Read: 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Paul’s charge to Timothy is basically three words: “Preach the Word”. This charge comes on the heels of Paul’s admonition to Timothy to stay firmly planted in the scriptures and a description of the source and uses of scripture. Paul gives his charge to Timothy in the “presence” of God and Jesus and who will judge the living and dead. The strong command to preach is qualified with several commands:
- Be ready in season and out of season. For the one preaching the word, game day is every day. One cannot be lax one day and on the next.
- Reprove, rebuke, and exhort with great patience and instruction. This comes on the heels of Paul telling Timothy about the uses of scripture which are the aforementioned things (2 Timothy 3:14-16). Scripture is useful for training in righteousness.
- Be sober in all things. Paul is telling Timothy to not let anything cloud his mind.
- Endure hardship. This is a guaranteed thing for those who wish to live lives of godliness (2 Timothy 3:12).
- Do the work of an evangelist. An evangelist is one who declares good news, and in New Testament terms, it is one who shares the good news about Jesus. Paul is charging Timothy to do this sort of work.
- Fulfill his ministry. This is a command in the most general sense, just in case Paul left something out. Paul is telling Timothy to thoroughly accomplish all that he has been instructed to do.
Paul says that there will come a time when people will not endure sound doctrine, surrounding themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear. They will turn from truth and believe “myths”. The New Testament describes such things as cleverly devised tales (2 Peter 1:16) and fables (1 Timothy 4:7). These things stand in stark contrast to the words of truth from the scripture that Paul is telling Timothy to proclaim and the testimony of eyewitnesses that have been handed to Timothy and the many others concerning Jesus from the apostles.
This charge to Timothy is a popular passage for ordination services in many churches. The charge is very relevant to those who are starting out in the gospel ministry as it outlines what a pastor is supposed to do concerning his ministry. But the application of this text is not limited to just pastors – all Christians should be ready to do what these very things themselves. Most certainly, Christians today are living in a time when people not want to hear sound doctrine, but rather hear what they want to hear. This requires that Christians know sound doctrine and know how to correct and rebuke those who do not endure sound doctrine with patience and love. This way, one can fulfill one’s own ministry as Paul wanted Timothy to do.
Lord, help me to fulfill my ministry!