CONSIDER WHAT I SAY: noei (2SPAM)
ho lego (1SPAI): (Dt
4:39; 32:29; Ps 64:9; Pr 24:32; Isa 1:3; 5:12; Lk 9:44; Php 4:8; 1Ti
4:15; Heb 3:1; 7:4; 12:3; 13:7)
grasping the meaning of that which I am saying (Wuest)
on what I am saying (NIV)
over these three illustrations (TLB)
over these things I am saying [understand them and grasp their
(noeo from nous = mind, the seat of moral reflection) has
the basic meaning of direct one's mind to something and thus means more
than just take a glance at. It means to perceive with the mind, to
apprehend, to ponder (= weigh in one's mind, think especially quietly,
soberly and deeply). It means to consider well, to reflect on with
insight, or to think over a matter carefully. The idea is to grasp or
comprehend something on the basis of careful thought.
means to fix one's mind upon, to think about carefully, to give careful examination with a view to discerning and
arriving at a judgment or conclusion. The idea is to ponder or
examine attentively or deliberately.
The NIV translates it reflect
which suggests unhurried consideration of something recalled to the
mind, and gives one the picture of meditating on these truths. Note well
the order -- We are to do our part and can be assured the Lord will do
His part (last part of this verse) and give you insight.
The phrase "noon [noeo]
and phronon" (Ed: loosely translated "I am keeping
watch over my mind") is common in wills of both the Ptolemaic and
the Roman periods...the testator thus certifying himself as “being
sane and in his right mind”.
present tense (calling for continuous action, make it your
active voice (subject carries out the action by choice of their will) and
which indicates this is
a command and merely advice or a suggestion! It is imperative that
Timothy keep considering carefully, pondering and mulling over all that
Paul had just said. By way of application, it is imperative that all
believers seriously consider what Paul has written in verses 1-6 - We
need to make this our continual practice or our lifestyle. Continually
considering God's truth is another way of describing
on God's Word, a practice that always bears fruit...
This book of the law shall not depart
from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so
that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it;
for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have
success. (Joshua 1:8-note)
Psalm 1:1 How blessed is the man who
does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of
sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the
law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 And
he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields
its fruit in its season, And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever
he does, he prospers. (See notes
Wuest writes that noeo...
means “to perceive with the
reflective intelligence.” It is distinguished from the mere physical act
of seeing. It is the perception of the mind consequent upon seeing. In
the New Testament it is never used of mere physical sight.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the
Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Vincent adds that...
signifies to perceive with the nous
or reflective intelligence. In Classical Greek of seeing with the eyes,
sometimes with ophthalmois expressed; but as early as Homer it is
distinguished from the mere physical act of vision, as perception of the
mind consequent upon seeing. Thus the phrase "and seeing him he
perceived" (Il. xi. 599). In NT never of the mere physical act. Here is
meant the inward perception and apprehension of the visible (Ed note:
i.e., what transpires in the mind after one sees what he sees). (Greek
Vine writes that
the verb noeo means to
exercise the mind by way of discernment, enabling us to enter into the
circumstances of what is mentioned. (Vine,
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson
TDNT writes that noeo
“to direct one's mind to.” At first
it is used in the broad sense “to perceive,” but later it means only “to
perceive mentally” and then “to think,” “to understand,” “to intend,”
and “to know” as a function of the mind (nous). In the LXX the organ of
noein is often the heart (kardia), but the sphere of noein is always
mental. In the NT the verb has such senses as “to note,” “to grasp,” “to
recognize,” “to understand,” and “to imagine.” (Kittel,
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
Paul is commanding Timothy to not just look at what
he had written but perceive (derived
from Latin percipere = seize entirely in turn from per- =
thoroughly + capere = to grasp) what I have said by reflecting on
it and giving it consideration so that you will gain insight. Since
several thought had been compressed into three metaphors without any
lengthy exposition furnished Timothy is told to put his mind
on that which Paul has just said. Reading it is not enough! Ponder it.
Chew on it. Digest it. And be assured that when you do, the Lord Himself
will make this mental activity fruitful ("will give you understanding").
Noeo - 14 times in
the NT - Matt 15:17; 16:9, 11; 24:15; Mark 7:18; 8:17; 13:14; John 12:40;
Rom 1:20; Eph 3:4, 20; 1 Tim 1:7; 2 Tim 2:7; Heb 11:3. N
translates: consider, 1; perceive, 1; see, 1; think, 1; understand, 9;
Matthew 15:17 "Do you not
understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the
stomach, and is eliminated?
Matthew 16:9 "Do you not yet
understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and
how many baskets you took up?
Matthew 16:11 "How is it that
you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning
bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Matthew 24:15 "Therefore when
you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel
the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
Mark 7:18 And He said to them,
"Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand
that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him;
Mark 8:17 And Jesus, aware of
this, said to them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread?
Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart?
Mark 13:14 "But when you see
the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be (let the
reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the
John 12:40 "He has blinded
their eyes, and He hardened their heart; lest they see with their eyes,
and perceive with their heart, and be converted, and I heal
Romans 1:20 (note) For since the
creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and
divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood
through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Ephesians 3:4 (note)
And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my
insight into the mystery of Christ,
Ephesians 3:20 (note)
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask
or think, according to the power that works within us, (Comment:
In this use the idea is to form an idea about something, think, imagine)
1 Timothy 1:7 wanting to be
teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either
what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident
2 Timothy 2:7 (note)
Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in
Hebrews 11:3 (note)
By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word
of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are
Noeo - 31 times in
(1Sa 4:20; 2 Sam 12:19; 20:15; Job 33:3, 23; Pr 1:2-3, 6; 8:5; 16:23;
19:25; 20:24; 23:1; 28:5; 29:19; 30:18; Isa 32:6; 44:18; 47:7; Jer 2:10;
10:21; 20:11; 23:20). Note the concentration of uses in Proverbs.
interesting that the first three NT uses of noieo were by
Jesus questioning His disciples ability to understand what
He was saying. For example He said
"How is it that you do not understand (noieo)
that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven
of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Then they understood (suniemi = put the pieces together as used in last
part of this verse) that He did not say to beware of the leaven of
bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees." (Mt
Jesus' rhetorical questions were
meant to rebuke the disciples for not perceiving the true significance
of the miracle. But
beloved, are we not so often like them, slow to understand the things of
the supernatural Word, the things unseen, the things eternal
D A Carson makes an excellent
point regarding the relationship between understanding spiritual truths
and faith writing that "The miracles Jesus performs, unlike the signs
the Pharisees demand, do not compel faith; but those with faith will
perceive their significance.”
So just as Jesus used "leaven of bread" to illustrate the effects
of the "teaching" of the Pharisees, so too Paul used three well
known professions to give Timothy insight into how he should fight the
Barnes commenting on consider
The sense is “Think of the condition of the soldier, and the principles
on which he is enlisted; think of the aspirant for the crown in the
Grecian games; think of the farmer, patiently toiling in the prospect of
the distant harvest; and then go to your work with a similar spirit.”
These things are worth attention." As the Lord gives you insight and
helps you understand the illustrations, apply them to your ministry
Say (lego) is in the
meaning “what I am saying”. In
context Paul is referring to the six previous verses, particularly the
three illustrations that have been given.
Wuest quotes Expositor's...
‘Grasp the meaning’ of these three
similes...If you have not sufficient wisdom to follow my argument, ‘ask
of God who giveth to all men liberally’ (Jas 1:15).” Paul had used the
illustration of a soldier. Timothy was to live a rugged, strenuous
Christian life in which hardships as the result of serving the Lord
Jesus were an expected thing. He used the simile of a Greek athlete.
Timothy should live a life of rigid separation, not merely with respect
to evil things, but also with regard to things which, good in
themselves, would unfit him for the highest type of Christian service.
Paul now uses the metaphor of a tiller of the soil. Timothy is reminded
that the Christian worker who labors with wearisome effort in the Lord’s
service, has the right to derive his financial support from it, so that
he might be able to give all of his time and strength to his work.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the
Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
John Piper has a chapter
entitled "Brothers, Let us Query the Text" which relates to
seriously, intentionally, diligently considering what God's Word says
IF THE BIBLE is coherent, then
understanding the Bible means grasping how things fit together. Becoming
a Biblical theologian, which every pastor should be, means seeing more
and more pieces fit together into a glorious mosaic of the divine design
(Ed: As an interesting aside, putting together the pieces
is the essence of the meaning of the Greek word for understanding =
sunesis). And doing exegesis (Ed:
derived from Greek word meaning "to guide", "to bring out" or "to lead
out" and so means to arrive at an explanation or critical analysis and
interpretation of a Biblical text) means querying the text about how its
many propositions cohere in the author’s mind, and through that, in
God’s mind. If we are going to feed our people (Ed: cp Jesus'
charge Jn 21:15KJV Jn 21:16KJV Jn21:17KJV), we must ever advance in our
grasp of Biblical truth. We must be like Jonathan Edwards who resolved
in his college days, and kept the resolution all his life,
Resolved: To study the Scriptures so
steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly
perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
increasing—that is the goal. And to advance we must be troubled by
“People only truly think when they
are confronted with a problem,” said John Dewey. “Without some kind of
dilemma to stimulate thought, behavior becomes habitual rather than
He was right. And that is why we will
never think hard about Biblical truth until we are troubled by our
faltering efforts to grasp its complexity. We must form the habit of
being systematically disturbed by things that at first glance don’t make
sense. Or to put it a different way, we must relentlessly query the
text. One of the greatest honors I received while teaching Biblical
studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, was when the teaching
assistants in the Bible department gave me a T-shirt which had the
initials of Jonathan Edwards on the front and on the back the words:
“Asking questions is the key to understanding.”
FOR THE LORD WILL GIVE YOU UNDERSTANDING IN
EVERYTHING: dosei (3SFAI) gar soi ho kurios
sunesin en pasin:
(Ge 41:38; 39 Ex 36:1; 2 Nu 27:16;17 1Ch 22:12; 29:19; 2Ch 1:8, 9, 10,
11, 12; Ps 119:73;125,144,143:8,9; Pr 2:3, 4; 2:5,6 Is 28:26; Da 1:17;
Lk 21:15; 24:45; Jn 14:26; 16:13; Acts 7:10; 1Cor 12:8; Eph 1:17; 18 Col
1:9; Jas 1:5; 3:15; 3:17 1Jn 5:20)
Other translations - the Lord will give you insight into
all this (NIV), and may
the Lord help you to understand how they apply to you (TLB), Think over these things I am saying
[understand them and grasp their application], for the Lord will grant
you full insight and understanding in everything (Amp), Put your mind on what I say, for the
Lord will give you understanding in all matters.
For - This is a
term of explanation
and explains why we should make it our habitual practice to
consider what God says in His Word. We are to be motivated by His
promise to give us understanding.
For the Lord will give you
understanding (cp Lk 24:45, Ps 119:130-note)
- Observe that this divine promise of understanding is based on the
condition that one ponders (in contrast to "speed reading"
the Word -- you are not doing yourself any "favors" by reading through
the Bible in a year unless you are making time to humbly let that rich
Word course through and transform you!
Eph 4:23-note) the truths
in 2Ti 2:2, 3, 4, 5, 6. And remember that 2Ti 2:1-note
explains how (continually strengthened [being enabled] by the
transforming grace in Christ Jesus, made manifest and effective now by
His Spirit Who indwells every believer forever!) one can even be enabled
to function as a God glorifying, Christ exalting, Spirit led teacher, soldier,
athlete or farmer (all metaphorically speaking except for "teacher").
In other words, Paul is stating a "conditional promise"
Timothy is to consider (man's responsibility,
albeit even this is enabled by the Spirit - see Phil 2:13-note
where He gives us the "desire" or "want to"!) and the Lord will
graciously give us
(God's part). This truth flies in the face of the common false teaching
of "let go and let God".
In other words,
even Christ followers would not be able to understand the
supernatural Word without the Spirit's supernatural enablement, His
dunamis, His enabling power! The
Spirit of Truth (Jn 14:17, 15:26, 16:13) takes the Word of Truth
2Cor 6:7, Ps 119:43-note,
where "Word of Truth" is synonymous with "The Gospel"! We are not just
saved in the past by the Gospel, but are saved/sanctified daily by that
same Gospel and in the same manner, by faith, renouncing self-effort,
self-reliance and resting/relying on God's Word and His Spirit to enable
us to obey that Word) and daily (if we go to His Word daily [Mt 4:4, Lk
4:4] - you do don't you?)
opens our "minds to understand (suniemi)
the Scriptures" just as Jesus did for His first disciples (Lk 24:45)..
but just as it is written, "THINGS
WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED
THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM."
(Ed: Yes, this could be applied to our glorious future, our
but it also applies to our blessed now...) For to us God revealed
= the Holy Spirit "takes the lid" off of the supernatural Word so that
we might see the Truth therein! Hallelujah!) them through the Spirit;
for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. Now
we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit Who
is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God (Ed:
Especially His Word of grace" Acts 20:32), which things we also speak,
not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the
Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. (1Cor
MacDonald comments that
But there is more in these three
illustrations of Christian service than appears on the surface. Timothy
is exhorted to consider them and to meditate on them. As he does so,
Paul prays (Ed: MacDonald's interpretation is based on the KJV
rendering but most modern version see it as result of Timothy pondering
rather than of Paul praying) that the Lord will give him understanding in all things. He
will realize that the Christian ministry resembles warfare, athletics,
and farming. Each of these occupations has its own responsibilities, and
each brings its own reward. (MacDonald,
W., & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments.
Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
from sun = together + hiemi
= send) literally describes a sending together as of two rivers
converging into union as one tributary. As an
intellectual faculty sunesis describes the putting together of the pieces so
to speak so that there is comprehension and perception. It is the
ability to understand facts and concepts, especially to see the mutual relationships between the
various "parts" to the "whole".
A T Robertson comments on
understanding writing that it means...
send together, to grasp). Col 1:9-note;
This is a blessed promise that calls for application. (2 Timothy 2)
Sunesis also describes the
ability to assess any situation and decide what practical course of
action is necessary within it. If Timothy would reflect on Paul's
teachings in the previous verses, Christ would assemble the truths
together for him and deepen the meaning.
Hiebert comments that...
It is not that Timothy cannot grasp
the meaning of the figures, but there is so much involved in them that
he must be applying his mind to them to apprehend their full
application. And Timothy need not fear that the mental activity demanded
will be ineffectual. He is given the assurance that "the Lord shall give
thee understanding in all things." (The reading in the King James
Version, making it a prayer, is based on a reading less well attested.)
He need not depend upon his own imperfect, erring mental faculties; for
the needed enlightenment he is directed to the Lord.
Timothy was referred for insight and
exposition not to the Church, not to the Apostle, or to the Apostles,
but to the divine Master Himself, present, attentive, cognizant of
Timothy's individual difficulties and mental needs (Moule).
The apprehension of spiritual
truth is not primarily a matter of mental acumen but of spiritual
teachableness. (2 Timothy by D. Edmond Hiebert).
MacArthur applies Paul's
command to all believers...
Think over and carefully ponder what
Paul has said. Look at your life and ask yourself if you are a faithful,
trustworthy, spiritually mature believer? Are you devoting yourself to
guarding and teaching God’s Word? Do you deny yourself and count your
life as nothing in order to faithfully serve the Lord? Do you put some
distance between yourself and the routine business of the world? Do you
continually prepare yourself to serve your Master? Do you understand
self-denial and self-sacrifice? Are you willing to pay the price that He
demands?” “If you can answer yes to those questions,” we are
promised, the Lord will give you understanding in everything. You will
be led with wisdom and insight through the challenges to victory. (MacArthur,
J. 2 Timothy. Chicago: Moody Press)