Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. — 1 Timothy 4: 13, 15
As the bridal congregation, let us make visible progress in our faith.
The words of our Bible text are addressed to Timothy, who was a co-worker of Apostle Paul and, according to later accounts, lived as a Bishop in Ephesus. Our Bible text is addressed first and foremost to a minister, but let us all take a close look at the task it describes.
The first verse of the passage contains three important references for being a Christian. It is important to
- Read the Bible in order to become acquainted with its contents and understand them.
- Exhort one another, which means to provide pastoral care to one another.
- Teach the gospel and the doctrine—also to those who do not profess our faith.
Reading the Bible
Let us endeavour to read the Bible as often as possible, because
- We will always find new “pearls” in so doing.
- We need to understand the Bible correctly. This means we must read the Old Testament from the perspective of the New Testament: salvation in Christ is already foreshadowed in the Old Testament.
- We need to understand the message of the gospel as it relates to our time, and derive standards for our actions from it.
In this context, exhortation means that we are to edify and comfort one another. Let us
- Encourage our brethren to follow Jesus.
- Take an interest in the cares of our brethren, and pray for them when they are in need.
Teachers of doctrine
When we occupy ourselves more closely with our doctrine, for example, by reading the Catechism, we will realize that it not only corresponds to the gospel, but also brings it to expression in a timely manner.
When we are convinced of it ourselves we can be convincing to others! Let us also be teachers of faith to outsiders and “give a defence” for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15).
Our progress, that is to say, our development as the bridal congregation, is to be visible to all. This attests to
- The activity of the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth (John 16: 13) .
- The potency of the apostolate, which has received the commission from Jesus to build up the work of redemption and lead the bridal congregation to perfection.
- Our love for Christ and His own, which motivates us to be active in love for our neighbour and in prayer.
May many see this progress and rejoice in it!
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for the divine service held on Sunday, 09 August 2015 at Midrand Congregation.