Amplified: Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Don't let people look down on you because you are young; see that they look up to you because you are an example to them in your speech and behaviour, in your love and faith and sincerity. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Stop allowing anyone contemptuously to be pushing you aside because of your youth, but keep on becoming an example of the believers, in word, in behavior, in divine and self-sacrificial love, in faith, in purity.
Young's Literal: let no one despise thy youth, but a pattern become thou of those believing in word, in behaviour, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity;
LET NO ONE LOOK DOWN ON YOUR YOUTHFULNESS: medeis sou tes neotetos kataphroneito, (PAM): (Matthew 18:10; 1Corinthians 16:10,11; 2Timothy 2:7,15, 22) (1Corinthians 11:1; 1Thessalonians 1:6; 2:10; 2Thessalonians 3:7, 8, 9; Titus 2:7; 1Peter 5:3) (2Corinthians 6:4-17; Philippians 4:8; 2Timothy 2:22; James 3:13,17; 2Peter 1:5, 6, 7, 8)
No one (3367) (medeis) means just what it says - not even one.
Let no one… is a command to "Let no one despise, scorn, treat contemptuously, "make fun of" or think lightly of the fact that you are so youthful."
Look down on (2706 ) (kataphroneo from kata = down + phroneo = to think <> phren = mind) literally means to think down upon and so to despise, scorn, hold in contempt, not care for because it is thought to be without value. It means to "think little of". It speaks of that contempt felt in the mind which is displayed in injurious action. The idea is to look down on someone or something with contempt or aversion, with the implication that one considers the object of little value or as unworthy of one’s notice or consideration.
Note the use of the present imperative with the negative (present imperative in a prohibition, forbidding the continuance of an action already going on, ie, Timothy was in fact being looked down upon by others! Don't let it faze you!) means that Paul is commanding Timothy to stop letting others look down upon his youthfulness. "Stop allowing anyone to despise you!" One might say today "Stop allowing anyone to push you around."
Expositor's adds that Paul means to "Assert the dignity of your office even though men may think you young to hold it. Let no one push you aside as a boy… St. Paul shows Timothy ‘a more excellent way’ than self-assertion for the keeping up of his dignity: give no one any ground by any fault of character for despising thy youth. ( Expositors Greek Testament)
To despise something is to look down on it as inferior and not worth consideration or care. It is to disdain it and treat it with contempt as being worthless.
Moulton and Milligan write that the kataphroneo "is active voice. We may infer that Timothy (in 1Ti 4:12) is told not to let men push him aside as a stripling; and in all the NT passages the action encouraged by contempt seems implied, rather than the mental state." (Moulton, J. H., & Milligan, G. The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament. 1930)
NIDNTT records that in classic Greek kataphroneo was "a common word, used with a single or double gen. or, more rarely, with the accusative in the general sense of acting in a way that shows contempt or disregard for somebody or something, or for somebody on account of something… In the Septuagint (LXX), kataphroneo usually renders (the Hebrew words) bûz and bazâh. Objects of contempt include God (Hos. 6:7), one’s father (Gen. 27:12), one’s mother (Prov. 23:22), the ways of the law (Proverbs 19:16 - "He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is careless [despises - kataphroneo - present tense] of his ways will die). Such contempt was, of course, profoundly impious." (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
Youthfulness (3503) (neotes from néos = young) refers to youth, age or time of youth, state of youthfulness. Neotes was a term applied to men until they were 40. Paul is saying to Timothy in essence the rebuttal to detractors who challenged his youth was to be the character of his life! This is a good principle no matter our age! The five godly traits that Paul lists are not only for the young, but should be desired and practiced by all believers, for if you are a believer, there will always be someone watching your example! As a parallel thought, these qualities can and should be developed early in one's Christian’s life.
Wuest quotes Expositors noting that "many, probably, of the Ephesian presbyters were older than Timothy,” also, that “in any case, the terms ‘young’ and ‘old’ are used relatively to the average age at which men attain to positions in the world. Forty is reckoned old for a captain in the army, young for a bishop, and very young for a Prime Minister.” (Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
Vincent makes a remark that is interesting but difficult to substantiate writing that "Timothy was probably from 38 to 40 years old at this time."
Jamieson writes that Timothy "was but a mere youth when he joined Paul (See Acts 16:1-3 notes). Eleven years had elapsed since then to the time subsequent to Paul’s first imprisonment. He was, therefore, still young; especially in comparison with Paul, whose place he was filling; also in relation to elderly presbyters whom he should “entreat as a father” (1Ti 5:1), and generally in respect to his duties in rebuking, exhorting, and ordaining (1Ti 3:1), which ordinarily accord best with an elderly person (1Ti 5:19).
BUT RATHER IN SPEECH, CONDUCT, LOVE, FAITH AND PURITY, SHOW YOURSELF AN EXAMPLE OF THOSE WHO BELIEVE: medeis sou tes neotetos kataphroneito, (PAM) alla tupos ginou (PMM) ton piston en logo, en anastrophe, en agape, en pistei, en agneia:
But you should be a good model (or, example) for the believers to follow (or, imitate), by the words you speak, your behavior (or, way of life), your love for others, your trust in Christ, and your blameless life. (Translation from United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series)
In speech - In conversation as well as in public speech, recalling that a man’s speech reflects what is in his heart. Has your speech been a good example today? Nothing more surely reveals a sinful soul and more swiftly destroys one's credibility than lies and Paul addresses this in his letter to the Ephesians…
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH, EACH ONE of you, WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another… 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. (See note Ephesians 4:25 and Ephesians 4:29)
Speech (3056) (logos from lego = to speak intelligently source of English "logic, logical") means something said and describes a communication whereby the mind finds expression in words. Although Lógos is most often translated word which Webster defines as "something that is said, a statement, an utterance", the Greek understanding of lógos is somewhat more complex. In the Greek mind and as used by the secular and philosophical Greek writers, lógos did not mean merely the name of an object but was an expression of the thought behind that object's name.
Lógos is a general term for speaking, but always used for speaking with rational content. Lógos is a word uttered by the human voice which embodies an underlying concept or idea. When one has spoken the sum total of their thoughts concerning something, they have given to their hearer a total concept of that thing. Thus the word lógos conveys the idea of “a total concept” of anything. Lógos means the word or outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known. It can also refer to the inward thought or reason itself. Note then that lógos does not refer merely to a part of speech but to a concept or idea. In other words, in classical Greek, lógos never meant just a word in the grammatical sense as the mere name of a thing, but rather the thing referred to, the material, not the formal part. In fact, the Greek language has 3 other words (rhema, onoma, epos) which designate a word in its grammatical sense. Lógos refers to the total expression whereas rhema for example is used of a part of speech in a sentence. In other words rhema, emphasizes the parts rather than the whole.
Conduct (391) (anastrophe from aná = again, back + strépho = turn - idea is turning back in forth in a place equates with living there) means ones way of life or conduct, with apparent focus on overt daily behavior. Thayer adds that the root verb (anastrepho) means “to conduct or behave one’s self, to walk,” the latter meaning not referring here to the physical act of walking but to the act of determining our course of conduct and the carrying out of that determined course of action. Anastrophe in biblical use refers to the moral and spiritual aspect of one’s manner of life.
Vincent comments that "The process of development in the meaning of the word is interesting. 1. A turning upside down. 2. A turning about or wheeling. 3. Turning about in a place, going back and forth there about one’s business; and so, 4, one’s mode of life or conduct. (Word studies in the New Testament)
Writing to the saints at Ephesus Paul instructs them…
that, in reference to your former manner of life ( = anastrophe), you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit (see notes Ephesians 4:22) (Comment: Paul's point is that as Christians, we have not simply changed our minds. We have totally changed our citizenship. We belong to God’s “new creation” in Christ, and therefore, the ideas and desires of the old creation no longer should control our lives. The simplest illustration of this great truth is given in John 11, the resurrection of Lazarus. Our Lord’s friend, Lazarus, had been in the grave four days when Jesus and His disciples arrived at Bethany, and even Martha admitted that, by now, the decaying body would smell [Jn 11:39]. But Jesus spoke the word and Lazarus came forth alive, an illustration of Jn 5:24. Notice our Lord’s next words, “Loose him, and let him go” [Jn 11:44]. Take off the grave clothes! Lazarus no longer belonged to the old dominion of death, for he was now alive. Why go about wearing graveclothes? Take off the old and put on the new! This was Paul’s argument—you no longer belong to the old corruption of sin; you belong to the new creation in Christ. Take off the graveclothes! How do we do this? “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind” [see notes Ephesians 4:23]. Conversion is a crisis that leads to a process. Through Christ, once and for all, we have been given a new position in His new creation, but day by day, we must by faith appropriate what He has given us. The Word of God renews the mind as we surrender our all to Him [see notes Romans 12:1; 12:2]. “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth” [Jn 17:17]. As the mind understands the truth of God’s Word, it is gradually transformed by the Spirit, and this renewal leads to a changed life. Physically, you are what you eat, but spiritually, you are what you think. “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he” [Pr 23:7]. This is why it is important for us as Christians to spend time daily meditating on the Word, praying, and fellowshipping with Christ.)
John MacArthur - An excellent minister is required to be a model of righteous living who manifests his biblical convictions in every area of his life. A biblical message paired with an ungodly lifestyle is nothing but blatant hypocrisy. Worse, people will tend to follow how the man lives, not what he teaches. On the other hand, a godly life brings power and authority to a man’s message. (MacArthur, John: 1Timothy Moody Press)
Love (26) (agape) (Click word study of agape) is unconditional, sacrificial love and a love that God is (1Jn 4:8,16), that God shows (Jn 3:16, 1Jn 4:9) and which God gives by means of His Spirit's production in the heart of a yielded saint, the constituent elements of this fruit being described by Paul in 1Corinthians 13:4-8. Agape is a love which impels the one loving to sacrifice himself for the benefit of the person loved. God’s love must be seen in full bloom in the life of Timothy.
In light of the clear association of agape with the True and Living God, it is not surprising that Greek literature throws little light on this distinctive NT meaning of agape.
Jesus taught that "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) which sums up the essence of the type of self-sacrificial love called for in godly leaders. The godly leader gives his time and energy to the people he is called to serve, devoting his whole life to seeing them strengthened and built up in the Lord.
Timothy was to be an example in regard to his love of God (John 14:15 equates love with obedience) and his love for his fellow man, to reiterate, this love being a manifestation of the fruit of a Spirit controlled believer. Beloved, how does your "garden grow"?
Biblical agape love is the love of choice, the love of serving with humility, the highest kind of love, the noblest kind of devotion, the love of the will (intentional, a conscious choice) and not motivated by superficial appearance, emotional attraction, or sentimental relationship. Agape is not based on pleasant emotions or good feelings that might result from a physical attraction or a familial bond. Agape chooses as an act of self-sacrifice to serve the recipient. From all of the descriptions of agape love, it is clear that true agape love is a sure mark of salvation. Agape is volitional. Phileo is emotional
Agape love does not depend on the world’s criteria for love, such as attractiveness, emotions, or sentimentality. Believers can easily fall into the trap of blindly following the world’s demand that a lover feel positive toward the beloved. This is not agape love, but is a love based on impulse. Impulsive love characterizes the spouse who announces to the other spouse that they are planning to divorce their mate. Why? They reason “I can’t help it. I fell in love with another person!” Christians must understand that this type of impulsive love is completely contrary to God’s decisive love, which is decisive because He is in control and has a purpose in mind. There are many reasons a proper understanding of the truth of God's word (and of the world's lie) is critical and one of the foremost is Jesus' declaration that
By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love (agape) for one another. (John 13:35).
Love's perfect expression on earth is the Lord Jesus Christ and He defines this sacrificial love for He left heaven, came to earth, took on a human form, was spit on and mocked, was crowned with a crown of thorns, nailed to a cross, abused, and had a spear thrust into His side. He loved the church enough to die for her. That's sacrificial love.
I like what F B Meyer wrote about agape love…
Wherever there is true love, there must be giving, and giving to the point of sacrifice. Love is not satisfied with giving trinkets; it must give at the cost of sacrifice: it must give blood, life, all. And it was so with the love of God. "He so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son." "Christ also loved and gave Himself up, an offering and a sacrifice to God." (See note Ephesians 5:2) We are to imitate God's love in Christ (Ed: cp 1 Cor 11:1, 1 John 2:6 - the ONLY way to imitate Christ-like love is to rely on the Spirit of Christ in us to flow out of us! We are 100% responsible but also mysteriously 100% dependent on the Spirit of Jesus!). The love that gives, that counts no cost too great, and, in sacrificing itself for others, offers all to God, and does all for His sake. Such was the love of Jesus--sweet to God, as the scent of fields of new-mown grass in June; and this must be our model.
Not to those who love us, but who hate; not to those who are pleasant and agreeable, but who repel; not because our natural feelings are excited, but because we will to minister, even to the point of the cross, must our love go out. And every time we thus sacrifice ourselves to another for the sake of the love of God, we enter into some of the meaning of the sacrifice of Calvary, and there is wafted up to God the odour of a sweet smell. (Devotional Commentary on Ephesians)
Agape is impossible for unconverted to manifest this divine love and in fact it is impossible even for a believer to demonstrate it in his or her own strength. Agape love can only be exhibited by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. A believer has this love (divine nature) within (see note Colossians 1:27) and it is progressively manifest more and more as fruit by the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22) as we obey God's truth and walk in love. Agape love willingly engages in self-sacrificing action to procure the loved one's highest good.
Donald W. Burdick gives the following excellent summary of agape love: writing that…
It is spontaneous. There was nothing of value in the persons loved that called forth such sacrificial love. God of His own free will set His love on us in spite of our enmity and sin.
[Agape] is love that is initiated by the lover because he wills to love, not because of the value or lovableness of the person loved.
[Agape] is self-giving. and is not interested in what it can gain, but in what it can give. It is not bent on satisfying the lover, but on helping the one loved whatever the cost. [Agape] is active and is not mere sentiment cherished in the heart. Nor is it mere words however eloquent. It does involve feeling and may express itself in words, but it is primarily an attitude toward another that moves the will to act in helping to meet the need of the one loved." (Burdick, D W: The Letters of John the Apostle. Chicago: Moody, 1985, page 351)
In… faith - This refers to Timothy's trust and confidence in God and His Son Christ Jesus as shown in the faithfulness of his attitudes and actions in the many situations he would find himself in.
Faith (4102) (pistis) is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, and in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it. In the present context faith does not refer so much one's belief, as to one's faithfulness or unswerving commitment. A godly leader is consistently faithful and avoids swerving off the track or deviating from the course prescribed by sound doctrine.
Purity (47) (hagneia from hagnos = pure from defilement, not contaminated) describes the quality of moral purity, of a pure mind and especially conveys the idea of chastity. In secular Greek hagneia was used in association with idolatrous worship (eg, hagneia is found in an inscription cut in the rock near a pagan temple). The secular use was clearly elevated by Paul to a call for Timothy to be morally pure, something that was not characteristic of most pagan worship. Nothing so ravages a one's ministry as sexual impurity! If you are a preacher, teacher, elder or leader in any spiritual capacity, pay special attention to your hagneia. As a leader you are especially vulnerable in this area, since it is a priority area of qualification (or disqualification), and is a frequent point of attack by our adversary the Devil.
The UBS Handbook says that hagneia is "a general term for an upright and morally blameless life, and specifically as referring to being free from any immoral acts, especially acts related to sex. UBS (The United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series)
Jamieson defines hagneia as "simplicity of holy motive followed out in consistency of holy action." (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D. A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments)
Robertson describes hagneia as "sinlessness of life" which should be not just in acts but also in motives!
Vincent writes that the root word hagnos was "always with a moral sense; not limited to sins of the flesh, but covering purity in motives as well as in acts (hagnos in 1John 3:3 of Christ, 2Cor 11:2 of a pure virgin, James 3:17 describing wisdom from above, Philippians 1:17 [note] describing pure or unmixed motives when preaching the gospel).
The only other NT use of hagneia is in this same letter Paul writing that…
the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity. (1 Timothy 5:2) (Comment: Here Paul refers to one's moral attitude toward younger sisters in Christ and denotes the chastity which shuts out any impurity of spirit or manner that might defile.)
There are 3 uses of hagneia in the Septuagint (LXX) (Nu 6:2, 21; 2 Chr 30:19) Used of a Nazirite (Nu. 6:2, 21).
Numbers 6:2 (God instructs Moses to) speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them, whatsoever man or woman shall specially vow a vow to separate oneself with purity (Lxx = hagneia) to the Lord (Comment: Nu 6:21 also refers to a Nazarite vow - The Nazarite was a man or woman who was either chosen or consecrated for life or for a set period of time to complete a vow to God. The Nazirite devoted himself to self-imposed discipline in order to perform some special service. This is interesting parallel with Timothy who was to be an example to others of a chaste life. Are not all believers to some degree "modern day Nazarites" for as Paul writes to Titus -- Jesus "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds." Titus 2:14 [see note])
Show yourself an example - More literally keep on becoming a pattern for this is the correct way of making men to not despise or disregard one's youth.
Show yourself (1096) (ginomai) is the ordinary verb of being and in this context means to come into a certain state or possess certain characteristics, to be, prove to be, turn out to be. Note the use of the present imperative calls for this to be an ongoing process or his lifestyle. The idea is "keep on becoming yourself an example." Caution! Don't try to obey this command in your natural strength! You need supernatural strength! You need the power of the Holy Spirit!
The word for example by itself refers to a stamp or a scar, and can also refer to a shape or a statue. From this the word has acquired the meaning of resemblance or model, hence example. Another way of expressing this is “but you should be a good model for the believers to follow."
Example (5179) (tupos [word study] from túpto = strike, smite with repeated strokes) literally refers to a visible mark or impression made by a stroke or blow from an instrument or object. What is left after the stroke or blow is called a print, a figure or an impression. For example, the most famous reference to a literal mark (tupos) is when Thomas doubted Jesus' resurrection from the dead declaring "Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint (tupos) of the nails" (John 20:25). (See also ISBE Article)
Stated another way tupos properly means a "model" or "pattern" or "mold" into which clay or wax was pressed (or molds into which molten metal for castings was poured), that it might take the figure or exact shape of the mold. Our English word "type" is similar and originally referred to an impression made by a die as that which is struck.
Tupos also came to be used figuratively of a pattern, mold, model, or copy of the original of something, whether a physical object, such as a statute, or a principle or virtue. Thus in a technical sense tupos is the pattern in conformity to which a thing must be made. In an ethical sense, tupos is a dissuasive (tending to dissuade) example, a pattern of warning or an example to be imitated, the latter being Paul's obvious meaning in this verse.
Tupos was also used to identify an example or model to which one should not be conformed. For example, the children of Israel behavior in the OT are a type which is a warning for believers today, because we will be conformed to them if we do not exercise caution. Our doom will correspond to theirs. Therefore, they stand as stern warnings to us. Paul records this tupos warning…
Now these things happened as examples (tupos) for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example (tupos), and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Co 10:6,11)
In Acts 7 Luke records back to back uses of tupos which present a striking contrast, one of a gross idol and the other of the glorious tabernacle…
'YOU ALSO TOOK ALONG THE TABERNACLE OF MOLOCH AND THE STAR OF THE GOD ROMPHA (also called Remphan), THE IMAGES (tupos) WHICH YOU MADE TO WORSHIP THEM. I ALSO WILL REMOVE YOU BEYOND BABYLON.' 44 "Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern (cf similar use of tupos in Hebrews 8:5 - note) which he had seen. (Acts 7:43-44)
John MacArthur minces no words noting that…
Setting an example of godly living that others can follow is the sine qua non of excellence in ministry. When a manifest pattern of godliness is missing, the power is drained out of preaching, leaving it a hollow, empty shell. A minister’s life is his most powerful message, and must reinforce what he says or he may as well not say it. Authoritative preaching is undermined if there is not a virtuous life backing it up. (MacArthur, John: 1Timothy Moody Press)
To those who believe - the primary recipient of Timothy's example is the saints. If they witness his consistently godly example, they will be more motivated to imitate his example. This pattern speaks of course of discipleship, where the disciple becomes an imitator of the one who initiates the discipling process. Timothy had followed Paul (2 Timothy 3:10, 11-note) and now he is to be an example for others who believe to follow.
Puritan Thomas Brooks said that "Example is the most powerful rhetoric… (In The Privy Key of Heaven Brooks writes) A Christian's whole life should be nothing but a visible representation of Christ. It is not only our liberty—but our duty and glory, to follow Christ inviolably in all His moral virtues. Other patterns are imperfect and defective—but Christ is a perfect pattern! Of all His children, they are the happiest, who come nearest to this perfect pattern.
John MacArthur sums up this verse with a point of application noting that "Anyone who is not able to set a pattern of godly virtue in those areas does not belong in church leadership. Since a leader’s life sets the standard for others to follow, an unqualified leader inevitably lowers the standard of godliness in the church. (MacArthur, John: 1Timothy Moody Press)
Jon Courson has a convicting note which begins with a series of questions…
What if the spiritual walk of everyone in your fellowship was exactly like yours? What if everyone gave financially to the degree you give every week? What if everyone prayed for missions to the same degree you do? What if everyone in the Christian community witnessed as much as you do? Where would we be?
It’s easy to exhort others. Being an example ourselves, however, is much more difficult…
“Son,” said the concerned father, “you’re not studying the way you could. When Abraham Lincoln was your age, he didn’t have computers or electric lights. He walked fifteen miles through the snow to check out books at the library—and then walked fifteen miles home so that he could read them by the light of the fireplace. When he was your age, that’s what he did.”
“Well,” replied the son, “when Abraham Lincoln was your age, he was President of the United States!”
It’s easy to want to exhort someone else! But Mom and Dad, if you want to see your kids be more spiritual, you be more spiritual. Pastors, if you want your congregations to be more radical, you be more radical. The key lies in being an example. (Courson, J. Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson)
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Leadership Lessons - You are a leader. Yes, you! You may not be the president or manager of an organization, but you will be called on to lead others.
Do you teach Sunday school? You're a leader. Are you a parent? You're a leader. Have a job? You're a leader. Have friends? You're a leader.
No matter who you are, others are looking at you and being influenced by your example. As you think about this awesome responsibility, what should you do? Someone has said that a good leader is one who "knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way."
Joshua was like that. He knew the way because God had told him. He went that way by being obedient to the Lord, and he showed the way by providing servant-leadership.
Look specifically at what God told Joshua
* Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6).
* Obey all of God's laws for living (Joshua 1:7).
* Think often about what God has said (Joshua 1:8).
* Remember that God is with you (Joshua 1:9)
We need to keep these lessons of leadership in mind, because people are following our example. If we learn them well, we will know, go, and show the way that pleases God--and we will be good leaders. —Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Christians, remember you bear His dear name,
Your lives are for others to view;
Living examples--men praise you or blame
And measure the Savior by you. --Anon.
Leaders who serve will serve as good leaders
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A Living Letter - Our Daily Bread - Believers exert a positive influence on others by setting a good example with the consistency of their lives. Will Houghton, president of Moody Bible Institute during the 1940's, was such a person.
Before Houghton became president of Moody, he pastored a church in New York City. An agnostic living there was contemplating suicide, but he decided that if he could find a minister who lived what he professed, he would listen to him. Since Will Houghton was a prominent figure in the city and a pastor, the man chose Houghton for his case study. He hired a private detective to watch him. When the investigator's report came back, it revealed that Houghton's life was above reproach. The agnostic went to Houghton's church, accepted Christ, and later sent his daughter to Moody Bible Institute.
Nehemiah was another believer who dramatically affected the lives of those around him. Even rich nobles and high officials listened respectfully as he rebuked them. Why? Because of the quality of his life. Whatever he asked of others, he was willing to do himself. And because Nehemiah joined in the hard work and refrained from using his position to accumulate wealth, the leaders couldn't help but listen to what he said.
An exemplary life awakens spiritual and moral sensitivity in those who observe us, and it gives power to our words of witness. —H. V. Lugt
We can preach a better sermon with our lives than with our lips
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"Be an example to all believers"
My dear friends, A subject of considerable interest and importance has often occurred to me, when meditating on the state of the Christian Church, and that is, the influence which the conduct of its senior members has over those who have lately commenced the divine life. It is obvious from all the principles of our nature, that this influence must be considerable—either for good or for evil—and that if it does not encourage and strengthen them in the way, it must enfeeble and dishearten them. It is so fearful a thing to cast stumbling-blocks in the path of a Christian brother, and to disturb his peace, much more to endanger his soul—that it behooves us all to take heed to our steps—both for his sake and our own!
You must be aware that those who are but lately converted to God, and have just assumed the Christian profession, look with attention and deference to others of long-standing in the church, and are apt to make them, their patterns and standards. In the army—the veteran soldiers have great influence in training the young recruits, in forming their character, and fitting them for service. In a company—the habits of the seasoned workmen have a considerable share in guiding those of the apprentices. And in a family—the younger children imitate the older ones. Thus it is in the church of God—the younger look up to those who are more advanced in age, or in experience.
It is very true that they have a perfect pattern in the word of God, which they ought to consult, and to which they ought to seek for grace to conform themselves, without considering what other and older believers do. Instead, however, of studying the nature, and claims, and extent of vital Christianity in its own inspired records, and thus imitating the divine original—they are but too apt to look at it, as it is to be seen in their fellow-professors, and thus by copying from a copy, and that but an imperfect one too, they go on multiplying the sadly defective exhibitions of practical religion, with which the church always abounds. It is not, however, until they have experienced considerable disappointment by their acquaintance with these imperfect patterns, that they are brought to leave them.
"It has not, I believe, infrequently occurred that young converts in the ardor of their first love, and while much unacquainted as yet, with what is called 'the religious world', have looked upon the church as a sacred enclosure, within which dwelt only a kind of heavenly inhabitants, as a sort of vestibule to the temple above, where as these blessed spirits were putting off their earthly affections, and preparing to enter into the presence of their divine Redeemer, they could think or speak of little else than the glory that awaited them; and by whom every addition to their number would be hailed with delight, and welcomed as an accession to the fervor of their piety. In such society, these novices expected soon to attain to the full maturity of the Christian character, and ripen into the greatest perfection attainable on earth. They anticipated the sweetest and holiest communion, an almost unearthly spirituality, and an uninterrupted strain of godly conversation in the communion of saints.
But alas! what a woeful disappointment did the reality produce; in the sacred enclosure they found worldly-minded professors, almost as intent upon things seen and temporal, as any they had left outside the gates! In the 'vestibule of heaven', they beheld men and women covered with the 'dust of the world', disordered with the anxieties, and given up to the enjoyment of earth. They saw little but the world in conduct, and heard little else in conversation. A cold chill fell upon their hearts, which seemed at once, like a frosty atmosphere acting upon a young plant—to check the ardor of their religious affections! Even they, who were lately so fervent—soon sunk and settled down into the lukewarmness of those among whom they had come to dwell!"
It is true they expected too much; they had formed a pattern for the church militant, too nearly approaching that of the church triumphant; but still, even people with a more correct knowledge of professing Christians, and with more sober expectations of what was to be derived from them, have upon coming among them, experienced much less of the benefits of fellowship than they expected. This should not be. Happily it is not always thus. In our churches are to be found some, who by their knowledge, piety, and experience—are nursing fathers and mothers of the young Christian, and who, by the blessing of God, breathe into him their own spirit."
Because of the influence of older, worldly-minded professors, that the church of God is kept down in its spiritual attainments, and does not make that advance to the higher degrees of knowledge, faith, and holiness, which might be expected, and which is so much to be desired. It is not necessary to prove that the church is not distinguished in our day by the eminence of its spirituality and heavenly-mindedness. It has much zeal, activity, and liberality, and in these things we cordially rejoice—but they are most fearfully mixed up with a prevailing worldliness in many of its aspects and operations! And it may be feared that the dazzling splendor of missionary movements, and the bustling scenes of zealous labor, have too much drawn away Christians from deep communion with their own hearts, and with the spirit of God.
What a flexible and accommodating morality has infected our business transactions! What an acrimonious and uncharitable spirit has soured the disposition of the various denominations toward each other! What a languid faith, and feeble fluttering hope, characterize the hearts of the bulk of professors! As if the missionary ardor might be accepted as a compromise for all deficiencies in the more laborious, painful, and self-denying exertions of the Christian life. External action and doing, has with many, become a substitute for heart-watchfulness, the subduing of sin, and holy communion with the Holy Spirit. And to whom are these deficiencies to be attributed but to the older professors of religion? Were they generally as eminent as they should be; were they patterns of that elevated, consistent, experimental religion, which might justly be looked for from the growth of twenty, thirty, or forty years; were they free from the inconsistencies, which mar the beauty, and diminish the power of the Christian profession; were they shining as lights in the world, reflecting the beauties of holiness, breathing the spirit of devotion, and abounding in the fruits of righteousness unto the glory of God; then the younger brethren and sisters, as they were born into the family of God, would be likely to partake of their spirit, to follow their conduct, and imitate their character—and a succession of eminent and devoted professors would be maintained.
I do not mean to say, or to insinuate, that the senior members of the church under my care are more deficient than those of other churches. Certainly not! There are not a few of you who are "my joy and hope," and will be, I trust, "my crown of rejoicing in the presence of our Lord, at his coming." (See notes 1Thessalonians 2:19; 2:20) I write for others who are not the subjects of my pastoral oversight, as well as for you, and am laying down general principles, for universal application.
May I then, my dear friends, solicit your serious and prayerful attention to the subject of this address. I refer to those, who have, in age and standing, already attained to the character of fathers and mothers in Israel, or who are advancing to it. Do not dismiss the matter as of no importance, nor let your modesty or your indifference lead you to imagine that your influence is less than I have stated, and that therefore the subject is not worth your consideration. Do not refuse to examine—and weigh it well. You are either doing good or harm, to younger Christians. They will consider your conduct, whether you wish it or not. Their eyes are open to what you do, and their ears to what you say—when you little think of it! You cannot retire from observation, nor dwell in seclusion so deep as to elude all scrutiny. You must be influential—either for doing good or harm.
You ought not to wish, or attempt to be negative. You are a candle lighted to be put, not under a bushel, but in a candlestick, to give light to all who are in the house. Younger professors are continually coming around you, both in the transactions of business, and in the communion of friendship—and are imbibing an influence from you—whether you intentionally exert it or not. Their character is forming imperceptibly by you, unconsciously to themselves, under the power of your example. There is no need of your saying, "Act as I do!" Nor of their replying, "I will." The influence goes on without such formalities. Their tone of piety rises or falls to the key-note you strike—their zeal cools or grows warm by yours—moral principles fasten or loosen their roots in their hearts, as yours appear to be fixed or fluctuating.
I am aware that this influence has limitations, and that many new converts to God, set out on the life and walk of faith, with such a decision of character, such a strong faith, and such an ardent love—as to resist the unholy example—and condemn the worldly-mindedness of many of those who have been long in the way of godliness. They retain their spirituality and devotional feeling amid much that is calculated to repress them—but to do so, they find it necessary to retire from the friendship of many older professors of religion.
If you are not aware of the importance of this subject—the pastors of the churches are. They know, and some of them bitterly lament, the influence of their elder members. They see amid all their zeal and solicitude to raise the tone of piety in their churches, a counteracting power exerted by many who ought to be foremost in lending their help to forward so desirable an object. I know many evangelical ministers, to whom this is a sore grievance. The pastors will labor to a considerable extent in vain, in endeavoring publicly to promote the spirituality of their flocks—if the more influential members of the church do not sustain their efforts in private.
Be very careful, then, not to throw stumbling-blocks in a brother's way, even in little things. There are two ways in which you may do this–
1. By doing what is positively wrong, or of doubtful propriety.
I do not now allude to immoralities and vice. Such things, I am happy to say, rarely, very rarely, occur among us. But I refer to the lesser violations of Christian propriety; such for instance, as the indulgence of bad dispositions; offences against love, gratitude, and humility; the practice of those dishonorable artifices which are so common in the modern system of trade; conformity to the world in spirit, entertainments, dress, and amusements; and covetousness, hard-heartedness, and indifference to the cause of Christ in the world. Fathers and mothers in Israel, I beseech you, for the sake of the "young men," and the "little children," that you abstain from such things! Do not give the 'sanction of your example', the 'aid of your influence'—to the spread of a diseased religious profession, in which such leprous spots as these are continually breaking out!
And should there happen to be anything of doubtful propriety, a mere matter of taste and gratification; a matter about which the Christian world are somewhat divided; a matter condemned by the more spiritual part of the church; a matter seemingly, though not in reality—at best half way between good and evil—resting on the very line of demarcation between right and wrong, partly on one territory and partly on the other; in such a case, the better instructed and more experienced members, should abstain from these appearances of evil. Should not they be the first to set the example, and to give out a pattern of self-denial? Should not they be the leaders of the cross-bearing company? Should not their younger brethren and sisters see how far advanced they are in the virtues of forbearance, temperance, and separation from the world? Should not they lend their aid in training the new converts to that hardy, enduring, self-denying religion, which is implied in the Christian profession?
Observe the example of the apostle Paul. Speaking of eating meats offered to idols, he says, "Take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours becomes a stumbling-block to those who are weak. And through your knowledge shall your weak brother perish, for whom Christ died. But when you sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat is going to make another Christian sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don't want to make another Christian stumble." The general sentiment contained in this beautiful and unselfish passage, is an affectionate solicitude on the part of older, and better instructed, and stronger professors, not to enjoy any gratification, or to do anything, which would have the tendency to pervert the principles, mislead the conscience, perplex the reasonings, or grieve the minds of such as are weaker or younger in the faith. What arguments and motives does the passage contain! By misleading such people, we sin against the brethren, wound weak consciences, endanger immortal souls, sin against Christ! Aged professors read this! Ponder it! Tremble! And decide!
It is also to be remembered that it is not merely the whole course of a Christian's conduct that has this influence, but perhaps some one single incident, different from the one I have just supposed, which is regarded as a sort of test-act by younger converts. There is some one decision which he is to make, some single instance which he is to exhibit, some isolated position which he is to occupy, upon the manner of conducting himself in which, many will form an opinion—not simply of his character—but of the rule which they are to prescribe to themselves. His conduct in that one incident, will perhaps, send out an extensive and permanent influence over the whole character of many!
If he has grace to act well in that instance, they will be led at once, in imitation of his example, to adopt a high standard, a lofty model of Christian profession; they will depart with a high notion of what is required in a follower of Christ, and with a fixed and determined purpose to follow whatever things are lovely and of good report. On the other hand, if unhappily he fails, and exhibits a flexibility of principle, and a spirit of compromise, they, from that hour, obtain in his bad conduct, an excuse and justification for their bad conduct; and a quietus to their conscience, for an unspiritual, worldly-minded, and inconsistent profession.
2. You may put stumbling-blocks in the way of younger Christians, not only by doing what is wrong, but by not doing what is RIGHT—by a deficiency for instance, in seriousness, devoutness, diligence, and spirituality.
There is a radical defect in the religion of many professors, not in morality—but in spirituality. They are not earnest Christians. Their character and conduct do not bear and exhibit with sufficient distinctness, the impress of the cross; the image of God; the seal of the Holy Spirit; the stamp of eternity; the likeness of heaven. A Christian is, or should be, a man who takes not only the form, but the tone of his character from the Bible; and that tone should be a hue of heavenly color. Now where this to a considerable extent is lacking in older professors, its influence on younger ones must be sad indeed. If they hear little of devout conversation from your lips, they cannot of course attach any great value to spirituality of mind. If they see you habitually absent from the prayer-meetings, they cannot entertain any ideas of the importance of social prayer. If they do not see you at the weekday sermon, they are not likely to feel it of any importance to take an hour from business or pleasure, to be there themselves. If they hear you murmuring and discontented, impatient and rebellious; or even if they see you gloomy, cheerless, and disconsolate in trouble and sickness, how it must tend to diminish their sense of the power and value of religion, and to discourage them in the prospect of affliction, which may be coming upon themselves. O my beloved friends, do consider these things—and may the Lord give you understanding and grace.
These, remarks apply, of course, with peculiar force to such of you as are PARENTS—and who have children in your own household. What patterns of godliness should such young Christians expect to see in us! And what expectations of a godly example, have they a right to entertain? Have we any reason to be astonished, or to complain of their low degrees of piety—if ours are not high? Let me remind you that it is not the unconverted branches of our families, that should excite our solicitude, and engage our care—but the professedly converted. While we should be anxious to bring the former under the influence of religion, we should also be no less so, to carry on the others to higher degrees of personal piety. Let us ask if our conduct at home is of such a nature, as is calculated to make the piety of home flourish around us. Is there that consistency, that spirituality, that amiableness, that regularity in private prayer, and that fervor at the family altar, which shall encourage, instruct, confirm, and assist the young disciples who sit at our table?
How emphatically does this subject speak to the DEACONS of our Churches! They, as office-bearers, are, next to the pastor, the most prominent members of the community of saints. "What kind of people ought they to be in all holy conversation and godliness." They, like the pastor, should be "examples to the flock." In the original directions given by the apostle to the mother-church at Jerusalem, for the choice of these officers, its members were to look out for "men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit, and wisdom." And they chose Stephen, and others, "full of faith and the Holy Spirit." How solemn, how holy, how responsible, and in some respects, how fearful a thing is it to bear office in the church of Christ—in that church which he has purchased with his blood, which he died on the cross to redeem—and which he lives to govern as a priest upon his throne. What men should our Deacons be, as well as our pastors! How holy, how spiritual, how sympathizing, how diligent, how devoted to the welfare of the church!
As they live amid the members, with what reverence and affection should they be beheld, as men of unblemished reputation, and of eminent piety! What sacrifices of time, taste, and gratification—what self-denial, and labor—should they not be prepared to make for the benefit of the members? Wisdom in council, skill in managing the secular affairs of the church, tact in business, are not the only qualifications required in them, who are placed so near the ark—but the spirit of faith, prayer, and eminent piety! As they minister in the church, it should be as clad in the garments of holiness—and bearing the image of Christ! Whoever is deficient in piety, it should not be the church leaders! Whoever casts stumbling-blocks in the way of the brethren, it should not be the church leaders! If the spirit of godliness were about to depart from the church, the church leaders should stand in the gap, and prevent the glory from leaving the temple.
This subject however does not appertain exclusively to any one class of our older professors—but belongs to every Christian. The apostle takes it for granted that a Christian's attainments and usefulness should be in proportion to the date of his profession, "By this time, you ought to be teachers," was his language to the believing Hebrews. What then ought to be the extent of your knowledge, the maturity of your graces, the depth of your experience, the perfection of your example, the power of your influence, and the measure of your usefulness—who have been planted so many years in the garden of the Lord?
What a beautiful record is it in sacred history of Aquila and Priscilla, that this holy pair employed their riper knowledge and their richer grace, in instructing the young and eloquent Apollos, in the way of the Lord more perfectly. And you know a preacher and a pastor, who is not ashamed to declare his obligations to a poor and godly couple, long since gone to their rest, who by their simple piety, consistent conduct, friendly disposition, and mature experience, nurtured the seed of godliness in his heart, and helped to train the young disciple for usefulness in the church of God. They watched him with the solicitude of a father and mother in Israel, instructed him in their lowly cottage, in the principles of the gospel, relieved his perplexities, gathered out the stones from his path, and helped to establish him in the paths of righteousness and peace.
How few of the older disciples of the Lord, are thus disposed to open their doors to the young inquirers after truth and salvation, and to act the part of nursing fathers and nursing mothers, to the new-born babes in Christ.
How useful might be the older female members of the churches, in employing those seasons of communion which are continually occurring with their younger friends—to nourish in their minds the spirit of faith, prayer, and holiness. Instead of this, is not too much of the time spent in useless gossip, frivolous chit-chat, and vain discourse on fashion, dress, and news? O you matronly professors, consider how important is the right formation of the female character. Recollect that those young women who frequent your house, listen to your conversation, and are looking up to you as examples; will perhaps, be one day placed at the heads of the families like you, and will exert some influence upon the world, through their husbands and their children. And recollect also, that they will be likely to take the tone of their religion, and the pattern of their womanly piety—from you!
Endeavor, then, to breathe into their souls the spirit of ardent and consistent godliness! Repress the disposition to vanity, mold them to sobriety of judgment, and train them, as you have opportunity, to elevated sentiments of usefulness. Blessed is that woman, she is indeed a mother in Israel, who, by her amiable, cheerful disposition, united with good sense and engaging manners, attracts the younger females to her friendship; and who, when they are gathered round her, exerts her influence to render them blessings, both to the church and to the world. It is an ill sign for a middle-aged female professor of religion—when the more frivolous of the young are the fondest for her friendship—and the more spiritual Christians flee from her.
Perhaps some will reply, "We ought to exhibit religion to young people with a cheerful demeanor." Certainly you ought. I wish you to appear ever happy in their presence—the very description of peace—carrying, in the sunshine of your countenances, the evidence of a mind at rest, and a proof that you are the children of light, walking in light! But this is different from froth, and merriment, and levity. The cheerfulness of a Christian should be joy and peace in believing; rejoicing in the Lord—a serious joy, a joyful seriousness.
"Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God." Titus 2.
Let all, then, whether male or female, solemnly inquire, whether they have ever yet sufficiently estimated the importance of their example upon others. Let them recollect what their own ideas and expectations were of older Christians, when they entered the church—and what surprise and disappointment they experienced in the poor examples of the older Christians. Let them consider in what light it may be supposed they now appear, to those younger believers who have lately become acquainted with them—and ask themselves if no surprise has been felt, at seeing them no more distinguished for spiritual attainment. Let them look around, and see if some are not growing in godliness—because of their example. Let them especially remember, how responsible is their situation, and how fearful a thing it is to be the means of lowering in young believers, the ideas of the solemnity and spirituality of the Christian profession—and of spreading lukewarmness through the Christian church!
Young believers, I would conclude with a few hints to you. Do not expect to find any church composed of spotless characters. Do not allow yourselves to be staggered, almost to halting, by the imperfections you observe in older professors. You will see in the the church, some things that will perplex you. Still, however, remember that if there be more sin among professors than you expected—there is also more holiness than you see or know. Multitudes of eminent Christians are unknown to you, and it is perhaps the most inconsistent ones that you happen to know best. Guard against a censorious, suspicious, and arraigning disposition. Cultivate the spirit of charity, so beautifully described in 1 Cor. 13 and be as candid toward the imperfections of others, as a regard to the claims of truth and holiness will allow—and no more. Especially remember to guard against the insidious influence of the defects and inconsistencies of older professors. Adopt as your standard the Word of God. Take up your opinion of what religion is, by looking at this—not at the conduct of older Christians—or any Christians. He who would form a correct idea of the glory of the sun, must see the luminary as he shines from a cloudless sky, and not as he is reflected, in a distorted form, from the troubled surface of the turbid lake! If you want to know what Christianity should be—look at Christ!
Amplified: Till I come, devote yourself to [public and private] reading, to exhortation (preaching and personal appeals), and to teaching and instilling doctrine (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Concentrate until my arrival on your reading and on your preaching and teaching. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: While I am coming, keep concentrating on the public reading [of the Word], on exhortation, and on teaching. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: till I come, give heed to the reading, to the exhortation, to the teaching;
UNTIL I COME, GIVE ATTENTION TO THE PUBLIC READING OF SCRIPTURE, TO EXHORTATION AND TEACHING: eos erchomai (1SPMI) proseche (PAM) te anagnosei, te paraklesei, te didaskalia: (1Ti 3:14,15) (Deuteronomy 17:19; Joshua 1:8; Psalms 1:2,3; 119:97-104; Proverbs 2:4,5; Matthew 13:51,52; John 5:39; Acts 6:4; 17:11; 2Timothy 2:15-17) (Romans 12:8; 1Corinthians 14:3; Titus 2:15) (1Ti 4:6,16; 1Corinthians 14:6,26; 2Timothy 4:2)
Give attention (4337)(prosecho from pros = before, toward + echo = hold) means literally to hold to, toward or before. Originally it was followed by the word "the mind" (nous) but at times "the mind" was omitted but still the idea of "the mind" was implied. To apply one’s self to. To attach one’s self to.
The present imperative calls for this to be Timothy's (our our) lifestyle or habitual practice. The only way Timothy (or we) could obey this command continually was by daily filling by the Holy Spirit, relying on His enabling power to give him the desire (and the power - cp Php 2:13NLT) to boldly achieve this objective. In fact, every imperative (command) in the New Testament is a reminder to us of our need to die to self and be filled with the Spirit. To attempt to carry out these supernatural commands in our natural strength is tantamount to placing ourselves under the subtle yoke of legalism. Beware!
[Public] reading [of Scripture] (words in brackets added by translators) (320)(anagnosis from anaginosko literally meaning to "know again" = to know certainly and then to read, in the NT context particularly the Scriptures) is a noun refers to that which is read and is usually translated reading.
In 1 Ti 4:13 anagnosis refers to public reading of the OT or of the portion of Scripture appointed to be read in public which is called anágnosma. The readers in the church upon whom originally devolved the duty of reading and expounding or application of that portion chosen were called anagnomstai, the public readers.
TDNT (abridged) - anaginṓskō means “to know exactly,” “to recognize,” and is mostly used to refer to (public) reading, e.g., a letter (Acts 15:31; 1 Th. 5:27) or the title on the cross (Jn. 19:20); usually the OT (Mk. 2:25, etc.), publicly in Lk. 4:16; Acts 13:27; the Daniel apocalypse (Mk. 13:14); the prophecy of Revelation (Rev. 1:3); and the NT (Justin Apology 67.3–4). anágnōsis, meaning “knowledge” or “recognition,” is also used for public reading, as of documents or the OT, and occurs in this sense in the NT (e.g., Acts 13:15; 2 Cor. 3:14; 1 Tim. 4:13) and the early church (e.g., Clement of Alexandria paedagogus 220.127.116.11).
Theological Lexicon of the New Testament on anagnosis - On the Sabbath day, the Jews congregate at the synagogue (bêṯ sēp̱er) to hear the reading of and a commentary on a text from the Law and the Prophets. The Christian church took up this tradition and turned “readers” into liturgical ministers.2 But the reading of papyri and parchments was difficult, and it was necessary for the reader to know the text before reading it publicly. “When you say, ‘Come listen to a reading that I am going to do,’ make sure that you do not grope your way through.” This is the anagnōsis that St. Paul enjoins upon Timothy: “Apply yourself to reading, to exhorting, to teaching” (1 Tim 4:13). Thus the letter to the Colossians would be read in the Laodicean community (anaginōskō, Col 4:16); public reading, which assured the maximum disclosure of the word of God, was used from the first days of the apostolic writings and the prophetic revelations (Rev 1:3). In the second century, the duty of the “lector” is entrusted to a competent minister, meaning on the one hand one who can produce an intelligible reading: anagnōstēs kathistasthō euēkoos (Can. App. 19; Const. App. 2.5: polys en anagnōsmasin, hina tas graphas epimelōs hermēneuē [“much given to reading, so that he may interpret the Scriptures carefully”]; cf. Ambrose, Off. 1.44.215); and on the other one who is intelligent: ho anaginōskōn noeitō (Mark 13:14; cf. Eph 3:4); since he must not only make an informed choice of the passages to read, but also comment on them. He does not have the right to be boring or esoteric (Ambrose, Off. 1.22.100–101; Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 4.23.8).
Lexham Bible Guide entry on anagnosis, "Public Reading." - The primitive sense of anagnosis and the cognate verb anaginosko is “recognize,” holding the sense of “know again.” Early in the word’s history, anagnosis began to hold the sense of “reading” or “public reading.” Although anagnosis occurs only three times in the NT, the cognate verb anaginosko occurs more than 30 times (though the verb anaginosko does not appear in 1 Timothy). Incidentally, in ancient times, people typically read out loud, in contrast to the modern practice of reading silently. This ancient practice likely developed in part because of the usual presentation of hand-copied text with much less punctuation (if any) and fewer breaks. These characteristics made silent reading hard enough that the oral performance of the written word was necessary to decipher the text and interpret it—much like our practice of “sounding out” unfamiliar words today. In this sense, any reading of Scripture would likely be audible in ancient times, but public reading depended on the context of a social or religious gathering. The public reading of the portions of the OT was practiced in the both the early (e.g., Exodus 24:7) and later periods (e.g., Neh 8:8) of Israel’s history, and also in the NT times (e.g., Luke 4:16). In addition, the NT refers to the public reading of Paul’s letters (e.g., 1 Th 5:27; Col 4:16). In 1 Timothy 4:13, Paul commands Timothy to “devote [himself] to the public reading [anagnosis] of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching” (ESV). At this point in the development of the NT canon, the content of “Scripture” is the OT, and maybe some of Paul’s earlier letters. Likely Paul intentionally lists the public reading of Scripture before the tasks of exhortation and teaching. Timothy is a young leader (1 Tim 4:12), and basing his authority on the message of Scripture is wise. Along these lines, Paul’s conviction throughout his letters is that Christ’s life and work was built on the OT and fulfilled it. Paul would likely want the pattern of Scripture preceding teaching to be a regular feature of his ministry. In addition, Paul has been adamant in 1 Timothy that the gospel message is built on sound thinking about doctrine (1 Tim 1:10; 4:6; 6:3) in contrast to trivial thinking about “myths” (1 Tim 1:4; 4:7). The solemn reading of Scripture is a good way to start teaching sessions in a community where there has been “an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words” (1 Tim 6:4 ESV).
ISBE entry - READING - red'-ing (miqra'; anagnosis): As a noun occurs once in the Old Testament (Neh 3:8) and 3 times in the New Testament (Acts 13:15; 2 Cor 3:14; 1 Tim 4:13), each time with reference to the public reading of the Divine Law. The verb "to read" (qara'; anaginosko) occurs frequently both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament: (1) often in the sense of reading aloud to others, especially of the public reading of God's Law or of prophecy, as by Moses (Ex 24:7), Ezra (Neh 8:3,18), Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth (Lk 4:16), of the regular reading of the Law and the Prophets in the synagogues (Acts 13:27; 15:21), and of the reading of apostolic epistles in the Christian church (Col 4:16; 1 Thess 5:27); (2) also in the sense of reading to one's self, whether the divine word in Law or prophecy (Dt 17:19; Acts 8:28-30, etc.), or such things as private letters (2 Ki 5:7; 19:14; Acts 23:34, etc.). D. Miall Edwards
Anagnosis - 3x in NT and once in the Septuagint - notice that twice it refers to reading the Old Testament in the Jewish Synagogue (Acts 13:15, 2Co 3:14) and in 1 Ti 4:13 refers to reading in the church (and recall the main Scripture the early church had was still the Old Testament).
Nehemiah 8:8 They read (Lxx = anaginosko) from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading. (Hebrew = miqra = convocation, assembly, reading; Lxx = anagnosis).
Acts 13:15 After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, "Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it."
2 Corinthians 3:14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.
1 Timothy 4:13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.
Exhortation (encouragement) (3874)(paraklesis from parakaléo = beseech <> pará = side of + kaléo = call) refers to calling to one's side or one's aid which can be for the purpose of providing solace, comfort, consolation, exhortation, encouragement.
Encouragement is from en = in + corage from Latin cor = heart. It describes the act of inspiring one with confidence and/or hope, filling with strength, and suggests that the raising of one’s confidence is accomplished especially through an external agency.
Exhortation is from ex = out + hortari = to urge or incite and means incitement by argument or advice, a strong urging, an urgent appeal, an earnest persuasion, giving strong advisement, animation by arguments to a good deed or laudable conduct or course of action.
MacArthur - Paraklēsis (encouragement) has the root meaning of coming alongside someone to give assistance by offering comfort, counsel, or exhortation. It is precisely the kind of assistance exemplified by the Good Samaritan, who, after doing everything he could for the robbed and beaten stranger, “took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you’ ” (Luke 10:35; cf. Lk 10:30, 31, 32, 33, 34). (MacArthur, J. Philippians. Chicago: Moody Press)
Wuest on paraklesis - The word has various meanings; “a calling near, a summons, imploration, supplication, entreaty, exhortation, admonition, encouragement, consolation, solace.” The well-rounded all-inclusive idea is that of encouragement, of aid given the needy person, whether it be consolation, exhortation, or supplication. (Philippians Commentary - Verse by Verse Comments online)
Teaching (doctrine) (1319)(didaskalia from didasko from dáo = to know or teach) is either the act of teaching or the thing taught and in this use denotes doctrine or what is taught not so much the method of teaching. The character and quality of the didaskalia or doctrine is absolutely critical as it can cause one to tossed and carried about if false (Eph 4:14), some such false doctrines being actually demonically inspired! (1Ti 4:1).
Sound doctrine is necessary to nourish our souls as taught by Paul in (1Ti 4:6) where the Greek word for "nourish" is entrepho (used only there in the Bible) and which figuratively means to be nourished in the faith. Literally it means to "nourish in" anything where the word nourish means to furnish or sustain with nutriment (nutriment promotes growth and repairs the natural wastage of organic life). In 1 Ti 4:16 Timothy (and every pastor/preacher) is to pay close attention to their teaching (didaskalia - their doctrine) and to persevere in this genre of sound teaching "for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you," but it will entail hard work (1Ti 5:17). Dear preacher or teacher, if you are not laboring over the Scriptures in preparing your message, then you are falling woefully short of the Biblical standard and the sheep will surely be malnourished and vulnerable to the "wolves!" (not to mention that you will be held accountable at the Bema seat for your stewardship of this gift from God, cp 1 Cor 4:1, 2, 9:17, Eph 3:2, Col 1:25).
Oswald Chambers (writing on topic "Cultivate Mental Habits") rightly reminds us that "If we wish to excel in secular things, we concentrate; why should we be less careful in work for God? Don’t get dissipated; determine to develop your intellect for one purpose only—to make yourself of more use to God. Have a perfect machine ready for God to use. It is impossible to read too much, but always keep before you why you read. Remember that “the need to receive, recognise, and rely on the Holy Spirit” is before all else. (Chambers, Oswald: Approved Unto God: The Spiritual Life of the Christian Worker. Discovery House. 1997)
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A Clear Testimony - As we listened to the radio on the way to church one Sunday, my wife and I heard a broadcast from a local congregation. The pastor was announcing special meetings with a guest preacher. He mentioned that a question-and-answer period would follow each service. Then he said, "Even if you don't have any questions, come anyway. I'm sure that after you've heard our speaker, you will have some!"
Now, I know what he meant, but the way he expressed himself seemed to suggest that the guest speaker would raise more questions than he would answer.
Sometimes that's what happens when a Christian tries to explain Bible truths to new believers or witness to unsaved people. He confuses them more than he helps them. The problem is not with the truth he is trying to explain but with his poor communication. His failure may be due to a lack of Bible study and prayer.
We are obligated to study the Scriptures (1Ti 4:13,16). Then, when questions are raised about spiritual issues, or when we have an opportunity to witness to the lost, we will have the right answers and will give a clear testimony that's true to the Bible. —Richard De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, help me make my witness clear,
And labor faithfully,
So friends and neighbors turn to Christ
Through what they hear from me. --Anon.
Never substitute your views for the Good News.
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Read It Aloud - Our Daily Bread - We are blessed with many wonderful translations of the Bible these days, so it’s hard for us to realize that for more than 350 years one version was used by much of the English-speaking world. Today some people recoil at the King James’ “thees,” “thous,” and “verilys.” Yet there is something beautiful about hearing it read aloud, especially familiar passages like the 23rd Psalm.
In God’s Secretaries, author Adam Nicolson chronicles the King James translators’ sensitivity to sound. He says that the 12 men sat around the room listening to the text being read aloud. They felt that what governed the acceptability of a particular verse was not only accuracy to the original language, but a pleasant sound of the words.
Paul understood the power of the spoken Word. To the young pastor Timothy he instructed public Bible reading: “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1Ti 4:13).
The Word of God stirs the heart when it enters the believer’s ear. So whatever version you’re reading in your quiet time, in family devotions, or in a church service, remember the power of the spoken Word. Look for opportunities to read it aloud. —Dennis Fisher (Copyright. Used by permission of Our Daily Bread)
We need to take the time each day
To read God’s Word and pray,
And listen for what He might say
To guide us on our way. —Sper
God speaks through His Word—take time to listen