1Ti 4:13-16 “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
Paul has already expressed his desire to come and see Timothy (1Tim 3:14). Now he encourages him to continue in some basic labor of his ministry. This should not be construed as Paul telling Timothy that once he arrived Timothy could stop doing these things. Rather, he was telling Timothy that when he arrived, they would continue these things together.
There is no example in Paul’s life of him being guilty of the adage “do as I say and not as I do.” It is safe to say that Paul was encouraging Timothy in those things that Paul himself was diligent today, even when he was in prison. Also, Paul was gently reminding Timothy that his journey might not allow for him to fulfill his desire to see Timothy. If that should be the case, Timothy was still to continue in these things.
Like Timothy, we today need to give attendance to reading. This was not just any reading, but according to various scholars, this was the term the Jews used for the reading of scripture. Strong defines the Greek word translated as attendance to mean to pay attention to, be cautious about, or adhere to. This was a solemn charge to not neglect the study of God’s word nor to fail to declare the scripture to others.
We do not read just to check off a box in a list of responsibilities. By the power of the Holy Ghost, this adherence to reading also comforts us and enables us to comfort (exhort) others. Having a solid grounding in the scripture allows us, through the Holy Ghost, to teach the good news of Jesus Christ and declare the whole counsel of God (doctrine). These things are worthy of our attention.
We should never be careless (neglect) with the gift that God has placed in us. Whether anyone ever prophesied of us directly that we would someday preach the gospel, the preaching of the gospel is a fulfillment of Jesus’ own words (Mat 24:14). This gospel of the kingdom of God shall be preached in all the world for a witness. If hands have been laid on us, and we have been sent to do the work that God has called us to do, we should never neglect that gift.
If we take care of the gift that is in us, we are going to meditate upon the scriptures and the comfort and teaching found in them. This is to be our chief focus day and night, in the good times and the bad times. Doing so will make it apparent that things are beneficial to us. We are not profited in the sense of gaining worldly goods, but rather in having peace in knowing that God is faithful to all His promises.
If we are going to be effective ministers of the gospel, we must pay attention to taking care of the gift that is in us. We cannot have a lukewarm attitude toward the things that God’s word counsels us to do and say. In giving heed to these things, we save ourselves from the fear of men. Our good counsel and our godly service, given by the grace of God, will also save those that see our care of that which he has given us.
May God bless us to understand that this is according to His grace and purpose, and not of our will and ability!