Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 17, 1949

Ready To Preach

Robert H. Farish, Summerville, Georgia

To the full extent of the combined faculties of his being ("as much as in me is"), Paul was "ready to preach the gospel" to those at Rome. (Rom. 1:15.) The word "ready" is not used here primarily in the sense of preparedness, but in the sense of eagerness. While that spirit of eagerness is the dominant thought, yet it will not be unprofitable for us to notice some of the things with reference to Paul's readiness from the standpoint of preparation.

Paul's Preparation

Paul was certainly ready to preach the gospel in the sense of being prepared to preach it. He was fully equipped for the task. "But even as we have been approved of God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God who proveth our hearts." (1 Thess. 2:4.) His stewardship was approved by God. The gospel which he preached came to him by revelation from Jesus Christ. "For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal 1:11-12.) Thus Paul affirms that the matter which he preached came from God.

The gospel was not taught Paul by some man or by some group of men. It was not a product of human wisdom. The source of his preparation to preach the gospel is clearly indicated in these words, "Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words." (I Cor. 2:13.) Paul's preparation in matter, and words to express the matter, was complete and divine in its origin. No safer course could be followed by the gospel preacher today than to rely fully on revelation both for matter and for manner of preaching.

The Scriptures furnish the man of God completely unto every good work. (2 Tim. 3:17.) There is no need to resort to the wisdom of the world to learn the best "method of approach," or the "most effective presentation." Jesus and his inspired preachers employed the most effective methods, and we can be sure that such has God's approval. Rather than dabble with courses in modern salesmanship, take a course under Peter, Paul, or Stephen on how to effectively preach the gospel. In passing, we remark that the expression, "selling the gospel" is another one of those things that we can do without. The expression is inappropriate. The gospel is not a thing to be merchandised; it is too great, too holy a thing to be cast before swine. Rather than "giving that which is holy unto dogs," we should be satisfied with "preaching the word." While the compromising and even dishonest tactics of modern salesmanship may meet, the approval of worldly wisdom, they only cheapen the gospel in the eyes of the world. Compromise and ballyhoo will only serve the devil's ends, creating suspicion of the gospel in the minds of people.

Paul's Eagerness

Paul was "ready" to preach the gospel from the standpoint of preparation, but in Rom. 1:15, that word is used in the sense of eagerness. Paul was ready (eager) to preach the gospel; for he was not ashamed of the gospel No eagerness to preach the gospel will be found in one who is ashamed of the gospel. Eagerness to preach the gospel is here set in contrast to shame of the gospel. There is never the disposition to feature that of which we are ashamed. Paul was eager to preach the gospel, because he was not ashamed of it.

Reluctance to preach the gospel can be traced to shame of the gospel Paul was not just eager to preach—he was eager to preach the gospel. The babel of voices that is raised today in preaching is not to be taken as evidence of eagerness to preach the gospel; rather it is just eagerness to preach. The preaching done often manifests a shame of the gospel. All modifications, alterations, substitutions, perversions, and such tamperings, manifest that the one preaching is ashamed of the true gospel If the preacher were not ashamed of the gospel, if he did not count it inadequate, he would not resort to the wisdom of the world for the material of his sermons, nor for the manner of their delivery.

Paul was fully assured that the gospel would not disappoint him; he was not ashamed of it. This assurance was based upon the fact that it was God's power. The gospel is not human power, but divine. It was divinely conceived, divinely executed, and divinely revealed. Paul gloried and trusted in it as the power of God.

This gospel is God's power to save; it is his instrument to that end or purpose. How can one who knows the holy purpose for which the gospel is designed be ashamed of it? Being designed to save man, the gospel is of such a character as to accomplish that very thing. To doubt the sufficiency of the instrument is to doubt the wisdom and power of the designer. To those who are perishing, it may seem weak, base, foolish, a thing to be despised and ashamed of; but unto us who are saved, it is the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Cor. 1:18-24.)

To ask or expect God to exercise additional power, some power separate and apart from the gospel, to save, is to manifest ignorance of the design and power of the gospel; or else it shows unbelief in and shame for that gospel.