1 & 2 Timothyby Robert M. Solomon
In the terrible world of the last days, Christian character must be demonstrated and Christian ministry must continue effectively. There is no place for withdrawal from the world. For Timothy, his main ministry as a pastor was teaching—especially amid popular but dangerous false teachings. In his closing words, Paul issues another charge to Timothy: “Preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:1–2).
The motive for this ministry is drawn from two factors: the authority of God, and the urgency of the hour. Christians must be faithful and diligent in their ministry because God has commanded it. Paul issues the charge in the presence of God and His Son (v. 1)—a very serious and solemn affair. When facing severe opposition, Timothy would be heartened to know that he was doing God’s bidding in God’s presence. It is an urgent ministry because Christ is going to appear soon (v. 1). The end is near and the eternal destiny of people is at stake. As biblical scholar Adam Clarke puts it, “The Judge is at the door, and to every man eternity is at hand!” Timothy must preach “in season and out of season” (v. 2)—at every opportunity.
The central message of this ministry is the Word of God (v. 2). Unlike the false teachers who were experts in enticing myths (v. 4), the people of God must stick to the Word and teach it faithfully, for it is the Word that leads people to Christ and His salvation. Even if the crowds had no appetite for sound doctrine (vv. 3–4), the faithful pastor must keep his head, be willing to suffer, and do all that is needed (v. 5).
The modes of ministry include correcting, rebuking, and encouraging (v. 2). Those who are doubting must be convinced, those in the wrong must be converted, and those who are suffering must be comforted. The faithful preaching of the Word will produce such effects in the hearers. The end result is salvation and Christian maturity.
The manner of ministry is Christ-likeness (v. 2). The godly teacher must teach with Christ-like character (“great patience”) and diligence (“careful instruction”). Such ministry will produce lasting fruits and bring glory to God.
Paul indicates that in the last days, people will have a “Do-It-Yourself” attitude to religion. They will choose teachers to “suit their own desires” and who will teach “what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). To what extent do you see this today? Why is this so?
Do you believe in the urgency of the hour? What implications are there for all your relationships and how you live?