2 Timothy 2:15- “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of the truth.”
A sure way to stifle the stigma of youth is to saturate yourself with the Scriptures! President Theodore Roosevelt claimed, “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” Time in the study will add spiritual years to one’s ministry! There is simply no substitute for a thorough knowledge of God’s Word. The Bible commands all Christians in Colossians 3:16 to,
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
The word “richly” found in this verse carries with it the thought and truth that the Bible should be in abundance in our lives. Dr. Harry Ironside, commentating on Colossians 3:16, made notice of the effects of being “filled” with the word of God as stated in the verse. He then made comparison to the effects of being filled with the Holy Spirit found in Ephesians 5. Dr. Ironside penned, “There is an old rule in mathematics that ‘things equal to the same thing are equal to one another.” If to be filled with the Word is equal in result to being filled with the Spirit, then it should be clear that the Word-filled Christian is the Spirit-filled Christian!”
The Timothy must preach messages that do not sound like a children’s church object lesson or a women’s missionary society devotional. Burn the stool, give the journal back to junior and with a preaching voice thunder the Scriptures! Deliver substance with a shout and content with combustion! “Preacher boy” sermons always prolong the “preacher boy” stigma. One of the greatest compliments I have received was offered during my first year of evangelism. I had only been surrendered to preach a short time and was just beginning to hold my first few revival meetings. An older gentleman in the mountains of North Carolina said, “You preach like an old-timer, not like a whipper-snapper!” That off-the-cuff statement, though definitely not overlay dynamic or deep was a great encouragement to me as I began in ministry.
Timothy, fill your mind with the Word, stuff your heart with the Bible then go and attack the pulpit like Beelzebub is backstroking in the baptistery! Study to shew thyself approved unto God (and it will go far with man as well)! This might require turning off the television, putting down the video game, skipping the afternoon nap, getting up early and staying up late. Don’t sacrifice your time in the Scriptures; there is no substitute. The Bible must become a priority in the life of a young preacher. Do as one has stated, “study yourself full, think yourself straight, pray yourself hot, and let yourself go”. Billy Sunday thought much of the Bible and saw blessed results in his meetings. He used to describe his experience in the Word of God as follows: “Years ago, with the Holy Spirit for my guide, I entered this wonderful temple that we call Christianity. I entered through the portico of Genesis and walked down through the Old Testament’s art gallery, where I saw the portraits of Joseph, Jacob, Daniel, Moses, Isaiah, Solomon and David hanging on the wall; I entered the music room of the Psalms and the Spirit of God struck the keyboard of my nature until is seemed to me that every reed and pipe in God’s great organ of nature responded to the harp of David, and the charm of King Solomon in his moods. I walked into the business house of Proverbs. I walked into the observatory of the prophets and there saw photographs of various sizes, some pointing to far off stars or events–all concentrated upon one great Star which was to rise as an atonement for sin. Then I went into the audience room of the King of Kings, and got a vision from four different points–from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I went into the correspondence room, and saw Peter, James, Paul, and Jude, penning their epistles to the world. I went into the Acts of the Apostles and saw the Holy Spirit forming the Holy Church, and I walked into the throne room of Revelation and caught a glimpse of the King sitting on his throne in all his glory, and I cried: ‘All hail the power of Jesus’ name, let angels prostrate fall; Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all!’ In teaching me the way of life, the Bible has taught me the way to live; it taught me how to die”
The Bible is not the preacher’s rabbit foot, nor is it an accessory that pulls together a paisley tie and a pressed suit. It should be to the preacher what the sword is to the soldier, what the hammer is to the blacksmith; absolutely essential to their work. Bible study should be done earnestly, extensively, and expectantly if it is to be effective. The great preacher of yesteryear, B.R. Lakin would commonly call on preachers to, “Waller in the Word”! Knowing the Word of God will add confidence and detract contrariness in the pulpit. It will in crease your ability to give sound advice. It will enable you to convince the “gainsayers”. Allow the Bible to make its way from your hand, to your head, and into your heart! Using Bible terminology and not the newest worldly lingo or secular slang in your sermons will lead those in the pews to perceive the younger preacher as, he should in fact be, an man of God.
A Sunday-schooler once mistakenly reported to his friend that they were having a great “re-bible” at their church. He meant to say revival, but what a great truth! It’s the Bible that we need, the Bible that gets the job done, and the Bible that the Timothys must persue, practice, and preach. Routinely “re-Bible!” Be astute in the Scriptures!
Evangelist| Dr. Justin Cooper
Clays Mill Baptist Church| (859)-277-6811