Terry Baxter Devotional

The Importance of Biblical Literacy: 1 Timothy 4:13

The Importance of Biblical Literacy: 1 Timothy 4:13
“Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.” 1 Timothy‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭
This is an insightful verse. It fills in the balance from 1 Timothy 2:1-8 that dealt with the priority of prayer. Now Paul is telling Timothy to also place a priority on the ministry of the Word. This means that early churches took Acts 6:4 seriously. They “devoted themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word.” Just as praise, prayer and worship go together, so now we see the public reading of Scripture, exhortation (preaching) and teaching go together.
Prior to the invention of the printing press, the Bible was not readily available to people. Books of any kind were rare. As a result, most people were illiterate. Learning of any kind both secular and sacred took place in public gatherings devoted to drama and oratory.
Jewish homes featured better education because of home schooling. Christianity adopted the Jewish model. Note the emphasis in 2 Timothy 1:5 and 3:14-15 of Timothy’s mother and grandmother teaching him the sacred writings from childhood. As was common among Jewish people, they were both literate and educated in Scripture.
As the gospel spread to gentile regions, so did the need for “the public reading of Scripture, for exhortation and teaching.” It seems from Acts 2:42-47 that the early Christians met daily for the reading of Scripture, teaching and prayer.
The same holds true in many 3rd world countries today where poverty and illiteracy are prevalent. We work with some pastors in India, parts of Africa and tribal regions of South America who cannot read. They have developed a system of meeting during the week for Bible reading and teaching in preparation for their weekend preaching and teaching in their own churches. They are amazing audible learners and many are gifted orators.
This is part of the reason why pastor conferences are in high demand in these regions. It is also the fuel behind Christian schools in these area’s. In many places adults attend literacy classes.
Lest you celebrate the high literacy level in many developed countries, it is sad to acknowledge that biblical illiteracy is very prevalent within many secular and communist countries. Yet history supports the phenomenon Biblical literacy and the spread of biblical Christianity does more to bring blessing, righteousness and prosperity on a nation than any other factor. When taken seriously with much reading of Scripture built into the education system, it shapes the moral conscience of a nation.
How much more the fiber of a church. Few things distinguish an on fire and Spirit filled church more than the priority it places on prayer and the ministry of the Word. This ensures that God and not man is the center and focus of the church.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global