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
= 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.
(Grasp the meaning)
means to put one's mind, 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.
Note Paul's use of noeo in
the first letter to Timothy - "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 assertions." (1Ti 1:7)
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.
Milligan has an interesting note on the secular use of noieo - The phrase "noon [noieo]
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
- you have to do this - a volitional choice - God won't force you, but
He will enable you giving you the desire but you still have to follow
through - see Php 2:13NLT) and
which indicates this is
a command and not 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.
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
Spurgeon - Some people like to
read so many chapters every day. I would not dissuade them from the
practice, but I would rather my soul soak in half a dozen verses all day
than I would, as it were, rinse my hand in several chapters
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.
Vincent adds that noeo
"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. (Collected
writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
TDNT writes that noeo
means "“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 (insight
provided by God Himself Who will give understanding).
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. NAS
translation =: 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
says that "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.
Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)
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.
Growing, advancing, increasing—that
is the goal. And to advance we must be troubled by Biblical
“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 strategic
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.
Marshall - The gar (for)
clause implies that the thinking will be fruitful because the Lord will
give understanding (sunesis). That understanding is a divine gift
is frequently stated (1Kgs 3:9; Da 2:21; Col 1:9; Jas 1:5). (Ed:
And does not this make sense? The supernatural word of God cannot be
understood with the natural mind - cp 1Cor 2:14-note .
When we read the Scriptures we need to renounce self-reliance and rely
on the illuminating ministry of the Spirit of Truth - cp 1Jn 2:20-note,
Jn 14:17, 15:26, 16:13) (A
critical and exegetical commentary on the Pastoral Epistles)
Eugene Minor asks "What
relationship is indicated by gar (for) ‘because’? It indicates the
grounds for the preceding exhortation [Gordon Fee, J N D Kelly,
Lenski, Huther, Hendricksen]: consider what I say because the Lord will
enable you to understand it. This implies a condition [Ralph
Earle - Expositor's Bible Commentary, Expositor's Greek, Thomas
Guthrie]: ‘consider what I say, because if you do, the Lord will enable
you to understand’."
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 giving
Timothy (and us) somewhat of 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".
Ralph Earle - Paul winds up
this section by saying, “Reflect on what I am saying.” If Timothy does
this, he will understand what it is all about. (Expositor's Bible
Kistemaker agrees writing that
"Mere reading is not enough. What has been written must be pondered.
What has been spoken must be digested (cf. Mt. 11:29; 13:51; 15:17;
16:9, 11; 1 Cor. 10:15; and especially Rev. 10:9, 10). Timothy need not
fear that such mental activity will be fruitless.
Has not the Lord given his
definite promise? See Luke
19:26; John 14:26; 16:13. Surely in all matters with respect to which
Timothy is in need of understanding (sunesis, comprehension, insight),
it will be given to him if (Ed: The "if" speaks of the
prerequisite condition that) he will but apply himself. Let Timothy then
compare a scripture with scripture. Let him pray for wisdom (James 1:5).
Let him reflect on his own past experience and the experience of other
children of God. Let him listen to what these others have to say. By
such means as these the Holy Spirit will give him all the guidance he
will need in the performance of his task. He will be able to apply to
himself and his office the rich meaning of the threefold figure (2Ti
2:3-6), and he will derive from it the comfort which it affords.
(Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles, Baker Book House)
For all spiritual things our
thinking abilities, however keen and sharp, are not sufficient. The Lord
must control, guide, enlighten our “understanding.”
He is ever willing to give us “understanding” if we only let him give
it, recognize his gift, and prize it. The Lord so gives by means of the
very Word itself and never apart from that Word which is a lamp and a
light, the source of all true enlightenment. “Search the Scriptures,”
and the Lord will give thee understanding; it does not come to one
through the air. Ora et labora. The Lord, however, uses also his
gracious providence in manifold ways. Experience helps to make many a
passage clear. Teachers and fellow workers are placed into our path to
help us. The Lord lets us find the book we need for this or for that
purpose. He quickens our faculties, our memory. Sometimes we must wait,
but δώσει (will give) stands: “he will give.” (The interpretation of St.
Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to
Titus and to Philemon)
Phillip Schaff paraphrases it
‘Make the effort to reflect, for if thou do, the Lord will give thee the
discernment which thou needest.’
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
John Piper commenting on 2Ti
2:7 observes that "So many people swerve off the road to one side of
this verse or the other. Some stress, “Think over what I say.”
They emphasize the indispensable role of reason and thinking. And they
often minimize the decisive supernatural role of God in making the mind
able to see and embrace the truth. Others stress the second half of the
verse: “for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
They emphasize the futility of reason without God’s illumining work. But
Paul will not be divided that way. And this book (Thinking.
Loving. Doing) is a plea to you that you not force that
division either. We hope
you will embrace both human thinking and divine illumination.
For Paul, it was not either-or but both-and.
“Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in
everything.” And notice the little word “for.” (Ed: for = a
term of explanation)
This means that the promise of God to give us understanding is the
ground of our thinking, not the substitute for it. Paul does not say,
“God gives you understanding, so don’t waste your time thinking over
what I say.” Nor does he say, “Think hard over what I say because it all
depends on you, and God does not illumine the mind.” No. He emphatically
makes God’s gift of illumination the ground of our effort to understand.
There is no reason to believe that a person who thinks without prayerful
trust in God’s gift of understanding will get it. And there is no reason
to believe that a person who waits for God’s gift of understanding
without thinking about his Word will get it either. Both-and. Not
Loving. Doing - John Piper and David Mathis)
MacDonald - 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. (Believer's
Fee - Thus everything is from
the Lord, both the strengthening to stand in his grace (2Ti 2:1) and the
ability to understand the need to share in suffering. (1 and 2 Timothy,
Titus - Understanding the Bible Commentary Series)
John Calvin - We taught in
vain, if the Lord does not open our understandings (and) the
commandments would be given in vain, if He did not impart strength to
John Phillips - The
word consider means "to perceive with the mind." Paul was challenging
Timothy to think about the illustrations in 2:1-6, ponder them, and work
out in his mind all of their implications. Paul's prayer was that the
Lord would help Timothy to do that. (Exploring 2 Timothy)
John Piper on our part an
God's part - In 2 Timothy 2:7 (author's translation), Paul tells Timothy
how to read his letter: "Think over what I say, for the Lord will give
you understanding in everything." Yes, the Lord "gives" understanding.
But not without thinking. Don't replace thinking with praying. Think and
pray. Read and study and ransack and think. But all is in vain without
prayer. Both-and, not either-or. So we have seen again and
again: Prayer is indispensable if we would see the glory of God in the
Word of God. But we have also seen that reading and studying and
ransacking and thinking the Word is also necessary. God has ordained
that the eye-opening work of his Spirit always be combined with
the mind-informing work of his Word. His aim is that we see the
glory of God and that we reflect the glory of God. And so he opens our
eyes when we are looking at the glory of God in the Word. So...Read!
Study! Ransack! Think!—and pray, "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful
things in your Law" (Psalm 119:18). (The Godward Life - Part 2)
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 “Comprehension” (from
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 (of speech), 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. (Quoting Moule) "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)
W E Vine - Consider what I
say; for the Lord shall give thee understanding in all things.—note that
this is a promise (Ed: Some do not read it this way or interpret
it this way), according to the best manuscripts, and the promise is
given as a reason for the careful attention to the exhortations, though
possibly the charge is connected also with what follows. If the full
meaning of a Scripture is not at once evident, we may trust the Lord to
give us understanding concerning it. To this end we must apply ourselves
attentively to what is written. It is a sound principle that what is not
clear in any Scripture is to be understood in the light of Scriptures
that are clear. (Collected Writings)
Gregg Herrick - The key to
transformation is meditation which means prolonged reflection on a
passage(s) or truth in order to penetrate its meaning, relating it to
other doctrines and life, and hearing God’s voice in it. Meditation is
the bridge to meaningful obedience. Paul told Timothy to think
seriously about what he [Paul] said and that the Lord would give him
insight into it (2Ti 2:7). Unfortunately, just about everything in
our driven society mitigates against investing time in prayerful
meditation. Nevertheless, God commanded Joshua to meditate on his word
so that he could obey it and enjoy the blessing of success (Joshua 1:8).
(How to Study the Bible)
John Piper - Think Deeply
and Clearly -A Meditation on 2 Timothy 2:7
January 22, 1990 | by John Piper | Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:7 | Topic:
Life of the Mind
2 Timothy 2:7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you
understanding in everything.
Timothy: Wait a minute, Paul. You tell me to think, but isn’t the organ
of our thinking fallen and unreliable?
Paul: Yes, your mind is fallen and fallible. Yes, it is prone to
self-justifying errors. But Christ is in the business of “renewing the
mind” (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23). Do you think there is some unfallen
part of you that you could substitute for your mind? We are fallen and
depraved in every part. You can’t retreat from thinking into some other
safe, untainted faculty of knowing. Take note, Timothy: even in raising
the objection against thinking you are thinking! You can’t escape the
necessity of thinking. God’s call is to do it well.
Timothy: But, Paul, I don’t want to become a cold, impersonal
Paul: There is danger on both sides, Timothy. There is cold knowledge,
and there is a red hot zeal that “is not according to knowledge” (Romans
10:2). But thinking does not have to cool your zeal. In fact, in my life
the vigorous exercise of my mind in spiritual things causes me to boil
inside, not to freeze. You are right not to want to become “impersonal.”
That happens when thinking is emphasized to the exclusion of feeling
about people; and reason is exalted above love. But note this, Timothy:
the abandonment of thinking is the destruction of persons. Yes, there is
more to personal relationships than thinking, but they are less human
without it. God honored his image in us when he said, “Come, let us
reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). Should we do less?
Timothy: But, Paul, shouldn’t I just take you at your word, and not ask
so many questions? You’re an apostle, and speak for God.
Paul: Take what, Timothy?
Timothy: Your words, what you say in your letters.
Paul: Do you mean the black marks on the parchment?
Timothy: No. What they stand for. You know. What they mean.
Paul: How do you know what I mean, Timothy?
Timothy: I read what you write.
Paul: You mean you pass your eyes over the black marks on the parchment?
Timothy: No, I . . . I think about it. I ask how the words and sentences
fit together. I look for what it means.
Paul: That’s right, Timothy. Thinking and asking questions is the only
way you will ever understand what I want to communicate in my letters.
And either you do it poorly, or you do it well. So “do not be a child in
your thinking: be a babe in evil, but in thinking be mature” (1
Corinthians 14:20). As the Master said, “wise as serpents and innocent
as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
Timothy: But, Paul, won’t I become arrogant and boastful if by using my
mind I discover things on my own?
Paul: Timothy, you never have and never will discover anything “on your
own.” And you would know this if you had thought more deeply about what
I said. What I said was: “Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant
you understanding in everything.” The Lord, Timothy, the Lord! “From
him, through him, and to him are all things. To him be the glory!”
(Romans 11:36) He is the ground and goal of all thought. So think,
Timothy. Gird up your mind and think!
Praying Psalm 119:66 with you,
John Piper - 2 Timothy 2:7 - Back
to School: A Biblical Perspective
September 9, 1992 | by John Piper | Topic: Education
Reading, writing and ‘rithmatic have to do with thinking.
Reading well does not mean moving the eyes quickly over letters on a
page. It means grasping facts and ideas accurately, assessing their
truth and beauty correctly, and making use of them to lead a good life.
Arithmetic at the simplest levels means stocking the mind with tools for
thought (the tables of addition, subtraction, multiplication and
division). At more advanced levels math is the exercise of logic for
building things and living wisely: which is the better buy, three 8
ounce boxes at $1.00 each or two 12 ounce boxes at $1.40 each?
Writing is what you learn so that you can preserve for yourself and
communicate to others what you are thinking.
This business of education is God’s business. He gave us the minds that
think. He created the world we think about. He wrote the book of nature.
He made the rules of logic. He is the standard of true and false, good
and bad, beautiful and ugly. To ignore him is to be profoundly
uneducated. Meditate (and help the children meditate) on the following
We are commanded to love the Lord with our minds.
Matthew 22:37 – And [Jesus] said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your
God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your
Without God as the highest value of education all thinking becomes
futile and dark and sordid.
Romans 1:20-21,28 – Although they knew God they did not honor him as God
or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and
their senseless minds were darkened . . . Since they did not see fit to
acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper
We are commanded to be mature in our thinking.
1 Corinthians 14:20 – Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; be
babes in evil, but in thinking be mature.
The failure to love truth will lead to destruction.
2 Thessalonians 2:10 – They refused to love the truth and so be saved.
Wise people seek to grow in knowledge.
Proverbs 15:14 – The mind of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
Proverbs 18:15 – An intelligent mind acquires knowledge, and the ear of
the wise seeks knowledge.
Proverbs 22:17 – Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and
apply your mind to my knowledge. (cf. Proverbs 2:1-6; 23:12)
Thinking does not replace God, and
God does not replace thinking.
2 Timothy 2:7 – Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you
understanding in everything.
Thinking with you for the glory of God,