In the New Testament, there is a Greek word that we often translate as “proclaim” or “announce.” But our attempt to capture the correct meaning in English is a feeble attempt. We need more words! We need to add to the action—to proclaim with authority.
It is an important word and understanding its proper usage brings more life and color to the scripture passages. We may announce a party or proclaim war against a nation or group. But what is missing is the power behind the word. Consider the word to be akin to a king or queen issuing a decree. Perhaps it heralds the authority of some great potentate who now sits on a throne, or one announcing the beginning of a new season.
The New Testament uses this Greek word (kataggellein) some 15 times. Sometimes our scripture uses it to describe how the prophets foretold the coming of Christ and the proclamation of the messianic period (Acts 3:24). It is used elsewhere to describe the light shown by Christ to the world. When Paul commends the faith of the Christians in Rome, he says their “faith is spoken of throughout the world” (Romans 1:8). The only other reference I am aware of in the New Testament is how Paul describes the words and actions of receiving the Communion as “shewing” the death of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:26). It may be more accurate to describe it all as “preaching.”
What does this mean for me and you? What do Christians preach? The work of preaching does not belong solely to those who speak in pulpits. It is not related to the three-points-and-a-poem we hear from our clergy. It is bigger than that! It means that you, (yes, you) are a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is your privilege to proclaim with authority the mighty works of our almighty Lord!
What does the scripture tell to “proclaim (with authority)?” Paul shows us a perfect example of proclamation.
Paul proclaimed the word of God. He, along with Barnabas proclaimed (with authority) in the synagogues of Cypress (Acts 13:5), and in Berea (Acts 17:13). This type of preaching is not the rambling of some speaker’s opinion but is the inspired and powerful word of God proclaimed as absolute truth for all people, in all places, for all times.
Paul proclaimed Christ. I am not sure that Paul was concerned about the method used in the sermon, so long as the subject was the incarnate Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior of the world (Philippians 1:16–18). Preachers, speakers, and teachers have for 2,000 years proclaimed many things in many ways, but there is one common truth that must exist—we must confront others with Jesus Christ.
Paul proclaimed the resurrection from the dead. There are many good things to proclaim about the Good News. Jesus Christ has been raised, and because he is raised, we too can be raised to new life and defeat death forever.
Paul proclaimed the gospel. What Paul and the Apostles proclaimed was not good news—it was Incredible News! Powerful news! Unspeakable News! To bore someone with the Gospel is a grave mistake. To depress worshipers with angry bombastic sermons inflicting spiritual abuse on people is not the Gospel. The message of Jesus Christ is to proclaim liberation from sin, death, and hell. The message is to proclaim that there is a way to life, love, and happiness! The Gospel brings joy to the hearts of every hearer and encouragement to every depressed soul. You and I, through Jesus Christ, are no longer enemies of God, but we are welcome at the Table of the King to partake in His great and glorious redemption and grace.
Good preaching (proclaiming) must be done with authority and conviction of the absolute truth of Jesus Christ. The Gospel does not need lights, lasers, or smoke machines—it needs deep conviction of truth and the fire to proclaim with certainty the power of Christ and the Resurrection.
Regardless of your position or title, when you proclaim truth to your listeners, you are tapping the power of the Almighty. When you teach Sunday School, you open the scripture and mine out of it golden truths that you hold up to your class—it is Good News! Dig deep into your lesson or sermon and find the powerful truth and application of the scripture and joyfully, powerfully, proclaim with authority the blessed hope found in Jesus Christ!