Last updated on October 10th, 2019
Preach the Word was what Paul instructed to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2. In many verses throughout scripture there appear to be suggestions given of what a preacher is supposed to preach. The theme appears to always center around sticking to the teachings in scripture, and deviating from it as little as possible. However, in my observation of popular churches in American culture today, many of them are becoming less and less focused on scriptural teaching, and more and more focused on personal anecdotes and motivational speeches. Picking and choosing verses here and there out of context to formulate one’s own original message, rather than letting Scripture be the messenger. I won’t name names of preachers or churches, but I’m sure some popular ones today can immediately come to mind. So I thought it’d be more important to show the ideas that scripture seems to present of what kind of preaching a preacher is supposed to give you, and you can determine for yourself whether the church you currently assemble with reflects that, or if perhaps that you need to make a change.
So what verses indicate to us that the main obligation of a preacher is to preach the Word? Well we’ve noted 2 Timothy 4:2, so let’s take a look at some others for thought. But before we do, let’s understand the meaning of that word preach in the original Greek. The word used for preach is kēryssō, which means to hearld/proclaim divine truth (the gospel). Herald is defined as a public crier. This definition of the word herald would seem to make sense with the preaching we see throughout scripture. Think John’s preaching of repentance, Jesus’s sermon on the mount, or Peter’s preaching of the Gospel. All of these instances were public displays of strong urging of belief in divine truth. Perhaps in this sense we can agree there is a need for passion in a preacher’s deliverance of the truth, and of course for something as important as salvation of souls, I would suspect one would want to be passion about that.
Building off of this thought, one of the central aspects of the Word that must be constantly preached is the Gospel that saves. That was the central command given to the Apostles by Jesus after his resurrection. Mark 16:15-16 “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” And that’s exactly what Apostle Peter preached that led to the first Christians. Acts 2:38-41 “38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.”
Now most churches I’ve observed the preachers do tend to make a point to mention salvation at the end of their services, but unfortunately many inaccurately preach a sinner’s prayer for salvation rather than the accurate salvation of scripture involving belief, repentance, confession, and baptism. But we won’t dive into that topic in this post. The main focus of this topic is how scripture emphasizes preaching sticking to the Word. Another one of Paul’s instructions to Timothy focuses on the public reading of Scripture. 1 Timothy 4:13 states, “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.” There are other instructions and examples worth noting that seem to give this similar emphasis.
Acts 8:35 “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.”
Galatians 1:9 “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”
Colossians 1:25 “Of this church I [was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,”
Scripture is often quoted in the letters of the Apostles as well.
Romans 4:3 “For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
Galatians 3:8 “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.”
1 Peter 2:6 “For this is contained in Scripture:
“BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone,
AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
So we have these instructions and examples that seem to give further credence to the fact that scripture is meant to be the focal point of all preaching, and not so much creating one’s own personal message out of it. This is an issue that goes back to exegesis versus eisegesis. Whether scripture can interpret scripture on its own through careful reading and understanding things in context of what all Scripture states, or whether one believes that they have to read their own thoughts and ideas into the text, as done in the case of a lot of preaching today. I think it’s important to harken back to some verses I’m going to list used in my previous posting “Does Scripture reject Eisegesis?”, to ponder how important it is that we all stick to the teachings of the Word in our understanding of our faith, and that it would seem this should be done especially in the case of one who aspires to preach to an assembling of the body of Christ. I suggest that we all think of the following verses below with Acts 2:42 in mind which stated of the first Christians, “42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Particularly keep that part “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching” in mind as you read the following verses.
1 Cor 4:6 “Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.”
Gal 1:9 “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”
Col 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
2 Thes 2:15 “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.”
2 Thes 3:6 “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.”
2 Thes 3:14 “If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame.”
1 Timothy 1:3 “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,”
1 Timothy 4:1 “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,”
2 Timothy 1:13 “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.”
2 Peter 2:1 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.”
2 Peter 3:16 “as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
1 John 2:24 “As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.”
2 John 1:9 “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”
Now of course make sure you double check for yourself the context of those verses, but what I’m showing here is what appears to be a pattern of importance in sticking to the teachings in scripture, and not deviating from that in teaching others. Now you may not have seen the word scripture in most of these verses, but remember, the teachings of the Apostles in their letter are scripture as 2 Peter 3:16 appears to note. As always, any questions, comments, or thoughts for understanding, feel free to share with me for the sake of helping increase our understanding of our faith closer to the way God wants us to understand. Lastly, if this post was enlightening and thought provoking to you, please share this with others on your social media. I would very much appreciate it. Peace to all those who are in Christ!