The Explicit Command in 2 Timothy 2:2
In this passage, Paul directly orders his former student to ensure the continuity of sound doctrine by entrusting it to faithful men who can also teach. Paul states, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” During this time, Timothy was apparently leading the Ephesian church under Paul’s directive (1 Tim. 1:3). The passage shows a clear example of a departing leader giving orders to a younger leader he himself had instructed, telling him to arm other (presumably younger) men in propagating the truth. Timothy must prepare these faithful and gifted men by entrusting them with “the things that he has heard [from Paul] among many witnesses.” Just as Paul felt compelled to prepare men like Timothy to carry on the gospel ministry, so he now requires Timothy to do the same. It is then a pastoral obligation to entrust the Word of God to the rising generation of faithful men.
Two Pastoral Responsibilities
Equipping every believer
Ephesians 4:11 indicates that the Lord Jesus gave to His church certain spiritually-gifted individuals. They are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (though the latter two can also be rendered as one role, “pastors/teachers”). The following verse states the reason for Christ’s bestowal of gifted believers to His body. They were given “for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry” in order to fulfill the ultimate purpose of “edifying the body of Christ,” the church. Perfecting (καταρτισμὸν) means “equipping.” Thus, along with other gifted men, the pastor bears the responsibility of preparing each of the church members that God has sovereignly placed under his care for Christian service (“work of the ministry”). This ministry scope also includes the ministerial students in the congregation, and the pastor is one of the primary men who are responsible in preparing future pastors for the work of the ministry. Like the pastor, ministerial students will soon be responsible in equipping other believers for service. This reality must motivate current ministers all the more to equip these future equippers.
Overseeing God’s flock
Pastors are the designated overseers of the believers in a local church. Speaking to the Ephesian elders or pastors, Paul states that the Holy Spirit has made them the “overseers” (ἐπισκόπος) of God’s flock (Acts 20:28). This designation communicates the pastoral responsibility of watching over or supervising the believers in the church. The scope of the responsibility seems to focus on the church as a group (“flock”). But practically speaking, fulfilling the command implies watching over the individual members of the body. As one cannot adequately take care of his whole body without giving attention to the well-being of each part of it, so the pastor cannot completely fulfill the mandate of being an overseer without paying attention to individual members of his congregation. He cannot be an accomplished overseer without overseeing the preparation of those who would be future overseers themselves. Since pastors must watch over the believers who are under their care, expecting them to mentor the ministerial students in their congregation does not really constitute an unreasonable, above-the-norm expectation.