passing the baton on to Timothy now (verses 6 to 8) is because Paul is about to die. The time for his departure has come. Paul is in a Roman jail facing execution under the tyranny of Emperor Nero. Therefore, now Timothy must pick up the baton of the race of God, fight the good fight, and preach the Word. Again, we must ask ourselves whether we look at the passing of great spiritual heroes – like a Billy Graham, perhaps – as a reason to lament only, or instead as a reason for us all now to press on towards the goal to which God is calling us, and to fulfill the charge that we all have to believe and share the Word of God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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