Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 2 Study # 9
15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16 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.
1901 ASV Translation:
15 Be diligent in these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy progress may be manifest unto all.
16 Take heed to thyself, and to thy teaching. Continue in these things; for in doing this thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee.
September 18, 2005
- I. Paul's Continuing Summons to Timothy.
- A. He has already exhorted Timothy to think highly of his "spiritual gift".
- B. Now he is exhorting him to commit himself to the exercise of it.
- 1. The word "meditate" or "be diligent" is only used in three contexts in the New Testament.
- a. In Mark 13:11 it is used to indicate a "pre-planning" that most consider necessary because of the circumstances that have developed.
- b. In Acts 4:25 it is used in a quotation of Psalm 2:1 as a translation of a Hebrew word which is used to describe the attempt to order thoughts into "sense", or to speak words out of a heart that has come to some conclusions by the process of reasoning.
- c. In the text before us, the word stands in a setting where "neglect not" has already come into focus and "take heed" follows hard on its heels.
- d. In the ancient world, the word was used to describe a physician who was attempting to figure out how to treat a patient. It was also used to describe the "practicing" of a would-be warrior in the skills of combat, or an orator who is "practicing" his speech. The overall, general sense of the word was that of someone who was seeking to become skilled through repetitious application of "successful" procedures. The weight of the word involved a kind of careful thinking in order to prepare oneself for some anticipated circumstance.
- 2. The word "give thyself" is literally the second person imperative of the verb "to be". It means "you be..." and involves a command to put oneself "into" something.
- a. Paul has commanded Timothy to "meditate upon these things".
- b. Now he tells him to "be" in them. His command depends upon the metaphor which pictures a person taking his position in the midst of certain issues (these things). He had already commanded a commitment to "reading, summoning, and teaching in the light of a spiritual enablement that had come with attending prophecies and elder-recognition". Now he reinforces the command with yet another: "Be in these things."
- 3. Paul's purpose for the directives is that Timothy's "progress" might not only develop, but be obvious.
- a. The word "profiting/progress" is a word that signals an on-going success in the pursuit of an objective...a way to achieve a difficult, and high, objective.
- b. The word "may/may be" is actually the subjunctive form of the same verb in the command to "be"...that your progress may be... .
- c. Then the short-term objective is identified: the manifestation of Timothy's personal progress.
- 1) Paul wants Timothy's personal progress in spiritual development to be "obvious" to all.
- 2) This is not for Timothy's sake; it is for the enhancement of his ability to help others make the same progress.
- a) Personal progress does not have to be manifest to others when the issues involved are one's own benefit.
- b) But, "others" are typically made more willing to "go along" themselves if they are following a clear example -- like a shepherd leading his flock as opposed to a drover driving his cattle. The fact is that most "leaders of congregations" are far more "into" driving than they are setting the example. It's a whole lot easier to harangue and brow-beat others about their failures and needs than it is to show them, by example, how to make progress.
- C. He follows with a further command that Timothy do this.
- 1. The exhortation is to "give heed to oneself and to the teaching".
- a. The issue is yet another verb piled upon the previous ones to make sure that Timothy is clear on what he is to be focused upon.
- 1) In the final analysis, "teaching" (the doctrinal content of the faith) is absolutely crucial.
- 2) But, there is an attendant issue that is almost as crucial: one's own personal commitment to that doctrinal content. Why exhort others to do what one will not do himself?
- b. Focus.
- 2. "Abide in them".
- a. There is significant danger about: eternal and temporal destruction.
- b. Getting "into" the center of the focused issues is the only way to keep from being destroyed.