Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
Preach The Word
It is hard to imagine that in an educated world where many people are literate that for a vast portion of history, most people could not read or write. Before the modern age of education, news and notices would be carried throughout a community by people called town criers. This was the means of communicating important news to the populace.
When Paul told Timothy to preach the word, the apostle used a Greek word that suggests a proclaimer or crier of news. Timothy’s task was as simple as bearing the news of Jesus Christ to the world much like a town crier would spread the news throughout a community. But his task was serious in the manner he was to carry out preaching the word. It would take preparation and choose the time of the season to impress the message of grace upon the hearers. Preaching the word is not using sentences together to be heard. Paul did not tell Timothy to talk; he told him to preach. Without preparation, there can be no preaching.
Preaching the word requires the courage to speak the word of God without partiality. God’s word is written to comfort the afflicted and it is written to afflict the comfortable. If a man preaches the word of God without the elements of correction, he is not preaching the counsel of God. Jesus taught the word of His Father often coming in conflict with the accepted norms of Jewish teaching but the Son of God was not dissuaded to patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage the people. Good teaching comes from the willingness to preach only the word of God without fear of contradiction or recourse from others.
The nature of the word of God is that it is divine in its origin and has remained unchanged from the days of Moses until the final blot of ink dried on the Revelation as written by John. Men have preached a different gospel than the pure word once delivered to the saints but they have not changed the word of God, they have only corrupted the view of God’s word for their fallacious teachings of apostasy.
Paul warned Timothy that a time would come when people would not want to hear the word of God. It would become too demanding and restrictive to the carnal desires of men’s hearts. Preaching the word of God is sound doctrine and the demonstrative teaching of one truth from one Lord and one God makes many feel uneasy. Shortly after the church began, false doctrines began to rise up among the brethren and many were led away by hearts unwilling to follow the pure word of God. Following their own desires of human wisdom, men began to draw around them those who would tickle their ears with words that seek to justify their false beliefs. Truth was rejected and men followed after preaching that was nothing more than myths.
Preaching the word is not a complicated endeavor. There are many churches today calling themselves by different names, teaching different ways of salvation, and following their own desires for identity as followers of God. Paul exhorted Timothy to remember there is only one truth and that is defined by sound doctrine. The Bible is very clear in its message and no one is excused to allow false teachings to permeate the teaching of men. What is declared in the Bible is plain, open, easy to understand, and powerful.
The litmus test for a believer is to challenge any and everything that is said and done by an examination of the word of God. Paul warned Timothy to preach the word in season and out of season because the eternal question is answered in the Book. There will be no second chances or rewrites when all stand before the Lord. If truth is not established on earth, it will be secured by the foundations of judgment when all men stand before God. Preaching the word is proving what you believe by what God says, not what men say – including what this writer says. Let God be true but every man a liar.