In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Tim 4:1-2
Paul knows his life is coming to a close.
In this moment he weighs every word. He gives a profound weight to the charge in verse 2 by affirming the One in whose presence he is making it.
He is saying, "in light of all who God is, and all that I am, I give you this charge":
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction”.
In the first century, and in the twenty first century, at the Areopagus, and across Aotearoa New Zealand, the gospel grows through the preaching of the Word.
I appreciate what Ray Stedman writes about this verse:
“When we read the phrase 'Preach the Word', however, most of us think that this is addressed to preachers like myself, that one has to do this in church, on a platform, or behind a pulpit.
“This word is not addressed to preachers only. It includes all the people of God, for Paul does not merely mean to preach; the word is really 'announce, proclaim, set it forth, deliver the truth, make it known'".
It is not something you argue about; you declare it because God himself has said it. This can be done over a cup of coffee, in an office, or in a car while you are driving to work. It is something that can come up in any place, at any time.
Where human hearts are open, seeking, longing, and hurting, there is the place, there is the opportunity to “preach the word”.
One of the simplest and most significant ways we can be preaching the Word to people is by inviting them to read the Scriptures with us.One of the simplest and most significant ways we can be doing that is by using the Swedish Method. The Swedish Method asks three questions:
- What did you find interesting?
- What questions do you have?
- How does this apply?
What would happen in the life of our churches, if elders were reading the Bible with potential future elders?
What would happen in the life of our churches, if one of our hopes was that every ministry leader was reading Scripture with at least someone in their ministry?
What would happen in our workplaces, and on our streets, if our people were equipped to be reading the Bible with others?
We are a movement of ordinary men and women, committed to working together to point people to Jesus, through the gospel from the Scriptures.
If you have a story of someone reading the Bible with others, especially those who are seeking, please let me know.