1 Timothy 4:16
Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
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(16) Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them.Thy teaching is a more accurate rendering of the original Greek word than “the doctrine.” The Apostle in these words sums up the two chief pastoral requisites, and then points out the mighty consequences which will result from faithfully carrying them out. The minister of Christ must keep his attention fixed on his own demeanour and conduct, and at the same time give equally careful heed to the quality and character of his teaching. This teaching must be true and manly, and, above all, it must be faithful in doctrine; and he himself must exemplify it in word and deed. Without true and efficient teaching, the pure and upright life of the Christian pastor will fail to win souls for his Master; and, on the other hand, the most efficient instruction will be of no avail unless the life corresponds to the words publicly uttered.

For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.—“Thou shalt save”—that is, in the great day of judgment; for only one meaning, and that the highest, must be given to “thou shalt save.” Eternal happiness for pastor and flock is the double reward offered to the faithful servant of the Lord. In striving to save others, the minister is really caring for his own salvation.

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.Take heed unto thyself - This may be understood as relating to everything of a personal nature that would qualify him for his work. It may be applied to personal piety; to health; to manners; to habits of living; to temper; to the ruling purposes; to the contact with others. In relation to personal religion, a minister should take heed:

(1) that he has true piety; and,

(2) that he is advancing in the knowledge and love of God. In relation to morals, he should be upright; to his contact with others, and his personal habits, he should be correct, consistent, and gentlemanly, so as to give needless offence to none. The person of a minister should be neat and cleanly; his manners such as will show the fair influence of religion on his temper and deportment; his style of conversation such as will be an example to the old and the young, and such as will not offend against the proper laws of courtesy and urbanity. There is no religion in a filthy person; in uncouth manners; in an inconvenient and strange form of apparel; in bad grammar, and in slovenly habits - and to be a real gentleman should be as much a matter of conscience with a minister of the gospel as to be a real Christian. Indeed, under the full and fair influence of the gospel, the one always implies the other. Religion refines the manners - it does not corrupt them; it makes one courteous, polite, and kind - it never produces boorish manners, or habits that give offence to the well-bred and the refined.

And unto the doctrine - The kind of teaching which you give, or to your public instructions. The meaning is, that he should hold and teach only the truth. He was to "take heed" to the whole business of public instruction; that is, both to the matter and the manner. The great object was to get as much truth as possible before the minds of his hearers, and in such a way as to produce the deepest impression on them.

Continue in them - That is, in these things which have been specified. He was ever to be found perseveringly engaged in the performance of these duties.

For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself - By holding of the truth, and by the faithful performance of your duties, you will secure the salvation of the soul. We are not to suppose that the apostle meant to teach that this would be the meritorious cause of his salvation, but that these faithful labors would be regarded as an evidence of piety, and would be accepted as such. It is equivalent to saying, that an unfaithful minister of the gospel cannot be saved; one who faithfully performs all the duties of that office with a right spirit, will be.

And them that hear thee - That is, you will be the means of their salvation. It is not necessary to suppose that the apostle meant to teach that he would save all that heard him. The declaration is to be understood in a popular sense, and it is undoubtedly true that a faithful minister will be the means of saving many sinners. This assurance furnishes a ground of encouragement for a minister of the gospel. He may hope for success, and should look for success. He has the promise of God that if he is faithful he shall see the fruit of his labors, and this result of his work is a sufficient reward for all the toils and sacrifices and self-denials of the ministry. If a minister should be the means of saving but one soul from the horrors of eternal suffering and eternal sinning, it would be worth the most self-denying labors of the longest life. Yet what minister of the gospel is there, who is at all faithful to his trust, who is not made the honored instrument of the salvation of many more than one? Few are the devoted ministers of Christ who are not permitted to see evidence even here, that their labor has not been in vain. Let not, then, the faithful preacher be discouraged. A single soul rescued from death will be a gem in his eternal crown brighter by far than ever sparkled on the brow of royalty.

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."

Take heed unto thyself; take heed how thou livest, and orderest thy life, that it may be exemplary.

And unto the doctrine; and take heed also both that thou teachest, and what thou teachest.

Continue in them; and do both these things not for a time, but constantly.

For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee; thus thou shalt do what in thee lieth to save thine own soul, and also to save the souls of others to whom thou preachest, or among whom thou conversest.

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

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both {h} save thyself, and them that hear thee.

(h) Faith is by hearing, and hearing by preaching: and therefore the ministers of the word are so said to save themselves and others, because in them the Lord has put the word of reconciliation.

1 Timothy 4:16. Cumulat sane h. 1. Paulus adhortationes, unde ejus amorem in Timotheum et in Christianos Timotheo subditos intelligas, Leo.

ἔπεχε σεαυτῷ] “take heed to thyself,” refers to 1 Timothy 4:12; καὶ τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ refers to 1 Timothy 4:13. Heinrichs wrongly combines the two together as an hendiadys (“pro σεαυτῷ ut possis tradere bonam διδασκαλίαν”). On the other hand, however, we must not understand the διδασκαλία to mean the doctrine of others (Heydenreich: take heed, that nothing is neglected in the instruction of Christians by the teachers placed under thy oversight).

ἐπίμενε αὐτοῖς] αὐτοῖς is not masculine, as Grotius and Bengel think, the one understanding it of the Ephesians, the other of the audientes. It is neuter, and as such it is to be referred not only to what immediately preceded (= “in this attention to thyself and to the doctrine”), but, glancing back to τούτοις, ταῦτα in 1 Timothy 4:15 (Wiesinger), it is to be referred also to all the precepts from 1 Timothy 4:12 onward. Hofmann is wrong in connecting τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ with ἐπίμενε, and explaining αὐτοῖς as the dativus commodi; for, on the one hand, no subject precedes to which αὐτοῖς could be referred; and, on the other, there is nothing to show that αὐτοῖς is the dat. commodi.

The exhortations close with words confirming them: τοῦτο γὰρ ποιῶν] “if thou doest this” (regarding the form of the clause, comp. 1 Timothy 4:6); καὶ σεαυτὸν σώσεις καὶ τοὺς ἀκούοντάς σου] Without reason, de Wette thinks that σώσεις has in Timothy’s case a different meaning from that which it has in the case of others; that in his case it is to be understood of the higher (!) σωτηρία, in theirs simply of the σωτηρία. Σώζειν means originally “save;” but in the N. T. it has in connection with Christian doctrine not only a negative, but also a positive meaning. Hence we cannot, with Mack, take it here as signifying merely, protecting from heresy and its effects. Luther translates it rightly: “thou shalt make blessed,” etc.—i.e. thou shalt further thine own salvation as well as the salvation of those who hear thee, i.e. of the church assigned to thee.

1 Timothy 4:16. ἔπεχε σεαυτῷ, κ.τ.λ.: The teacher must needs prepare himself before he prepares his lesson. A similar thought is conveyed by the order of the words in Genesis 4:4, “The Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering”. ἐπέχειν (see reff. and Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, vii., vii. 377) has a quite different signification in Php 2:16. Cf. Acts 20:28, προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς.

τῇ διδασκαλία: Thy teaching (R.V.). The doctrine (A.V.) can take care of itself. See note on 1 Timothy 1:10. αὐτοῖς is neuter, referring to the same things as ταῦτα; not masc., “Remain with the Ephesians,” as Grotius supposed, a view tolerated by Bengel.

σεαυτὸν σώσεις: cf. Ezekiel 33:9.

16. the doctrine] Again, thy teaching; ‘thyself’ sums up 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Timothy 4:14, ‘thy teaching,’ 1 Timothy 4:13, so that the plural continue in them is quite natural. The best punctuation is, with Drs Hort and Westcott, to put only semicolons at the end of 1 Timothy 4:15 and in 1 Timothy 4:16, shewing that the reference is the same throughout. It is interesting to compare the version of this passage given in the Prayer-Book (the Form for Consecration of Bishops), to be said by the Archbishop on delivering the Bible: ‘Give heed unto reading, exhortation, and doctrine. Think upon the things contained in this Book. Be diligent in them, that the increase coming thereby may be manifest unto all men. Take heed unto thyself, and to doctrine, and be diligent in doing them; for by so doing thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.’

continue in them] Lit. ‘abide by them,’ ‘cling to them.’ This is the proper force of the compound verb in St Paul. See Romans 6:1; Colossians 1:23; Php 1:24.

1 Timothy 4:16. Ἔπεχε, take heed) Hesychius has the following: ἔπε ε, ἐπίκεισο, πρόσεχε, κάτεχε, ἐπίμενε; Job 18:2, תבינו, ἐπίσχες, give heed, ‘mark;’ and so, often the son of Sirach.—αὐτοῖς, to them) Refer this to ταῦτα, these things, 1 Timothy 4:15; or to what follows (τοὺς ἀκούοντάς σου), i.e. (continually attend) to them that hear thee.—σώσεις, thou shalt save) viz. so as not to be seduced 1 Timothy 4:1.—τοὺς ἀκούοντας, them that hear) with obedience.


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.

1 Timothy 4:16Take heed (ἔπεχε)

Only here in Pastorals, and once in Paul, Philippians 2:16. Quite frequent in lxx. Lit. hold upon, fasten thy attention on, as Luke 14:7; Acts 3:5; Acts 19:22. In lxx, in the sense of apply, as Job 18:2; Job 30:26; or forbear, refrain, as 1 Kings 22:6, 1 Kings 22:15. In Philippians 2:16, to hold out or present, a sense which is found only in Class.

Unto thyself and unto the doctrine (σεαυτῷ καὶ τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ)

Better, to thyself and to thy teaching. The order is significant. Personality goes before teaching.

Continue in them (ἐπίμενε αὐτοῖς)

See on Romans 6:1. In lxx only Exodus 12:39. Ἁυτοῖς is neuter, referring to these things, 1 Timothy 4:15. A.V. in them is indefinite and ambiguous. Better, continue in these things.

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