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Teaching the Gospel

December 21, 2010

The gospel needs to be brought and preached to people. But the good news, though simple, requires a teacher to be fully understood. That is why Paul wore three hats, those of a preacher or herald, an apostle or messenger, and a teacher (see also 2 Timothy 2:11). Here’s my point. Take the phrase “the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) Does this statement require some explanation when you think of the theological weight of the words used? I think so.

This is not to say that one can’t simply accept the truth of the gospel by faith for salvation (Romans 10:17), for the gospel in and of itself is powerful and self-propagating, as noted in Colossians 1:5-6:

5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth.

But in these verses we also read that the gospel was not only heard but understood, and in verse 7, Epaphras was assigned the responsibility of teaching it, the word “learned” meaning “to intellectually comprehend.”

7just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf.

Remember though, that in 1 Timothy, Paul is discussing these tasks in the context of prayer. Nothing gets done evangelistically without it. Along these lines, here’s a prayer request from Paul in Ephesians 6:19-20:

19and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Here he talks about bringing information on “the mystery of the gospel,” being an “ambassador in chains” for the gospel, and boldly “proclaiming” the gospel. Paul so wanted to speak as he “ought to speak.”

It is my understanding from Paul’s explanation of the good news in 1 Timothy 2:1-8, that if you wish to bring the gospel and proclaim the gospel, you must be prepared to teach the gospel. To me this involves more than just sharing it.

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