“Preach the Gospel and sometimes use words” is a famous quote of St. Francis used by Christians to emphasize the command to love. It is a great quote rightly understood and applied, but can also be used to excuse disobedience to the apostolic command and repeated directive of our Lord Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel verbally, which is the intent of the command. On one occasion, He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” In another place, He said, “Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached to all nations…”. Even Paul told Timothy, “Do the work of an evangelist!”
Because there is spiritual truth in the words “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ”- Romans 10:17, the Lord has specifically commanded the “voicing”, that is, the verbalization of the Good News of Christ Jesus. It is to be proclaimed, heralded, declared, and spoken! Again, “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, their words to the ends of the earth.” – Romans 10:18. Words, by nature, especially God’s, are spoken and with purpose. They do not return void when they are sent.
If the first apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers submitted to the phrase “sometimes use words”, they would have errantly and disobediently put the word of man over the word of our Lord and God. And where would the Church be? It might be unheard of itself! Because it is not in the wisdom of man that the Church finds its existence, but in the wisdom of God, even the foolishness of the preaching of the Gospel! So, repent and believe the Good News! Obedience to the Gospel and the command to preach it, using words, may seem unnecessary or secondary to some, but it is the wisdom of God and the primary means by which one is saved, when they believe the message spoken. And as the apostle Paul affirmed in 2 Cor 4:13, “And in keeping with what is written: “I believed, therefore I have spoken,” we who have the same spirit of faith also believe and therefore speak….”