As we read this last epistle from Paul, we are privileged to sit in on private conversations between a mentor and his protégé.
The goal of a disciplining ministry is to equip disciples with the knowledge and application of the teachings in Scripture.
Timothy believed: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16–-17).
We must learn its contents, doctrines, wisdom, and commands to apply to our own lives, then we can help others do the same. In 2 Timothy 4:1, Paul is “continually charging” (present tense), or “earnestly exhorting,” on the basis of the coming of Jesus Christ. In the meantime, the “man of God” (3:18) is given five commands to obey.
First, he must “urgently decide to preach the message,” or “announce it publically.” Believers must be bold and passionate about the “message.”
Second, he must “urgently decide to be ready whether it is convenient or not” (i.e., “be on duty all the time”). We are to share the word of God everywhere all the time. Was this a weakness of Timothy as suggested in 1:6–-8?
Third, he must “urgently decide to reprove,” or “correct,” especially in public (1 Tim 5:20), those who persist in rebellion. A requirement of a pastor is to correct those living contrary to the word (Titus 1:9, 13) with authority (2:15).
Fourth, he must “urgently decide to rebuke, meaning to “express strong disapproval of someone as a type of punishment.”
Fifth, he must “urgently decide to exhort” (i.e., “to cause someone to be encouraged or consoled,” or “to beseech with a strong force”). This was to balance his ministry: “You know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring” (1 Thes 2:11–12). Political correctness quenches against any effective ministry.
“Lord Jesus, I want to do my part to communicate the ‘whole counsel’ of God. I know it will include some ‘tough love,’ and I want to be ready to give it by Your wisdom and power. It is not easy for me to be so confrontational. Deepen my conviction for truth.”