Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 23, 1953

Preaching To The Church

Tom Harris, South Bend, Indiana

In the February issue of Bible Talk Brother Garrett insists, "Never, never, never do you find Paul or any other New Testament minister preaching to a church. Why? Because it is an impossibility. The words for preach mean to announce, to proclaim good news, or to herald. The church has already heard the good news."

Earlier in the article he insists that the Greek word euangelizein was used when the gospel message was made known to the sinner. "Never are these words used in the context of teaching the church." Brother Garrett may be right in insisting that we never read of a preacher preaching to the church. But, I am ready to produce a statement from the apostle Paul in which he said that he was ready to do so.

In Romans chapter one and verse fifteen Paul, declares, "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome." Verse thirteen indicates that Paul was addressing brethren. He says that he was ready to bring glad tidings to the church in Rome. Thayer defines the word used for preach here as "to bring to one the good tidings concerning Jesus as the Messiah." (Lexicon, p. 256) The Greek word here is the word euggelisasthai. It comes from the same root word as euangelizein which Brother Garrett insists was the word used when "the gospel message was being made known to a sinner." Brother Garrett, I can't produce a passage at this time where any New Testament preacher brought glad tidings to the church, but I have produced the passage which informs us that an inspired apostle was ready to. Paul was ready to preach to Christians "good tidings" concerning Jesus as the Messiah." (Thayer) It seems to this scribe that the difference between teaching and preaching in the application that Brother Garrett made has been more theological and hypothetical than scriptural.

I believe if Paul had been in Rome at the time that he had written the Roman letter, instead of being ready to preach the gospel to the church, he would have carried out that desire into action. He would have done so.

Brother Garrett is wrong when he says that good news "ceased to be news once they heard it." The church at Rome already had heard the good news about the Messiah. Paul was ready to announce that good news again. Paul not only converted people but after they were converted he was willing to confirm their souls. (Acts 14:22) The word confirm here is "to establish besides, strengthen more, to render more firm, confirm." Paul believed in strengthening the brethren after they became Christians. He did this by preaching the glad tidings, and that to the church!