â€œAnd the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.â€ Â (2 Timothy 2:24)
Patience and gentleness are invaluable Christian virtues in any occupation. Teaching, however, involves other attributes as well, and these are effectively set forth by Paul in the second letter to young Pastor Timothy. Consider just four of these important exhortations to God-called teachers.
â€œBe straight.â€ Soundness in doctrine is absolutely essential, the most vital criterion of all. â€œHold fast the form of sound words. . . . Shun profane and vain babblings. . . . Preach the word . . . Exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. . . . Endure sound doctrineâ€ (1:13; 2:16; 4:2-3). Straight doctrine is the basis of everything.
â€œBe strong.â€ One can, of course, be strong and gentle at the same time, and this is what God requires. â€œThou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesusâ€ (2:1). A non-gracious Christian leader is a dis-grace to his calling.
â€œBe studious.â€ The Lord has given us His inspired Word, and a â€œsound mindâ€ with which to study it, as well as â€œthe Holy Ghost which dwelleth in usâ€ (1:7, 14) to illuminate it, and He expects us to be diligent in its use. â€œStudy to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truthâ€ (2:15).
â€œBe steadfast.â€ As he concludes, Paul foresees the awful spiritual and moral conditions of the last daysÂâ€”surely enough to intimidate and discourage any Christian. â€œBut,â€ he then says â€œcontinue . . . in the things which thou hast learnedâ€ (3:14). This exhortation is followed by the strongest passage on the full divine inspiration, authority, and sufficiency of the Scriptures to be found in the Bible. Regardless of circumstances, a Christian teacher must maintain sound doctrine, be both strong and gracious, be diligent in handling the Scriptures, and just â€œlive thereâ€ in the Word of God. HMM