The Church in Ruins (Brief Thoughts on II Timothy), Part 45

Do the Work of an Evangelist

But watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of your ministry (II Timothy 4:5).

Evangelism was one of the ascension gifts. The purpose of these special ascension gifts was “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12) – all in lieu of the fact that they did not yet have the full, complete revelation of God in written form.

Now, as Paul writes his final epistle, all these things – “the perfecting of the saints,” “the work of the ministry” and “the edifying of the body of Christ” – take place by the application of the full (i.e., complete), written Word of God, finished by the hand of Paul. No “gifts” are now needed. There are no divine/supernatural gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher today.

Someone may carry out certain aspects of these – such as evangelist or teacher – but they do so not by theses special gifts, but by dedication to the written Word of God. If a man will teach, for example, he must labor in the study of the Word – learning, adjusting, growing – so that he may teach others. It is not a “gift” in any sense of the ascension gifts.

This is why Paul told Timothy,

But watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of your ministry (II Timothy 4:5).

Paul does not tell Timothy that he has the “gift” of “evangelist.” Nor does he say that he is “an evangelist.” He only tells him to do an evangelist’s work – “do the work of an evangelist.” He could now do so – without the divine “gifts” of the ascension – because he had in his possession the full, complete Scripture which was able to enable him to “do the work of an evangelist” thus making “full proof” of his ministry.

“Gifts” were no longer needed. The Scriptures themselves – now full and complete – were “profitable” for “doctrine [i.e., teaching],” etc. … “that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Notice again the results: “that the man of God may be …” – what? – “perfect, thoroughly furnished.” That’s what the full, complete Scriptures can do! For what purpose? “Unto all good works.” This is why Paul tells Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist.”

(to be continued)

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2001, 2009 Bible Student’s Press

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