Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 15, 1955

Paul's Charge To Timothy -- An Analysis

Gordon Wilson, Saticoy, California

In Paul's second letter to Timothy, chapter 3, verse 15, he wrote: "From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

The holy scriptures referred to here are certainly the old testament scriptures, since these were the only inspired writings during Timothy's childhood. These old scriptures served a special purpose. They offered wisdom unto salvation — no period — through faith in Jesus. There was no salvation actually contained in the old scriptures themselves. They had to be applied by faith to Jesus Christ. Christ was the center of the old testament; He was its theme. All important persons and events of the old scriptures contained Christ. Thus, the wisdom learned from those scriptures was unto salvation, that is, looking forward to salvation. Salvation is offered only in the new testament.

Paul continues: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

"All scripture" is here contrasted with the "holy scriptures" of the preceeding verse. All scripture includes the new testament. The inspired scripture in that it furnishes the man (servant) of God unto all good works. Anything of a religious nature which is not provided by the scriptures, does not come within the bounds of "all good works."

Then the apostle writes: "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."

In making this charge, Paul calls upon the high and holy name of God, and His Son Jesus, who is Lord, Judge, and King. We can see the seriousness of the charge, which is, PREACH THE WORD:

Notice that Paul said, "I charge thee therefore". Therefore means "in view of the preceding." Paul had been writing about the inspired scripture. Now he says, "therefore — preach the word." Is it not obvious that preaching the word is preaching what is contained in the scriptures? Here is the comparison:

2 Tim. 3:16 2 Tim. 4:2
Scripture is profitable for: Preach the word
1. Doctrine 1. With — doctrine.
2. Reproof 2. Reprove.
3. Correction 3. Rebuke.
4. Instruction 4. Exhort.

To preach the word then is to preach scripture. Paul's charge cannot be obeyed by preaching politics, current events, etc. It is obeyed by preaching the Bible, which is the word of God.

Paul told Timothy why he should preach the word. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

We, like Timothy, are living in a day of itching ears; a time when ear-ticklers are more popular than Gospel preachers, fables are more sought after than truth, and lust is more prominent than a desire for righteousness. In this day we have all too few men who understand what it means to preach the word, and who have the courage to do so. A sort of moral weakness seems to have crept into the ranks of the army of the Lord, and many who in the past were valiant soldiers in the battle against error have given up the fight, sheathed their swords, and joined the forces of the enemy. No doubt, there is a place for those who are afraid to fight, but that place is not in the pulpits of the churches of Christ. We need to fill our pulpits with men whose only reliance is on the Lord, whose trust is in the Book of God's truth, and whose commission is the charge bound upon Timothy, "PREACH THE WORD."