“TEACHING WITH PURPOSE”
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.” (II Timothy 2:24)
Patience and gentleness are valuable Christian virtues in any occupation. Teaching, however, involves other attributes as well, and these are clearly set forth by Paul in his second letter to the young preacher Timothy. Paul was very concerned that this young preacher would give due diligence to imparting the Word to others. “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (II Timothy 2:2). Consider these four practical and important exhortations to God-called teachers.
“Be straight.” Soundness in doctrine is absolutely essential, the most vital criterion of all. “Hold fast the form of sound words...shun profane and vain babblings...Preach the word... exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine...endure sound doctrine” (II Timothy 1:13; 2:16; 4:2,3). Straight doctrine is the basis of everything.
“Be Strong.” One can, of course, be strong and gentle at the same time, and this is what God requires. “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 2:1). A non-gracious Christian leader is a disgrace to his calling. To be gentle means just what it says when it comes to teaching. There is no room for an overbearing, demanding personality when teaching God’s Word.
“Be studious.” The Lord has given us His inspired Word and a “sound mind” with which to study It, as well as “the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us” (II Timothy 1:7,14) to illuminate It, and He expects us to be diligent in using It. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).
“Be stedfast.” As he concludes, Paul foresees the awful spiritual and moral conditions of the last days, certainly more than enough to intimidate and discourage even the strongest Christian. “But,” he then says, “continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (II Timothy 3:14). This passage is followed by the strongest passage on the full divine inspiration, authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures to be found in the entire Bible.
Regardless of the circumstances, a Christian teacher must maintain sound doctrine, be both strong and gracious, be diligent in handling the Scriptures, and just “live there” in the Word of God. Remember, you are a servant of God. He is relying upon you. Are you reliable?Pastor H. Preston Parker