by Michael Gilbert (part 3 in a series)
A second reason Timothy was told to “preach the word” had to do with the godly examples of all the preachers that had gone before him, beginning with Paul.
In our text (2 Tim. 3:10-14), Paul was confidently “passing the torch” on to another generation of gospel preachers – he knew his time was short (2 Tim. 4:6). Timothy was just another preacher in a long line of godly preachers. Let me rephrase that – the phrase, “just another preacher” really doesn’t do Timothy justice – perhaps the phrase “man of God” would be more appropriate, and scriptural (1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 3:17)!
Paul, being a mentor to this young “man of God”, expressed these sentiments to him, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of…” (2 Tim. 3:14). This young preacher had “learned” and “been assured of” Paul’s, “…doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, and afflictions…” (2 Tim. 3:10-11). Paul reminded the “man of God” that preaching would not be easy because, “…all that will (desire, MG) to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). However, with that persecution comes the Lord’s help. Jesus delivered the aged gospel preacher from all his persecutions (2 Tim. 3:11), and He would surely deliver Timothy from his. During times of intense rejection of God’s word, the man of God must return to “his roots”. Timothy was reminded of those who taught him the Gospel (Paul, etc.), as well as his mother and grandmother when Paul wrote, “…knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures…” (2 Tim. 3:14-15). To all those who have ever taught and/or preached, but are presently downtrodden – remember the teachers of your early years, and hang on to the Truth they instilled in you!
Paul was not Timothy’s only example of a faithful preacher. We would be remiss if we neglected to mention our Master – God only had one Son, and He made Him a preacher. The forerunner of Jesus, John the Immerser, is surely a great example of godliness and courage for any young man who is just beginning his ministry. When we think of Micah’s tenderheartedness and boldness (Mic. 1:8, 2:1-11), Jeremiah’s determination in spite of the miry pit (Jer. 38:6), Ezekiel’s fortitude and focus on God’s mercy despite living among the wicked and being mocked at every turn (Ezek. 20:49; 37:12), and Daniel’s stance on principals when compromise and/or “toning it down” would have kept him out of the lion’s den (Dan. 6), then we begin to understand the foundation upon which Timothy was standing and the godly examples that he was to follow. What examples of men, and not only men, but “men of God”!
Timothy, preach the word because godly preachers of old have set the example for you to carry on the work of God in the midst of “perilous times”!