I was visiting with someone recently and they asked me what I was going to preach on this weekend. I gave them the scripture reference and a Cliff Notes version of the sermon and they shared some of their thoughts on the passage. We had a good conversation and as we parted ways, they told me, “Preach a good word!” I laughed and replied, “Well, I’m sure going to try!”
Our conversation got me to thinking about what it really means to “preach a good word.” In 2 Corinthians 2:12 – 17, Paul is writing to the church about an opportunity he has to share the gospel. Paul is mindful of the eternal difference it can make in a person’s life, and as Paul contemplates the task of sharing the gospel, Paul says in verse 16, “Who is sufficient for these things?” And the answer to Paul’s rhetorical question is that none of us are sufficient for such things. None of us in our own power are able to “preach a good word” that makes an eternal life-saving difference. Paul goes on to remind the church in the upcoming verses, that any adequacy to share the gospel comes from God. I like the way Paul said it in his first letter to Corinthians.
1 Cor 2:1 And when I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come as someone superior in speaking ability or wisdom, as I proclaimed to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
“To preach a good word” is a great goal. But preaching a good word is not based on the effort or the eloquence of the preacher. It will only be a good word if it is God’s word.