The Whole Word of God :: By Lynda A. Janzen

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NIV)

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

Dear Reader:

Have you noticed that the world around you seems to be coming apart at the seams? Wars, famines, earthquakes, pandemics, and pestilences are all on the rise. The News talks about economic disaster coming. The cost of food is soaring, both locally and internationally. If you are concerned about all these things coming on the earth, you would do yourself the greatest favor in the world by grabbing a Bible and reading it, cover to cover.

God’s Word is the only way to make sense of what is fast becoming a senseless world. Jesus Christ said all these things would happen in the last days and that we needn’t worry about any of it because those who believe in Him and His Work of Redemption for Humankind will be saved out of the seven years of Tribulation that will come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth (Rev. 3).

I urge you to find a Pastor who loves the LORD with all his heart and who teaches the whole Bible. As you will read below, it is imperative that you hear the Whole Word of God. It will be the best decision you ever made. Oh, and please, do it soon! Time is running out.


Our lovely little black cat, Saffy, joins me each morning for devotions. During the time I am reading Scripture (aloud), she will come and sit by my left hand, offering her head and ears to be tickled and scratched. Now, it’s interesting that she doesn’t do this while I am singing hymns, or when I am praying. It only happens when I am reading the Bible.

It seems to me, in light of the verses from 2 Timothy 4, that my cat Saffy has greater discernment about putting up with sound doctrine than many people sitting in churches today.

Recently, I began to attend a church in a different denomination from the one I previously attended for 25 years. This choice has astonished many of my colleagues and friends in Christ, for the denomination is one of the traditional sects. The particular church, however, both congregation and structure, manifests a holiness and a reverence for Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which I haven’t experienced in many years. The Gospel is preached. The doctrine is sound, and, at the early morning service that I attend, there is no teaching of mythology, nor is there celebration of sin of any stripe.

As I read through Apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy, I am reminded of the number of false teachers in our churches today. In Chapter 2:19, Paul writes: “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription – ‘The LORD knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Everyone who confesses the name of the LORD must turn away from wickedness.'”

There is much ink being spilled today in denominations and other Christian associations, trying to figure out why church attendance is diminishing. There are as many theories as there are people working on this problem. But the answer is not complex, nor is it a hidden secret. Paul tells his protégé Timothy that “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give this charge: ‘Preach the Word…'”

PREACH THE WORD! What a revolutionary idea. (sarcasm)

The epistles of Paul are filled with prophecy of the ‘end times.’ He saw very clearly how things would be in the last days. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, the apostle writes: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

Does this passage not sum up what is evident in our churches today? Especially that last bit. That there is a “form” of godliness in most congregations is not questioned by the apostle. What is questioned is how the power of God is being denied. And what is the Power of God? 1 Corinthians 1:18 – “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”

The Gospel is the power of God? YES!!

Walking into a typical modern church sanctuary today is so like walking into a concert auditorium. The first thing the eye sees is technology on a stage, and instruments and music stands. We ask, “Where is the cross?” They say, “Oh, don’t worry, there will be one projected when the powerpoint begins. ”

Attending church now is very much like going to the theatre, and chances are you will see a ‘performance.’ You walk in, see people you know, wave, and shout ‘hello’ across the room. Someone is telling a group of friends a joke, which leads to uproarious laughter. Others are on their phones, making important last-minute calls or checking their email. Of course, email checking goes on through the service, too. It all begs the question: So where is the reverence for God in His house? “Oh,” they say, “that’s old fashioned.” We love God. Just wait until the music begins. You’ll see.” However, what often follows is a long song consisting of about four notes and eight words repeated over and over again. ‘At’s not a hymn!’ (I say in my best Crocodile Dundee accent.)

It may be that I am getting to be an old fuddy-duddy, but, personally, I love the old, old hymns and actually have loved them since I was a child. They were based on Scripture and invariably told the story of Jesus and His Salvation/ Redemption of those of us who love Him. And the verses were composed in perfect Iambic pentameter or other familiar poetic cadence, all set to a melodious piece of music. Hearing a skilled choir singing (for example) “Wonderful Grace of Jesus” brings holy shivers every time. Holiness. Reverence. Yes, the Fear of the LORD. These things are missing from so many churches simply because it’s not what ‘itching ears’ want to hear anymore.

Pastors in today’s churches seem to be categorized into two camps: 1.) those who genuinely love the flock God has called them to minister to and who preach the whole Bible, even the parts some folks find uncomfortable, and 2.) those who love to perform on stage and receive idolization from their flock, who preach social justice, tainted with woke-ism, e.g. God is love, full stop; sin is a thing of the past; there is no such place as hell, etc. From my own limited observation, I perceive the former camp is diminishing, as moderns demand more programs, more technology, less formal doctrinal teaching, and certainly no mention of sin, hell, and redemption. They say, “There’s no such thing as sin, so why do we need a Saviour to redeem us from what doesn’t exist?”

The truth is self-evident in Romans 3:9-10 “… We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. There is no one righteous, not even one.”

According to God’s own words, there is indeed sin in the world. We do need a Saviour, and that Saviour is Jesus Messiah, who atoned for our sin by shedding His own innocent blood. He died and rose again so that, by faith in Him, we may live with Him forever. That’s the Gospel — The Word.

Apostle Paul told Timothy, “PREACH THE WORD.” Let’s take a closer look at the rest of this thought. He wrote: ‘… be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”

Now, we have to realize that in that day, followers of Christ had only the Jewish Bible from which to preach. The Gospel – the words of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross – was relayed by word of mouth at first until the four Gospels and the epistles were written down. There was no formally bound ‘New Testament’ in the first century. Preachers in the first century were basically rabbis (teachers of the Word). First-century Christians knew the whole history of God’s Plan of Salvation, from Genesis to Malachi, plus the Gospel. Since many first-century Christians were Jews, they grew up knowing the Torah, the Wisdom, the Prophets, or what we call the Old Testament.

Modern preachers who advocate discarding the Old Testament as out of touch with present-day realities are in great danger of being false prophets. Without a knowledge of the whole Bible, our understanding of God’s redemptive plan for humankind is greatly compromised.

Teaching the New Testament solely also leads to errors such as supersessionism, in which the Church supersedes the Jewish people in God’s promises. It is more fodder for ‘itching ears,’ and way too many ‘Christians’ now believe this mythological heresy.

What does it mean to preach the Word in season and out of season?

For most of my life (77 years), it was ‘in season’ to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, at least in the Western world. There was no great opposition from the public at large, mostly because Canada, the U.K. and Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. were considered to be Christian nations. We were founded on principles and values of the Bible. Most, during the bulk of my lifetime, believed in Almighty God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – and in His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.

But it all began to change when, as nations, we started to cut God out of the fabric of our national identity. Christian prayers were no longer tolerated in public places. The Laws of the Land began to reflect a relaxing of national moral values and acceptance of behaviors long considered un-God-like. And the churches were eerily silent while evil was being let in the back door, so to speak.

Slowly, things began to change in pulpits, as well. Some preachers became reluctant to teach the whole Bible lest it offend and alienate some in the congregation. Today, such Scriptures as Romans 1 and the entire Book of Revelation are ignored as ‘hard teaching’ by too many pastors.

Now, in this season of postmodernism, “woke-ism,” and sadly, post-Christian-ism, God’s unadulterated Word needs to be preached more than ever before. PREACH THE WORD, Pastors. Born-again believers are actually hungry and thirsty, wanting to be fed real meat, not just milk. Preach the Word when convenient and safe to do so. That’s preaching in season. But also preach the Word when it is not convenient or safe, when being a Christ Follower is out of season with the rest of the world – like now.

Use God’s Word to correct, rebuke and encourage, and do it with great patience and careful instruction. The Bible has a remedy for any and all situations, and the greatest of these is love. If you see a fellow Christian going “off the rails,” gently remind him/her that God’s compassion, forgiveness, and amazing love are more powerful than whatever the devil is throwing around.

The following verse is a perfect example of what Apostle Paul means about using God’s Word to correct, rebuke and encourage. This one verse covers all three. Lamentations 3:22-24 – “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore, I will wait for Him.”

Do not imagine that we are consumed. We’re not, and because of God’s great love for us, we are able to persevere. Paul writes: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Paul said the time would come when people would not sit still in their seats to hear sound doctrine. Instead, they would gather preachers and teachers around them to tell them what their itching ears want to hear. That time HAS COME.

One of the reasons that some people insist they are born-again Christians but who have no interest in turning from un-Godly lifestyles is because somewhere they found a “Christian” pastor who was willing to skip the ‘hard’ parts of Scripture and preach a different Gospel than the Bible teaches. In Galatians 1:8, Paul writes: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!”

Maybe “All Dogs Go to Heaven,” but all human beings do not. Nevertheless, too many pastors have succumbed to the worldview rather than holding fast to the Biblical view. “Oh, you read the Bible in a public place… you’ll hurt someone’s feelings.” It’s a rallying cry in today’s world. So, do we appease men, or do we choose to please God – to do all we can to point people to Jesus’ free gift of life?

The LORD God has given the followers of Jesus Christ a mission – to take the Gospel message to every nation on earth. Why did Jesus commission us to do that? The answer: The Father doesn’t want anyone to perish but for all to spend eternity with Him in heaven. The Creator wants a relationship with His creatures, but we all fall short of the perfection needed for that relationship. So God the Father sent God the Son to Earth to atone for, pay for, the sin of the whole world for all time. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

So are your ears itching, or are they wide open to hearing the Good News that Jesus is LORD and Saviour of the world? Not only that, but here’s something to really tickle those ears – He’s coming back to the earth again, someday very soon.

Get right with God, dear ones. Our time is really short. Find a Bible-believing church pastored by someone who isn’t reluctant to preach and teach the whole Bible. God bless and keep you. AMEN.

Lynda A. Janzen