4:1-5 People will turn away from the truth, they will grow weary of the plain gospel of Christ, they will be greedy of fables, and take pleasure in them. People do so when they will not endure that preaching which is searching, plain, and to the purpose. Those who love souls must be ever watchful, must venture and bear all the painful effects of their faithfulness, and take all opportunities of making known the pure gospel.
2. Preach—literally, "proclaim as a herald." The term for the discourses in the synagogue was daraschoth; the corresponding Greek term (implying dialectial style, dialogue, and discussion, Ac 17:2, 18; 18:4, 19) is applied in Acts to discourses in the Christian Church. Justin Martyr [Apology, 2], describes the order of public worship, "On Sunday all meet and the writings of the apostles and prophets are read; then the president delivers a discourse; after this all stand up and pray; then there is offered bread and wine and water; the president likewise prays and gives thanks, and the people solemnly assent, saying, Amen." The bishops and presbyters had the right and duty to preach, but they sometimes called on deacons, and even laymen, to preach. Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 6.19]; in this the Church imitated the synagogue (Lu 4:17-22; Ac 13:15, 16).
be instant—that is, urgent, earnest, in the whole work of the ministry.
in season, out of season—that is, at all seasons; whether they regard your speaking as seasonable or unseasonable. "Just as the fountains, though none may draw from them, still flow on; and the rivers, though none drink of them, still run; so must we do all on our part in speaking, though none give heed to us" [Chrysostom, Homily, 30, vol. 5., p. 221]. I think with Chrysostom, there is included also the idea of times whether seasonable or unseasonable to Timothy himself; not merely when convenient, but when inconvenient to thee, night as well as day (Ac 20:31), in danger as well as in safety, in prison and when doomed to death as well as when at large, not only in church, but everywhere and on all occasions, whenever and wherever the Lord's work requires it.
with, &c.—Greek, "IN (the element in which the exhortation ought to have place) all long-suffering (2Ti 2:24, 25; 3:10) and teaching"; compare 2Ti 2:24, "apt to teach." The Greek for "doctrine" here is didache, but in 2Ti 3:16, didascalia. "Didascalia" is what one receives; "didache" is what is communicated [Tittmann].