1 Timothy 4:13-16 “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
The other day I was sitting with some friends and we were talking about these verses. And the more we talked, the more I thought about what was Paul saying, what does it mean to devoted to the public reading of Scripture.
1st Timothy 4:13 is to be understood, not of the reading of the Scriptures in public, for the advantage of others, a custom which obtained in the Jewish synagogues; see ( Acts 13:15 ) ( 15:21 ) but in private, for his own use and service, that he might be more perfect, and more thoroughly furnished to the work and office to which he was called; for the Scriptures are the fund of spiritual knowledge, as well as the test and standard of doctrine, out of which all must be fetched, and by which it must be tried; and if Timothy, who had known the Scriptures from a child, had been trained up in them, and was always conversant with them, had need to give diligent attention to the reading of them, then much more others: as also to exhortation, to doctrine;
As he was privately to read the Scriptures, for his own benefit, he was publicly to expound them, or preach from them, to the advantage of others; for these two, exhortation and doctrine, are branches of the ministerial work, which reading furnishes and qualifies for.
"Exhortation" intends the stirring up of believers to the exercise of grace, and the discharge of duty; and is a considerable part of the work of the ministry, and on which a minister of Christ should much insist; and it becomes the saints to suffer every word of exhortation from them, and receive it kindly,-John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible
Paul called Timothy to begin reading the word and to study them, to focus his life on them, so that he could then exhort others to live by them. Timothy had to study them carefully and know them, so not to misuse them, but to correctly teach them as God would have him teach, so that the lives of those who hear them, including him, would be saved by them. If Timothy would do as Paul instructed him to do he would save himself from failure in ministry, and because of his care to his life and doctrine he would see others come to know Jesus Christ as Lord. So you can see the weight of this text. As I thought about it, I asked God to create in me a clean heart, and help me to live a life worthy of the call of the Gospel. My heart is that all who have called on the name of Jesus Christ would do the same. We must fight sin with all we have; we must ask forgiveness when we sin, and turn quickly back to God. We must hold to the word of God with all our strength. Yes, we must devote ourselves to these things.