1 Timothy 4 is filled with solid good advice that anyone can take and walk away with.  “Don’t let anyone despise your youth but instead be an example to the believers.”  “Have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths.” “Train yourself in Godliness.”  “Do not neglect the gift that is in you.” “be committed to [these things] so that your progress may be evident to all.”  “persevere in these things for by doing this you save both yourself and your hearers.”

“devote yourself to the public reading of scripture.”

Wait what?

Yeah, 1 Timothy 4:13 has Paul telling Timothy to give his attention (ie make sure he takes time every day) to read scripture in public.  Now I don’t know where Paul was going with this since most of the New Testament hadn’t been written at this point and there wasn’t much point in reading the book of the Law while preaching a gospel of grace right?

But there it is quite plainly.  “Devote yourself to the public reading of scripture.”  Now translations differ on this bit of text.   Some omit the “of scripture” part or else might have “the public reading [of scripture]” suggesting that the content which was to be read was assumed for Timothy, and clarified for our benefit.

So we can go back and forth for days about what exactly Paul is talking about here, but let’s just for the sake of argument agree that he really is talking about reading the Scriptures in public.  What does that mean for us?

I mean I could say that my little blog here qualifies as reading the scripture in public, after all it is a public forum right?

No, not so much.  You see, our God is not a God of the written word.  Our God has hints and clues hidden in the written text of the bible, but His real presence is in the experience.  We must challenge ourselves to experience God and one way to do that is to read scripture aloud.  We see the text, speak it out, and hear it even as we speak.   And if it is good and powerful for the believer, can you imagine what it would be like for a normal person?

I’m not saying go take your bible to the park and start reading Ezekial while standing on a park bench.  That probably isn’t a good way to go, especially if you have an Old King James translation.  I’m just saying, there must be something to the idea, if Paul made a point of using it as a way in which Timothy could continue his growth.

Thoughts?  Anyone suddenly have a desire to hit the streets with a megaphone and their copy of the Message?