Throughout church history, preachers who have left a lasting impact upon the church and their generation have always been known for their strong, biblical preaching. God’s work is to be done God’s way if it is to know God’s blessing. This necessitates the centrality and primacy of biblical preaching in the church. If we are to see another Reformation, Puritan era, or Great Awakening, then we must see a return to expository preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul commanded Timothy to “Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season” (2 Tim 4:2). In this present hour, we must see again preaching that is biblical, preaching that is authoritative, and preaching, quite frankly, that is dominant.
These inspired words in 2 Timothy are the last words the apostle Paul ever wrote. In weeks, if not days, he will be beheaded on the Ostian Way, west of Rome. The gospel torch is being passed down from the aged preacher to his young son in the faith, Timothy. This is the apostle’s final admonition to his disciple. The truths that Paul shares with Timothy are the same truths that stand preserved for us in Scripture. They are God’s admonition to all preachers in every place who would step behind the sacred desk.
Paul says here that there is no season that is not either “in season or out of season.” This is a colloquial expression, meaning that preaching the Word of God is always in season. The apostle asserts that the Word of God must be preached morning and evening, day in and day out. It is to be preached the entirety of our lives in every situation of life—both when it is convenient and when it is inconvenient, when it is welcomed and when it is unwelcome, when it is well received and when it is not received at all. Paul is charging Timothy, “Young man, always be ready to preach the Word.”
This is as true for preachers today as it was for Timothy. There is never a time or a place when the preaching of the Word of God is out of place. If the church ever gathers and the ministry of the Word of God seems to be out of place, then cancel that meeting and cancel that ministry. There is no reason for the church to be gathering if the Word is out of place. Martin Luther said, “In the worship service, everything is negotiable except the preaching of the word of God.” The church can meet for the preaching of the Word of God, or the church can assemble with singing and prayer to supplement the Word. But the one non-negotiable that is absolutely essential is the preaching of the Word. There must always be the exposition, the proclamation, the application, and the exhortation of the Word of God. Timothy is to discharge this calling, faithfully, to believers and unbelievers alike, to princes and paupers. He is to be always fulfilling this duty.
Martin Luther said, “The pulpit is the throne for the Word of God.” A heaven-sent revival will come to our churches only once the pulpit is enthroned again with an open Bible and a humble servant stands behind the pulpit to give a clear and compelling exposition of God’s Word. In these days, the church so desperately needs men who will not play at preaching, but who will preach the Word, the whole Word and nothing but the Word. This is why it is so critical that we hear again this final charge by the apostle Paul to his young son in the faith, Timothy—“preach the Word”!
Steven J. Lawson is the President of OnePassion Ministries. Dr. Lawson is also the Professor of Preaching at The Master’s Seminary and Teaching Fellow with Ligonier Ministries. The author of numerous books and articles, the latest of which is The Daring Mission of William Tyndale.