The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for September 15th, 2011

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:12-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 15, 2011

12. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the faithful in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in chastity.

In verses 12-16 St. Paul gives Timothy advice regarding his personal behavior. Timothy was not forty years of age at this time, and had been associated with St. Paul some fifteen years. He was young in comparison with the Apostle, who was then sixty or more. Moreover, in ancient times a man was considered young until after forty. St. Paul himself was spoken of as a young man at the martyrdom of St. Stephen (Acts vii. 57), when he must have been thirty years old at least.

Young people in authority are apt to be criticised and even despised by older persons, unless shining virtues supply in them for the lack of age. Hence, the aged Apostle tells the youthful bishop to be an example to the faithful in his outward actions and manner of life, and also in the internal virtues that grace the soul and ennoble the character. The classic Greek word for “chastity” is found only here and in v. 2 below in the New Testament. It means chastity of life and purity of motive.

13. Till I come, attend unto reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine.

St. Paul hopes to come to Ephesus soon, but meanwhile Timothy is to be faithful to the custom of reading and explaining the Scriptures in public, and to the exhortation or preaching that followed that reading, which should be grounded on solid doctrine or teaching. Although the injunction here is primarily to the public reading of the Sacred Scriptures to the faithful in their assemblies, it does not exclude but rather presupposes private reading and study.

14. Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the imposition of the hands of the priesthood.

Timothy is exhorted not to fail to exercise the spiritual gifts he received from God at the time of his ordination and consecration as bishop through the imposition of St. Paul’s hands (2 Tim 1:6). This verse and 2 Tim 1:6 are the classic passages to prove that Holy Orders is a Sacrament (see on 1 Tim 1:18). The reference in the present verse is to the episcopal consecration of Timothy in┬áthe presence and with the approval of the Ephesian elders, according to the best authorities.

15. Meditate upon these things, be wholly in these things, that thy profiting may be manifest to all.

Timothy is to “meditate,” i.e., ponder what St. Paul has been telling him regarding his office and personal duties, and thus make continual progress in the development of his own character and in the consequent better quality of his work.

16. Take heed to thyself and to doctrine: be earnest in them. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.

Finally, St. Paul bids Timothy watch over himself and to be careful how he presents the doctrine he has received from the Apostles; and the result of this proper attention to self and to his duties towards others will be his own and their salvation.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, NOTES ON 1 TIM, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

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