Paul’s Rule of Five
1 Timothy 4:13-16, Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
In these verses of scripture, Paul is admonishing Timothy to discipline himself and perfect the behaviors needed to be an affective saint and leader. These five behaviors not only benefit the person doing them, but according to Paul, the benefits will reach others in your world also.
Let’s look at each of these comportments as they are listed:
Read to Exhort and know the Doctrine. Of course Timothy did not have the Bible as we have today, but he was probably privy to the Septuagint (Hebrew writings from the Old Testament) as well as letters from Paul. At the writing of this letter, Timothy had been a fellow traveler with Paul, starting churches, and tending to the needs of his mentor for about 10-15 years. This illustrates that even “seasoned” saints needs to continue in their studies of the Word.
Neglect not the Gift; Stir it within you. Paul teaches in Romans that we each have giftings in the Lord. When we become aware of those gifts within us we should work in them. Don’t neglect your gift and let it go stale in your life. Use it for the glory of God and the increase of His Kingdom.
Meditate upon the Word. There is a difference between studying the Word of God and meditating on it. When you meditate on the Word, read it purposefully and not just out of duty or to meet a goal. Take the time to read and re-read it, even to the point of memorization in some cases. Be quiet and listen for that still, small voice that will speak and teach you about that verse and how it fits into the rest of the Bible and into your personal life.
Examine Yourself. As you study the Word and hear it preached, you need to take a moment of reflection and see how you are measuring up. Be cautious when you consistently feel you are hearing messages preached to others around you; it may be time for some self-reflection. Pray that Jesus will open your eyes to those things that He would like you to change about yourself! Living this Christian life should not be stagnant, but a steady stream of growth as we become more and more like Him.
Continue in the Doctrine. From the beginning of the New Covenant the fundamental doctrine of salvation was established. On the day o Pentecost, when the apostles had just received the “promise” that Jesus said would come, that infilling of the Holy Spirit drew quite a crowd. When the others asked what they should do to be saved, Peter answered them authoritatively, ”Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Although the apostles where chosen, it was not an exclusive club that no one else could join! This promise was for the Jews of the time and spread on to the Gentiles, to the rest of the ancient world, and lives on today for us.