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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE GIFT THAT IS IN THEE

1 Tim 4:12-16 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 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.

Young Timothy had been given the gift of God. It was imparted to him by the putting on of my hands - the hands of the apostle Paul (2 Tim. 1:6). This was a miraculous gift that he was given that allowed him to understand and preach the gospel of Christ to all others that desired to know God's plan of salvation through His Son, Jesus. This gift of God could not be purchased with money; it could only be received by the laying on of the hands of the apostles of Jesus (See Acts 8:14-20).

No doubt this same gift of God was imparted, to the seven disciples chosen to assist the apostles, by the laying on of their hands (See Acts 6:1-6). Stephen and Philip were two of these seven disciples that used this miraculous gift to confirm their preaching to be that of God. To teach God's word, by this miraculous manner, was necessary at this time, during the initial forming of God's church, because His Holy Spirit-inspired written word had not yet been recorded, and made available to mankind. During the first century A.D., God spoke through His Son, Jesus Christ, His apostles, and through all whom Jesus' apostles imparted God's gift by the laying on of their hands. The miraculous ability to teach the gospel message of salvation was the gift of God,whichthe apostle Paul imparted to the young preacher, Timothy.

To proclaim God's word was not the problem that Paul saw in this young gospel minister. Rather it was getting those that heard it, to accept it as God's word, believe on it, and be obedient to its doctrine. Timothy had to present himself in a credible way in order for others to accept his teaching, as being the inspired word of God. Allowed to do so, his age could have been a problem. Paul was undoubtedly much older than Timothy. The elders of the church at Ephesus were probably much older also. Most of the congregation in this church of Christ could also have been older than Timothy. Some speculate the age of Timothy to have been in his thirties. An elder would have great difficulty leading a flock of God's children without the experience that age allows him to attain. To qualify for this position within the church of Christ, an elder must be apt to teach, but among all other qualities that he must possess, he must also not be a novice (See 1 Tim. 3:1-7). Although not stated as necessary, it is evident that the teaching of an older, more experienced preacher is more readily receptive by a congregation of God's people.

Trust in a preacher or teacher is the only human quality that can overcome an age differential between a minister of God and much older students. In order to overcome the lack of credibility, that age may present to this young preacher, Paul told Timothy to be thou an example of the believers in his complete conduct of life. In order for a preacher to successfully teach others the will of God, they must be able to see him as a Christian that, by example, also follows the will of God. He must be a good example in all aspects of his life; as well as a good example in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, (and) in purity. His manner of speaking must be kind and free from slander; his conduct must be without reproach; he must show his love of God and all mankind with charitable deeds of kindness and compassion; he must demonstrate an unshakable faith during all of life's trials and temptations; he must lead a chaste life void of any acts of impropriety. Exemplifying these qualities of conduct will give credibility to any preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Such conduct would allow Timothy, as well as any other faithful preacher of God's word, regardless of their age, not to neglect, but to fully and effectively use the gift that is in thee.

Timothy was urged to study the word of God, containing His doctrine, that he may be able to exhort others to also obey God's will. Paul encouraged Timothy to diligently meditate upon these things,that he may be able to practice them in his own life, in order to effectively teach others to do so. By knowing, heeding, and continuing in the doctrine of God, Paul assures Timothy that he shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. Preachers and teachers of all ages take heed and practice Paul's instructions to young Timothy.