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1 Timothy 4:13 – Give heed to reading

03-04-2024 - Posted by Hans

Till I come, give heed to reading, to entreaty, to teaching.

Earlier we read that Paul hoped to meet Timothy soon in Ephesus (3:14; 1:3). The instructions in this letter serve to clarify how one would behave in the ecclesia as the house of God in the meantime, while Paul is absent. That makes this letter so much more than just an occasional document from the first century. What Paul wrote down is still extremely relevant to us, twenty centuries later!

Timothy would focus on three things. First of all: on the reading. We encounter this word in two other passages (Acts 13:15 and 2 Cor. 3:14), and in both cases it refers to the reading from the Tanakh as was and is customary in the synagogue. Paul also refers to these “sacred scriptures” (2 Tim. 3:15), but also to “all Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim. 3:16,17). By the latter he refers to what we call the writings of ’the New Testament’. For example, he insists on the reading of his own letters (Col. 4:16; cf. 2 Peter 3:16). Copies of scriptures were precious and scarce in those days, so believers had to rely mainly on reading them aloud. How privileged we are today to have an abundant availability of all this!