Sola Scriptura 11

What is the believer to do with the solemn charge from God which is found in 2 Timothy 4:1-2? “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; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:1-2 ESV).

What behavior is expected from the “man of God” by this God-inspired revelation?

  • Preach the word - This is a command to herald, publically proclaim, and to announce the entire written word of God. There are no exceptions and no excuses.  
  • Be ready in season and out of season- A second command. When should the believer be ready to proclaim God’s word? All the time! In essence, when every opportunity occurs.
  • Reprove - A third command. It means to convict, refute, and to bring to light. To show a fault...
  • Rebuke - A fourth command. It means to censure severely, to admonish, and to reprove.
  • Exhort - A fifth command meaning to encourage and to console.
  • With complete patience - These God-directed imperatives are to be observed with patience, steadfastness, and perseverance.
  • And teaching - They are to be done with specific content; the Word of God.

The man of God’s faithful obedience to preach the Word is not done in a vacuum.  It is to be accomplished while he is in the midst of a culture which hates him, hates God, and hates the Word of God. Unfortunately, it is not just the fallen world which expresses such hatred.

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having 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” (2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV)

Truth is under attack today; truth in general and God’s truth in particular.  This attack, which God reveals in the Scriptures, has two main sources: the attack from without and the attack from within.

The fallen world, and this includes contemporary culture, formulates the attack from without. Within the current culture we live in, Biblical truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, along with Jesus Christ Himself are under assault. It is sometimes a subtle opposition, but nevertheless real. Other times, it is very intense. The church must remain strong in the midst of such opposition. David Wells writes, “The Christian faith is struggling to sustain itself in the midst of this highly complex, modernized culture, one which is technological and affluent in its form and post-modern in its mood. The church is part of this culture and yet it must stand apart from its culture” (Modern Reformation 18.1). This places a high importance on the believer’s authentic faith.

The prevailing perspective within the culture is that the universe is self-existent (Carl Sagan’s famous quote, ‘The cosmos is all there ever was, is, and will be’ applies here.), the supernatural is a myth (The New Atheism), social well being is the goal of life (Oprah), and human nature contains within it everything we need to reach this goal; “We are what we have been looking for” (President Barak Obama). David Wells, writing in Modern Reformation continues:

Today, these ideas are ensconced in important pockets of our society – Hollywood, the elite press, academia – and they have spawned a whole set of attitudes at the center of which is the thought that God and the supernatural must be marginalized for the good of society. God, or the supernatural, is entirely irrelevant to what is important to our society and they alike are harmful to our autonomy. This secular-humanist impulse continues to evolve.