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Monday, April 17, 2017

Intentional Focus

In one of the studies in which I am privileged to engage we are in 1 Timothy 4 this week.  Look at 1 Timothy 4:12 – 16.  Verse 12 is the one with which you are probably most familiar.
Intentional Focus

As you know the New Testament was written mostly in Greek.  Paul’s letters were all in Greek.  The verbs in Greek carry much of the weight in communicating the intent of the author.  In our study of the text then, it is most helpful, and important, that we pay attention to the verbs, particularly those directed to Timothy.  Those are:
  • Let (no one) look down on
  • Show yourself
  • Give attention
  • Do not neglect
  • Take pains
  • Be absorbed
  • Pay close attention
  • Persevere
All of these but the first are second person singular present active imperative, the first is third person singular present active imperative.  We will not engage in defining all of those terms, but the last three.  Present tense can have many nuances but here is continual action.  Active voice indicates Paul intends for Timothy to perform the root action of the verb.  Imperative mood, is as you might suspect, a command.  Paul is directing Timothy to personally see to these actions continuously.

So what?  We could say that Timothy has a lot of responsibility as a leader of the church in Ephesus, and as far as that goes we would be correct.

However, based on the object of the second verb, show yourself, Timothy is to be an example.  Paul tells us in multiple places that we are to follow his example:
  • 1 Corinthians 10:11
  • Philippians 3:17
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:7
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 9
Not only does he command Timothy to be an example here, but also he commands Titus to as well in  Titus 2:7.

So?

This is Paul following Christ’s command in Matthew 28:18 – 20, is it not?  Christ expects His disciples, which based on John 17:20, includes us, to teach all that He commanded as part of the process of making disciples.

That would seem to suggest that those imperatives Paul addressed to Timothy, are addressed to each of us as well.

Think about that.  Is that the focus of all of the believers in your community?  Or has that focus been delegated to those who are paid staff or have taken on the mantle of teacher?  It would seem that if Paul’s exhortation does apply to all of us, and I would strongly suggest that it does, that it becomes a practical corollary to Matthew 6:33 for all of us.

1 comment:

  1. At the minimum, most of us have families: wives (husbands), children, grandchildren. Where is the easiest place for us, perhaps even more so for us in ministry, to fall down. Sadly in my own experience as well as observation, it is precisely at home - where my true self is far more obvious than in any public setting.

    At this time in my life I now realize my greatest heritage is my daughters, their husbands and six vibrant, enthusiastic grandchildren. They all live away from me, but as Paul demonstrates through his letters I have no excuse for minimizing or passing off my responsibility to them. It is the greatest challenge of life now, for sure.

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