PROVIDED FOR THOSE WHO ARE PATIENT ENOUGH TO READ AND HEED:
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
2 Timothy 4:2 (Wuest Word Studies)
(4:2) The charge is to preach the Word. The English word “preach” brings to our mind at once the picture of the ordained clergyman standing in his pulpit on the Lord’s Day ministering the Word. But the Greek word here (kerusso) left quite a different impression with Timothy. At once it called to his mind the Imperial Herald, spokesman of the Emperor, proclaiming in a formal, grave, and authoritative manner which must be listened to, the message which the Emperor gave him to announce. It brought before him the picture of the town official who would make a proclamation in a public gathering. The word is in a construction which makes it a summary command to be obeyed at once. It is a sharp command as in military language. This should be the pattern for the preacher today. His preaching should be characterized by that dignity which comes from the consciousness of the fact that he is an official herald of the King of kings. It should be accompanied by that note of authority which will command the respect, careful attention, and proper reaction of the listeners. There is no place for clowning in the pulpit of Jesus Christ.
Timothy is to preach the Word. The word “Word” here refers to the whole body of revealed truth, as will be seen by comparing this passage with I Thessalonians 1:6 and Galatians 6:6. The preacher must present, not book reviews, not politics, not economics, not current topics of the day, not a philosophy of life denying the Bible and based upon unproven theories of science, but the Word. The preacher as a herald cannot choose his message. He is given a message to proclaim by his Sovereign. If he will not proclaim that, let him step down from his exalted position.
He is to be instant in season and out of season in this proclamation. The words, “be instant” are from a word which means “to stand by, be present, to be at hand, to be ready” (epistemi). The exhortation is for the preacher to hold himself in constant readiness to proclaim the Word. The words, “in season,” are from a word which means “opportune” (eukairos), “out of season,” from a word which means “inopportune” (akairos). The preacher is to proclaim the Word when the time is auspicious, favorable, opportune, and also when the circumstances seem unfavorable. So few times are still available for preaching that the preacher must take every chance he has to preach the Word. There is no closed season for preaching.
In his preaching he is to include reproof and rebuke. The Greek word translated “reprove” (elegcho), speaks of a rebuke which results in the person’s confession of his guilt, or if not his confession, in his conviction of sin. The preacher is to deal with sin, both in the lives of his unsaved hearers and in those of the saints to whom he ministers, and he is to do it in no uncertain tones. The word “sin” is not enough in the vocabulary of our preaching today. And as he deals with the sin that confronts him as he preaches, he is to expect results, the salvation of the lost and the sanctification of the saints.
The word “rebuke” (epitimao) refers to a rebuke which does not bring the one rebuked to a conviction of any fault on his part. It might be because the one rebuked is innocent of the charge, or that he is guilty but refuses to acknowledge his guilt. This word implies a sharp, severe rebuke with possibly a suggestion in some cases, of impending penalty. Even where the preacher has experienced failure after failure in bringing sinners or saints to forsake their sin, or where there seems little hope of so doing, yet he is to sharply rebuke sin. He has discharged his duty, and the responsibility is upon his hearers to deal with the sin in their lives.
Not only is he to speak in stern language against sin, but he is to exhort. The word “exhort” (parakaleo) has in it the ideas of “please, I beg of you, I urge you.” Thus, there is to be a mingling of severity and gentleness in his preaching. He is to exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. The word “longsuffering” (makrothumia) speaks of that temper which does not easily succumb under suffering, of that self-restraint which does not hastily retaliate a wrong. The word “doctrine” (didache) is in the Greek, literally, “teaching.” It speaks of instruction. Vincent says in this connection: “Longsuffering is to be maintained against the temptations to anger presented by the obstinacy and perverseness of certain hearers; and such is to be met, not merely with rebuke, but also with sound and reasonable instruction in the truth.” Calvin says: “Those who are strong only in fervor and sharpness, but are not fortified with solid doctrine, weary themselves in their vigorous efforts, make a great noise, rave…make no headway because they build without a foundation.” Or, as Vincent says, “Men will not be won to the truth by scolding,” and then quotes another as saying, “They should understand what they hear, and learn to perceive why they are rebuked.”
Wuest’s Translation: Make a public proclamation of the Word with such formality, gravity, and authority as must be heeded. Hold yourself in readiness for this proclamation when opportunity presents itself and when it does not; reprove so as to bring forth conviction and confession of guilt; rebuke sharply, severely, and with a suggestion of impending penalty. Pleadingly exhort, doing all this with that utmost self-restraint which does not hastily retaliate a wrong, and accompany this exhortation with the most painstaking instruction.
DOESN’T SOUND MUCH LIKE TODAY’S IDEA OF PREACHING DOES IT?