Correct, Rebuke and Encourage (2 Timothy – 16)


READ: 2 Timothy 4:1-2

Paul gave Timothy his great final command to “Preach the Word.”  He told him to be ready to use any and every opportunity to speak for Jesus as His ambassador, using His words in the Bible.  He must be alert for opportunities to teach in everyday life, like parents are with children.  There are three other commands Paul gave him that also relate to his command to “Preach the Word.”

          “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).  Not only is Timothy, but we are to teach truth, we are to correct error.  Paul has already said this several times because it is so necessary and important.  We are to teach truth where it isn’t known or followed.  We are also to correct false beliefs whenever and wherever we find them.  It takes a good, thorough knowledge of Scripture to find and correct error, for often it is hidden inside of truth and carefully concealed.  When a person wants to counterfeit something, they make it as much like the original as possible, but it still is fake.  That is true of false teachings and teachers as well.  We must correct others with gentleness and love.  We must correct others as we would like to be corrected (the Golden Rule).  Those who can distinguish counterfeits can do so because they know the original so well, they can spot any deviation.  That’s how complete our knowledge of Scripture must be as well.

Unfortunately, not everyone will respond to correction.  Many will insist on holding to the lies they believe and the sin that results in their lives.  In that case our preaching takes the form of rebuking them – pointing out their rebellion and disobedience.  They must be warned so they know they are wrong, and others must be alerted to their sin so they don’t follow in it.

The Greek word that is translated “rebuke” is a very strong word that refers to a sharp, severe reprimand.  It must be done in love, as a parent correcting a child who is doing something wrong and dangerous.  But it must also be done with seriousness and no compromise, just like a parent.  It’s like seeing someone’s house on fire, but they are inside and don’t know it.  You will rush to inform them so they can flee to safety.  That’s what it means to “rebuke” with the Word.

Finally, “preach the Word” also includes encouraging our listeners.  We are to correct and rebuke, but also do all we can to build up and encourage, not discourage.  A good parent is always looking for times and ways to build up their children.  They don’t just look for errors to correct.  Positive encouragement goes a lot further to helping improve a person then negative criticism.

Everyone needs encouragement to continue in faithfulness.  Sharing God’s promises are the best way of comforting and reassuring others.  We must know and use God’s promises so we can share them with others.

PAUL’S ADVICE: Preaching God’s Word includes correcting error, rebuking those who won’t accept God’s truth and encouraging those we speak to.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Who encourages you?  Have you thanked them?

Who do you know who could use some encouragement?  What can you do today to encourage them?


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