Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Oct 23 2013 - 2 Timothy 2:1-19 – Handle with care

Paul is in prison in Rome. He is no longer able to travel around the churches to preach Christ and expound the Word of God. But, he says, “God’s word is not chained” (2 Timothy 2:9). God cannot be chained up and imprisoned, neither can his word be robbed of its power. Paul knows that those to whom he has committed the gospel message will continue the ministry he had begun. Paul writes to Timothy, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).

Paul reminds Timothy that those who preach the word have an awesome responsibility. And what Paul says to Timothy he says also to us. We are not to use the word of God to our own ends. God's word is not to be massaged, reshaped and repackaged by us so that our listeners are impressed with the ingenuity of our preaching. The word must master us, shaping our minds and hearts, thrilling our souls and shaping our lives. We are then to communicate the word that has addressed us with clarity and power (ambiguity intended). We are to be transparent communicators so that our listeners hear not us but God speaking to them. We want them to be transformed by God's word and Spirit not entranced and captivated by our preaching. This is no easy calling; it is both serious and demanding.

The word of God is precious; it is to be handled with care. The word of God is powerful; it is not to be taken captive but is to be set free. We are to be servants of the word rather than proud masters of the word.

And this word has been set free. All around the world the Scriptures have been and are being translated into the heart language of its many peoples. Scriptures are being printed and distributed, along with audio and Braille versions. Again and again we hear how lives are being touched and transformed. God is at work through his word to create a people who will be his very own.

But there are also those who seek to put a stop to this work of God – as they have done from the first. Those who preach the word are threatened, imprisoned or even killed. Scriptures are confiscated and destroyed. Christian bookshops are burnt down. But still God’s word cannot be chained. God has sent his word into the world and he will not allow it to return to him void; it will accomplish what he has purposed. And he has called us to become part of his great army of conquest – to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ (2:3), fighting not with the weapons of this world but with the powerful word of God.

What could you do to free up the word of God and send it to every corner of the world?

Father God, thank you for your powerful word. At your word, creation sprang into being. Your word brings light and life. Thank you for Jesus Christ your Son, the word made flesh. Thank you that in him we read your passion for the world you have made and your great love for us. Thank you that he died for us and has been raised from the dead and is seated at your right hand. Thank you for your Spirit poured out upon us and upon this world. Help us to minister your word in the power of your Spirit that many might come to know the Lord Jesus and have life in him.

Peter Misselbrook