Today’s Passage: 2 Timothy 4:1-2
The end of Chapter 3 reminds us that the Word is inspired by God and is our equipment for our journey in the faith. Chapter 4 then begins with a clear charge. Preach the word.
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: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Tim. 4:1-2)
Now for some of us, once we hear the word “preach,” we check out. “That is someone else’s job.” “That’s not my calling.” “Sorry, but this chapter must not be for me. After all, Timothy was in a position of church leadership. I am not in charge of anything at church.” And on and on, the list of responses may go.
But let’s think this through for a moment. Indeed, we do learn from 1 Timothy that Paul appointed Timothy to stand in for him and make sure the duties of the church were followed through in a way that was right. So yes, Timothy did have an official appointment that many of us will never have in the church—to stand in as the leader, head teacher, administrator, etc.
However, what is included in the Bible is for all of us in some way. I think further insight is revealed when we think about the Greek word used here, kerysso. According to the Strong’s entry cited on Blue Letter Bible (a really accessible source if you want to look at word origins in the text), this verb for preach does refer to leading in the Word in an official capacity. It is also, “specifically used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it, made by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the apostles and other Christian teachers.”
As I have tried to do with each of these short passages, I had to ask God what He had for me in these verses. I, too, do not see myself as a preacher or church leader. And for each angle I looked at this passage, I was brought back to one idea—”You don’t really know something until you teach it.”
Have you ever had the experience of learning through teaching?
As an academic teacher by day, I have seen countless times in my life that I do not really know my material until I can communicate it effectively to any student, no matter their background or experience with the subject. So hearing God say this to me over and over again in reflecting on these verses hit home.
But more recently, I had a chance to think about this idea after watching one of my son’s karate classes. Their lead instructor (who we LOVE for his “old school” ideas about manners, respect, and discipline) was reviewing some of the basic combinations that all students in the class should know regardless of their belt levels. And to make a long story short, the students were just messing it up. So he told the class that he was going to close his eyes, and they had to pretend that he had never taken karate. Their job was then to teach him how to do it. They immediately wanted to show him. “Do like this!” they would shout while demonstrating a move. He would then direct them again to use their words and tell him the steps. To teach. It quickly became clear who knew the combinations and who did not by their ability to communicate the process to him.
Sometimes we struggle in enduring in the faith because we are not sharing and proclaiming our faith to others. We need to teach it. Not because of our position but because of our process. We get rusty when we have not rehearsed out loud what this gift of faith is to us, what the beauty of grace in our lives looks like, or what it means to trust in Him on a daily basis. When we isolate ourselves and do not talk about our faith journey in every day contexts, we miss opportunities not only to bless the lives of others but to reinforce our knowledge and our faith “skills.” We breathe energy into our faith when we preach it. It holds us accountable—it keeps us honest. Specific conversations about God, scripture, and truth push us to examine what we know and send us back to Him for answers for what we do not know. I have told my students “I do not know” many times. And whenever we have those teaching moments, it motivates us to learn together and to dig deeper for answers.
When was the last time you proclaimed the gospel in your life?
One of the reasons I love Bible journaling, the community of creative worshipers I’ve met on Instagram, and the regular practice of sharing stories of faith on social media is because it keeps my faith engaged. It connects me to others who share similar struggles and similar victories. It forces me to honestly reflect on what I know and believe and seek to learn more. If you’ve been on the fence about blogging or sharing your faith online, let this be an encouragement to you to do it! If we want to endure in the faith, we must preach the Word!