Publicly Preaching the Pastoral Epistles for Congregational Edification and Enrichment

The Pastoral Epistles have been neglected in public preaching and congregational worship throughout the modern era. Even with a renewed emphasis on expository preaching, the pastorals are often seen as a much-needed part of the educational journey for clergy but not as a resource for congregational nourishment. The intention of this paper is to demonstrate that, like the other New Testament epistles, the pastorals were always intended to be used for congregational edification and enrichment. While focused study of the pastorals is vital for anyone engaged in occupational ministry, such inclusion is also necessary for any local church wishing to develop a correct biblical morality. Paul’s knowledge, both divinely given and experientially known, was passed down to Timothy and Titus with the expectation that they would use the knowledge found within these letters to train new church leaders (Titus 1:5) and guide local congregations (1 Timothy 2:8-15). This will be demonstrated using a three-step paradigm. First, that the pastorals deliver, with specific instruction, principles of corporate ministry that has been presented to followers of God in all of Scripture. This specific instruction is necessary for equipping the church to do the work of the ministry and to build the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). Secondly, that there are aspects of corporate worship, governance, and morality that are only mentioned within these epistles. Church governance is often the focus of any preaching form the pastorals, in “Preaching the New Testament,” Ian Paul and David Wenham discuss how certain aspects of Christian belief, Christian living, and congregational life are mentioned only in the pastorals. Neglecting the public preaching of these three letters has led to confusion and ignorance in the 21st century church on matters of morality, not just polity. Thirdly, that failure to preach the pastorals in their entirety has led to unnecessary conflict within denominational life and all of Christendom. Only with a clear understanding of Paul’s intention that these letters be taught corporately within the local church can pastors fulfill their responsibility to teach the full council of God (Acts 20:27) and the church fulfill its calling to be the ordained institution that Christ intended it to be.

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