Verse of the Day Devotion: 2 Timothy 4:2
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” – 2 Timothy 4:2
This verse addresses the very heart of our responsibility while here on earth. Jesus, in His last words to the disciples said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19. The wording here is particularly important and precisely stated. He tells them to make disciples, not just converts. Too many times people are evangelized and make the decision to become a Christian, but then walk away because there is no follow-up. It does not need to be the one who leads them to Christ, but someone must take this role to train them in the ways of God. It could be an individual or a group, such as a church or a fellowship group. It is imperative that discipleship be our goal, and not just conversions. Jesus expresses this idea in the next verse. “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.
Let us now look at what Paul said in this letter to Timothy and examine what he is saying. Our focus verse states that we are to be ready, in season and out of season. What this means is that we must be ready to teach the word, to both the saved as well as those needing salvation, whether it is convenient or not. We must remember that we are doing God’s work and not our own. First, He desires that all people be saved. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. And as Jesus stated in Matthew 28:19, He has called us to go out and make disciples.
And as the time draws closer to His return, it becomes even more essential that we reach out to our brothers and sisters in Christ. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4. I believe we have reached this time. The Greek idea translated sound doctrine is “healthful doctrine”, doctrine that contributes to the health of the soul, or true salvation. Many who claim they are Christians are turning away from what God says and are listening to what they want to hear, whether it is true or not. And they will adhere only to those who teach these ideas that “tickle their ears”. And unfortunately, in so doing, they will ignore the truth as laid out in scripture in order to follow these myths that appeal to their desires.
So, what are we called to do? As stated above, we are to be ready to preach the word, the true word of God. And how? Several things are listed. First, we are to reprove. This means we are to refute those things which are wrong and help people realize what the truth really is. For instance, some believe that after salvation you can sin all you want because all your sins are already forgiven. My wife and I encountered a young man who absolutely believed this, and was having affairs with women because, as the belief states, he is already forgiven. However, the truth is found in Romans 6. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:1-2. When we encounter someone who believes false doctrine, we are to, in love, work to show them they are wrong and present the truth.
We also must be willing to rebuke them, again in love. This means to bring correction to them, to express a judgement that what they believe is absolutely wrong and contrary to God’s will. In essence, we are to admonish them and show them that they are wrong and need to reject these false teachings and accept what is right. And we are not just to teach the truth, but also encourage people to follow the truth. And we are to fulfill this calling with great patience and a persevering spirit.
We are called to preach and teach, spreading the good news of God to a world that so greatly needs to hear it. And we are to train and disciple our brothers and sisters to understand what the Christian life is truly all about and assist them in moving toward that goal. We need to take every opportunity we have to evangelize and teach. We cannot, by ourselves, do it all. But we can work together with our fellow Christians and, with God’s leading, go out and preach the truth to all we come across. And by doing this, God will use us to lead many to Christ, and educate our brothers and sisters in the truths we find in His word.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.