by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 2 Study # 7 Lincolnton, NC September 04, 2005
13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
1901 ASV Translation:
13 Till I come, give heed to reading, to exhortation, to teaching.
I. Continuing Instruction for the Interim
A. "Until I come..."
1. Paul clearly felt that things would change when he got there, but until he did, there were some relatively crucial things that Timothy needed to be doing.
a. 3:14-15 indicate that Paul had plans to come, but they had not jelled and he did not know if/when they would.
b. 1:3 indicates that Paul had felt constrained to leave Timothy to do some necessary work that he did not have time to finish himself.
c. These are indicators of the way in which the Word of God developed for our benefit: Paul simply responded to the need as he saw it with written instruction and that labor was God's tool for the production of this part of our Bible. How God works is amazing in that what Paul saw as a responsible effort for a present need God saw as an eternal result.
2. Paul wrote from the vantage point of an apostle handing down instruction to a non-apostle who could, however, do the necessary work if there were sufficient guidelines established.
B. "...give heed..."
1. The first twelve uses of this verb in the New Testament all have significant danger in the context.
2. The next four uses focus upon a "fixation of attention" without making "danger" a part of the mix.
3. This text is the last of four in 1 Timothy in which Paul uses this word and each of them has the idea of "being focused" upon something as though it could bring significant results [1:4; 3:8; 4:1.]
4. Paul used the same term in Titus with the same sense as 1 Timothy 1:4.
5. The author of Hebrews used the word twice and Peter used it once in his second letter.
6. The conclusion is that "giving heed" always signals a focusing of attention because of consequences/results that are going to come.
a. The first "focus of attention" has to do with "reading".
1) The word is only used three times and the other two have to do with the reading of the Scriptures.
2) In 2 Corinthians 3:14 Paul acknowledges that "reading" will not necessarily result in proper understanding of the biblical message. It makes a great deal of difference what the guiding thesis is under which a person "reads" the message.
b. The second "focus of attention" has to do with "exhortation".
1) The translation of the word as "exhortation" is arbitrary for there is no particular reason in our text to call for "exhortation".
2) The word so translated is used variously to refer to any number of concepts that have to do with two people walking side by side -- exhortation, rebuke, consolation, correction, etc. What one must do is consider what the context requires as it presents its picture. If the one doing the action of this verb has a companion who is lagging behind, "exhorting" would be a legitimate translation. If that one's companion is forging ahead, "rebuke" would be in order to slow the errant one down. If the companion is straying afield, "summoning" would be a good translation. Etc. The word fundamentally means to "call to one's side" and its translation value needs to keep that in mind.
c. The third "focus of attention" has to do with "teaching".
1) Invariably, at some point, people have to come to grips with more of the involved issues than simply the statement of a biblical text, or an attempt by another to get them to conform to its meaning.
2) Because of this need, "teaching" is always going to be a necessity. Teaching is the development of a "world view" that enables people to take specific information and plug it into the "view" so that they can see how the various elements of the Truth tie together.