1 Timothy 4:13
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
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(13) Till I come, give attendance to reading.—The words evidently imply a hope, perhaps even an expectation, on the part of St. Paul, that he would one day be enabled once more to visit the Church of Ephesus; but so long as that absence lasted, Timothy was to attend carefully to three special points in the public ministry in which he was, in the Apostle’s absence, the chief officer.

The “reading” was that public reading of Scripture in the congregation—a practice borrowed from the synagogue service, when publicly the Law and the Prophets were read to the people assembled. (See Luke 4:16; Acts 13:15.) In these early Christian assemblies, about the year 66-67, the question arises, Were any Scriptures read in public besides the books of the Old Testament? No certain reply can be given: it is, however, probable, even at this very early date, that one at least of the older Gospels (probably St. Mark) was already known and used in the Christian churches, and read along with the Scriptures of the old covenant. That the reading of the “Gospels” very soon became a part of the regular service in the congregations of Christians is evident from the words of Justin Martyr, Apologia, i. 67, written in the first half of the first century.

To exhortation, to doctrine.—These both most probably refer to the public ministry in the congregation. The first, “exhortation,” particularly applies to the feelings. The reading of the Scriptures must be followed by an earnest practical application of their teaching to the affairs of that life in the midst of which the Christian listener was living. The word “doctrine” suggests a public teaching directed rather to the understanding of the hearers. The idea of exposition, or even of dogmatic teaching, seems here included.

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.Till I come; - notes, 1 Timothy 3:14-15.

Give attendance to reading - The word here used may refer either to public or to private reading; see Acts 13:15; 2 Corinthians 3:14; compare Esdr. 9:48. The more obvious interpretation here is to refer it to private reading, or to a careful perusal of those books which would qualify him for his public work. The then written portions of the sacred volume - the Old Testament - are doubtless specially intended here, but there is no reason to doubt that there were included also such other books as would be useful, to which Timothy might have access. Even those were then few in number, but Paul evidently meant that Timothy should, as far as practicable, become acquainted with them. The apostle himself, on more than one occasion, showed that he had some acquaintance with the classic writings of Greece; Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12.

To exhortation - see the notes on Romans 12:8.

To doctrine - To teaching - for so the word means; compare notes on Romans 12:7.

13. Till I come—when Timothy's commission would be superseded for the time by the presence of the apostle himself (1Ti 1:3; 3:14).

reading—especially in the public congregation. The practice of reading Scripture was transferred from the Jewish synagogue to the Christian Church (Lu 4:16-20; Ac 13:15; 15:21; 2Co 3:14). The New Testament Gospel and Epistles being recognized as inspired by those who had the gift of discerning spirits, were from the first, according as they were written, read along with the Old Testament in the Church (1Th 5:21, 27; Col 4:16), [Justin Martyr, Apology, 1.67]. I think that while public reading is the prominent thought, the Spirit intended also to teach that Scripture reading in private should be "the fountain of all wisdom from which pastors ought to draw whatever they bring before their flock" [Alford].

exhortation—addressed to the feelings and will with a view to the regulation of the conduct.

doctrine—Greek (ministerial), "teaching" or instruction. Addressed to the understanding, so as to impart knowledge (1Ti 6:2; Ro 12:7, 8). Whether in public or private, exhortation and instruction should be based on Scripture reading.

Till I come, and after that time too, but then I will further instruct thee.

Give attendance to reading; be diligent in reading the Holy Scriptures, both for thine own instruction and for the edification of others.

To exhortation; to exhort others to their duty there described, or to comfort others from arguments fetched thence.

To doctrine; to instruct others in the principles of religion. Till I come,.... To Ephesus; where the apostle hoped to be shortly, but was prevented; he afterwards came to Miletus, and sent for the elders of Ephesus thither, when he took his final leave of them. He mentions this circumstance, not as if Timothy was to attend to the following things no longer, but to quicken him to an attendance to them from the consideration of his being shortly with him.

Give attendance to reading; that is, of the Scriptures, which the Jews call "reading". (l).

"Says R. Tanchum Bar Chanilai, for ever let a man divide his years or life into three parts; one third (let him spend) in the Mikra, (the Scriptures, and the reading of them,) another third in the Misna, and the other third in the Talmud.''

And this is to be understood, not of the reading of the Scriptures in public, for the advantage of others, a custom which obtained in the Jewish synagogues; see Acts 13:15 but in private, for his own use and service, that he might be more perfect, and more thoroughly furnished to the work and office to which he was called; for the Scriptures are the fund of spiritual knowledge, as well as the test and standard of doctrine, out of which all must be fetched, and by which it must be tried; and if Timothy, who had known the Scriptures from a child, had been trained up in them, and was always conversant with them, had need to give diligent attention to the reading of them, then much more others: as also

to exhortation, to doctrine; as he was privately to read the Scriptures, for his own benefit, he was publicly to expound them, or preach from them, to the advantage of others; for these two, exhortation and doctrine, are branches of the ministerial work, which reading furnishes and qualifies for. "Exhortation" intends the stirring up of believers to the exercise of grace, and the discharge of duty; and is a considerable part of the work of the ministry, and on which a minister of Christ should much insist; and it becomes the saints to suffer every word of exhortation from them, and receive it kindly, 2 Timothy 4:2, Romans 12:8, Hebrews 13:22. The word signifies also "consolation", and which is another branch of the ministry. Believers are oftentimes disconsolate through the prevalence of corruptions, the power of Satan's temptations, and the hidings of God's face, and need comfort; when the ministers of the Gospel should be Barnabases, sons of consolation, and should speak comfortably to them; for which they are qualified by the God of all comfort, who comforts them in all their tribulations, that they might be capable of speaking good and comfortable words to others. "Doctrine" designs the teaching and instructing of the church in the mysteries of the Gospel; opening and explaining the truths of it; defending them against all opposers, and refuting errors and heresies contrary to them. This is the evangelic Talmud; and these three, "reading", "exhortation", and "doctrine", may answer to the above three things the Jew advises men to divide their time among, the Mikra, Misna, and Talmud: reading answers to the Mikra, and indeed is no other; and exhortation to the Misna, or oral law; and doctrine to the Talmud, and which also that word signifies: but the apostle would have Timothy spend his time in, and give his attention to that which might be truly beneficial to himself, and profitable unto others.

(l) T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 19. 2.

{15} Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

(15) The private exercise of pastors, is the continual reading of the scriptures, from which they may draw water out of wholesome doctrine and exhortation, both for themselves and for others.

1 Timothy 4:13. Ἕως ἔρχομαι] comp. 1 Timothy 3:14. De Wette says in explanation: “so long as thou in my absence dost preside over the church at Ephesus.” This does not agree with the circumstances, inasmuch as Timothy had not been installed as the regular superintendent of the church. That was an office held more by presbyters.

πρόσεχε (1 Timothy 1:4, 1 Timothy 3:8, 1 Timothy 4:1): “curam et studium nava;” de Wette: “wait.”

τῇ ἀναγνώσει, τῇ παρακλήσει, τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ] Bengel rightly says: “lectioni Scripturae sacrae in ecclesia; huic adjunguntur duo praecipua genera, adhortatio, quae ad agendum et doctrina, quae ad cognoscendum pertinet.”

ἀνάγνωσις in Acts 13:15, 2 Corinthians 3:14, is used of the reading of the law and the prophets in the synagogue; this custom was continued in Christian congregations.

The two expressions παράκλησις and διδασκαλία are found elsewhere in connection with one another (Romans 12:7-8; comp. also παράγγελλε καὶ δίδασκε above). Chrysostom is wrong in his explanation: παράκλησις· πρὸς ἀλλήλους, διδασκαλία· πρὸς πάντας. With as little ground do others understand by διδασκ. private instruction, and by παράκλ. public preaching; or also by the former, instruction for catechumens, and by the latter, instruction for the church.[163]

[163] Van Oosterzee’s remark is also wrong: “The former was necessary for individuals in special circumstances, the latter for all every day;” because all need continually both the διδασκαλία as well as the παράκλησις.1 Timothy 4:13. ἕως ἔρχομαι: For ἕως with present indic, instead of fut. see Winer-Moulton, Grammar, p. 370. Cf. Luke 19:13, John 21:22-23.

ἀνάγνωσις, παράκλησις, διδασκαλία are the three elements in the ministry of the word: (a) reading aloud of Scripture (Luke 4:16; Acts 13:15; 2 Corinthians 3:14, see Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, vii., 4:262); (b) exhortation based on the reading, and appealing to the moral sense (2 Timothy 4:2; Justin Martyr, Apol. i. 67); (c) teaching, appealing to the intellect, see note on chap. 1 Timothy 1:10. Exhortation and teaching are similarly joined in Romans 12:7-8, and 1 Timothy 6:2.13. Till I come] The present indic, (instead of future indic. or aorist subjunctive) is found Luke 19:13, ‘trade ye herewith till I come;’ John 21:22, ‘if I will that he tarry till I come.’ The right reading in the former passage, dative of relative with preposition (instead of conjunction), shews how the usage has come; ‘during the time in which I am on my way,’ ‘whilst I am a-coming.’

to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine] The ‘public reading’ as in the other two places where the noun occurs, Acts 13:15, ‘after the reading of the law;’ 2 Corinthians 3:14 ‘at the reading of the old covenant;’ and similarly ‘public exhortation’ as in the same verse of the Acts, Acts 13:15, ‘if ye have any word of exhortation,’ cf. also Acts 15:31-32; and similarly public teaching,’ A.V. ‘doctrine’ in its old sense; cf. Romans 12:7-8, where ‘teaching’ and ‘exhorting’ are joined; ‘he that teacheth, to his teaching, or he that exhorteth, to his exhorting;’ the three parts of the public ‘ministry of the Word,’ reading, expounding, enforcing. The Bishop’s charge in the Ordering of Priests in our Prayer-Book clearly quotes the verse in this sense, ‘with doctrine and exhortation taken out of the Holy Scriptures; and with a life agreeable to the same.’1 Timothy 4:13. Τῇ ἀναγνώσει, to reading) of the Sacred Scripture in the Church. To this are added two principal genera: exhortation, which refers to conduct; and doctrine, which refers to knowledge; ch. 1 Timothy 6:2, at the end; Romans 12:7-8.Verse 13. - Heed for attendance, A.V.; teaching for doctrine, A.V. Till I come (1 Timothy 3:14; 1 Timothy 1:3). Reading (τῇ ἀναγνώσει). The public reading of the Scriptures (the Lessons, as we should say). This we know was the practice in the synagogue (Luke 4:16, etc.; Acts 13:27; Acts 15:21; 2 Corinthians 3:15). We see the beginning of reading the New Testament in the Christian assemblies in Ephesians 3:4; and Colossians 4:16; and generally in the fact of Epistles being addressed by the apostles to Churches. The ἀναγνώστης, the reader, lector, was a regular order in the third and fourth centuries (Bingham, vol. 1. p. 288). The Grace is being revived in our day. Exhortation (τῇ παρακλήσει); see Acts 4:36, where Barnabas's name is interpreted as meaning "Son of exhortation" (R.V.), and Acts 13:15; comp. Romans 12:7 (where, as here, παράκλησις and διδασκαλία are coupled together); 1 Thessalonians 2:3, etc. Teaching (διδασκαλία); almost always rendered "doctrine" in the A.V. But here, where the act of teaching (like the act of reading, the act of exhorting, in the two preceding clauses) is intended, "teaching" is perhaps the best word according to our modern usage. As regards the difference between διδασκαλία and παράκλησις, the former would express "doctrinal teaching," whether of dogma or of precept, the latter entreaties to believe the one and practice the other (see Acts 11:23 and Acts 14:22 for good examples of πράκλησις). To reading (ἀναγνώσει)

Three times in N.T. See Acts 13:15; 2 Corinthians 3:14. The verb ἀναγινώσκειν usually of public reading. See on Luke 4:16. So in lxx. In post-classical Greek, sometimes of reading aloud with comments. See Epictetus, Diss. 3, 23, 20. Dr. Hatch says: "It is probable that this practice of reading with comments... may account for the coordination of 'reading' with 'exhortation' and 'teaching' in 1 Timothy 4:13."

Exhortation (τῇ παρακλήσει)

Often in Paul. See on consolation, Luke 6:24, see on comfort, Acts 9:31, and see on comforter, John 14:16.

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