Verse of the Day Devotion: 2 Timothy 4:2
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” – 2 Timothy 4:2
The apostle Paul is writing these two letters to Timothy in order to help him understand his calling. He is exhorting him here in the second letter to preach the word. “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:1-2. He is charging Timothy to preach the Word of God. To teach it accurately and in its totally. And he is to be faithful in this duty. And where necessary, reprove and rebuke them. In other words bring correction. And he is also to exhort them as well. This means to stand beside to encourage those who need encouragement. He tells him to always be ready when an opportunity to present the gospel or show where they may be in error in their understanding.
And in the next verse, he explains why. “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. In those days, you essentially had two groups that were trying to make the argument that Christianity was a false religion. First there were the Jews, especially the leadership: the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Scribes who continually preached against the teachings of Christ and His apostles. And the others are gentiles who were followers of many false gods and religious teachings. He told Timothy to be vigilant against any errors that have creeped into the church body and were deceiving some of its members. These false teachers would tell them exactly what they wanted to hear, tickling their ears until they gave up on the truth to follow what sounded good to them.
Now, we also have been called, for this time in history, to the same purpose. We are to preach the gospel and help many to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. And we are to help those in the church to understand what the Word actually says as apposed to what it does not. There are so many ear ticklers which make it easy to gather followers to their false teachings. As an example, there are many teachers who proclaim if you have enough faith, you can get anything you want. This sounds really good, and we can receive from God things we want. However, not necessarily everything we want, for some of what we want may not be good for us. “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3.
And there are many more teachings like this which distort the truth found in His Word, causing many to be deceived, succumbing to their desires over His truth. They need our help. And there are two things we can do to assist them. First, to preach the truth, teaching them what the Bible actually says, encouraging them to stay true where they do have a true understanding, while showing them where they are in error and helping them to understand and accept the actual meaning. This is important in helping them to become who God called them to be. And second, helping them check everything they are taught to ensure it is truth. There was a group Paul came across in Berea who made this a standard. “The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” Acts 17:10-11.
I want us to encourage each of us to always be available to preach the truth, and not be afraid to bring both encouragement and correction where needed. And we are to accomplish both with love, grace, and tenderness. And like the Bereans, we should check out everything we hear and not accept it at face value. And in all these things, help and train other Christians to do the same. The enemy wants to deceive as many as possible. Therefore, we must fight against it, with God’s help, and through our work, solidifying the truth in everything. Through this, the church will be strengthened and better able to stand against every deception that exists in our world.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.