Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 29, 1959
NUMBER 25, PAGE 3a,5b

Preachers, Young And Old

P. J. Casebolt, Wierton, West Virginia

Some of the greatest stories of unfeigned love ever told are recorded in the Bible. God's love for man is unsurpassed. Christ's love for the church reaches proportion that human beings can never attain to in their expressions of love for each other. The Bible reveals many instances of love between husbands and wives; between parents and children; and between individuals that were not related to each other in the flesh. These stories, unaffected by time and tempest, are still able to touch the heart and bring tears to the eyes.

But, there is one account, found in 1 and 2 Timothy, that reveals a bond of affection between two men, which I doubt will ever be equaled by men, much less surpassed. Other books of the New Testament fill in the details of the companionship that existed between Paul and Timothy. It began at Derbe and Lystra (Acts 16:1), endured every conceivable test, and had not abated in the least when Paul wrote his last letters from Rome.

Maybe there have been no relationships between older and younger preachers in our time that fill up the measure of that between Paul and Timothy, but we all know of some sterling examples. As we read accounts of older preachers, such as Benjamin Franklin, John Smith, J. D. Tant, and others, we see the encouragement that older preachers had for the younger ones, and the respect that the younger held for the older. We also know of more recent examples, even contemporary ones.

But, am I only imagining things when I say that the relationship between older and younger preachers has deteriorated? Is it not true that less personal contact exists between the lower and upper age brackets among preachers? Do older preachers encourage younger men to preach as they used to, and do younger preachers respect the older ones, and seek their advice as in former days? If this condition is not imaginary, then there must be real reasons that have contributed to a situation that is badly in need of repair. Let us see if we can analyze the symptoms, and determine the cause and the cure for the same.

Older Preachers

Nearly every older preacher can point to one individual that was primarily responsible for his being a preacher. Maybe many encouraged, but you can think of ONE person, maybe an elder, a preacher, a mother, or a father, that fired you with the determination to devote your life to the preaching of the cross.

Would you not like for some younger preacher to remember you in a similar light, and to know that you were instrumental in causing at least one young man to devote his time and talents to such a high calling? Who will take your place when you are gone? Begin to encourage younger men in the church to think seriously about preparing themselves to preach and to teach the word, either as an elder or as an evangelist. Young men will naturally want to look to some older man as a companion, unless they have been taught otherwise.

Take younger men with you that have the qualities needed for preaching. Let them stay with you in meetings, go with you on appointments or in your visiting. Let them read your text, offer prayer, or lead the singing. Set the right example before them. Don't speak lightly of your work, or manifest a materialistic attitude toward preaching. Let them see in you, what you want them to become.

Young Preachers

Maybe some day you can serve the church better as an elder. But now you are too young for that. Grow in grace and in knowledge. Respect older men and women, and those of your own age as brothers and sisters, (1 Tim. 5:1,2). Seek advice from older preachers, but never follow any man blindly. Don't allow loyalty to any preacher to surpass your loyalty to Christ and the Bible. Some older preachers have acted foolishly concerning the doctrine and concerning morals. Don't imitate them. Give yourself wholly to reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine, (1 Tim. 4:12-16). Read the books of 1 and 2 Timothy often.

Teach the church to respect and to support the gospel, but be determined to preach as much as you can no matter what happens. Don't place too much time and faith in commentaries and sermon outline books. They may help you fill in a gap sometime, but lean heavily upon the Bible for your texts and sermon material. Don't try to be funny. Enough amusing things will arise unexpectedly, and sometimes unavoidably. Make the best of them. Finally, marry the right girl, a girl who is a Christian, and one that will help you become the preacher God wants you to be. Don't try to be the best preacher, and don't try to be the worst. Do your best, and you will find your place among other preachers, and in the church. If you are faithful, God will find you a place in heaven.


Keep your eyes open for young men that can preach, or become elders. Encourage them, but don't flatter them. Don't lie to them and tell them they should preach if you KNOW that they can't. Too many are trying to preach and can't, but it isn't their fault. Brethren tried to make something out of them that God didn't intend or expect them to be. There are just as many that AREN'T preaching that SHOULD be. They must be willing. Don't force them to do it.

Be willing to bear with them while they are learning, and gaining experience. Don't send them to college if they don't need it. Don't ship them off for someone else to season, and to ripen, and expect a finished product to be shipped back to you. If they are lacking in knowledge, it can be acquired through study. If they are lacking in ability, they may obtain it at some educational institution. Where they go is their business, and a private matter. Don't tell them a college education or a diploma from one of "our" schools is a requirement, for I know better, you know better, and they will know better. Some of our best preachers have been to college, and some of our best ones haven't. Let's leave it that way.

Some brethren couldn't tell if a preacher has a college education or not, yet they insist that one coming to conduct a meeting or to locate with them have something they couldn't recognize if they saw it. I have heard preachers who had been to college, but you couldn't tell it by their preaching. They didn't try to parade their learning, or boast of it; they just preached the gospel. That's what we want, isn't it?


With preachers (young and old), elders, individual members, and congregations applying themselves to the problem, it can be corrected. We have a lot of good material in the church to work with, young men of ability and zeal; older men of maturity and knowledge. Let's combine the two. Not only will the church profit, but many younger and older preachers will enjoy a companionship similar to that which existed between Paul and Timothy. It will give younger preachers something to work for; older preachers something to be proud of in their declining years; all of us something to be thankful for when we are judged.