Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Tim. 4:11-16).
According to Lee Gatiss, this passage says a lot about preachers and preaching:
- Your speaking can be a command which believers should follow, not just an abstract explanation.
- Your speaking sets an example to others about how to speak about God. Make sure you aren’t flippant or casual about it.
- Your speaking must be backed up by your godliness. Your conduct and purity should eloquently back up your words.
- Your speaking should be based on publicly-read Scripture. But is the reading just your jumping-off point, to a different message you think is more important?
- Be devoted to the task of speaking. It requires dedication.
- You must exhort people. Move them, don’t just teach them!
- You must teach people. Teach them, don’t just move them!
- Your speaking is part of your gift and office…
- You need to work hard at improving your speaking. Don’t wing it, or coast just because you can. Get better.
- You need to keep a careful eye on what you’re speaking about. Satan certainly will. He’d love to steer you off-course.
- People, including you, are saved through your speaking. Be a source of salvation, not a source of scandal…
- You must keep speaking. Do not let your gift lie idle, while you focus on some other aspect of being a minister…
- The authority of your preaching is not in your age (or your accent, or your education), but in the Scriptures…
- In the context of 1 Timothy 4, Paul warns Timothy about deceitful spirits and false teaching, telling him to ‘put these things before the brothers’. So your speaking must refute and expose error. You can’t just be positive and cheery, while wolves are growling at the door. Gangrenous lies are eating away at the hearts you need to heal.
(Evangelical Quarterly, March 2020, emphasis added)