2 Timothy 4:2 might be rightfully called “The Preacher’s Mantra.” Every faithful gospel preacher knows it and strives to live by it–“Preach the word!”
After my Uncle John died, my Aunt Leitha set up a scholarship at Freed-Hardeman for young men who were training to be gospel preachers. I vividly recall seeing her at the lectureship one year as she was speaking to one of the recipients. With that twinkle in her eye, she reminded the lad, “Whatever you do, don’t forget our three words, Preach. The. Word., or Book, chapter, verse.”
In an age when the power of the preached word is minimized, we need more preaching and not less! Moreover, much of what is being said contains precious little, if any, of the words of God! Self-help and prosperity gospel preachers tell the masses what they want to hear about God. “God loves you just the way you are,” or, “God wants you to be happy and prosperous” are the order of the day, but they are powerless to change lives.
John the Baptizer was the forerunner of Christ. His message was one of repentance (Matt 3:2). Thus, it is no surprise that the first message we find recorded from Jesus is also one of repentance (Matt 4:17). Repentance requires a recognition of sin, a desire to change one’s thinking about sin, and a change of life that conforms to the will and word of God (Acts 26:20). The only preaching that brings true repentance is the preaching of the word of God.
Building upon the close of the previous chapter, Paul declares five reasons why the word of God must be preached. “Preach the word…”
- Because only the Holy Scriptures can make a man wise unto salvation (3:15);
- Because only the Scriptures are inspired, literally, “God breathed” (3:16);
- Because the Scriptures are all-sufficient to make the man of God complete (3:17);
- Because Jesus is coming back to judge all men, living and dead (4:1);
- Because man is prone seek to have his ears scratched, looking for what he wants to hear instead of what he needs to hear (4:3).
Finally, in all things, O man of God, “Preach the word!”