Today, I would like to talk about a very exciting topic and of much interest among Christians and that is, how to hear God’s voice. In spite of an abundance of Christian materials and sermons available today, many believers still struggle to hear God’s voice and have a genuine desire to know how God speaks to His people in the New Testament. In our discussion today, I will try to provide answers to 5 questions: „Why Do We Need to Hear God? Does God speak today to all born-again believers or only to certain people who are more holy or chosen by Him? How does God speak? How can we discern God’s voice from all the other voices and What can we do to learn faster to hear God’s voice?”
Why Do We Need to Hear God?
Some believers may wonder why they should ever hear God’s voice in their lives. How would it help them? Is hearing God’s voice something of vital importance that deserves our attention, time, and effort, or is it just a good skill to have in any event? Well, there are many great benefits to hearing God’s voice. First, it will protect you from many harmful decisions, situations, people, or things that might try to come into your life. Second, it will help you see many opportunities and open doors for you to be blessed and be a blessing for other people. Third, it will direct your steps to your destiny and calling on this earth, so that you will fulfill as much as possible of what God has planned for you and your life. Fourth, it will encourage you and strengthen you in your spirit and your faith in those moments when you will feel weak or discouraged. Hearing God is vital to a life of continuous glory, victory, success, peace, joy, health, well-being, and prosperity here on earth.
To Whom Does God Speak?
In the New Testament, God wants to speak and speaks to all born-again believers. This is different from the Old Testament, where God spoke only to certain people chosen by Him. You may ask, Why is that? Things are this way because in the Old Testament all people were under the authority of darkness. Jesus had not died yet on the cross and the Holy Spirit was not yet dwelling in human beings in a permanent way. The Holy Spirit was given from time to time to certain people for specific and temporary tasks and in partial measures. In other words, the Holy Spirit would come and go. However, in the New Testament, the Spirit of God has been sent on the inside of believers to be in them and with them forever. We see this in John 14:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19:
John 14:16–17 (NKJV)
16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—
17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
1 Corinthians 6:19 (NKJV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
God always speaks to all believers in Christ and that is something normal. That should be a daily normality for Christians and not something abnormal happening from time to time in some very special anointed moments. Every believer in Christ has the ability to hear God. God wants to speak to us much more than we are ready to hear Him. In fact, He speaks much more than we hear. Look at what John 10:27, John 14:26, John 16:13 tell us about hearing God’s voice:
John 10:27 (NKJV)
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
John 14:26 (NKJV)
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 16:13 (NKJV)
13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
Christ’s sheep hear and recognize His voice. The Holy Spirit in us will teach us all things, guide us in all truth, and announce to us certain things from the future. These are not all stipulated in the Bible, but the Holy Spirit will speak them directly to us.
Moving forward, another important thing is that it’s not enough to know God speaks and that it is normal for believers to hear Him. We must also search to hear His voice, be preoccupied for it, and we must tune our minds to the right spiritual frequency, the same way we search for a radio channel until we find the right frequency. As long as you can live without hearing God’s voice, you will continue to do so. But it will not be to your advantage. In Jeremiah 29:11-13, God speaks to His people through the prophet Jeremiah the following:
Jeremiah 29:11–13 (NKJV)
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
We need to take time to quiet our minds and reduce the volume of all the other voices to a minimum so that we can hear that still small voice of Him. We need to disconnect frequently from the daily noise and meditate on who we are in Christ, where we are going, what we are doing, how we are doing things and why we are doing them and so on. We need to make a habit of meditating on God’s Word. I was once test-driving a new car and, while we were driving, I could hear the noise of the wind quite loud from outside, even with the windows closed. And that was one of the things that I was looking for in the next new car: to hear as less noise as possible from outside. I asked the lady who was doing the test-drive with us why we could hear the noise from outside, since this was a new car. She replied with a very serious face, “Well, you know, if you turn on the music louder, you will not hear any wind noise from outside.” I couldn’t tell if she was joking or being serious when she said that. I didn’t even know how to react to such reply. The point is that, as long we have other louder voices in our lives, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to hear God’s voice. And in our day and age, the voices have multiplied exponentially: the internet and social media, smart phones, digital media entertainment, and all kinds of gadgets. And as believers, we now have to be even more intentional in hearing God’s voice than ever before, if we really want to hear Him. And withdrawing from the daily activities should not be very difficult or complicated. I am not talking here about something super spiritual, where you take some special longer time aside in silence and away of everyone, although such times are recommended when it’s possible. But most of us have a lot of activities and work and we have to somehow integrate this habit into our daily routine, so that it flows naturally. It doesn’t always have to be a special time, but in your mind you need to be sensitive, you need to take a step back often and think about things, situations, analyze, hear a sermon, ask yourself questions, meditate on the Word, things like that. And this can be done very naturally when you drive a car, when you are in public transportation, when you have a break from work, when you prepare food, etc.
How Does God Speak?
The first way God speaks to His sons and daughters is through His Word or the Word of Christ.
Through the Word of God
We cannot expect to hear God’s voice so much in specific ways until we know very well what He has already spoken in His Word. We need to spend time in His Word. When I talk about the Word of Christ, I am not referring to refreshing our minds with what God expects from us morally speaking, but to learning from the Word who we are in Christ, what is our identity as a new creation, what inheritance we have received, what are our rights and responsibilities in the spiritual realm, how the spiritual world and spiritual laws work, what is the heart of God, His ways of doing things, His nature, His character, His perspectives on things, and His values. Being continuously in the Word is not hard. We just need to form a consistent habit of reading the Word personally, of listening to Bible teaching and sermons, and of memorizing verses that apply to the new creation.
The more Word we have in us, the more we will become one in thought and heart with God. We will know what to do in many situations even without receiving a special word from God. For instance, many times I can take a decision for our family even without my wife being present there, and I know for sure whether she will agree with my decision or not, because I know her very well. We spend much time together. And the same goes for her and for many of you.
The Word will also act as a control point for all the other voices we hear. Sometimes we might think we heard something from God that contradicts what He already said clearly in His Word. For example, God will never tell you that you can divorce your wife and go with someone else. Other times, we wait to hear for an answer from God concerning a situation about which He already told us in His Word that we already have the answer, like lack of peace, sickness, financial lack, and so on. In all these situations, we have a knowledge problem. 2 Peter 1:2-3 says this:
2 Peter 1:2–3 (NKJV)
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
Many people pray for peace in their families, peace concerning their finances, for their health, and their future, but don’t have the necessary and adequate knowledge of God that will give them the peace they are looking for without waiting to receive from God. Peace will not come over you all of a sudden like a supernatural blanket, but it comes through the knowledge of Him. If you have a peace problem in your life, it’s because you have a knowledge problem. The same is true if you have a sickness or a financial problem. Hosea 4:6 says that God’s people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge, and not lack of power or of prayer.
Romans 8:6 (NKJV)
6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Carnal thinking doesn’t refer only to sinful things, but to the wordly way of thinking in all things pertaining to life. To be spiritually minded means to think according to the Word and its principles in all your decisions and your approach to life. Spiritual mindedness gives you life and peace. This is what the Word of God says.
Through the Inner Voice of the Mind
When God’s people transitioned from the Old Testament to the New Testament, some significant changes took place in the relationship between God and human beings. Almost everything pertaining to Christian life has changed in some way: fasting and prayer, worship, prophetic, authority, the way God relates to people, etc. Unfortunately, many believers still live in the Old Testament and read the Old Testament thinking into the New Testament. The way God speaks specifically to His people is another one of those areas that has changed significantly in the New Testament.
In the Old Testament, God spoke to His people most times (if not all the time) through an audible voice and from the outside of the person, because people didn’t have the Holy Spirit in them. God was sending His messages through angelic appearances as well. The prophets had to receive and deliver the messages from God very accurately. It was like a spiritual trance they entered into. And if something they said didn’t fulfill, they were dimmed as false prophets and sometimes killed. However, in the New Testament, God speaks on the inside of us, in our conscious mind, through intuition, impressions, pictures, visions, certain feelings, or night dreams. It’s like a telepathic communication where we just find ourselves knowing things in our intuition without knowing where they came frrom. Sometimes we have a good feeling or a bad feeling about a situation or a person. In the New Testament, the voice of God goes through our soul (emotions, reason, personality) and it speaks to us in the first person pronoun. It uses our inner ear and inner voice, as if it was our own voice, our ideas and desires. That is why many times, the voice of God in our lives is confused with our own voice and is quickly dismissed without realizing that it was God speaking to us and not just our own ideas. I will give here the examples of the priest Caiafa and the apostle Peter who spoke something they thought it was from them, when in fact it was from the Spirit of God:
John 11:49–52 (NKJV)
49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all,
50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.”
51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation,
52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.
Matthew 16:15–17 (NKJV)
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Because God uses our inner voice when He speaks, we need faith to act on the basis of that which we think we received from God. Sometimes, we don’t have the whole picture and we just need to take the first step in faith. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. At first, we might not always get it right in what we receive from God, but even when we make mistakes, God will appreciate our faith to act and He will find ways to bring us back on the right path. Moreover, through practice step by step, we will learn to recognize His voice more and more accurately.
You may ask, “But why is it this way in the New Testament?” It is because at the spirit level, through the new birth, we have become one spirit with the Spirit of Christ:
1 Corinthians 6:17 (NKJV)
17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
The born-again believers have the mind of Christ:
1 Corinthians 2:16 (NKJV)
16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Many believers think that having the mind of Christ is a metaphor, a process, an ideal and that it refers to thinking morally like God. However, it is not so. There is definitely a process of integrating the mind of Christ into our lives, but there is also something real that has already taken place. At the subconscious level of our minds, the mind of Christ Himself has been eternally connected to our minds at the moment of salvation. We now have access to how Christ thinks in every situation. Caroline Leaf, a Christian scientist in brain-neurology, says that human beings, and especially born-again believers, are involved in two worlds in the same time. They are with one foot in the spiritual realm through the subconscious mind where the spiritual activity takes place and with the other foot in the physical realm through the conscious mind and through the physical body. She also says that the conscious mind works at a speed of 2000 actions per second while the subconscious mind works at a speed of 400 billion actions per second, which is a mind-blowing quantum speed of spiritual nature, that has never been reproduced in the physical world by a human being. The Bible says the following in Colossians 2:2-3 and 1 John 2:20:
Colossians 2:2–3 (NKJV)
2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,
3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
1 John 2:20 (NKJV)
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
Once we have come into Christ, we have received access in our minds to all God’s treasures of knowledge and wisdom, but that access is at the subconscious level, and we have to bring those things that we need for every situation out to the surface into our conscious minds, so that we can benefit from them. It is like we have a vast fountain of life and knowledge inside us, in our belly or gut, from where we draw out the living water of answers and power for any given situation. This is the enteric nervous system from the intestinal area where we first feel any feelings of great fear or stress. This is the area of intuition from where our gut feelings come from. Caroline Leaf and other scientists call this system, that is connected to the subconscious mind, the second brain. And here comes into play the discussion about the prayer in tongues. We have in us a fountain called the fountain of salvation which springs into rivers of living water.
If you remember the beginnings of Internet when Google first appeared and we searched for a certain word or topic, we received very few results because the knowledge on Internet was still limited and scarce. However, few years have gone by, and if you go on the Internet today to search for something, you will get back thousands of resources and links on any given topic. Why? Because the information available on the Internet has become so vast almost overnight. I remember when I first bought the Logos Bible Software for the Bible school, I had only the Starter and Bronze packages. When I searched for something inside that application, I would get just a few resources. Later on, I upgraded to the Silver and Gold packages, and all of a sudden, a whole new world opened up to me. It was like a portal into new knowledge. Now, when I searched for the same thing, I was getting many more resources and Greek Lexicons and all kinds of commentaries on any topic. Likewise, when we come into Christ, Platinum or Diamond level access is granted to us in knowledge and wisdom and we access those by renewing our minds with the Word of God and by speaking in tongues regularly. In that way, when you hear a sermon, or when you a read a book, or when you look at a situation, all of a sudden you will see and perceive things which will seem normal, trivial and natural to you, and which most of the times you will take for granted, but those things are not seen or perceived by other people. That happens because you now have access to a much bigger database of knowledge, divine wisdom, and spiritual revelation. But the point that I am trying to make is that those things will not come to you with fire and thunder from heaven, but in a very subtle and natural way.
Through Regular Prayer in Tongues
I don’t know how I can emphasize enough the necessity of believers to pray regularly in tongues and especially in situations where they need to hear God. The more believers will pray in tongues, the more their minds will be merged with the mind of Christ at the conscious level and they will enter into the so-called unconscious leading of the Spirit. At that level, most of our decisions, our speech, the places we go, and our deeds, will be in God’s will unconsciously. This is so much better and more desirable, because when we are continuously filled with the Holy Spirit through praying in tongues (Ephesians 5:18), even our jokes can speak something from God to someone. Romans 8:14 says that all those who are led by the Spirit of God (unconsciously), they are the sons of God. The Greek word used for “sons” in that context is huios, which means “the mature sons of God,” those that have renewed their minds with the Word of God and pray so much in tongues that literally have become one with the Spirit in actuality. There is also another Greek word used for babies or children and that is nepios.
The Apostle Paul was praying in tongues more than anyone. It’s not a surprise that he wrote 3 quarters of the New Testament and had such revelations of grace directly from Jesus Christ, that the other apostles didn’t have, although they lived with Jesus for 3 years. In 1 Corinthians 14:15, Paul said:
1 Corinthians 14:15 (NKJV)
15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
The “also” applies to the prayer and singing with the understanding. In other words, that kind of prayer and singing is secondary. The primary way of praying and singing should be with the spirit, that is, in tongues. However, for some reasons, the majority of Christians treat prayer in tongues as some kind of secondary prayer that occurs here and there, only at what they consider to be “high moments in the Spirit,” or they use prayer in tongues as fillers. But prayer in tongues is paramount because it brings the mind of the Spirit to the surface. Romans 8:26-27 says:
Romans 8:26–27 (NKJV)
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
1 Corinthians 14:4 says that when we speak in tongues, we edify ourselves. What parts of us get edified? Our bodies through health and our minds through renewal. In other words, our minds and bodies are getting tuned, aligned and conformed to the reality of the spirit inside us. The council that you need concerning your family, what job to choose, what life partner to choose, in what direction to go ministry-wise, what is your calling and destiny, the answers to all these questions are already inside of you. They just need to be drawn out through speaking in tongues.
Sometimes when I lose something and I cannot find it, I pray in tongues and soon enough an idea comes to my mind of where I have last placed that thing. At work, when I face technical challenges that I don’t know how to solve, I pray in tongues. The beauty of it is that the more you make a habit of praying in tongues, the more supernatural answers to daily problems will flow naturally out of you and come to your mind. At my work place, I already have a reputation of fixing issues just by my mere presence in a meeting, without doing anything and I am not kidding when I say that. My colleagues make jokes about it, but to me is very real. It happened to me on many occasions when different people from the company tried for days to fix an issue and finally they setup a meeting with me to explain the problem and see if I can help in any way. Once we got in the meeting and they started to explain the problem to me, they realized the issue was no longer there and asked me if I did anything to which I would tell them that I didn’t. Other times, they would just sent me an email about the problem to take look at it and, without doing anything, after a few minutes they would send another email telling me that the issue was fixed and asking if I did anything. It may sound hilarious, but that has been my experience on many occasions and these are not the only manifestations of supernatural in my life.
How Do I Discern God’s Voice?
The first way to discern God’s voice is through His Word. The more Word we have in us and the more we pray in tongues, the more God’s desires will become our heart’s desires. This way we will become more sure that when we desire to do something, it will be from God. Psalm 37:4 says:
Psalm 37:4 (NKJV)
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
This verse can definitely mean that God will fulfill the desires of our heart, although some of our desires are not always good, as we know. However, a better interpretation would be that the more we delight ourselves in God, in His presence and in His Word, He will make His desires become the desires of our hearts. Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word of God is able to distinguish and separate what is spiritual from what is fleshly. Let’s read it:
Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The second way we can discern God’s voice is through the presence or absence of peace.
Colossians 3:15 (NKJV)
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
When I talk about peace or the lack of it, I am talking about something beyond just feelings. Feelings can sometimes be deceiving. It’s an uneasiness that you feel in your innermost being about a situation. You don’t know why, but you just feel that way. My wife and I decided once to move in a certain city and for two weeks, after we took the decision, both of us had a persistent feeling of uneasiness, like a cloud of darkness all over us. The moment we asked the Holy Spirit about it and decided to change our destination, all of a sudden, both of us were at ease and full of joy and peace. On another occasion, I was offered to become the pastor of a church, something that I always wanted to do, but for some reason at that time, I didn’t have peace at all to accept the position. And I didn’t. Later on, I understood why it was better for me not to take it and the Holy Spirit protected me of some harmful things. Whenever you are in a situation where you have to choose something and take a decision, but you don’t have complete peace with any of the available options, you either wait more time if that is possible and if you can afford it, or just go with the choice that gives you the most peace. It is very possible that after you take the first step, you will receive more clarity on the issue.
The third way we can discern God’s voice is to ask for additional confirmations from God, or from other people close to you that know you well and truly love you. God will not be upset if you sincerely ask for additional confirmations, especially in crucial decisions of life, and most of the times, He will give them to you.
What Can I Do to Learn to Discern God’s Voice?
The first thing we need to realize and the most important one is that learning to discern God’s voice doesn’t come over night, but it’s a process that takes time. In fact, spiritual growth and development takes time. For example, to train our minds and get an education, we usually spend over 15 years in school. Also, if we want to build muscles in our bodies, we go to gym for years regularly and adopt certain food diets. Likewise it is with the spiritual development in the New Testament and with hearing God’s voice. It requires time and intentional effort to build the healthy spiritual habits that will facilitate and cultivate our growth in spiritual things. The majority of Christians expect spiritual results to come instantly and microwaved and God to do everything for them. It is not so in the New Testament.
The second important thing is that no one can teach you the ability to hear God. You can receive teaching and guidelines, but to actually recognize God’s voice for you personally it is something that you will have to learn by yourself through consistent practice and faith. But if you keep at it diligently, you will soon come to a place where you will be able to recognize the voice of God accurately among all the other voices, the same way you can recognize the voice of your husband or wife, because you spend much time with them. My son and I have a habit of listening every evening at bedtime to the audio Bible through an app called Bible.is and there are many actors that use their voices in reading the Bible. After listening to the 4 Gospels about 3-4 times in a row and to the voice of the person who was interpreting Jesus, we once started to listen to the story of Joseph from the Old Testament. The creators of the app decided to use the same person’s voice for Joseph as they used for Jesus. While we were listening, I didn’t pay much attention to it, but my five-year old son said to me: “Daddy, this is not Joseph, it is Jesus. Why is Jesus in this story?” You see, he got so acquainted with that voice of the actor who was interpreting Jesus, that he could recognize it among 4-5 other voices and even in another story. That’s amazing! But that’s exactly what will happen to you.
I will conclude this teaching by giving you a few practical guidelines of how to grow in learning to hear God’s voice. First, increase your daily exposure to the Word of God. Make a habit of reading at least one chapter a day from the Bible and think about what it says, but don’t try to become super spiritual or search for meanings that are not even in the text. Just simply try to see how that passage speaks to you, what applies to you from it, and how you can implement it in your life. And if nothing comes to you, don’t worry, just move on to another chapter. Also, make a habit of listening to sermons that help you understand the Word better. And don’t just listen to anyone, but to people who preach about grace and about the new creation. For starters, you can begin listening to my YouTube channel (The Glory of Righteousness Series, Divine Healing Series, The New Creation Series) or my podcasts channel “Rediscovering the Gospel” available on numerous podcast stations. Other recommendations are: Andrew Wommack (who has thousands of free audio teaching files on his website or on podcasts), Barry Bennett, Audrey Mack, Curry Blake, Kenneth Hagin, and Dr. Myles Monroe from US, Joseph Prince from Singapore, Chris Oyakilome from Nigeria, Ryan Rufus from Hong-Kong, and Prophet Kobus from South Africa. You can find their materials on their websites, YouTube, or podcast channels. I uploaded some of these teachings on my mobile phone or I use Apple Podcasts, Castbox podcasts, and I always listen to a sermon in my car while I drive. If you ride a bike or use public transportation, you can use in-ear headphones and listen to sermons. Besides reading the Word or listening to sermons, what I also do and recommend is memorize verses that apply to the new creation and personalize them. I use the “Bible Memory: Remember Me” app where I collected over 300 relevant verses from my reading of the Bible and I rehearse 2 verses every day. The same I do with my five-year old son, but with him I rehearse the same 2 verses for a week every day.
Second, start forming a habit of praying daily in tongues and begin small with maybe 5-10 minutes and then extend the time gradually up to at least 1 hour a day. Try to pray at different times of the day and see which ones work best for you, either very early in the morning, or after lunch time at work, or in the afternoon, or late at night before you go to bed. In the beginning, it will seem difficult to implement this habit, because it requires much faith and discipline, but after a while, it will become easy, and you will notice that you will not be able to live without it anymore. It will be like breathing. I usually find some walking routes close to the area where I live, which are more quiet and not so populated, and I go for a walk and pray in tongues and declare the Word of God over my life anywhere between 40 minutes to 1 hour almost daily. I am saying that with all humility, not to praise myself, but to encourage you that it’s possible and to offer you a practical point of reference. Of course, besides taking a special aside time to pray, you can always pray in tongues while doing other activities, like working around the house, shopping, washing dishes, washing your car, etc.
Third, be always preoccupied and ready to hear God. Make a habit of it. Whenever you pray by yourself, or walk, or go shopping, remind yourself from time to time to listen to God and be sensitive to His voice. In this way, you will increase your self-awareness and be able to discern more accurately when God speaks to you. Not only that, but your spiritual progress will manifest in the natural world in increasing measure and it will be seen by all. The Apostle Paul told Timothy:
1 Timothy 4:13–16 (NKJV)
13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
14 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 eldership.
15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.
16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
If you give yourself entirely to this process, your progress will be evident to all. If you continue persistently, you will save yourself and those who hear you or come in contact with you. Timothy was already at that moment saved eternally from hell, so the salvation Paul is talking about here is the salvation on earth from all the harmful things that normally and naturally affect people without Christ.
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