Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15
For much of my pastoral ministry, I served churches with mostly volunteer co-laborers. This meant that I often found myself performing many different tasks necessary for the ongoing work of the local body. Of course, with my loyalties so divided, I was often tempted to neglect the depth of study necessary for good sermon preparation. Yet, of all the tasks that a pastor must be careful to prioritize, next to his personal time with the Lord, study of God’s Word is the greatest.
For the sake of “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry,” there can be no more important work for the pastor-teacher than correctly handling the Word of truth. While every shepherd of a local flock wants the church that he serves to be a friendly, caring example of the body of Christ, he also needs it to be biblically grounded. If a pastor neglects the study, he will soon find himself neglecting the church.
When Paul writes of a Christ-follower’s “spiritual service of worship” in Romans 12, he speaks of our lives being “living sacrifices” unto the Lord. For those who would dare serve as pastor-teachers, the “offering” is the unashamed presentation of a worker who is handling God’s Word of truth accurately. This is job #1.
The first and principal duty of a pastor is to feed the flock by diligent preaching of the word. – John Owen