When we contemplate stewardship, our minds turn to effectively utilizing the money God has given us. Yet, the word simply refers to one who properly handles what has been entrusted to him. We want to briefly examine one item entrusted to us that must be carefully guarded and protected at all costs.
Paul wrote, “And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 3:23-4:1, NKJV). The mysteries refer to the truths found in God’s Word. “These truths of the cross have been entrusted to Christian workers to be carefully used and guarded.”/1
In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana is looking for the chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper. He locates the place where it is being kept and finds a knight there to guard the treasured relic. That scene has stuck with me in the intervening years. It represents what Paul meant by “stewards of the mysteries of God.” The knight was to fight to the death to preserve that which had been entrusted to him.
The steward of 1 Corinthians 4:1 refers to one who was “a dispensing steward, a household administrator, one who dispenses the household supply to its members.”/2 Here, we find one who to whom “the counsels of God have been committed to be made known to men.”/3 “The steward has control of the hidden treasures of his master, which would lie dead and unprofitable if he did not dispense them.”/4
Philip asked the Ethiopian Eunuch, “‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘how can I unless someone guides me?'” (Acts 8:30-31). Paul wrote, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). And this will be accomplished by preaching (Romans 10:13-16).
The imagery of the steward in this context presents a challenging portrait of the proclaimers of God’s Word. The words of Paul echo in our ears. “But, even if we, or an angel from heaven, preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).
We have been solemnly given the task to “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season.” (2 Timothy 4:2). This task is given urgency because of the impending apostasy that would soon arise in the church. Timothy must be among those who would proclaim and protect the truth of God’s Word and keep it pure.
God’s Word exists for all to see. Bibles can be purchased and truth can be learned. Yet, in a day when Bible reading is rapidly disappearing, the task of preserving truth becomes more momentous. Men bypass the scriptures and instead turn to the soothing words of deceivers. Blinded by lofty titles and vestments, men become increasingly comforted in their ignorance.
In the Lord’s church, those of progressive minds twist and obscure God’s Word so it contains an ounce of truth and a pound of poison. Lofty words and platitudes replace doctrine and plain Bible teaching. Turning a blind eye to sin is falsely called grace and their version of “heaven” becomes a facade hanging over the gates of hell.
Stewards of truth must always be ready to “sanctify the Lord God in our hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, in meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
1/ W. Harold Mare, “I Corinthians,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary edited by Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), 10:210.
3/ Joseph Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Nashville: Broadman, 1977), 441.
4/ Otto Michel, “oikonomos,” in The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament edited by Gerhard Friedrich (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967), 5:150.
Will we stand for truth to the death?