|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:11-16 Men's youth will not be despised, if they keep from vanities and follies. Those who teach by their doctrine, must teach by their life. Their discourse must be edifying; their conversation must be holy; they must be examples of love to God and all good men, examples of spiritual-mindedness. Ministers must mind these things as their principal work and business. By this means their profiting will appear in all things, as well as to all persons; this is the way to profit in knowledge and grace, and also to profit others. The doctrine of a minister of Christ must be scriptural, clear, evangelical, and practical; well stated, explained, defended, and applied. But these duties leave no leisure for wordly pleasures, trifling visits, or idle conversation, and but little for what is mere amusement, and only ornamental. May every believer be enabled to let his profiting appear unto all men; seeking to experience the power of the gospel in his own soul, and to bring forth its fruits in his life.
Verse 16. - To for unto, A.V. (twice); thy leaching for the doctrine, A.V.; these things for them, A.V.; save both for both sate, A.V. Take heed (ἔπεχε); as in Acts 3:5 (see too Luke 14:7). Thy teaching. The A.V., the doctrine, is the better rendering, though the difference of meaning is very slight. The use of ἡ διδασκαλίσ in 1 Timothy 6:1 and 3, and Titus 2:10 strongly supports the sense of "doctrine," i.e. the thing taught (see note on ver. 13). Continue in these things (ἐπίμενε αὐτοῖς); comp. Acts 13:43; Romans 6:1; Romans 11:22, 23; Colossians 1:23. It is impossible to give a satisfactory solution to the question - What does αὐτοῖς refer to? It seems to me necessarily to refer to what immediately precedes, viz. σεαυτῷ καὶ τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ, and so to refer rather to the sense of the words than to the exact grammar. The things which he was to "take heed to" were his own conduct and example (included in σεαυτῷ) an d the doctrine which he preached; and in a steady continuance in these things - faithful living and faithful teaching - he would save both himself and his hearers. The application of the words to the ταῦτα of ver. 15, or to all the things enumerated from ver. 12 onwards, or, taken as a masculine, to the Ephesians, or the hearers, as variously proposed by eminent commentators, seems alike impossible.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Take heed unto thyself,.... Not as a man, or a Christian only, but as a minister; and as every minister should take heed to his life and conversation, that it be exemplary, as in 1 Timothy 4:12 to his gifts, that they be not lost, or neglected, but used and improved; to the errors and heresies abroad, that he be not infected with them; and to his flock, which is the other part of himself, that he feed it with knowledge and understanding: and to thy doctrine: preached by him, that it be according to the Scriptures, be the doctrine of Christ, and his apostles, and according to godliness; that it tend to edification, and is pure, incorrupt, and all of a piece; and that it be expressed in the best manner, with all boldness and plainness; and that he defend it against all opposition:
continue in them; or "with them"; the members of the church at Ephesus; or rather in the doctrines of the Gospel; which should be done, though a majority is against them; though rejected by the wise, learned, and rich; though not to be comprehended by carnal reason; and though loaded with reproach and scandal; and though persecuted, yea even unto death for them:
for in doing this, thou shall both save thyself; a minister by taking heed to himself, and doctrine, saves himself from the pollutions of the world, from the errors and heresies of false teachers, from the blood of all men, and from all just blame in his ministry.
And them that hear thee; by being an example to them in doctrine and conversation, a minister is the means of saving and preserving those that attend on him, from erroneous principles, and immoral practices; and by faithfully preaching the Gospel to his hearers, he is instrumental in their eternal salvation; for though Jesus Christ is the only Saviour, the only efficient and procuring cause of salvation, yet the ministers of the Gospel are instruments by which souls believe in him, and so are saved; the word preached by them, being attended with the Spirit of God, becomes the ingrafted word, which is able to save, and is the power of God unto salvation; and nothing can more animate and engage the ministers of the word to take heed to themselves and doctrine, and abide therein, than this, of being the happy instruments of converting sinners, and saving them from death; see
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. Take heed—Give heed (Ac 3:5).
thyself, and … doctrine—"and unto thy teaching." The two requisites of a good pastor: His teaching will be of no avail unless his own life accord with it; and his own purity of life is not enough unless he be diligent in teaching [Calvin]. This verse is a summary of 1Ti 4:12.
continue in them—(2Ti 3:14).
in doing this—not "by doing this," as though he could save himself by works.
thou shalt … save thyself, and them that hear thee—(Eze 33:9; Jas 5:20). In performing faithfully his duty to others, the minister is promoting his own salvation. Indeed he cannot "give heed unto the teaching" of others, unless he be at the same time "giving heed unto himself."
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