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1 Timothy 4:16 – The doctrine is no theory

03-04-2024 - Posted by Hans

Attend to yourself and to the teaching. Be persisting in them, for in doing this you will save yourself as well as those hearing you.

With the above words Paul concludes this part of the letter. It is a repetition and also more or less a summary of what Paul tied to Timothy’s heart, especially in the last verses. It contains nothing new but it underlines the foregoing.

Timothy would attend to himself “and to the teaching.” The two always go hand in hand. Where “the teaching” does not refer to a ’theory’ because Paul’s teaching was by no means theoretical. By a theory we mean a ‘view’ that you can follow without involvement and at a distance. Compare it with someone sitting in the ’theatre’ a word that is also related to ’theory’. Paul’s teaching is not a theory but is about reality. It touches the heart and has consequences for all of existence.

The fact that this persistent attention to yourself and to the teaching is not theoretical is also evident in the elaboration. Practicing it is not an optional hobby but a matter of life and death. Only those who take “sound teaching” to heart can count on safe passage in this evil eon. Then you are safe, otherwise not.