“for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle–I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying–a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth” (1 Timothy 2:7).
As a protégée of Paul the Apostle, Timothy was undoubtedly aware that Paul had been called to serve as a preacher, apostle, and teacher. So why would Paul feel the need to assure Timothy that he was telling the truth about these things?
Well, as mentioned in an earlier study, the most likely answer is that 1 Timothy 2:7 was not written for Timothy’s benefit but for the benefit of others who would read this letter. By stating that he was “speaking the truth in Christ and not lying,” Paul affirmed his calling and authority to instruct others, especially regarding the controversial areas he will go on to discuss later in this chapter.
This passage also reminds us that no legitimate spiritual leader is self-appointed to a leadership position. The call to leadership (in any capacity) comes from one source: “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11 NLT).
In this instance, Paul held three God-ordained positions as a preacher, apostle, and teacher. In general, a “preacher” is someone who exhorts others to pursue a life that honors God. For those who do not have a relationship with God in Christ, that call to action involves an exhortation to place their faith in Jesus. For those who have accepted Christ as Savior, it involves an exhortation to live out the teachings of the Scriptures.
Paul next referenced his apostolic calling. An apostle is a “commissioned representative,” much like an emissary who represents a person or nation. In his capacity as a Biblical apostle, Paul served as an ambassador of Christ who met Jesus following His resurrection and was appointed by Christ to represent Him (Acts 9:1-19, 1 Corinthians 9:1) .
Finally, Paul held the office of a teacher. “Teaching” involves the act of communicating the Word of God in a way that others can understand, remember, and apply. A good teacher is not only someone who imparts knowledge; instead, he or she will look for ways to make that knowledge “stick” in the minds of his or her listeners.
One hallmark of a good teacher involves the use of illustrations and anecdotes that help others grow in their understanding of the Scriptures. For instance, Jesus’ parables helped make complex spiritual truths more accessible to various audiences. This may also explain why Paul often made use of these rhetorical tools to illustrate his messages.