SHOULD MINISTERS STUDY SCRIPTURE TO PREPARE FOR TEACHING?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Yes, indeed, ministers should study Scripture to prepare for teaching. However, opponents of this practice cite four Bible passages allegedly supporting an alternate view: they argue it is totally unnecessary to prepare for sermons, for “the Spirit will lead us” (?). We will examine and assess their position, especially those verses they use as their proof-texts.
Here they are:
- Matthew 10:17-20: “ But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;  And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.  But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”
- Luke 12:11-12: “ And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:  For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”
- Luke 21:12-15: “ But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.  And it shall turn to you for a testimony.  Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:  For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.”
- 1 John 2:20,27: “ But ye have an unction [“anointing,” verse 27] from the Holy One, and ye know all things….  But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
If these verses actually indicated preachers today need not prepare for their sermons by studying—for they supposedly “know all things” and “it has been given them what they shall speak”—then it would be equally true all the Christians in their congregations needed no man (those preachers!) to teach them either. The human teacher’s job would be totally unnecessary. Those who claim they need not be taught, for God has given them a “special word,” have placed themselves into a bind. The very verses that endorse their non-studying before services also support their congregation’s nonattendance to said services!
The above passages, of course, refer to God’s intervention during times of persecution—not just Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday evenings. When the members of the Little Flock (Luke 12:32), Israel’s believing remnant, are dragged in to participate in sham trials before unbelievers (Jew or Gentile rulers), the Lord Jesus Christ encourages His people. He will definitely take care of them, as the Holy Spirit will empower their hearts and minds to speak the truth. In Acts chapter 2, just as the Lord promised, He poured out the Holy Ghost on the Messianic Jews; when they were persecuted during the early Acts period, the indwelling Holy Spirit led them to preach God’s Word in the courtroom! Check Acts 4:1-22, Acts 5:27-32, Acts 6:5, and Acts 6:9–7:60. Similar events will precede Christ’s Second Coming, yet future from us.
Paul’s Pastoral Epistles—1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon—make no reference whatsoever to such phrases as “God will give you wisdom” and “think not what you shall say.” If there was a good opportunity to set the record straight, it would have been here in these Bible Books. Would not the Holy Spirit have told us such information in these four handbooks for founding and maintain local assemblies? Evidently, whatever Jesus was saying in Matthew chapter 10, Luke chapter 12, Luke chapter 21, and 1 John chapter 2; He was referring to something other than governing local churches and performing ministry duties in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God!
Anyone who claims to be preaching or teaching without any prior personal study will make it evident. The poor quality of their messages will be proof enough they have indeed come unprepared! We should come out and say it without any hesitation: such souls are lazy, and completely unfit for ministry. They are pitiful examples of Christian behavior, and will do more harm than good among God’s people. By expressing the fact they have not studied their Bible, they are freely confessing, “I do not love the Lord.” To value and esteem the Scriptures is to study and believe them; it is wholly impossible to love the Lord and not love His words. In light of eternity, it will have been far better had they kept their Bibles open in their study and their mouths shut in their pulpit!
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