Readily. Pastor Timothy is to preach the Word in the spirit of readiness. He is to “be instant” (v. 2; KJV), “be ready” (ESV, NKJV, NASB, TCNT), or “be prepared” (NIV). The word, “instant,” or, “ready” (Gk. ephistethi), means “to be at hand (instant), present, stand (before, by, over)”225 or “to be ready nearby.”226 It conveys to “‘take a stand,’ ‘stand upon it or up to it,’ ‘carry on,’ ‘stick to it.’”227 The preacher is to be ready, to stand by to preach the Word. Like a guard on duty, he is “always to be at his post,” embracing every chance of proclaiming the gospel.228
The tense is aorist imperative. This signifies definite, urgent, and immediate action. Hence, he is to on guard to preach the Word immediately, with a sense of urgency.229
Yet how can one be ready to preach the Word when he is unarmed with the Word? The speaker of the Word must have a disciplined, diligent, dependent, and daily diet of the Word. He must discipline himself. He must order his life in order to give priority time to the study of the Word. He cannot allow other things to rob him of time with God and His Word.
He must be diligent. The great theologian-pastor of the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards, once said, “Let it be very much your business to search for it [God’s Word], and that with the same diligence and labor with which men are wont to dig in mines of silver and gold.”230 God approves the diligent study of the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).
In addition, the speaker of God must be dependent on the Holy Spirit in prayer. Rather than depend on the insights of the exegetes, he is to rely on the wisdom of the Spirit.
The preacher must have a daily diet of the Word. Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16). Bible teachers are to nourish their souls first with the Word, before they can nourish others (Matt. 4:4). The measure you give is the measure you receive. You cannot give out what you do not take in.
Give me a preacher who does not take time to study God’s Word. Sadly, I will then show you one who has forgotten his high calling. He has lost track of his priorities. He is himself spiritually malnourished. He leads a congregation of spiritually impoverished people.
When your people do not know God’s truth, they become susceptible to false teachings. Yet, heresy is never harmless. If the preacher does not proclaim the truth, heresy will destroy his people’s faith (Acts 20:29-31; 2 Tim. 2:14-19).231
When should he be ready to preach the Word? Paul says, “Be instant in season, out of season” (v. 2). The adverb, “in season” (Gk. eukairos), means, “well-timed, i.e. opportune, convenient, in time of need.”232 It denotes “what is ‘propitious,’ the ‘favorable’ or ‘right’ time (cf. Ps. 104:27).”233 The second adverb, “out of season” (Gk. akairos), means, “lack of the right opportunity or occasion234 or “untimely.”235 G. Delling wrote, “the point of eukairos akairos is ‘whether convenient or not.’”236
Thus, young Timothy is to be ready always to preach the Word—whether during a convenient opportunity or the lack of it, in an inconvenient, improper occasion. He is to be ready to preach the Word “at all seasons”237 or “whenever he can find an opportunity.”238 He is to do it “when it is popular and/or convenient, and when it is not; when it seems suitable to do so, and when it seems not.”239 He is not to wait for the right time. Rather, he is to be ready to preach the Word even when it is not the right time, so long as there is a time to do it.
218 Greek and Hebrew lexicons, Bible versions, Bible dictionaries, Greek grammar tutorials, and Commentaries are now available free in the internet.
219 Gunn, “Sola Scriptura.” Cited__ Online: http://www.grovergunn.net/andrew/2ti0301.pdf.
220 Isidro, Annotated, 389.
221 Stott, 2 Timothy, 106.
222 James Burton Coffman, “Commentary on 2 Timothy 4,” Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament. Cited__ Online: http://www. studylight.org/com/bcc/view.cgi?book=2ti&chapter=004.
223 Guzik, “2 Timothy 4,” David Guzik’s Commentaries. Cited__ Online: http://www. studylight.org/com/guz/view.cgi?book=2ti&chapter=004.
224 PNTC in Power Bible CD.
225 Strong, Strong’s Greek Dictionary in Power Bible CD.
226 Isidro, Annotated, 389.
227 Robertson, Robertson’s Word Pictures in Power Bible CD.
228 Barnes, Barnes’ Commentary in Power Bible CD.
229 Hill, The Discovery Bible, xvi-xvii.
230 “Bibliology: the Doctrine of the Written Word.” Cited __ Online: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/topic/bible.html.
231 Tucker, “2 Timothy.” Cited __ Online: http://www.Perspective.org.au/sermonseries/146/2-timothy—guard-the-gospel.
232 Strong, Strong’s Greek Dictionary in Power Bible CD.
233 TDNT, s. v. “akairos, akaireo, eukairos, eukairia” by G. Delling.
234 Strong, Strong’s Greek Dictionary in Power Bible CD.
235 TDNT, s. v. “akairos, akaireo, eukairos, eukairia” by G. Delling.
236 TDNT, s. v. “akairos, akaireo, eukairos, eukairia” by G. Delling.
237 Jamieson, Fausset, Brown, JFBC in Power Bible CD.
238 Barnes, Barnes’ Commentary in Power Bible CD.
239 MacArthur, MacArthur, 1880.