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?

Public readings (1 Tim. 4:13)

“Until I arrive,

Give attention

To the public readings,

To exhorting,

And to teaching.”

ἕως ἔρχομαι πρόσεχε τῇ ἀναγνώσει, τῇ παρακλήσει, τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ.

Paul said, “Until I arrive (ἕως ἔρχομαι), give attention (πρόσεχε) to the public readings (τῇ ἀναγνώσει), to exhorting (τῇ παρακλήσει), and to teaching (τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ).”  Paul had some advice for Timothy, since he was not going to be there for a while.  He wanted Timothy to pay attention to public readings.  This was probably the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament stories, that had been a common Jewish practice.  This was not a reference to the New Testament since it had not yet been written.  In fact, this letter became a part of the New Testament canon.  Timothy should continue to exhort the early followers of Jesus with his teachings about Jesus Christ.  Which do you prefer public readings, exhortations, or teachings?

Set a good example (1 Tim. 4:12)

“Let no one despise

Your youth!

Set the believers

An example

In speech,

And conduct,

In love,

In faith,

And in purity.”

μηδείς σου τῆς νεότητος καταφρονείτω, ἀλλὰ τύπος γίνου τῶν πιστῶν ἐν λόγῳ, ἐν ἀναστροφῇ, ἐν ἀγάπῃ, ἐν πίστει, ἐν ἁγνείᾳ.

Paul said, “Let no one (μηδείς) despise (καταφρονείτω) your youth (σου τῆς νεότητος)!  Set the believers (τῶν πιστῶν) an example (ἀλλὰ τύπος γίνου) in speech (ἐν λόγῳ) and conduct (ἐν ἀναστροφῇ), in love (ἐν ἀγάπῃ), in faith (ἐν πίστει), and in purity (ἐν ἁγνείᾳ).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἀναστροφῇ that means behavior, conduct, life, or manner of life.  Only this letter to Timothy used this unique word ἁγνείᾳ, that means purity or chastity.  Paul insisted that the first thing that Timothy should do is set a good example in his speech and conduct.  He had to practice what he preached.  He should be an exemplary follower of Jesus Christ with his love, faith, and purity.  They should not belittle him because of his young age, since Timothy may only have been in his thirties, certainly not an elder.  Paul insisted on a connection between word and action.  He wanted a loving, believing, and pure leader whose actions would speak louder than his words.  Do your actions speak louder than your words?

These are the important things (1 Tim. 4:11)

“These are the things

That you must

Insist on

And teach.”

Παράγγελλε ταῦτα καὶ δίδασκε

Paul said, “These are the things (ταῦτα) that you must insist on (Παράγγελλε ταῦτα) and teach (καὶ δίδασκε).”  Paul got very specific with Timothy.  He was going to list the specific things that Timothy should teach and insist on.  He was going to list the specific commandments that should be taught to the new followers of Jesus Christ.  Do you know what are the important things for Christians?

We have hope (1 Tim. 4:10)

“To this end,

We toil

And struggle,

Because we have our hope

Set on

The living God,

Who is the savior

Of all people,

Especially of those

Who believe.”

εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ κοπιῶμεν καὶ ἀγωνιζόμεθα, ὅτι ἠλπίκαμεν ἐπὶ Θεῷ ζῶντι, ὅς ἐστιν Σωτὴρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων, μάλιστα πιστῶν.

Paul said, “To this end (εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ), we toil (κοπιῶμεν) and struggle (καὶ ἀγωνιζόμεθα), because we have our hope (ὅτι ἠλπίκαμεν) set on the living God (ἐπὶ Θεῷ ζῶντι), who is the savior (ὅς ἐστιν Σωτὴρ) of all people (πάντων ἀνθρώπων), especially of those who believe (μάλιστα πιστῶν).”  Paul emphasized that he was working hard and struggling to achieve godliness.  He had hope in the living God, who is the savior of all people.  Then Paul added the caveat that the believing Christians would have a leg up.  The God of Israel was God for all people.  God wants all people to be saved.  However, only a few believe in him.  Do you believe in the living God?

This is a correct saying (1 Tim. 4:9)

“This saying

Is sure

And worthy

Of full acceptance.”

πιστὸς ὁ λόγος καὶ πάσης ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος·

Paul said, “This saying is sure (πιστὸς ὁ λόγος) and (καὶ) worthy (ἄξιος) of full (πάσης) acceptance (ἀποδοχῆς).”  Only this letter to Timothy used this unique word ἀποδοχῆς, that means properly, acceptance, appreciation, or approbation.  Paul explained this saying about the importance of godliness is true and sure.  They should accept it as worthy at face value.  Godliness is more important than physical fitness.  Would do you think about physical fitness?

Godliness is valuable (1 Tim. 4:8)

“While physical exercise

Is of some value,

Godliness

Is valuable

In every way.

It holds promise

For both

The present life

And the life to come.”

ἡ γὰρ σωματικὴ γυμνασία πρὸς ὀλίγον ἐστὶν ὠφέλιμος· ἡ δὲ εὐσέβεια πρὸς πάντα ὠφέλιμός ἐστιν, ἐπαγγελίαν ἔχουσα ζωῆς τῆς νῦν καὶ τῆς μελλούσης.

Paul said, “While physical exercise (ἡ γὰρ σωματικὴ γυμνασία) is of some value (πρὸς ὀλίγον ἐστὶν ὠφέλιμος), godliness is (ἡ δὲ εὐσέβεια) valuable in every way (πρὸς πάντα ὠφέλιμός ἐστιν).  It holds promise (ἐπαγγελίαν ἔχουσα) for both the present life (ζωῆς τῆς νῦν) and the life to come (καὶ τῆς μελλούσης).”  Only this letter to Timothy used this unique word γυμνασία, that means physical exercise in a wide sense, and the word ὠφέλιμος, that means useful, profitable, valuable, or beneficial.  Paul promoted the importance of godliness, both for this present life and the eternal life to come.  He pointed out that physical exercise or training has a limited value.  Among the Greco-Romans, physical training was a cultural idea, part of a good life.  Obviously, spiritual training was more important than mere physical exercise.  Godliness has benefits in many ways, both in the present life and a future eternal life.  Are you preparing for eternal life or are you just satisfied with his fleeting human life?

Godliness (1 Tim. 4:7)

“Have nothing to do

With profane myths!

Have nothing to do

With old wives’ tales!

Train yourself

In godliness!”

τοὺς δὲ βεβήλους καὶ γραώδεις μύθους παραιτοῦ. γύμναζε δὲ σεαυτὸν πρὸς εὐσέβειαν.

Paul said, “Have nothing to do (παραιτοῦ) with profane (τοὺς δὲ βεβήλους) myths (μύθους)!  Have nothing to do with old wives’ tales (καὶ γραώδεις)!  Train yourself (γύμναζε δὲ σεαυτὸν) in godliness (πρὸς εὐσέβειαν)!”  Only this letter to Timothy used this unique word βεβήλους, that means permitted to be trodden, by implication unhallowed, accessible, or profane, and the word γραώδεις, that means characteristic of old women or such tales as old women tell.  Paul wanted Timothy to stay away from the profane myths that would have been popular among the former pagan gentile Greek Christians as well as the silly useless tales of old women.  Instead, Timothy should train himself in godliness, not unsacred things.  Timothy should be concerned about the things of God, not the things of the profane world around him.  Are you concerned about sacred things?

Use these instructions (1 Tim. 4:6)

“If you put

These instructions

Before the brothers,

You will be a good servant

Of Jesus Christ,

Nourished

On the words of faith

And of sound teaching

That you have followed.”

Ταῦτα ὑποτιθέμενος τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς καλὸς ἔσῃ διάκονος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, ἐντρεφόμενος τοῖς λόγοις τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς καλῆς διδασκαλίας ᾗ παρηκολούθηκας·

Paul said, “If you put these instructions (Ταῦτα ὑποτιθέμενος) before the brothers (τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς), you will be a good servant or deacon (καλὸς ἔσῃ διάκονος) of Jesus Christ (Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ), nourished (ἐντρεφόμενος) on the words of faith (τοῖς λόγοις τῆς πίστεως) and of sound teaching (καὶ τῆς καλῆς διδασκαλίας) that you have followed (ᾗ παρηκολούθηκας).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ὑποτιθέμενος that means to place under, lay down, suggest to, or put in mind.  Only this letter to Timothy used this unique word ἐντρεφόμενος, that means to train up, nourish, or educate.  Paul reminded Timothy that if he put Paul’s instructions before the Christian brother believers, he would be a good deacon or servant of Jesus Christ.  Fortunately, Timothy had been nourished on the words of faith and sound teaching, since Paul had been his teacher.  Not only had he received the proper teaching.  He had followed this teaching.  Do you follow the teaching of Jesus Christ that you have received?

Everything is sanctified (1 Tim. 4:5)

“Everything

Is sanctified

By God’s word

And prayer.”

ἁγιάζεται γὰρ διὰ λόγου Θεοῦ καὶ ἐντεύξεως

Paul said, “Everything is sanctified (ἁγιάζεται γὰρ) by God’s word (διὰ λόγου Θεοῦ) and prayer (καὶ ἐντεύξεως).”  Only this letter to Timothy used this unique word ἐντεύξεως, that means a petition, supplication, prayer, or intercession.  Paul maintained that everything could be made holy or sanctified by God’s word or human prayer.  Prayer at meals was a part of the Jewish tradition that the early followers of Jesus Christ also observed.  Thus, their prayers before meals sanctified all of God’s creation so that all food was worthy to be eaten with thanksgiving.  Do you thank God for your daily holy food?