Evangelism, Gospel Application

By This Time You Ought to Be Teachers

It is prudent to consider the daily reading of God’s Word as a direct, personal word to us. Direct: straight from God’s heart. Personal: intended for us, His people.

With that in mind, Paul’s second letter to Timothy surely has application for all who believe in the gospel. Paul writes the letter in a time period where many around him have deserted the faith and, by extension, have deserted him. He writes to Timothy to plead with him to continue to “guard the good deposit” entrusted to him.

What is this deposit Timothy has? It’s the gospel. Today we need to hear God’s word to us in second Timothy to learn how to be a good gospel witness. My prayer is the same as Paul’s opening admonition in chapter 2: “be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” in order to persevere with that calling to guard the gospel to the end. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be diving into some of the seven metaphors that Paul uses in this chapter to description how to be a witness to the gospel: teacher (v.2), soldier (v.4), athlete (v.5), farmer (v.6), worker (v.15), vessel (v.20), and servant (v.24).

Witnesses are teachers

“What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others.” (2 Tim. 2:2)

The reason I began this article with a reminder that God’s Word so directly applies to us today is because this first metaphor is scary. To be a good witness I must teach? Surely not me! I’ll encourage you the same way that the author of Hebrews does: “by this time you ought to be teachers.” (Hebrews 5:12)

But there is tremendous encouragement in this tremendously scary admonition.

  • What you have heard: it’s nothing new and requires no creativity or ingenuity to conjure up a new idea that is teachable. We simply teach what we know of God’s Word and rely on the Spirit to transform hearts.
  • Presence of many witnesses: it’s also no one new. This is the faith that was “once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3) We have the full weight of the witness of church history on our side.

This is not to say that every believer is called to an official teaching position inside the church. It simply implies the priority of discipleship. It’s give us motivation — some of us don’t know enough of the Bible to be able to teach it! We need this verse to encourage us in our daily studies. This still isn’t an excuse though — Paul writes to Timothy concerning the gospel, something every believer is able to — at the very least — teach a nonbeliever.

Maybe you feel like you have this figured out already. If you’re already investing in these discipleship relationships with others around you, it’s time to find others who are willing to take the baton. We are either a teacher or we are entrusting teaching opportunities to “faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” How do we know someone is faithful? It begins with observing someone’s life, tapping them to step into God’s will for their life, and challenge them to grow in faith by discipling another.

The Spirit is the true teacher

What if the gospel stopped spreading with your generation? Look at the pastor in your church and consider this: in his absence, who will contend for the faith? Does this move your heart when you think about the possibility of the gospel going dark? Who will guard the truth if you don’t? This is our calling. Every single one of us ought to be a guardian. The first step is to guard our teaching.

God uses His people to grow the church through evangelism and to sustain the church through the building up by personal relationships. We are the members of His church, which he designed to help sustain the body of believers. We teach the church (building up), and we teach the world (evangelism). But we don’t do it alone, we have the help of the Spirit.

“For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor. 2:11)

In first Corinthians, we see the basic, fundamental problem of teaching spiritual truths: God is impossible to comprehend. This is why evangelism (and even teaching inside the church) is so difficult. But there is a way forward: we have the mind of Christ. (v. 16b)

What is possible without God becomes possible by the Spirit.

Go with God today and consider the bank of knowledge that God has entrusted to you. Who might benefit, if you would share from your bank? Now is the time that we ought to be teachers.