Saturday, 6 January 2018
These things command and teach. 1 Timothy 4:11
The order of the Greek is “Command these things and teach.” Timothy is charged with ensuring that what has been relayed to him thus far be commanded to the church. The word for “command” is paraggéllō. It means “to charge, give a command that is fully authorized because it has gone through all the proper (necessary) channels” (HELPS Word Studies). In other words, Paul didn’t arbitrarily make up the directions for Timothy to pass on. Instead, they are authoritative because he is the designated apostle, having been personally commissioned and instructed by the Lord Jesus. The words are prescriptive, and they are binding.
The words here are inclusive of all that has been presented so far in the epistle. This is certain, because he uses the same term, “these things,” in verse 3:14, speaking of all that preceded that verse. In other words, he gave instructions up to that point and then said, “These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly.” He then explained why those things were written to him, and that followed with an explanation of “the mystery of godliness” which was an explanation for having written up to that point. He then showed what was contradictory to the mystery of godliness, and also what was in accord with it. Therefore, the word “command” is inclusive of all directions given by him up to this point.
Paul tells him to command those things, but also to “teach.” In other words, Timothy wasn’t just to say, “The requirements for being an elder or a deacon are…” But he was to explain the reason for those requirements. This is important, because in understanding why a command is given, it will then ensure that the people will more readily follow through with it in the future.
Life application: A wise leader will give the reason for his decisions, and not just bark out commands. At times, giving a command without the reason for it is necessary, but this should not always be the norm. When people understand why they are being instructed to do something, they will – if they agree with the reason – generally be more content to continue obeying the directive in the future.
Heavenly Father, Your word gives us all kinds of commands and exhortations that we are to follow. But it also gives us the reasons for doing those things – either implicitly or explicitly. In this, You have graciously shown us what is right and proper for our well being, for the well being of those around us, and for the proper working of the church. Thank You for tending to us through Your word, and also for allowing us to understand why these things are so. Praises to You for this loving attention! Amen.