V. A PATTERN TO THE BELIEVERS
In verse 10 Paul goes on to say, “For to this end we labor and strive, because we have set our hope on the living God, Who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.” Because our God is living, we can set our hope on Him.
In verse 12 Paul says to Timothy, “Let no one despise your youth, but be a pattern to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” Although Timothy was young, he was charged by the apostle to bear the responsibility of caring for the building up of a local church and appointing elders and deacons. For such a responsibility, he was charged not to be childish, but to be a pattern to the believers. He was to be an example in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. He was to be pure, without mixture, in motive and act.
Verse 13 says, “Until I come, attend to reading, to exhortation, to teaching.” Here Paul does not refer to reading in the sense of study, but to reading aloud in public. According to the context, this kind of public reading may be for exhortation and teaching.
VI. NOT NEGLECTING THE GIFT
Verse 14 continues, “Do not neglect the gift which is in you, which was given to you by means of prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the elders.” Here Paul speaks not of the gift which was upon Timothy, but of the gift which was in him. This was probably a teaching gift, according to the context of verses 11, 13, and 16. This may also be confirmed by 1 Timothy 1:3; 4:6; 5:7; 6:2, 12, 20; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2:2, 14-15, 24-25; 4:2, 5.
Paul’s word about the gift being “in you” indicates that the gift mentioned here is not an outward endowment, but the inward ability of life to minister to others. It is not a miraculous gift, such as speaking in tongues or healing (1 Cor. 12:28), but the gift of grace, such as teaching and exhorting (Rom. 12:7-8).
This gift was given by means of prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the elders. Laying on of hands has two functions: one for identification, as in Leviticus 1:4, and the other for impartation, as here. Through the laying on of the hands of the elders and the Apostle Paul (2 Tim. 1:6), the gift of grace was imparted to Timothy.
Literally the Greek word for elders should be rendered presbytery, meaning the body of elders, the eldership. The elders, who are the overseers (3:2), represent a local church, which is the expression of the Body of Christ. The laying on of the hands of the elders signifies that the Body of Christ participated with God in imparting the gift of grace to Timothy. This was not a personal matter; it was a Body matter.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)