Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (ESV)Some like the verse because they especially like to "reprove and rebuke!" But why it has grown on me is the last bit Paul writes there: "with complete patience and teaching." The NIV translates that "with great patience and careful instruction." The Greek phrase is e˙n pa¿shØ makroqumi÷aˆ kai« didachØv.
It seems to me that the Greek preposition and adjective [e˙n pa¿sh] cover both nouns [makroqumi÷aˆ kai« didach] so that the meaning is "with all patience and with all teaching." Or if I may paraphrase that thought: teaching takes time and patience.
I should know that because it was true for me. When I went to the seminary, I was immersed in the study of theology and the Scriptures, everyday. Yet it took until about midway through my fourth year for the light to go on in my head and for me to finally get it; to finally get the big picture of God's graciousness and the Divine Service and the theology of the cross. But once it did, what joy! And if I'm that thick and need that much time, why should I expect others to get it quicker? Or the first time I say it?
Patience. Endurance. Steadfastness. Forbearance. That's the pastoral ministry. That's a pastor feeding the flock. Paul knew it, taught it to Timothy, and now is teaching it to us.