1 Tim 4.6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. 10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 11 These things command and teach. 12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 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.
In verse 13 we see three items that the young Timothy was instructed to “give attendance to” by the Apostle Paul. In fact he later tells Timothy to “meditate upon these things” and “give himself wholly to them”. What are these three things
So what are we to take from this instruction? What are we to gain in the 21st century and apply to our lives as Christians? Here is what I believe. Of course you may have differing thoughts on these verses, and if so, please comment on them below!
Angnosis, the act of reading. It is really difficult to understand the bible without reading it. Reading implies more than a casual glance. Paul told Timothy to study to show himself approved unto God. Active reading implies taking notes. Writing thoughts or ideas down in the margin of the bible, or perhaps in a journal or notebook of some kind. I personally do both. I like to highlight portions of scripture and jot notes down in my Classic Note Bible from Anchor Bible Concepts. This allows me to quickly recognize key concepts and triggers my memory when I do my devotional reading. I also use journals like the ones sold by Mead. In the journal, I write down verses and other commentary I find helpful in the exegesis of the selected text. I write these notes down and then I go into my Wiki and enter the notes under the appropriate header. I find wikis to be the easiest way to link not only subjects to different scriptures, but also scriptures to scriptures. Any way you do it, though, remember reading in the Greek text implies active reading.
Paraklesis is the act of comforting, consolation, and giving solace. As a young minister, Timothy was instructed by Paul as well as encouraged by Paul to creating an atmosphere of peace and comfort for those under his care. We as Christians need to take up the gospel message to a hurting world and offer them the peace that comes in knowing Jesus Christ as our savior and our comforter in the form of the Holy Spirit.
Didaskalia is instruction, learning, and teaching. Whenever the scriptures command a believer to do or act upon something, it is our obligation as slaves [1 COR 6.20] to his purpose to do it. As Christians it is also our responsibility to search the scripture diligently to ensure that the doctrine we are receiving is of God [found in His Word] and if we are in the position of being a teacher that we teach only that which is acceptable in the sight of God. In order to accomplish both of these things you must study the scriptures, and by that I mean the Old and New Testament cannon that is accepted by most protestant churches today. I think there is some value in reading apocryphal texts, as well as commentaries, but you must not let anything written in those to conflict with the teachings found in the bible. Do not build teaching [doctrine] on extra-biblical sources of information.
As you can tell, there is a lot to be gained in meditating upon these things. The Greek word for meditate is meletao which means to ‘revolve in the mind’. This means thinking or taking note of these things on a continuing basis.