Preach the Word

Text: 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Paul charged Timothy with the task of preaching the word. What Timothy was told to do is the responsibility of every gospel preacher. This lesson examines Paul’s charge to Timothy to see what every preacher must remember.

Accountability to God (v. 1)

  • This is a solemn charge – not to be taken lightly
  • In the presence of God and of Christ – preachers need to seek to please the Lord (Galatians 1:10)
  • The Lord will judge the living and the dead (Acts 17:31) – this means that those who preach will be judged for their work (cf. James 3:1); those who teach falsely bring destruction upon themselves (2 Peter 2:1)

Responsibility to Preach (v. 2)

  • The word of God is the message that is to be preached (1 Peter 4:11) – must not add to, take from, or change that message (Proverbs 30:6; Acts 20:27; Galatians 1:8-9)
  • Be ready in season and out – when it’s convenient and when it’s not (cf. 2 Timothy 1:8, 11-12); when people like it and when they don’t (cf. 2 Timothy 2:24-26); when the brethren are supportive and when they are not (cf. 2 Timothy 2:2-3)
  • What is involved in preaching the word – reprove to correct faults (2 Timothy 3:16); rebuke to warn / censure (Acts 20:29-31; Jude 3-4; 1 Timothy 5:20); exhort to admonish and encourage what is right (Acts 20:32; Ephesians 4:11-12)
  • Preach “with great patience” – some will oppose the truth (2 Timothy 3:8-14); others will be slow to accept the truth (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
  • Preach “with…instruction” – impart knowledge from the word of God (1 Timothy 4:6, 13, 16)

Unfavorable Reception (v. 3-4)

  • A time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine – endure means to “put up with” (Strong’s); they may tolerate the truth for a while, but eventually will not want to hear it anymore
  • What they desire instead – “to have their ears tickled“; they have “itching ears“; they want to hear what sounds good to them (Romans 16:17-18); they want to hear what fits with their desires (Philippians 3:18-19)
  • They will find teachers who will teach what they want to hear – if there is a demand, the market will provide for it (basic economics); sadly, the same principle is true for preaching (cf. Micah 3:11; Amos 7:12-13)
  • They will turn from the truth in favor of myths / fables (KJV) – not just referring to “stories”; Jesus used parables; we may use illustrations; myths / fables are anything contrary to the truth

Facing Challenges (v. 5)

  • Be sober in all things – “to be calm and collected in spirit” (Thayer); do not act / react rashly (2 Timothy 4:2)
  • Endure hardship – “as a good soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3); the business of war is not easy (Ephesians 6:10-13)
  • Do the work of an evangelist – the work is to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2)
  • Fulfill your ministry – do it fully and see it through until the end


  • Preaching the gospel is a great responsibility – it will be difficult, especially at certain times; but the work needs to be done
  • But this lesson is not just for preachers, it is for everyone – we are to work together in this (3 John 8); always keep your ears receptive to the gospel; do not turn away after “myths

When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on the Gospel, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Road Trip.