Verse of the Day Devotion 1 Timothy 4:13

“Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.” – 1 Timothy 4:13

Over the next couple of days as we approach the New Year, I will be looking at verses that I believe we all, including myself, should focus on as we approach and go into 2022.  I am preparing myself to focus my attention on how I want to think next year.  Thus, the verse selections for this week.

Paul here is writing to his disciple Timothy.  He is encouraging him to do the work of God and be a good servant of Jesus Christ. He starts out by reminding him that some will leave the Christian Faith. “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.” 1 Timothy 4:1-3.  And this message is also meant for us, for we are seeing the same thing today.  People are falling away from the faith because of the deception by spirits through the bad teachings being put forth in this world, and unfortunately by pastors and teachers in some of our churches today.

Paul then said that we should make this known to our brothers and sisters in Christ. “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.” 1 Timothy 4:6. These are important things to tell our brothers and sisters about.  It is important to inform them of what is true and what is error, so that they may be cautious of these things and avoid the effect of wrong teachings. And in so doing, as it says in verse 7, we must tell them and ourselves “But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” 1 Timothy 4:7.  What is meant here is fables and ignorant stories.  As an interesting point, Paul calls them graōdeis, which, in the Greek, literally means “old womanish.” In the culture of that day, superstition and gossip were rampant. Today, we refer to a superstitious myth as an “old wives’ tale,” and this is a similar sense of what Paul is saying here. The claims about God which Timothy needs to avoid are “silly:” unreliable hearsay which does not honor God.

Now we come to our focus verse. “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.” 1 Timothy 4:13.  Paul tells Timothy three things which he must devote his time to.  First, the public reading of scripture.  This was an important duty to perform.  In a social setting where few could have afforded or owned copies of Scripture (which would have been scrolls at this point in history), public reading was a primary avenue of teaching what the Scriptures say. Because of its perceived heavenly origin and edifying effect, it would also be a catalyst for worship. 

Second is exhortation. This regards us exhorting, admonishing, and encouraging them through the Word.  Another way to put this is to expound on the word in order to help them live the life they are called to live.  It is easy to be frustrated with the difficulty that this life can be.  And this frustration can cause us to back off if we are not careful.  And this can be done individually or in a group setting.  The idea is to use the Word to encourage and if necessary correct them so that they will stay on the right track.  And finally, teaching. There are many who are new Christians who need to understand what the Word says regarding what is true and what this Christian life is all about. There are also many who have been Christians for a while but have not been taught properly in the past.  If we do not take the opportunity to help these Christians understand this new life they are living, there is a good possibility they will stray from the truth, not because they want to, but because they may easily be duped by false teachers.

As I look forward to 2022, the Holy Spirit is placing this in my heart.  I want to read the scriptures more than I have in the past.  I want to read it privately on my own, as well as to and with those who need help in their Christian walk. I want to preach more so that I can share with a group of Christians what this life is and how to live it with much vigor.  And also, I want to teach more, getting deeper in the scriptures so as to educate people as to what the scriptures say and what they mean at a higher level then they have see before.  And this is another of my New Year resolutions that God has placed on my heart. 

And again, I encourage all of my Christian friends and family members to pray about what God is calling you to do in 2022 in service to Him.  There are many who need our help in understanding this Christian life as well as the scriptures in more depth.  And also, spending time in prayer that God will continue to work through you to become more fruitful in your calling.  These are my prayers for myself, and also for you all.  And for anyone who is reading this and have not accepted Christ, please feel free to send me an email to the address below if you desire more information or just wish to talk about it.

God Bless you All.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

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