GUIDE LINES FOR MINISTRY OF WORD IN THE CHURCH
(BIBLE TEXTS: 1 Timothy 3:15-16; 1 Timothy 4:12-16 and 2 Timothy 3:14-17)
Word of God must be preached as lead by the Holy Spirit (Luke 12:12). The guidelines given are for suggestions to attain the expected goals (such as those mentioned in Ephesians 4:12-13) only but are not complete.
The Word of God (the Scriptures, the Holy Bible) is the foundation for the Church (believers) according to Ephesians 2:20-21). As we know, the Word of God builds the Church (Acts 20:32) as well as protects it (Ephesians 4:14). Moreover, the Church is the pillar of timeless Truth (1 Timothy 3:15).Therefore, the Word of God must be ministered as a SOUND DOCTRINE (Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1). Spiritual health of the church is directly related to the sincere Word (1 Peter 2:2) that is ministered to it.
RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD – While ministering the Word of God, first of all, we are to bring the relevant (as lead by the Holy Spirit) portion or portions of the Scriptures to believers according to the needs of the church. Secondly, we interpret or rightly divide (2 Timothy 2:15) the Word (this is where many people make mistakes!).
Need of the church: For bringing the relevant portions of the Word to the church and for interpreting those portions of the Word of God, WE NEED THE HELP OF HOLY SPIRIT. We need to spend SUFFICIENT TIME IN PRAYER to obtain the help from the God of the Holy Spirit.
Interpretation (Rightly Dividing) the Word: Sadly, many are failing to divide (interpret) the Word of God rightly and dilute the standards (truths) of the Holy Bible. So, let us consider the “Rightly dividing of the Word of God” as the highest priority for us as church to maintain the purity of the Word of God. We, as a church must protect ourselves from wrong teachings (read below).
We all, as a team should uphold one another in prayer for the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit. The church should stand with those who are ministering the Word. Finally, the glory should be given to the Lord only.
TEACHINGS/ DOCTRINES – All those who are ministering the Word in the church must thoroughly understand the fundamental principles (doctrines) in the Scriptures. All of us must be likeminded in the doctrines (in case of any uncertainty or misperception, all must come together to have one understanding).
All of us must conform to the WHOLESOME WORD OF GOD (entirety of the Holy Bible). We should avoid teaching based on one single verse or word, specially using it out of context, from the Bible but follow the principle laid in Isaiah 28: 10, 13.
The fundamental principles (doctrines) are: GOD (GODHEAD triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit), SCRIPTURES (Infallibility and authority of Scriptures), SALVATION (Sin (fall), Man’s nature, death, burial, resurrection of Christ, repentance, forgiveness, justification, sanctification and glorification), OVERCOMING (witnessing) LIFE of a believer, CHURCH (order and life of a church, Family, raising up children), SECOND COMING OF CHRIST and so on.
Note: It is advisable to follow one version of the Bible for reading and ministering in the church (e.g. King James Version in English). But for personal meditation, we may use other translations or languages. A good study bible – Thomas Nelson, Scofield or Thomson Chain Reference Bible; Commentaries by Matthew Henry, Warren Wiersbe etc.; Concordances by Strong, Cruden’s may be consulted. We must be extra careful while referring to the material on the internet.
HOW TO MINISTER THE WORD OF GOD –
The four principles found in 1 Timothy 4:12-16 are worth considering to understand how to minister the Word of God in the church or in meetings:
- LET NO MAN DESPISE THEE … BE THOU EXAMPLE – While ministering the Word we are ministering life. We need to have a life that matches our preaching or teaching (there may be a learning curve in this regard). The Word should take effect in us first before telling to others so as to peach with i) conviction and to expect ii) effectual work in the life of hearers. (We as a church must supply prayer support to the ministers of the Word).
We need to give highest respect to the pulpit as we represent the Lord! We need to be a sanctified vessel (2 Timothy 2:22), humble (inwardly and outwardly) but well-founded.
- GIVE ATTENDANCE TO READING – We should read the Word upon our knees to hear from the Lord (to obtain the message from the Lord). Especially in these days, we need to know the Holy Bible meticulously and familiarize with it as much as possible. We should not try to tell or preach any matter that we do not know – do not pretend (or be fictitious).
- MEDITATE … GIVE WHOLLY – We must do (give) our best to the Lord. Meditate of the Word personally before meditating it with others. Of course, while meditating with others, we will have revelation of more truths! We should love the Word of God, as many men and woman of God (in the Bible) esteemed it in their lives. The progress that we make in both presentation and in following what we preach must be visible.
- TAKE HEED TO THYSELF AND TO THY DOCTRINE – Every one of us, wonderfully, given a message (testimony). We must be obedient to the Lord to that vision. We need to take a stand and continue in that. Many people change their standing mainly to please the hearers.
We must speak the TRUTH with LOVE (Ephesians 4: 1).
Few words of encouragement: We usually go through many emotional feelings while ministering the Word – May the loving Lord help in that area and that we may be led by the Lord all the time. Be prepared for criticism and opposition! Devil does not like those who stand for the Lord, He hinders the work of the Word. The Devil will try to discourage you! The whole church is (or must be) behind in you with prayers!
Be faithful, your reward is from the Lord! We will definitely be benefited through the ministry
(Isaiah 55: 10).