2 Timothy 4 - Job #1
If the pastor's primary job is to preach, your primary responsibility is to listen!
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2 Timothy 4 (ESV)
1 I charge you
in the presence
and of Christ Jesus,
who is to judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingdom:
2 preach the word;
be ready in season and out of season;
with complete patience and teaching.
3 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,
4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
5 As for you,
always be sober-minded,
do the work of an evangelist,
fulfill your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering,
and the time of my departure has come.
7 I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous judge,
will award to me on that day,
not only to me
but also to all who have loved his appearing.
9 Do your best to come to me soon.
Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.
Crescens has gone to Galatia,
Titus to Dalmatia.
11 Luke alone is with me.
Get Mark and bring him with you,
for he is very useful to me for ministry.
12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.
13 When you come,
bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas,
also the books,
and above all the parchments.
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm;
the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.
16 At my first defense
no one came to stand by me,
but all deserted me.
May it not be charged against them!
17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me,
so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.
So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
18 The Lord
will rescue me from every evil deed
and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.
To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
20 Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus.
21 Do your best to come before winter.
Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.
22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
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2 Timothy 4 Summary
There's no shortage of advice for what pastors ought to be doing, and certainly much of this advice is good. But the Bible's primary command to pastors is:
Preach the Word - This is job #1, and nothing should get in the way of it.
Notice how Paul writes preach the word, not just the gospel or the good news or even just preach Christ. Certainly all of these things are necessary subsets of the Word, but none of these concepts really make sense unless they are presented in the context of the entire Bible.
We must remember that most people don't want to hear the Word preached. It's not that people don't want to hear about God or Jesus or love or things like that, but they want to reshape God's revealed truth to fit their own preconceived categories and definitions.
Paul reminds Pastor Timothy that there will always be righteous sounding empty suits eager to fill this market with vanity and nicely decorated lies.