Today's Foundations Devotional: Example of Timothy
Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses
had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did
as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Having thus established the importance of spiritual gifts in the church today, let us now consider what Paul teaches about the way in which they may be imparted. The person Paul refers to in this connection is his own co-worker, Timothy.
Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery (1 Tim. 4:14).
In another epistle Paul refers to the same incident in Timothy’s spiritual experience.
Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands (2 Tim. 1:6).
In order to complete the picture of this particular incident in Timothy’s life, we should look at one more reference.
This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare (1 Tim. 1:18).
By putting these three passages of Scripture together, we are able to establish certain definite facts about the incident here described by Paul.
First of all, Timothy received some definite spiritual gift. The precise nature of this gift is never specified by Paul, and for the purposes of our present study it is not of any special importance.
Second, we learn that this spiritual gift was imparted to Timothy through the laying on of hands. In one passage Paul says, “with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery” (1 Tim. 4:14). In another passage he says, “through the laying on of my hands” (2 Tim. 1:6).
The word presbytery in the New Testament is simply a collective noun denoting the elders of a local church. The elders referred to by Paul may have been those in the church at Lystra, where Timothy began his Christian life.
[Timothy] was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium (Acts 16:2).
Or Paul may be referring to the elders of the church at Ephesus, where Timothy was when Paul wrote his first epistle to him. In this case, the same group of elders would be referred to in Acts 20:17, where we read:
From Miletus he [Paul] sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.
Turning back again to Paul’s epistles to Timothy, we see that in one place Paul says it was he himself who laid hands upon Timothy, and in another place he says it was the elders of the church who did this. Most likely, therefore, Paul acted in conjunction with the church elders. He and they together laid hands upon Timothy.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the spiritual power and authority
that can be transferred through the laying on of hands. I pray that
today Your Church will realize again what privilege and strength
you have entrusted to us with this Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.