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 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?

7 Attributes of Christians (According to Jesus)

Today we’ll pause our regular devotionals and read a series written by my friend, Pastor Pilgrim Benham. 


Chances are you have heard of the Tour de France, the famous bicycle race in Europe—but have never heard of the worldʼs shortest bicycle race in India. Hereʼs why this race is different:

All of the racers line up at the starting line, ready to go. Theyʼve got their stretchy riding pants, helmets, water bottles, numbers on their backs, even corporate sponsors!

The starting pistol goes off and the racers jump onto their bikes. But nobody goes anywhere. They all stay put. You see, the object of this race is to see who can go the shortest distance possible within the specified time limit. Racers are disqualified if their bike tips over or if their feet touch the ground. The cyclists inch forward just enough to keep their bikes balanced. They canʼt go backward.

At the end of the race, when the gun goes off, the cyclists who have gone the farthest are the losers. The racer closest to the starting line—which, in this case, is also the finish line—is the winner. A little ironic, right?

Some things in life are like that, they are just backwards! The kingdom of heaven is like that: it is a backwards kingdom compared to this world. This backwards kingdom was explained by Jesus through a teaching called, “The Sermon on the Mount”. He begins His sermon with what we call the Beatitudes. These are less about things we do—and more about things we intrinsically are as citizens of heaven—as recipients of the Gospel. Someone once said that if you wanted to get to know the human race, just take the Beatitudes, turn them upside down/reverse them, and you would get a good idea of what the human race is all about. I couldnʼt agree more.

The Beatitudes are a stark contrast—a breath of fresh air—in a world of selfish, prideful, wealthy, power-hungry pollution. Godʼs kingdom is a kingdom of paradoxes. The Bible tells us that the only way to save your life is by losing it. To become strong you have to be weak. To truly live you actually have to die, to self. Look at Matthew chapter 5, starting in verse 5, and notice how Jesus describes the Christian. They are marked by at least seven characteristics.

Though these are not exhaustive, they are instructive:

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousnessʼ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

From tomorrow we will look at one characteristic each day with Pastor Pilgrim.


Pilgrim was born to two Christian hippie parents in the late 70‘s. At age 4 he made a decision for Christ and repented of his deep 4-year stint of sin and depravity. Raised in a Christian home, Pilgrim learned of and followed Jesus through his childhood and teen years. In youth group at age 13 Pilgrim made a profession of faith and desire to follow Jesus into full-time ministry.

Eggs; the inner egg and the outer shell

In Romans 8.2 we read that the law of the Spirit of life has set us free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. We are no longer bound by meticulous religious rules covering everything from our dietary intake to our haircut (good news for some…).

This freedom is liberating, we are now bound only to live the life of the Spirit, in the Spirit, for Christ. If we want to mix milk and meat in a meal, that’s fine. If we want to cut our hair short on the sides and round off the corners of our beards, that’s fine. If you want a tattoo, or to pierce your ears, fine too. If the ladies don’t want to wear a head covering in church, that’s fine too. We are no longer under the law as a heavy yoke, which invariably we would break, which leads to sin, which leads to death. Bad. Now we are living under the Spirit of life. Good.

This means, in a strange sort of way, we are like an egg.

We are free to associate with whoever we want, go wherever we want, eat and drink whatever we want, watch anything we want on the tellybox, be friends with anyone we want. Jesus was not concerned with His outer shell or its appearance, was He? He hung out with some pretty down and dirty people during His incarnational ministry (His time on earth living as fully God and fully man, incarnation literally means ‘in the flesh’).

Like a toddler at meal times, Jesus’ outer egg shell was covered with all sorts of things that people thought it should not be; don’t talk to her, don’t touch them, don’t stay at his house…

Jesus trashed His outer shell, ultimately breaking it for us, but never compromised His inner self.

Therein lies the lesson for us; we are free from the law as a heavy yoke and now have a wonderful liberty as Christians. But, as Jesus ultimately broke His body for our benefit, we need to use our liberty for love, for the benefit of others, not to simply have a good time. 

So yes, we are free to eat, drink, watch whatever we want, but the bigger Christian principles still apply; who is being glorified through what you are doing? Things too, like Philippians 4.8,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

So, yes, we can dirty up our outer shell, but we must never compromise our inner egg. And, if we are dirtying up our outer shell, let us make sure that it is for the benefit of others, using our liberty for love, not lusts.

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!

1 Timothy 3.7 – An Elder in Character

We continue then with Paul’s letter to Timothy. Today Paul, the church planter, writes to Timothy, the church leader, with instructions on how this fledgling fellowship should be led and supported. Within the structure of the letter, within the who-is-writing-to-who-about-what we begin to see God’s model for church leadership.

Today in 1 Timothy 3.7, the character of the men needed to help Timothy lead spiritually. Does that mean that if you’re not appointed to serve as an Elder you should never focus on these character qualities? Absolutely not!

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

There will never be a church in the world where every single man who demonstrates these character qualities is actively serving as an Elder, because, in theory every man, and woman for that matter, should be working to display these qualities in their everyday life.


Being appointed to serve as an Elder should be seen as separate from simply being an Elder in character, something we all must do.


The character needed (an overseer MUST be…) is far more important than the actual structure within which these traits are deployed. It’s better to have a church full of Elder-like people than have only a handful, for sure. 

We see, then, that in this passage it all comes down to character, not gifting or ability.

We are all called to serve God (Hebrews 9.14), we are all uniquely gifted (1 Corinthians 12), but the character of a mature and maturing believer is something we should all aspire to regardless of age, gender, gifting, appointment, calling, or service. 

Today then, let us be believers who are outwardly demonstrating our growing maturity in the Lord by the character we display, let us all work towards being Elders in character.