1 Timothy 4:1-16
Friday, 14 May 2021
“Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine”. -1 Timothy 4:16
Paul’s first letter to Timothy contains both clear direction and encouragement for Timothy. Timothy was a young minister appointed to lead the contentious church at Ephesus. He had already learned the essentials of Gospel; now his challenge was how to lead. In this letter, Paul was passing on all the wisdom he had accumulated in his years of ministry. His insights are extremely practical and valuable even today. Paul equips and builds Timothy with the following exhortations:
Instruct others in sound doctrine (4:6). In order to do this task, he should be well versed with the doctrinal aspects of the Scripture. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter time some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons ….” (4:1-3). Verses 4 - 5 gives us the remedy that “For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” We see the power to diffuse the power of the impurity if it is received with thanksgiving to God. This is a spiritual key to be exercised in faith in our daily routine.
Train oneself in godliness (4:7-8). Paul describes in 3:16 that, “…. great is the mystery of godliness: a) God was manifested in the flesh, b) Justified in the Spirit, c) Seen by the Angels, d) Preached among the gentiles, e) Believed in in the world f) Received up in glory.” This is known as the ‘Truth of Faith concerning Jesus Christ’, the divine fullness. Manifested in the flesh refers to Christ’s incarnation. Justified in the Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit’s work in Jesus and resurrection. Seen by the angels refers to the angelic witness of Christ’s ministry and resurrection. Preached among the Gentiles refers to the proclamation of Christ to the nations. Believed on in the world refers to the response of individuals to God’s plan of salvation. Received up in glory refers to the ascension; Christ is seated on God’s presence in heaven.
Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith and in purity (4:12). These Godly characters should be desired and practiced by all irrespective of their age. Timothy must have been between 35 to 40 years of age at this time and he was to set an example in the following areas: i) in word (conversation) ii) in conduct or behavior iii) in love which is the love of God iv) in spirit, the power of the Holy Spirit v) in faith which is the trust in God vi) in purity, both in sexual matters and thoughts (5:2). It is so vital for a Christian Leader as well as believers, in general, set these things as the norm of their Christian living.
At the same time Paul warns here not to: i) heed to fables ii) neglect your gift, a well-balanced leadership trait for a Christian Minister. Paul also exhorts “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”(1Cor 11:1) This is exposing ourselves to have an open approach that if you find anyone or a group that is following the Bible, always encourage them, support them with your time, service, prayers, and resources in whatever possible way. Imitate any good examples that you see. Always Pursue righteousness. Walk with Christ.