2 Timothy 4:2 (NKJV)
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
What is Paul talking about? How does this affect the preaching?
What does Paul mean when he says "be ready whether it is convenient or not" or "Be ready in season and out of season" according to the translation in 2 Timothy 4:2?
Paul wrote his second and last epistle to Timothy about 64-65 A.D.while suffering as a chained prisoner in Rome , and perhaps became aware that his death was eminent, wrote this pastoral letter to Timothy , a congregation overseer or elder to equip him, to fulfill his ministry . Hence he wrote:
2 Timothy 4:2-5 (NASB)
"I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who
is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His
kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction."
3" For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for
themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will
turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5
But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an
evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
But where was Timothy to "preach the word ?" and what did it mean to him "in season and out of season" This should be read in context of the epistle, in which earlier (2 Tim.2:14-18, 23-25 read below) Paul warned Timothy that apostasy was evident and alluded to Hymenaeus and Philetus that have turned away from the truth and that apostasy: "will go from bad to worse."
2 Timothy 2:14-18, 23-25 (NRSV)
14" Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to
avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those
who are listening. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one
approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly
explaining the word of truth.
16" Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more
impiety, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are
Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth by claiming
that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the
faith of some."
23" But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they
produce quarrels. 24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome,
but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with
gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may
grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth."
Hence from the above to "preach the word " and "in season and out of season" referred to the teachings within congregation and not to outsiders.
It is apparent that Timothy had to put up with persons within the congregation, that wrangle about words, ask foolish and ignorant questions that led to quarrels within the congregation, and apostates like ,Hymenaeus and Philetus, who falsely preached that resurrection has already taken place and opposition within the congregation that tried to water down the truth.
Thus the presence of such people in the congregation would create an "out of season"