The 12-Tool Toolbox

The Scriptures command that an effective spiritual leader—a worker in the Lord’s church—must skillfully use various tools in shepherding the Lord's people. That’s in keeping with the Lord’s exhortation in 2 Timothy 2:15: Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

There’s also no need to fear people when doing what the Lord wants done. If you’re about to fail to deliver because you’re afraid, then remember the Lord’s words in Jeremiah 1:17. My paraphrase: You’d better get ready and say what’s needed. If you’re terrified by people, then I’ll cause you to be terrified by people even more. So, if you let people-fear paralyze you, then you might have to reap—directly from the Lord’s hand—a multiplied fear of people.

Equally paralyzing can be a fear of failure. It's the fear of failing to rightly apply the Scriptures, to know what to say, when to say it and how to say it. Yikes, we don’t want any of that. Even so, rightly applying the word of truth is the high goal of the worker's best efforts.

With that admonition fresh in mind, here's a look into the 12-tool toolbox:

• Reprove, i.e. to present evidence that reveals wrong; to expose, prove, show fault, correct, convict. (Proverbs 12:1; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 12:5; Revelation 3:19.)

• Rebuke, i.e. a type of reproof; a rebuke involves a stern command to stop; to censure, strongly tell, strike at. (Proverbs 27:5; Proverbs 28:23; Ecclesiastes 7:5; Matthew 19:13; Luke 17:3; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:11-15) Peter’s astounding rebuke of Jesus in Matthew 16:22 was personal, strong and scolding. Note that, in response, Jesus turned immediately to face Peter and delivered a withering rebuke: Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man. (Jesus was not nice, but that’s a different issue.)

• Refute, i.e. to prove wrong by argument or evidence; to show to be false or erroneous. (Job 33:5; Luke 21:15; Acts 18:28; Titus 1:9 in NASB and NIV)

• Exhort, i.e. to strongly urge to take an action; to make an appeal. (1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9; Hebrews 12:5; 1 Peter 5:1)

• Admonish, i.e. to instruct with a strong warning so the hearer comprehends, understands. (Psalm 81:8; Romans 15:14; Acts 20:31; Acts 27:9-10; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; Romans 15:14)

• Confront, i.e. to challenge or resist; to stand as an adversary. (2 Chronicles 26:18; Titus 1:10-11; Galatians 2:11; Galatians 6:1-2)

• Encourage, i.e. to inspire with courage or hope. (1 Samuel 23:16; Philippians 2:1-2; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Hebrews 10:24)

• Edify, i.e. to build and strengthen; instruction that leads to strength. (Romans 14:19; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 14:3; 1 Corinthians 14:12; Titus 1:9)

• Console, i.e. to ease grief or pain. (1 Corinthians 14:3; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11; Philippians 2:1-9; Hebrews 12:12-13)

• Comfort, i.e. to reassure those who are in distress, anxiety or need. (2 Corinthians 7:4-13; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Philemon 7)

• Implore, i.e. to testify as a witness regarding result, consequence; to strongly urge; to beg attention to an issue. (Luke 16:28; Romans 12:1; Ephesians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12)

• Remind, i.e. to bring to mind something that was learned before, but perhaps forgotten or diminished over time; to bring to mind in order to stir to action. (Romans 15:15; 2 Timothy 1:6; Titus 3:1-2; 2 Peter 1:12-15)