1 Timothy 4:13-16 “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
What should our daily Bible studies look like? Paul gives us a three-fold approach which, if practiced, will save both ourselves, and our hearers.
We are to be daily reading our Bibles. You may prefer to read through books of the Bible in random order. You may prefer to systematically plod from Genesis to Revelation. You may prefer to read by a number of different reading programs. Maybe you even like listening to the Bible being read to you through an app like You Version. Whatever your program, devote some time each and every day to just simply reading from God’s Word.
Second, to exhortation. Exhortation is persuasive discourse, teaching, preaching, being comforted or consoled by, being encouraged by, being admonished though, or solace/meditation. By that definition, you can see that it can look like any number of different things. For me, it looks like what I am doing right now; writing persuasively to myself, my family, and any readers of this blog. It looks like praying though a text and trying to think carefully about what I read with the time I have each morning before work. It looks like reading and talking about theses items with my wife and children every evening. In a broad sense, it looks like deep study if I am going to be teaching in the context of the Church. For you, it may look like journaling or devotional writing. It may look like sharing some bit of truth with a friend through a text or phone call. It may look like silent reflection while the Spirit of God comforts you through a Psalm, a Hymn, or a spiritual song.
And third, to teaching/doctrine/learning. This has more of the idea of systematized learning. Breaking down the truth into categories for the mind. For me, this looks like the studying of doctrine. I love reading systematic theology books. I find that this type of literature helps me to think and categorize information better. Also, it involves having a book readily available to read when I have some spare time. I keep one book on my desk at home, one book in my computer bag at work, and an electronic book I can read on a kindle app for my iPhone. Whatever means you have of reading, give yourself time each day to the expansion and organization of the mind though books.
Paul gives us six exhortation to help encourage us to this task. We are to not neglect, but rather devote, practice, immerse, persist, and keep a close watch on ourselves, by practicing this three-fold approach to grow daily in the knowledge of our Lord.