Text: 2 Timothy 4:1-2

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
(2 Timothy 4:1-2)

It was my privilege to be involved in the 45th Graduation Service of the Far Eastern Bible College. The speaker at the service was the Rev Dr Park Seung Kyu. He spoke on the topic, “Theological Education in a Disintegrating World”.

Rev Park rightly noted that what is most needed in theological education (and also churches) today is the preaching of the Word. We see this injunction given to us in 2 Timothy 4:2 where Paul solemnly charged Timothy to “preach the Word”. This injunction to preach the Word remains true throughout the ages, for it is only through the preaching of the Word that souls may find the light and be fed. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17) The means to reach out to students may vary with age. For example, in this time of the COVID-19, the college has to adapt by reaching out to her students via live streaming for her classes.
Nevertheless, each lesson involves the pure preaching of the Word. This must never be compromised.

On the other hand, the question must be raised, what exactly is this word that must be preached?

Rev Park noted the use of the conjunction “therefore” in verse 1. This
conjunction links the command to preach the word with the preceding verses, and there in these verses we find the answer. “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. 3:14-17) The Word that we should preach is none other than the Holy Scripture, which is the perfect Word of God.

The Bible is none other than the Word of God that must be preached. This is most beautifully affirmed in the Dean Burgon Oath – “I swear in the Name of the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit that I believe “the Bible is none other than the voice of Him that sitteth upon the throne. Every book of it, every chapter of it, every verse of it, every word of it, every syllable of it, every letter of it, is direct utterance of the Most High. The Bible is none other than the Word of God, not some part of it more, some part of it less, but all alike the utterance of Him that sitteth upon the throne, faultless, unerring, supreme.” So help me God, Amen.” The board and faculty of the FEBC take the oath every graduation service to affirm their allegiance to the Bible, which is the Word of God.

When we preach the Word, we must make sure that what we preach is not our word but God’s Word. Sadly, the trend in Churches and Bible Colleges is to do away with the preaching of the Bible and to replace them with the anecdotes of the world. It is little wonder that the people are spiritually malnourished and lacking in true knowledge and wisdom. Theological education that is devoid of God’s Word is utterly worthless.

Now we must not presume that theological education is confined only to the Bible Colleges. In fact, the local churches should also be places of theological education. Theological education is found in every worship service where the Word of God is preached. Theological education is also the purpose of the Sunday School which follows after the worship service. Thus, it is important for all who are involved in the teaching ministry to remember that God’s Word should be imparted to the hearers and not man’s opinions. To preach the Word would thus involve firstly the faithful exposition of the Bible and secondly, the faithful application of the truth. Teachers should not just explain the verses correctly, but to ensure that they apply the Biblical principles rightly to the students. Anything else, we will fail this injunction that is given in 2 Timothy 4:2 to preach God’s Word.

We also note that Timothy was not only to “teach the Word” but to “preach the Word”. Preaching obviously involves teaching and instructing. However, it is more than that. It also involves the imparting of one’s heart and soul that is set on fire by the truth to all who are hearing. It is the proclamation of the Scriptures in the power of the Spirit. John
Calvin puts it this way, that preaching “is the public exposition of Scripture by the man sent from God, in which God Himself is present in judgment and in grace.”

As for this editor, he will always be grateful to his homiletical teacher for pointing out to him that he cannot “preach” like the way he teaches physics lessons in Secondary School. Together with the book “Preaching and Preachers” by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, it helped him better understand what exactly is preaching, to the praise and glory of God.

The same Martyn Lloyd-Jones also declared that preaching is the greatest need of the church. But we must also make sure that we preach the right Word. This Word is none other than the Bible. Let us always be found holding forth the Word of everlasting life.


A recent opportunity to eat delicious sushi prompted me to look up on the training needed to be a professional sushi chef. In Japan, sushi is considered a true art form which only the most experienced chef can execute. To prepare authentic sushi, one will need years of rigorous training. Much of the training involves learning how to make precise cuts to the fish. This reminded me of 2 Timothy 2:15 – “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The term “rightly dividing” has the picture of making precise cuts. Is this not exactly like the sushi chef?

Herein is a lesson for all who teach God’s Word (pastor, teachers, parents etc.). If we intend to teach God’s Word well, we must never stop studying the Word of God. To be an excellent sushi chef takes continuous training and upgrading, what more the teacher of God’s Word! Once we think we know everything and stop studying the Word of God, that is when we will cease to be a good teacher of God’s Word.

Remember the sushi chef.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew