Page 9 - November 2020 - Truth & Tidings
P. 9

We conclude, then, that Paul charged   Word to the congregation (the ekklēsia) is
        Timothy to preach to the gathered church.   not one of them.
        But did the Holy Spirit intend this charge   Now look again at 2 Corinthians 1:19.
        for the church today? Taken in context   Paul highlights the shared nature of this
        of the whole letter, the answer must be   preaching ministry by naming Silvanus
        yes. Paul was appointed a preacher and   and Timothy. Notice also his use of the
        teacher of the gospel (1:11), and is transfer-  first person plural throughout the letter,
        ring these responsibilities on to Timothy   and how he lists Timothy as co-sender
        (1:13-14; 4:2). Timothy, in turn, is to take   (1:1). Similar to 2 Timothy, Paul’s teaching
        what Paul taught him and entrust it to   on new-covenant ministry is applicable
        “faithful men, who will be able to teach   beyond his specific work as an apostle to
        others also” (2:1-2). Paul not only envi-  those who serve the church today.
        sions Timothy fulfilling his instruction to   “I appeal to you, brothers, bear with my
        preach the word in the gathered church,   word of exhortation, for I have written to
        but he envisions this ministry persisting   you briefly” (Heb 13:22).
        until the day of Christ’s return (1:12; 4:8).  The author calls his work a “word of ex-
          “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom   hortation.” He is writing to believers with
        we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and   Jewish background who were well aware
        Timothy and I” (2Co 1:19).            that the same term was used for sermons
          Again Paul uses the word kērussō in a   in the synagogue (Act 13:14-15). Hebrews
        congregational context. He proclaimed   also includes many oral features, such as
        Christ “among [them],” and the response   the language of speaking and hearing.
        was corporate – they uttered their “Amen   The author even exhibits that tendency of
        to God for his glory” (1:20). As Griffiths   all preachers to call their messages brief!
        says, “Paul’s description of the effect of   Thus the book of Hebrews is a sermon,
        [his] ministry and the response it evokes   written by a preacher, to be read in the
        in the people of God suggests a setting in   public gathering of the Lord’s people.
        congregational worship.” 3              And for the third time Scripture draws
          Then in chapter three Paul reflects on   lines to ministry in the church today. The
        the differences between new-covenant   God who spoke through prophets in OT
        ministry and old-covenant ministry. To   times and by Christ in the last days (Heb
        highlight these differences, he refers to   1:1-2) entrusted the ministry of preach-
        two modes of old-covenant ministry: in   ing to apostles (2:3), and beyond them to
        3:12-14 to Moses’ pattern of speaking to   leaders in the church who were to speak
        the people of Israel, and in 3:14-15 to the   the Word of God (13:7). Eventually, these
        reading and preaching of the law in the   leaders died, but the Lord raised up new
        temple and synagogues. In both cases,   ones (13:17). Reflect on the word “today”
        the ministry is public proclamation to the   in these two verses: “Jesus Christ is the
        gathered people of God (Exo 34:34; Act   same yesterday and today and forever ….
        15:21; 13:15), as is Paul’s ministry (2Co   Today, if you hear his voice” (13:8; 4:7).
        4:1-2,5). While there are many differences   Preaching in church is not an unbiblical
        between ministry in the old covenant   pagan innovation but a life-transforming
        and ministry in the new, preaching God’s   practice rooted in Judaism, Scripture, and
        ³ Griffiths, loc. 1218.               in the Son of God Himself.

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