We know from Acts 16:1-3 that Paul heard about a young man at Lystra who “was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium.” Based on this good report, “Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him” as he proceeded on his second missionary journey. Why did Paul invite Timothy to go with him? Wouldn’t this slow down the apostle in his work? Just the opposite! Taking a young man who had already proven a degree of “faithfulness” would give Paul the opportunity to help him mature and multiply the work of preaching the gospel and planting well established churches.
Toward the end of Paul’s life as he sat in house arrest in Rome, he wrote his third to last letter. Who should it go to but this young man. Paul heard some disturbing news and he wanted Timothy to have the right kind of devotion that protects against those who “will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared” (1 Timothy 4:1–2). This danger still exists today.
How was Timothy going to protect himself from such trends? “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13). This kind of devotion is a ‘continual watching and being alert’ so you do not deviate from the practice of reading Scripture ‘out loud’. We don’t practice this today as we should. The root word for “public reading” (anaginṓskō) means “to know exactly or to recognize” the Scriptures which comes from the practice of reading them. With devotion like this (habitually reading the Scriptures), the Spirit gives the resource to exhort (encourage and comfort) as well as teach the truth of God’s Word.
Where is your devotion? Will it protect you from false teaching or slight departures from truth?
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