Give attention to

by Mike Ratliff

13 ἕως ἔρχομαι πρόσεχε τῇ ἀναγνώσει, τῇ παρακλήσει, τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ. 1 Timothy 4:13 (NA28)

13 Until I come give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhortation and teaching. 1 Timothy 4:13 (translated from the NA28 Greek Text)

This ministry began as a polemic response to the preaching and ministry downgrade that was taking place in the visible church during the early years of the attempted Purpose Driven takeover of the evangelical churches throughout the United States and in other parts of the world. There were other things going at that time as well such as the rise of the Emergent Village, and other forms of “Christian Liberalism” such as the ministry of Rob Bell. My response and the response of all those who stood against this attack on the Gospel and every part of Christian orthodox soteriology was to stand firmly on what the Word of God says, never straying from the fact that it is God’s absolute truth. This has enabled us to endure. The enemies of the truth are still out there, but we know who they are and until God takes us home we will continue to shine the light of God’s truth into the darkness of their false doctrines.

One of the pillars of Christian ministry is the centrality of preaching. Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post (1 Timothy 4:13). Tragically, most ministries today are built on entertainment, personality, crowd-gathering events, gimmicks, programs, and other things that simply appeal to the flesh. However, the truly biblical minister builds solely on the Word of God. Paul makes it very clear that until he returned, Timothy was to do one thing only: keep preaching the truth in which Paul had instructed him (cf. 2 Timothy 2:2).

In 1 Timothy 4:13 “give attention to” translates the verb πρόσεχε (proseche) the second singular, present active imperative  case of προσέχω (prosechō), which was a nautical term for holding a ship in a direction, to sail onward. The idea, then, was “to hold on one’s course.” What course was Timothy to hold? Not entertainment or people’s “felt needs.” His course was to be be the Word of God alone. Paul used the same word in his letter to Titus.

14 μὴ προσέχοντες Ἰουδαϊκοῖς μύθοις καὶ ἐντολαῖς ἀνθρώπων ἀποστρεφομένων τὴν ἀλήθειαν. Titus 1:14 (NA28)

14 not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. Titus 1:14 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Here we have “paying attention” translating the verb προσέχοντες (prosechontes) the present active participle, nominative plural case of προσέχω (prosechō). Paul was instructing Titus as pastor to not give attention to things that were unbiblical. “Jewish fables” were a mixture of extra-biblical Jewish traditions and pagan myths. Similarly, “commandments of men” were simply man-made teachings. Paul told Titus that he was not to set his course according to those things but according to God’s Word. What does this say about many of today’s methods?

Specifically, Timothy’s and Titus’s course was to be set on “reading,” exhortation, and doctrine, and by application, this should be our course. First and foremost it is the reading of God’s Word that should fill our churches. That should be our course.

Soli Deo Gloria!

3 thoughts on “Give attention to

  1. Interesting points. It’s also interesting to look at how the modern church has been cultivated. One can read about the role of those like directing The Leadership Network, and those they groomed to prominent positions. Also the extensive influence of seminaries like Fuller.

    As for Paul’s exhortations to Timothy about the Word of God they reach a peak with:

    2Ti 3:15  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
    2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    2Ti 3:17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    In the Titus verse, this is directed not just to Titus but for the elders, bishops overseers or leaders in the church, earlier it states: Titus 1:9  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

    As does: 1 Timothy 3:2  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

    Holding fast the faithful word; taught, sound doctrine, exhort, convince, apt to teach….all very consistent with 2 Tim :16-17

    I wish it was easy….I teach a early morning Sunday Class on the WCF and WSC at our church we may have 7 or so people attending, (3 of which just attend our class and are not part of the church), out of a church of 600-700 members. Not many clamoring to join us. Other classes following the more popular modern teachers and even videos available today are more greatly attended. The WCF is so scripturally rooted it even begins with a chapter on the Bible…
    https://opc.org/wcf.html#Chapter_01

    Again sorry for the long comment. I will reblog on my site.

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on Just Walking Together and commented:
    Good post on Mike ratliff’s Site: Interesting points. It’s also interesting to look at how the modern church has been cultivated. One can read about the role of those like directing The Leadership Network, and those they groomed to prominent positions. Also the extensive influence of seminaries like Fuller. There has been a lot of planning and effort in developing what we experience in the Visible Church today.

    As for Paul’s exhortations to Timothy about the Word of God they reach a peak with:

    2Ti 3:15  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
    2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    2Ti 3:17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    In the Titus verse, this is directed not just to Titus but for the elders, bishops overseers or leaders in the church, earlier it states: Titus 1:9  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

    As does: 1 Timothy 3:2  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

    Holding fast the faithful word; taught, sound doctrine, exhort, convince, apt to teach….all very consistent with 2 Tim :16-17

    I wish it was easy….I teach a early morning Sunday Class on the WCF and WSC at our church we may have 7 or so people attending, (3 of which just attend our class and are not part of the church), out of a church of 600-700 members. Not many clamoring to join us. Other classes following the more popular modern teachers and even videos available today are more greatly attended. The WCF is so scripturally rooted it even begins with a chapter on the Bible…

    https://opc.org/wcf.html#Chapter_01

    Like

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