Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 1, 1955
NUMBER 17, PAGE 3,5a

"Paul, The Preacher-Teacher"

C. D. Plum, Columbus, Ohio

A college professor once said to me: "A good speaker learns to think on his feet." I believed that was pretty good advice then, I still believe that is good advice. But now as then, I think that is easier said than done.

Right now I'd like to say this: "When you can't sleep, THINK." It might be better for us physically to sleep, but when we can't, then make the time in bed profitable by "thinking". Verily, I believe this: a good writer learns to think on his back. I am not laying any claim to being a good writer but, this essay is an attempted, logical roundup of thinking on my back last night while I could not sleep. The start off of this was the thoughts that clustered around I Timothy 2:7. For a better follow through I shall number the thoughts.

1. "Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not); a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity." In a few words this scripture condenses down to this: "I am a preacher-teacher. And isn't this so of every gospel preacher? He is also a gospel teacher. If he is a preacher, he is a teacher. I see no reason to confuse this issue. You might say, "But not all teachers are preachers in a public way." No one said they were. Women are teachers but not preachers in the accepted use of that term. What I said was: "If he is a preacher, he is a teacher." Paul was.

2. My thoughts then wandered to this question: "What did Paul, the preacher-teacher, preach and teach?" I thought of Romans 15:4. He preached that the things "written aforetime were written for our learning" (Not our law). "To the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted." (I Cor. 10:6) He preached the abolition 'of the "handwriting of ordinances." (Col. 2:14-16) He preached a burial in baptism" that was to follow a confession of faith from a penitent heart. (Col. 2:12) He preached that we should be controlled in worship, work, and Christian living as "becometh the gospel of Christ." (Phil. 1:27)

3. To whom did he preach and teach loomed in my thoughts. I reflected that he both preached "to" and "taught" the lost. He was under the commission as recorded in Mark. "Preach the gospel to every creature." He was under the commission as recorded by Matthew. "Teach all nations to observe all things that I have commanded you." Indeed, yes, this preacher-teacher was preaching to the lost souls. He was teaching lost souls how to be saved.

But wait a minute. The preacher-teacher was preaching to the church, too. How do I know ? He was to "preach" the gospel to every creature. The church is a part of every creature is it not? And, this preacher-teacher preached to the church at Troas. The Scripture says, "Paul preached unto them." (Acts 20:6-7) Yes, I mean this Scripture says Paul preached unto the disciples (the church) at Troas. Since he told brethren we can "do" as he did, and he preached to the church, preachers can still safely do that. (Phil. 4:9) Paul even preached to the "brethren" at Corinth. He said to the church at Corinth: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you." (I Cor, 15:1)

Who says preachers can't preach to the church any more, in view of these and other examples of former preachers doing so? Does some one say brother Plum just doesn't understand the Greek or he wouldn't think a preacher can preach to the church? I don't need to understand the Greek to believe that it is all right to preach to the church. Which reminds me, sometimes brethren talk about: "To Greek or Not to Greek." The older I get, and I am still young and active, I see less need every day for the so-called "to Greek" regardless from whom. If you will permit this unscholarly expression, there is little need "to Greek" because scholars have already "Greeked". One hundred and forty-eight of them. Forty-seven scholars gave us the King James Version, and one hundred and one of them gave us the American Standard Version. These scholars have translated, and jointly agreed that Paul preached to the church. For a "lone" scholar, or would-be scholar "to Greek" something different from these 148 scholars, in order to favor a hobby of his doesn't set with me. Jesus has promised before these no-preach-to-the-church-preachers came along that, "My word shall not pass away."

4. How did this preacher-teacher preach and teach also came as a result of thinking when I couldn't sleep. Let me list the roundup in an itemized way.

(a) This preacher-teacher relegated "self" to the background. (II Cor. 4:5)

(b) His preaching was "not with wisdom of words as taught by man." (I Cor. 2:1-5)

(c) He was not an "entertainer". This preacher-teacher said the "Spirit" spoke through him. (I Tim. 4:1) The Spirit in speaking through him tells us: "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor 'foolish talking', nor 'jesting', which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks." (Eph. 5:3-4)

Paul didn't mix a little levity (joking) in his sermons as is often done today. Levity usually suggests more specifically trifling or unseasonable gaiety. But Paul says of levity, jesting, joking, foolish talking: "THESE ARE NOT CONVENIENT", or, specifically, "which are not convenient". Brethren re-read the sermon on the mount by Jesus. How many jokes (clean or otherwise) did you find? How many things were said on purpose to entertain, to make people laugh? Now turn to Peter's sermon on Pentecost. How many little clean jokes do you find there? How many jokes did Paul tell before Felix and Festus? Just how many so-called clean jokes do you find in the entire New Testament? When inspired men preached, how many times did those speakers turn the audience into an uproar of laughter? Your answer to these questions should tell volumes which I can't write here.

(d) I thought, too, about how this preacher-teacher taught concerning benevolent work. I recalled how the Spirit through this preacher-teacher placed the responsibility on relatives of looking after their needy relatives, and specifically said, "And let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed." (I Timothy 5:4, 7, 16.) Not one word has been said here or elsewhere about building homes, placing them under "boards", and binding upon the church the responsibility of feeding these human institutions on "green backs" (money). If the church can pay the hospital bill for worthy cases (and it can), if the need so requires the church can also pay for the support of any scriptural case of charity that comes our way, without having to take money out of the church treasure to support a human institution as such. (Now, who will be the first to cry again, "Brother Plum is taking money from orphans and old people. He is a pessimist. He says the tank is half empty." Just please forget brother Plum, and forget not to listen to this inspired preacher-teacher.

(e) Moreover, while sleep was a stranger to me, I thought about this inspired preacher-teacher being at Thessalonica, and the church at Philippi sent "direct" to him, supporting his work while there in this virgin field. (Phil. 4:15-17) Philippi sent direct to him, not to him through another. I understand it is your privilege to think you know a better way to get this support for so-called missionaries, but I also know you cannot improve upon "Holy Spirit" practice. Am I a pessimist when I say, "Better obey Phil. 4:15-17?"

(f) I thought, too, about this preacher-teacher when he said, "We behaved not ourselves disorderly among you." (II Thess. 3:7) And because of this very good behavior, he said, "Ye ought to follow us." (I Cor. 11:1) Plenty there be who take issue with this Holy Spirit inspired preacher-teacher that do not have the moral background he has. What I have written here I have written only for the glory of God and the salvation of his creature man.