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Intro: There are two senses in which the Bible speaks of being called
to preach.

1. The Bible speaks of those who were directly called to preach.
Jeremiah speaks of his call to the prophetic office. God said, "Before
I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified
you; And I ordained you a prophet to the nations" ...  "For you shall
go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall
speak" (Jer. 1:5,7). God spoke directly and miraculously to such Old
Testament prophets. They were called not only to speak, but to write
down the Scriptures that were given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus CALLED the apostles (Mk. 3:13). "Then He appointed twelve, that
they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach"
(Mk. 3:14). These were also to be given miraculous powers
(Mk. 3:15). The apostles were told, "what ever you bound on earth will
be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in
heaven" (Matt. 18:18). The apostles were thus AMBASSADORS for Christ
(2 Cor. 5:20). On the eve of His death, Jesus prayed, "As You sent Me
into the world, I also have sent them into the world" (John 17:18). To
equip the apostles in this work, the Father would send them the Holy
Spirit. He would bring to their remembrance all that Jesus had said
unto them (John 14:26), and would continue the work Jesus had begun
with them (John 16:12), guiding them into all the truth (John 16:13).

The apostles and New Testament prophets (other inspired men who were
not apostles) are under consideration in Eph. 3:3-5: "how that by
revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I wrote before in a few
words, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the
mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons
of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles
and prophets."

This direct and personal calling and appointment was extraordinary and
unique. It was not intended that there would continue to be endless
revelation down through the centuries. No man can scripturally claim
that he has power to bind and loose on earth today, or to confirm such
authoritative revelation by raising the dead, and other miracles (2
Cor. 12:12). No one living today can truthfully claim that he is a
witness of the resurrected Christ, as were the apostles.

2. There is a second way in which the Bible teaches God calls men to
preach. God calls all men by the Gospel (2 Thes. 2:15). Among those
called by the Gospel there will today be pastors, evangelists, and
teachers (Eph.  4:11). It is God that grants each individual his
capacity for service.  (See the principle of Romans 12:4-8 and 1
Pet. 4:11). The individual himself must use his God-given abilities
and opportunities. In that sense it could be said that God calls men
to preach/teach. But this is not direct and miraculous, as was the
promise made to the twelve: " not worry about how or what you
should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should
speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who
speaks in you" (Matt. 10:19-20). The one who would preach/teach today
would be well advised to diligently study and prepare.

How does God call one to preach today? By teaching in His word that
those who are themselves saved by the blood of Christ are to have a
real concern for souls of others. This does not mean that all will
preach, but that concern will be expressed by some in the form of
preaching.  God teaches the saved to be concerned about the glory of
Christ, and furthering His cause. For some, that will mean preaching
the Gospel of Christ.

Timothy was told to teach faithful men, that they may be able to
"teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). This is how teachers/preachers are
called. Further, those who are taught and baptized are to be taught
"all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19). This
includes teaching others the Gospel of Christ. All disciples should
teach others as they have opportunity.

The work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5) is something one "grows into."
Those who would preach the Gospel should especially read the letters
to Timothy and Titus.It is necessary that first and foremost one be
faithful to the Lord. Then let him grow in grace and knowledge.  Let
him learn to read the scriptures distinctly, give the sense, and cause
others to understand the reading (Neh. 8:8). Let him teach and exhort,
being careful to rightly divide the word, and not misapply, or take
passages out of context. Some will develop into "part-time" preaching,
working at another job, as they preach. Others will be able to preach
on a "full-time" basis, supported financially by the church.  Both are
scriptural arrangements, and there is room for both kinds of work.

Conclusion. It is not true to say that preachers are not called. They
are called by the Gospel (2 Thes. 2:14; 2 Tim. 2:2). But they are not
called directly and miraculously, nor are they given authority to
"bind and loose" with heaven's authority. No one is called and sent
forth today as were the apostles. If one makes the claim that he is,
let him produce the proof. As Paul said, "Truly the signs of an
apostle were wrought among you" (2 Cor. 12:12).

If someone makes the claim that he has been called to preach by God
speaking to him directly, listen to him preach for a while. You will
likely find in a very short time that his preaching contradicts his

If you have corrections, questions, comments or suggestions about these questions and answers, please contact Leon Mauldin directly at

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