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Keep God's Word Central

1 Timothy 4:13-14
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. (NIV)

Philosophers bring human ideas but preachers should bring God’s Word. Paul was concerned that Timothy should not drift into being a social coordinator or even concentrate on humanitarian aid to the poor. His primary task was to bring God’s Word to the believers, and anyone who would listen, and apply it to their lives. His first responsibility was to read the Bible publically and then explain how Jesus has always been at the centre of Scripture, and should be at the centre of their lives too.
Preaching the Scriptures is very powerful. It is God’s way of speaking to people’s hearts as the Holy Spirit applies the truth He has inspired. He uses inspired preachers to do this. I do not mean celebrity preachers whose oratory can win and move a large crowd, but ordinary people who have been given the spiritual gift of explaining what God wants to communicate. Timothy’s gift was recognised and confirmed by the elders as the Lord showed them how He wanted Timothy to serve Him. It was a memorable occasion; so Paul urged the young man to keep on doing the job.
There is a special place for public recognition of preachers and teachers: we should encourage them. Sadly, many other believers do not think they have anything to offer the Lord. Everybody who belongs to Jesus Christ also has the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) and has some spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:7). An important question is, “Who does God want to entrust with the responsibility of preaching and teaching the Bible?” Some who are unemployed or want to change their financial circumstances think this is a way of getting a good job, home and respect. Wrong motives! Ministry is about self-sacrifice not self-satisfaction. God needs those who are self-disciplined, hard-working and able to provide for themselves and their families, to welcome the opportunity to serve Him with all their heart – whatever the cost.

God of truth. Thank You for the Bible, inspired by Your Holy Spirit, and for those to whom You have given the gift of preaching and teaching. I am sorry when I have read the Bible but have not expected to hear You speak, or have listened to preachers without accepting the message You are giving to me. Help me to learn the truth, honour Your Word by doing it; and honour You by being willing to accept whatever spiritual commission You choose for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams