Not long ago I heard one of my preacher brethren in his sermon to a nice audience, say, “I think” so many times in the course of his talk that it registered with me that he had formed the habit of saying, “I think” when his lips were working in advance of his mind.
When I was a lad I saw a circular issued by a merchant, headed, “Time is Money.” The world is living at such a fast pace today that I begin to think, “Time is money.” It is possible we pay now for more time than we do service.
Time was when a preacher was two hours in delivering his sermon; now he has his lesson so condensed, pared down to such small content that twenty minutes is about the limit. Possibly he has more to say, but his listeners are in a hurry to be off to some place of pleasure.
Surely the audience was assembled to worship, and to be instructed by the minister, and not to hear what he “thinks” about any matter of Divine revelation; and surely the audience is not interested in the minister’s “I think” about political or financial matters. The charge to the young preacher, found in the Bible is, “Preach the word”! He is to preach the gospel.
Preach the word, be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Tim. 4:1-4).
“Reprove, rebuke.” How? By preaching the “word,” not by reciting “I think.” Why should anyone be asking what you “think” about some Bible subject? Are not we all aware that what you or I may think about the subject will not settle the matter; for each of us may have a wrong view? Why not ask, What does the Bible say about that subject? Would not that be much more effective?
It piqued my pride, when I was younger, when asked some Bible question or about same statement in the Bible to have to say, “I do not know.” But I have learned to say, “I do not know.” Long ago I formed the resolution to so prepare myself that if someone asked me a question that I did not know how to answer to be very certain that the next time such a question was submitted, I would know the answer, if it were possible to be known.
When it comes to Divine matters, if Jehovah has revealed the answer, Gospel preachers should know the answer. Do not say, “I think.” There are too many people who today take what the preacher says as final on any question about Jehovah or about any matter of revelation.
“Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbor, and every one to his brother, What hath the Lord answered, and what hath the Lord spoken?” (Jer. 23:25).