1 Timothy 4.11-16 – As for Timothy, As for You…

We’ve said before that 1 Timothy was written to the new Pastor, Timothy, with instructions on how the church should be run and structured. But does that mean that the personal qualities that your Pastor possesses are only for him to have, and nobody else in church should be displaying them?

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

We see some pastoral prerequisites that we should all really be taking to heart;

Command and teach these things – the teachings and truths of Jesus (3.16) are to be incontrovertible in the life of the Pastor, in the life of the church, and in your life too.

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in… – if Timothy was God’s man for that church, then his age was irrelevant.


As for Timothy, as for you;

if God wants you to do something for Him, you are never too young or too old. 


Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching – we should all be constantly evaluating ourselves in light of the teachings and truths of Jesus, and asking the Holy Spirit to work in us to change what needs to be changed.

The teaching here refers to the full counsel of God’s Word, all that is taught about Jesus, all that refers to Jesus, all that guides us to Jesus. The main job of the Pastor in your church is to present the teaching, the doctrine, the truths of the Word of God. We should all, today and every day, seek to live in the light of the teaching, and each of us should be concerned with both ourselves and our Christian brothers and sisters. 

Charles Spurgeon told this story whilst preaching on a Sunday evening, the 19th of June, 1870,

I have been thinking while I have been preaching to you, this evening, of my own self awhile, and I shall turn my thoughts to myself and any others who are preachers or teachers, and who try to do good to others.

Years ago Hamburgh was nearly half of it burned down, and among the incidents that happened, there was this one. A large house had connected with it a yard in which there was a great black dog, and this black dog in the middle of the night barked and howled most furiously. It was only by his barking that the family were awakened just in time to escape from the flames, and their lives were spared; but the poor dog was chained to his kennel, and though he barked and thus saved the lives of others, he was burned himself.

Oh! do not you who work for God in this church perish in that fashion. Do not permit your sins to enchain you, so that while you warn others you become lost yourselves. Do see that you have the godliness which has the promise of the life that is to come.

And now, you who really desire to find godliness, remember, it is to be had in Christ, and only in Christ.

1 Timothy 4.7-10 – Temporal or Eternal

Lots of people nowadays seem to put energy and effort into things that have no eternal benefit, don’t they. 

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Having talked of the witness given by God’s people through the centrality of the Word, today Paul talks about the other side of the coin, have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths.

Paul then taps into the culture of the day and says, look, stop worrying so much about how you look, how strong you are, for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

For us now, this could be so many things. People are so concerned with and caught up in things that have no eternal value. This could be the politics of the day, the latest tv/movie release, the favored sports team, the new relationship, the new car, the new house…

Let’s be clear, none of those things are inherently sinful, but when they take over and become the number one concern, priority, and passion in our lives, that’s wrong.

Rather than working towards these temporal treasures, we ought to be focused on the eternal reward that is the object of our hope, which is set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially those who believe

1 Timothy 4.6 – Words and Ways

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.

Timothy’s job as the pastor of this new church in Ephesus is to instruct, to teach, and to model, by putting these things before the brothers and sisters. ‘These things‘ would appear to be the Word of God and prayer (v.5) and the sum of Paul’s instruction so far (2.1-4.5). 

The pastor, then, needs to be in the Word if he is to teach the Word.

The pastor, then, needs to be in the Word if he is to model the word by his ways.

The pastor, then, needs to be in the Word.

But, is the pastor the only person in church that needs to put these things before the brothers? Is the pastor the only person who needs to model the words of faith and the good doctrine?

This is really a call to everyone who has submitted and committed to the Jesus-following life. All of us are called, by our words and ways, to put these things before the brothers and sisters

David Guzik writes,

It is also important to say that instruction should be understood in a broad sense, not only as classroom-style teaching or Sunday preaching. Jesus instructed His disciples, but with His presence, His life, and His practice as well as with His words.

Surly there can be no greater reward for ministering in this manner than being called a good servant of Christ Jesus. We long to hear the words of Matthew 25.23,

‘Well done, good and faithful servant.

You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.

Enter into the joy of your master.’ 

Let us go today and resolve to put these things before the brothersbeing trained in the words of faith and of the good doctrine.

1 Timothy 4.1-5 – Weigh, Test, Take

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Paul here gives Timothy a warning of the kinds of false teaching that will sadly come into the church. This kind of stuff is, also sadly, still present in our twenty-first century Christianity, and is therefore something we need to be ready to identify and take a stand against.

The deceitful spirits and teaching of demons comes in many shapes and forms, but Paul here says that they generally come through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared…False teaching then comes from those with an agenda, their conscience having being seared to the truth, they seek to exploit you for their own gain (more on that in chapter 6). Their lifestyle will not match their words, there will be a big disconnect between words and works in those whose conscience has been seared. 

Often this will result in you being told that you must adhere to their personal brand of legalism; reject this, don’t do that, do this (vv.2-3). They don’t understand that the heart of the matter of Godly living is a matter of the heart (vv.4-5, Acts 10.9-16, Genesis 9.3 cf. 1 Corinthians 8), and that by legalistically instructing others on what to do and not do rather than simply show them to Jesus, they have become a modern-day Pharisee.

Friends, do not be caught out by false teachers with an agenda. Weigh everything you hear against the full counsel of the Word of God (Acts 17.11), test everything to see if it exalts the Lord Jesus (1 John 4.1-3), and thereby take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.

1 Timothy 3.16 – Basics of Belief

Have you ever stopped to think about what makes you a Christian, or why you are a Christian? 

Maybe it was a personal experience with Jesus so powerful that you are wholly convinced.

Maybe it is the nature of the Word of God written for us; complete, sufficient, illuminating, instructive, inspired.

At the core of both, or of anything we could give as a reason for why we believe, is the person and work of Jesus.

16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.

These six things are the basics of our belief. Jesus was;

…manifested in the flesh – John 1.14

…vindicated by the Spirit – Matthew 3.16, Romans 8.11a

…seen by angels – Luke 2.8-14

…proclaimed among the nations – Luke 24.27, Colossians 1.28

…believed on in the world – John 3.16

…taken up in glory – Acts 1.8-11

The key to the character needed by the believer (1 Timothy 3.1-13), is being in a personal relationship with this Jesus (v.16 above). The basics of our belief are found in a personal relationship with Jesus.

Take a moment today and think – why do I believe, and am I in this relationship?

1 Timothy 3.14-15 – Clarity of Scripture

Careful and proper Bible reading seems to be, sadly, not the normal way of reading the Bible for most people. There either seems to be the idea that we must sensationalize and emotionalize it so as to provoke an emotional response (a danger which D.Martin Lloyd-Jones warns against), or we need to inject ourselves into the text to be the original readers/recipients, or else that the whole thing is unknowable and therefore, you know, what’s the point? More often than not, the real people writing the text of Scripture, inspired by the Holy Spirit, will make plain and simple their intention.

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.

We said that this letter was from Paul to Timothy with instructions on how to lead the church. We’ve seen the importance of prayer, the importance of right teaching, the Gospel to be proclaimed, and the character of those to be appointed to help lead. Today, Paul is as clear as can be that he hopes to visit, but, if he is delayed, this letter is for Timothy to know how people ought to behave in the household of God

Passages about the character of leaders, the interaction between men and women, the high standards for handling the Word and the teaching of the church all folds into this purpose, so people know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth

There are some deep and wonderful truths in the Word that we could talk about until the Lord returns or calls us home. There are passages that were so specific to specific peoples at specific times, but, if we read the Word carefully and properly, considering context and purpose, we will see that there is more often than not a strikingly clear purpose statement within each book of the Bible.

Today, look at passages like 1 Timothy 3.14-15, Hebrews 8.1-2, 2 Timothy 4.1-2, John 20.30-31, Luke 1.1-4, Romans 1.15, and 1 Corinthians 1.10-11, and see and marvel at the clarity of Scripture. It is as plain and as simple as we need it to be at the points we need it to be. Charles Hodge called it a ‘plain book’. It is plain and understandable when we approach it carefully and properly.

Read it today and see how it speaks to you!

1 Timothy 3.8-13 – A Deacon in Character

Yesterday we said that the character of an Elder is something we should all be working towards displaying. Today, it’s the same with Deacons. How your church deploys the service of Deacons will most likely be different from the church down the road, and that’s ok, however the character of the people involved should not be too different.

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

A Deacon is one who provides leadership through acts of practical service (Acts 6.1-6). Meeting particular needs, they lead through serving and exemplify the dedicated service of a believer to the Lord. Because they meet particular needs, their service within individual church bodies may look different. Maybe they aren’t as formally structured as the Elders, but will be there for sure, quietly working to make sure the church body is served.

Again, whether we all serve as Deacons or not is interesting. We are all called to serve the Lord and each other (Galatians 5.13, 1 Peter 4.10), therefore, you could make a case that we are all to be Deacons, meeting particular needs and ensuring that our church bodies are well maintained. There is no option in the Word for casually turning up to church, sitting, soaking it all in, and leaving. Everyone is contributing, everyone is part of the body (1 Corinthians 12.12, 14).

Maybe you don’t feel like serving the church practically is that important. Maybe you have refrained from volunteering your time and talents because you don’t think it will make much of a difference, it’s “only…“, but, look at v.13, those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. It’s good for the church that we all serve as Deacons, it’s good for ourselves that we all serve as Deacons, and it’s good for our faith that we all serve as Deacons.

As with Elders, there is a difference between being a Deacon in character and being asked to serve on a particular board or within a particular team. The character is something we are to all be working towards and displaying. The character is more important.

May we be a church full of Elders and Deacons!