Consistency in Ministry

“Follow the pattern of sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (v. 13).

- 2 Timothy 1:13–14

Our study of 2 Timothy has come to an end, and we pray that you have learned much about the Lord’s calling of His people to ministry and the importance of Scripture in our service to Christ and His church. Above all we hope that you will always seek the reproof, correction, and training in righteousness that is given to us by the Holy Spirit as He speaks through the inspired Word (2 Tim. 3:16–17).

Consistency in ministry is a theme that Paul returns to again and again in his second epistle to Timothy. Seeing that his death was at hand (4:6–8), the apostle writes to his friend and partner in ministry to encourage him to carry on the work of the kingdom after the apostle’s death. Paul knows that Timothy’s godly upbringing and faith in Jesus will sustain him in the suffering that faithful service to God and His church will entail. Therefore, he reminds Timothy of the gifts given to him for ministry and orders him never to neglect his calling (1:1–12), which is to remain in and teach the pattern of sound instruction Timothy received from the apostle himself (vv. 13–18).

Since Christians cannot survive in ministry severed from others, Paul also calls Timothy to entrust the gospel to faithful men who are willing to share in suffering for Jesus’ name with him (2:1–7). In so doing, Paul calls Timothy and other Christian leaders to correct error and be useful vessels in God’s house based on the right handling of His infallible and inerrant Word, which tells us about Jesus, with whom we will reign if we persevere until the end (vv. 8–26).

Even with friends at his side, this task will not be easy, for many listeners will not heed the sound doctrine Timothy provides but will be led astray by false teachers (3:1–9). Yet like Paul, Timothy can trust the Lord to preserve him as he continues to seek training and correction from Scripture (vv. 10–17). If Timothy is true to his calling as preacher and keeps the faith, he too will experience the assurance that God will rescue him unto eternal life in a new creation (chap. 4).

Consistent service and fidelity to biblical teaching will also increase our assurance that we are Christ’s. May we fulfill our ministry by God’s grace.

Coram Deo

Faithful service and mere knowledge of doctrine does not get us into heaven, but they do help assure us that our faith is real. Take some time to look back over 2 Timothy and reflect on what this epistle has to say about your calling and your need to remain faithful and consistent. Ask the Lord to supply you with the power and motivation to engage in ministry each day and look to Scripture to define how all ministry is to be conducted.

Passages for Further Study

Proverbs 28:20
Luke 16:10
2 Timothy 1:7; 2:24–26; 3:10–11; 4:1–2, 5

First published in Tabletalk Magazine, an outreach of Ligonier. For permissions, view our Copyright Policy.