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Reading, Preaching, and Teaching

Words of Faith Final

Reading, Preaching, and Teaching
Words of Faith 5-31-2023
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2023
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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1 Timothy 4
[13] Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. [14] Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. [15] Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. [16] Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Paul had some particular advice for young Timothy as he sought to lead, pastor, and love the people of God. Whatever you do, be devoted to your call.
That word means "persist obstinately in." Persist obstinately in the public reading of Scripture, preaching, and teaching. If these are your gifts, do not neglect them. If you are a hearer, do not neglect the place where this happens. If you are called to read, preach, or teach, do everything you can to diligently pursue the practice of these gifts.
You may be young and inexperienced, but there is only one way through those issues-- just do it. Read the Scripture publicly, preach, and teach the Word of God. Keep on keeping on. So that "everyone may see your progress."
Paul lays out a powerful pattern and example through which public ministry is meant to take place among the people of God-- reading, preaching, and teaching. What is this?
We start with the public reading of Scripture. The public reading of Scripture was an honored part of first-century worship. It probably meant more than simply reading aloud; it certainly carried a reverence for the Word of God. Sadly, public reading is almost lost in much of our modern Christian culture because it has been ritualized, deemed irrelevant, or subjugated to a preacher's interruptions and topical agenda.
It is not uncommon in many circles today to hear an entire "sermon" without the reading of Scripture or reference to Scripture that is more than just a proof-text. In other settings, the reading of Scripture is often interrupted with jokes or comments to the point that the Word of God never is permitted to speak.
Indeed, Scripture reading can become overly ritualized. Still, it seems that the most honoring response to reading God's Word is to listen and then expose the truth of that reading. An authentic encounter with God in public meetings starts at the point of the public reading of Scripture that reveals the Truth. There is no other place. There is no other anchor.
Next comes preaching. Paul clearly used separate Greek words here. Preaching is exhortation or paraklesis. This is not talking down to or hammering people dogmatically. The word means to come alongside to encourage or spur toward action. Preaching flows out of the reading of the Word and exposure of truth to inspire and motivate toward godliness. We often think of teaching as expounding the Scripture and preaching as applying the truth discovered. But Paul really lifts up reading as the exposure of the Truth and preaching as the exhortation toward application.
So what is teaching? Teaching is setting in place and communication of correct doctrine. This may sound unpopular or boring, but we are called to didaskalia-- to put sound doctrine in place. Didaskalia is the work of theology. We are all, in fact, theologians, even if we say we are not. Settling our belief system as a biblical worldview is the end goal in our growth to think like God and be like Him. Teaching is the careful and systematic discernment of correct doctrine that follows reading, study, and preaching.
Paul called young Timothy to persist obstinately in all three of these-- the careful public reading of Scripture, the exhortation of the Word, and the teaching of sound doctrine.

Father God, bring me carefully into the context where I can hear the public reading and consideration of Your Word such that the truth of Scripture is exposed. Help me find the place of Spirit-led exhortation to apply God's Word to my life. Help me to embrace sound doctrine that reflects the truth of Your love. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2023
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2023 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.