“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2
Preach – Strong’s G2784 – kēryssō – to be a herald; to officiate as herald; to proclaim after the manner of a herald; specifically used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it,
Reprove – Strong’s G1651 – elegchō – to find fault with, correct; by word; to reprehend severely, chide (scold or rebuke), admonish, reprove: to call to account, show one his fault
Rebuke – Strong’s G2008 – epitimaō – to tax with fault, rate, chide, rebuke, reprove, censure severely,
Exhort – Strong’s G3870 – parakaleō – to admonish (reprimand and advise) , exhort (urge strongly): absolutely
Patience – Strong’s G3115 – makrothymia – patience, forbearance, long-suffering, slowness in avenging wrongs,
Teaching – Strong’s G1322 – didachē – [the act of] teaching, instruction,
In a society that does not like correction, this part of the gospel is easy to want to skip over. People do not like to be confronted with their sin. Preachers and teachers want to stay in good favor with the people. As such, there tends to be a focus on the world’s standards instead of Biblical standards when it comes to what one should and should not do. Yet, Paul taught that reproving, rebuking and exhorting are all part of the purpose of proclaiming the gospel.
People have to be taught, with patience and love that their sin, is sin. Too often, I hear of churches filled with people who condemn the drug addicts and child abusers while elevating (intentionally or not) those who commit adultery, lie (bear false witness), are greedy, stubborn, rebellious, prideful, gluttonous or selfish. These are all sins too. We use society’s scale for sin instead of God’s.
In my own life, I have been grateful for preachers and teachers who are willing to call sin, sin. There are often times we are blinded by our actions. I remember once feeling like I was doing nothing wrong in talking with another man. I was never alone with him, church was our only contact. Our conversations were not inappropriate and always involved at least one other person.
One day I was flipping through channels and caught a teaching, the title for the lesson was How to Have an Affair. The title grabbed me because what preacher preaches on having an affair. As I listened to his points, and there were many, I realized although I had not done anything immoral, I was halfway down the path described. I am so thankful for the reprove, rebuking, and exhorting that kept me from ruining my marriage. It caught me before I fell.
Paul tells Timothy three different ways in this one passage that the gospel is used to correct people. If people don’t realize that what they are doing is just as wrong in God’s eyes as the “Big Ten” and that there is no such thing as a “white lie”, they will lead others down the same path. The whole gospel must be shared so that we can repent and turn from ALL our sin.
Lord, I know at times I have not shared Your Word in patience and love when rebuking and correcting. I have been condemning and judgmental, even while having a plank in my own eye. At other times, I have stayed away from correcting someone, even when I felt about leading. Help me to be obedient to Your guidance. I pray for all Your children to be willing to preach the fullness of Your Whole Word, in season and out of season, so that true repentance can follow.