Do not neglect your gift! (1 Tim. 4:14)

“Do not neglect

The gift

That is in you

Which was given to you

Through prophecy

With the laying on of hands

By the council of elders.”

μὴ ἀμέλει τοῦ ἐν σοὶ χαρίσματος, ὃ ἐδόθη σοι διὰ προφητείας μετὰ ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν τοῦ πρεσβυτερίου.

Paul said, “Do not neglect (μὴ ἀμέλει) the gift (χαρίσματος) that is in you (τοῦ ἐν σοὶ) which was given to you (ὃ ἐδόθη σοι) through prophecy (διὰ προφητείας) with the laying on of hands (μετὰ ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν) by the council of elders (τοῦ πρεσβυτερίου).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word χαρίσματος, that means a gift of grace, a free gift, or an undeserved favor.  Paul reminded Timothy of the grace that he had received when the elders of the council conferred it on him with the laying on hands.  Timothy was not to neglect what he had received.  Jewish rabbis were appointed or ordained by the synagogue elders.  Was this a prophetic function?  The laying on of hands was very important in Judaism and was carried over to the new developing Christian community.  We know that the laying on hands was used for healing and blessing.  However, in Acts, 8:17, Peter and John laid their hands on the newly baptized to bestow the Holy Spirit.  In Leviticus, chapter 16:21, Aaron and the other priests laid their hands on the goat or scapegoat so that would take away their sins.  However, hand laying was used as a way to pass on authority as in Numbers, chapter 27:18-23, and Deuteronomy, chapter 34:9, when Moses laid his hands on Joshua.  Finally, hand laying was a religious ceremony as the Levites were ordained in Numbers chapter 8:10 with a hand laying.  Thus, this looks like an ordination of Timothy by the elders at Ephesus.  Certainly, this laying on of hands was a transmission of a charism or grace to Timothy.  Timothy should use this grace that he has received.  Do you use the gifts or graces that you have received?

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