Read: 1 Timothy 4:1-16
Consider: In his letter to Timothy the apostle Paul tells him to: ‘… set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity’ (1 Timothy 4:12) and also encourages him by advising him to: ‘Watch your life and doctrine closely’ (4:16).
Paul’s advice is given so that Timothy can refute the false teaching that was creeping into the church in Ephesus, concerning such things as abstinence from marriage and abstaining from certain foods. Notice the words Paul uses of these false teachers – They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods (4:3). These were teachers who were not concerned about the spiritual welfare of the believers, but only wanted to control and lord it over them.
Having advised Timothy about the doctrine and teaching he should hold to, he tells him to: Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress (4:15). I like the way the ESV renders this verse as follows: Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. The NIV translation ‘give yourself wholly to them’ conjures up in my mind the image of someone who doesn’t hold back, but is fully committed to sound doctrine and teaching. The ESV translation ‘immerse yourself in them’ speaks to me of how this can be achieved. Think of the imagery of baptism and immersion reminds me of someone being totally submerged. Therefore this means someone who spends time immersed in God’s Word, not content with a superficial understanding but wanting to go deeper with God.
If immersing ourselves in God‘s Word helps us to recognise and hold to sound doctrine and teaching, why is it that so many Christians are content with the occasional sprinkle of God’s Word in their lives?
So do you believe in immersion or sprinkling? I hope that today’s reading in 1 Timothy 4 has convinced you to spend time immersing yourself in God’s Word.
[Note: apologies to those who thought the title of this post meant that we would be discussing baptism].
Pray: Father, give us a real passion for your Word. Help us to immerse ourselves in studying and meditating on the Bible. Amen