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Word Studies on Preaching

In addition to the several word studies in other articles, we offer the following.

 

II Timothy 4:2-4

 

The charge is to preach the Word. The English word "preach" brings to our mind at once the picture of the ordained clergyman standing in his pulpit on the Lord's Day ministering the Word. But the Greek word here (kerusso) left quite a dif­ferent impression with Timothy. At once it called to his mind the Imperial Herald, spokesman of the Emperor, proclaiming in a formal, grave, and authoritative manner which must be listened to, the message which the Emperor gave him to announce. It brought before him the picture of the town official who would make a proclamation in a public gathering. The word is in a construction which makes it a summary command to be obeyed at once. It is a sharp command as in military language. This should be the pattern for the preacher today. His preaching should be characterized by that dignity which comes from the consciousness of the fact that he is an official herald of the Icing of kings. It should be accompanied by that note of authority which will command the respect, careful attention, and proper reaction of the listeners. There is no place for clowning in the pulpit of Jesus Christ.

 

Timothy is to preach the Word. The word "Word" here re­fers to the whole body of revealed truth, as will be seen by com­paring this passage with I Thessalonians 1:6 and Galatians 6:6. The preacher must present, not book reviews, not politics, not economics, not current topics of the day, not a philosophy of life denying the Bible and based upon unproven theories of science, but the Word. The preacher as a herald cannot choose his message. He is given a message to proclaim by his Sovereign. If he will not proclaim that, let him step down from his exalted Position.

 

He is to be instant in season and out of season in this proclama­tion. The words, "be instant" are from a word which means "to stand by, be present, to be at hand, to be ready" (epistemi). The exhortation is for the preacher to hold himself in constant readiness to proclaim the Word. The words, "in season," are from a word which means "opportune" (eukairos), "out of sea­son," from a word which means "inopportune" (akairos). The preacher is to proclaim the Word when the time is auspicious, favorable, opportune, and also when the circumstances seem un­favorable. So few times are still available for preaching that the preacher must take every chance he has to preach the Word. There is no closed season for preaching.

 

In his preaching he is to include reproof and rebuke. The Greek word translated "reprove" (elegcho), speaks of a rebuke which results in the person's confession of his guilt, or if not his confession, in his conviction of sin. The preacher is to deal with sin, both in the lives of his unsaved hearers and in those of the saints to whom he ministers, and he is to do it in no uncertain tones. The word "sin" is not enough in the vocabulary of our preaching today. And as he deals with the sin that confronts him as he preaches, he is to expect results, the salvation of the lost and the sanctification of the saints.

 

The word "rebuke" (epitimao) refers to a rebuke which does not bring the one rebuked to a conviction of any fault on his part. It might be because the one rebuked is innocent of the charge, or that he is guilty but refuses to acknowledge his guilt. This word implies a sharp, severe rebuke with possibly a sug­gestion in some cases, of impending penalty. Even where the preacher has experienced failure after failure in bringing sinners or saints to forsake their sin, or where there seems little hope of so doing, yet he is to sharply rebuke sin. He has discharged his duty, and the responsibility is upon his hearers to deal with the sin in their lives.

 

Not only is he to speak in stern language against sin, but he is to exhort. The word "exhort" (parakaleo) has in it the ideas of "please, I beg of you, I urge you." Thus, there is to be a mingling of severity and gentleness in his preaching. He is to exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. The word "long­suffering" (makrothumia) speaks of that temper which does not easily succumb under suffering, of that self-restraint which does not hastily retaliate a wrong. The word "doctrine" (didache) is in the Greek, literally, "teaching." It speaks of instruction. Vincent says in this connection: "Longsuffering is to be main­tained against the temptations to anger presented by the obstinacy and perverseness of certain hearers; and such is to be met, not merely with rebuke, but also with sound and reasonable instruc­tion in the truth." Calvin says: "Those who are strong only in fervor and sharpness, but are not fortified with solid doctrine, weary themselves in their vigorous efforts, make a great noise, rave ... make no headway because they build without a founda­tion." Or, as Vincent says, "Men will not be won to the truth by scolding," and then quotes another as saying, "They should Understand what they hear, and learn to perceive why they are rebuked."

 

The exhortation to proclaim the Word is given in view of the coming defection from the Faith once for all deliv­ered to the saints. The word "endure" (anecho) means literally, "to hold one's self upright or firm against a person or thing." It is a perfect description of the Modernist and his following today. The Greek word translated "sound" (hugiaino), has the idea of 'healthy, wholesome." The word "doctrine" (dida­skalia, teaching), is preceded by the definite article. It is Paul's system of doctrine to which reference is made, the Pauline theology. "After" is from a preposition whose root meaning is "down" (kata). It speaks of domination. "Lusts" is in the Greek, epithumia, "cravings." These who set themselves against Pauline theology are dominated by their own private, personal cravings. Those cravings consist of the desire for personal gratification. They, having itching ears, heap to themselves teachers. The Greek makes it clear that the itching ears belong to the people. The word "heap" (episoreuo) means "to accumulate in piles." It speaks of the crowd electing teachers en masse, an indiscriminate multitude of teachers. These teachers give the people what they want, not what they need. The word "itch" (knetho) in its active verb form means "to scratch, to tickle, to make to itch," in the passive, "to itch." It describes that person who desires to hear for mere gratification, like the Greeks at Athens who spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear, not some new thing, but some newer thing (Acts 17:21). The comparative form of the adjective is used here, not the positive. Ernest Gordon, commenting on this verse says: "Hardly has the latest novelty been toyed with, than it is cast aside as stale and frayed, and a newer is sought. One has here the volatile spirit of the Greek city, so in contrast with the grav­ity and poise of the Christian spirit, engaged with eternal things." Such is the spirit of Modernism with its teachings of the divinity of mankind, and the relativity of truth, its rejection of the doc­trine of total depravity, the sacrificial atonement, the resurrec­tion, and the need of the new birth, catering to the desires of a fallen race. It gratifies man's pride. It soothes his troubled conscience. The desire for the gratification of one's cravings is insatiable, and is increased or aggravated by having that desire satisfied. Hence the heaping to themselves of teachers.

 

The words "turn away" (apostrepho), carry the idea of "averting." That is, those who follow these heretics, not only turn away their ears from the truth, but see to it that their ears are always in such a position that they will never come in con­tact with the truth, like a country windmill whose owner has turned its vanes so that they will not catch the wind. Notice the active voice of the verb "turn away," and the passive voice of the verb "shall be turned." The first named action is per­formed by the people themselves, while in the case of the second one, they are acted upon by an outside force. The second oc­currence of the word "turn" is from a verb (ektrepo) which means "to turn or twist out." In a medical sense it means, "to wrench out of its proper place," as of the limbs. It is used of a dislo­cated arm, for instance. When people avert their cars from the truth, they lay themselves open to every Satanic influence, and are easily turned aside to error. Instead of being in correct ad­justment to the truth, namely, that of seeking it for the purpose of appropriating it, these people have put themselves out of ad­justment and have been consequently wrenched out of place. They have become dislocated, put out of joint. Like a dislocated arm which has no freedom of action, they have given themselves over to a delusion which incapacitates them for any independent thinking along religious lines which they might do for them­selves. They are in much the same condition as those under the reign of the Beast who, because they refuse to receive the love of the truth, are the victims of a strong delusion (II Thess. 2:10, 11). The word "fable" (muthos) is from a Greek word which refers to fiction as opposed to fact. And surely, the teach­ings of Modernism are fictional as to their nature, for they have a theoretical basis, the unproved hypotheses of science, naturalism and evolution.

 

Kenneth Wuest Taken From The Pastoral Epistle in the Greek New Testament

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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