Paul is winding up his letter to Timothy. He shares his strongest command to Timothy now; “Preach the word” (verse 2a).
Paul is passing the torch to Timothy. Since his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, he has preached the word with an uncompromising spirit. Opposition did not matter. He spoke only the truth and he did it whenever and wherever he could. But he knows his end is near.
Timothy has been trained by Paul and approved by the Holy Spirit to take up Paul’s torch. Paul calls him into service by the strongest means he knows; “I 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” (verses 1-2a).
Immediately after calling Timothy into the role of one who preaches, Paul describes what that will look like. “Be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke and exhort with complete patience and teaching” (verse 2b). He is not calling him to stand on a street corner and scream, “The end is coming!” Instead he is instructing Timothy to be ready at all times to share the truth of Jesus work. Not only in correcting someone’s sin but also in lifting another up. And to do so with patience and teaching. NOT beating them about the head with the word but showing them God’s perfect love and the price He paid for THEM.
Paul warns Timothy about the times ahead. Actually, I think it was happening already, but I KNOW it is happening now. “People will not endure sound teaching, but have itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (verses 3-4).
Our world today is replete with that! If you are in doubt, look around at all the different “religions” out there. Even denominational boundaries are proof of seeking “what fits ME best.” Don’t let labels divide us! Instead, let the truth unite us. I wonder what Paul would think of our world today, with a church on every corner that refused to accept their neighbors.
Father God, thank You for Your amazing love! Thank You Jesus for Your amazing sacrifice! Thank You Holy Spirit for the words You breathed through men’s pens. I pray I do justice to ALL of these gifts with the words I share and the conduct of my life. I want to speak the truth; YOUR truth.
Give me wisdom Holy Spirit on when to stand up and when to sit still. Help me “exhort” more that “rebuke or reprove.” Give me the patience to wait for the right time and the persistence to step up. I will never be another Timothy, but I too can speak the truth of God’s word. Also give me ears to hear the truth You send through others and through the word. Don’t let me be fooled by an imposter or drawn away by “itching ears.”