Why bother with preaching?

Dash linked up this post.  In the author appeals to 2Tim 4:2 to say that we can’t get all we need from private bible study we also need to hear someone preach.

2Ti 4:2  (TNIV) Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

The word most often translated preach is Kerusso and sadly it doesn’t convey our modern concept of preaching.  It simply means to proclaim something, to announce it. 

Alan Knox has written a couple of great posts on the subject.

Just Semantics (preach)
Preaching in the Old Testament: Introduction
Preaching in the Old Testament: Genesis-Micah
Preaching in the Old Testament: Joel-Daniel
Preaching in the Old Testament: Conclusion

The NRSV and HCSB get 2Ti 4:2 right on this point as they render Kerusso proclaim rather than preach. 

Sadly we read the scriptures through the lens of conventional church experience.  We look at 2Tim 4:2 and assume that Timothy is standing up in front a crowd of people who are listening silently.  Be prepared in season and out of season means keep a good sermon in your back pocket.

Looking at this passage assuming Timothy is in a house church, which he would have been, it looks a lot different.  Being prepared to proclaim the word meant to be ready in every potential interaction to bring the scriptures in to the conversation.  Be patient with it, you have to earn peoples trust before you can challenge people deeply.  Use careful instruction by gently moving people away from the self-destructive concepts they have in their head.  Stay faithful to the truth of the gospel.  Be ready to correct, rebuke and encourage people along the way.

The word is best proclaimed in a relationship of mutual love and trust. 

  1. #1 by Alan Knox on August 6, 2009 - 8:29 am

    Thanks for linking to my blog and this series in particular! Your readers may be interested in my introductory post also: Preaching in the Old Testament: Introduction. In the introduction, I explain why a study like this is important.


  2. #2 by Darryl on August 7, 2009 - 7:48 am

    Two issues in your post. One is on what preaching is. The other is on the setting. Not sure that answering the second question automatically answers the first.

    I’m not a stickler on form, but the teaching of God’s Word in a community of believers – whatever form it takes – is a given in what Scripture says about our functioning as churches.

  3. #3 by Leighton Tebay on August 7, 2009 - 9:23 am

    “Two issues in your post. One is on what preaching is. The other is on the setting. Not sure that answering the second question automatically answers the first.”

    The point of my post is that we have taken the New Testament concept of Kerusso and equated it with our modern concept of preaching and the two aren’t the same thing. The issue isn’t what preaching is, but what kerusso is and although I haven’t touched on it what euaggeliz? is.

    When someone says why bother with preaching they aren’t asking “why bother with proclamation” or “why bother with sharing the good news.” They are asking why we bother with a very specific medium that might include teaching and/or proclamation. I think the medium could be a viable one in some situations but there are others that are better.

  4. #4 by Alan Knox on August 7, 2009 - 10:36 am

    This is an issue of meaning, not form or method or function. “Kerusso” does not mean the same thing as our English word “preach”. It doesn’t matter which definition of “preach” we use, it is not the same as “kerusso”.

    Arguing about form, method, or function is like bringing different types of apples to a person who asked for a stick. It doesn’t matter what type of apple you bring, it’s still not a stick.


  5. #5 by Darryl on August 12, 2009 - 8:13 pm


    I’ve been meaning to blog on this for ages. I hope to get around to it soon.

  6. #6 by Jeff on October 9, 2009 - 9:32 am

    Hey there,

    I’ve really appreciated reading your blog.

    in this post specifically i have a hard time with your pronouncement of timothy being in a “house church” specific. to me your implying a more contemporary understanding with that of a historical understanding. without more clarity on this i have difficulty in understanding where your coming from on this point. is the contemporary view of “house church” and your understanding of historical “house church” the same thing? if so please flesh out the comparitives.

    thank you,


  7. #7 by LT on October 21, 2009 - 7:47 pm

    We know that the church met in homes up until the end of the 3rd century. My understanding of the church would track with Paul’s description of the church in his letters to the Corinthians, especially 1Cor12-14. Although I couldn’t map out all the similarities between contemporary house churches and NT testament churches, I’m very certain the NT church was held together by relationships and was broadly participatory.

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