Preached Scripture (Part 1)
In our little series on 2 Timothy 3:10-17, we’ve seen Scripture’s saving power, its final authority, and its complete sufficiency. Second Timothy 4:1 does not change Paul’s focus on the Word. Instead, he builds on everything he’s already said to demand a very practical application from Timothy. His pointed charge still has deep ramifications for us today. Because the Word saves, is authoritative and is sufficient, the Word should be preached.
Paul’s charge—his personal command and commission—comes with the most sober weight behind it. Paul grounds his charge to preach the Word in the actual presence of God and Christ, who will judge everyone dead and living. Paul adds “by his appearing and his kingdom” as a second weight to his charge. The kingdom of Christ motivates and informs all true preaching. Paul’s charge is simple but far-reaching: “preach the Word.” He goes on to say that preaching the Word demands readiness, pointed calls to change and a total commitment to patient clarification and clear teaching.
If we agree that only Scripture can make one wise to salvation, that only Scripture holds ultimate authority, and that only Scripture sufficiently gives us all things for life and godliness, it makes perfect sense to preach the Word. And that Word stands as the basis for why preaching at Grace is what it is. A commitment to the inspiration and inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture demands a commitment to preaching exactly what the Word says. That commitment is not a style, a theory or a tradition. It’s obedience to the Word.
We actually don’t have to wonder if we should preach, or even what Christ intends preaching to be. He clearly explains it for us. When the Word says “preach,” we should obey. When Paul says “the Word,” we should anticipate sermons from the text and not our own imagination or philosophy. When Paul says preaching the Word demands readiness, we should expect preachers to study. When it says preaching involves reproving and rebuking and exhorting, we should expect sermons to tell us what to do and not do. When it says patience and teaching should come with preaching, we should expect that it takes time and repetition in the Word to get us to where we are supposed to go. Ultimately, the Word is why preaching is what it is. In our conclusion next week, look for more corporate application for us all. Because how we look at the Word determines how we look at preaching.