It is easy to get frustrated some days. I believe I am proclaiming the message of Jesus. Not everyone is listening. I need patience. God wants everyone to come to Jesus and accept him. As Jesus illustrated, some may sow, and others may reap the harvest. I must focus on engaging as many as I can with the good news of Jesus and leave whether someone accepts the message or not up to God.
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. | 2 Timothy 4:2 (NASB)
We can’t give up. We must persevere. Eternal life is at stake. We have to, with patience and being dignified, keep on delivering the message. Love is so very important to patience. Love wins the day when nothing else will get through. Good news, delivered with love, is critical.
In laying out the issue with Timothy, Paul is clear we shouldn’t back down. Our goal is to proclaim (preach) the word of God and the good news of Jesus.
The word “preach” means “to proclaim like a herald.” In Paul’s day, a ruler had a special herald who made announcements to the people. He was commissioned by the ruler to make his announcements in a loud, clear voice so everyone could hear. He was not an ambassador with the privilege of negotiating; he was a messenger with a proclamation to be heard and heeded. Not to heed the ruler’s messenger was serious; to abuse the messenger was even worse.
We must herald God’s Word with the authority of heaven. The Word of God is what both unbelievers and saints need. It is a pity that many assemblies of disciples of Jesus have substituted other things for the preaching of the Word, things that may be good in their place, but that are bad when they replace the proclamation of the Word.
We should be diligent and alert to use every opportunity to preach the Word, when it is favorable and even when it is not favorable. It is easy to make excuses when we ought to be making opportunities. Paul himself always found an opportunity to share the Word, whether it was in the temple courts, on a stormy sea, or even in prison. I need to stop making excuses and get to work!
Preaching must be marked by three elements: conviction, warning, and appeal (“reprove, rebuke, exhort”). To quote an old rule of preachers, “He should afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.” If there is conviction but no remedy, we add to people’s burdens. And if we encourage those who ought to be rebuked, we are assisting them to sin. Biblical preaching must be balanced.
We must be patient as we proclaim the Word. We will not always see immediate results. We must be patient with those who oppose our message. Above all else, we must proclaim doctrine. We must not simply tell Bible stories, relate interesting illustrations, or read a verse and then forget it. True teaching is the explanation and application of Bible doctrine. Anything else is just religious speechmaking pandering to the crowd.
Reprove: The Greek word is ἐλέγχω – This means that we should state that someone has done wrong, with the implication that there is adequate proof of such wrongdoing.
Rebuke: Here the word is ἐπιτιμάωa: to express strong disapproval of someone. To rebuke, denounce and correct.
Exhort: This one is interesting in rounding out what Paul wants. Παρακαλέωd is to cause someone to be encouraged or consoled, either by verbal or non-verbal means.
- 2 Timothy 4:2 (NASB) —Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
- Titus 2:2 — 2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.
- Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 253–254). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
- Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 435). New York: United Bible Societies.