In today’s passage we are looking at a section of one of Paul’s letters to Timothy. It begins at verse 6, but in verses 1 through 5 Paul gives a great description of false teachers, and then he provides practical steps, so Timothy is equipped to defend against false teachers. These steps are just as useful for us today as they were for Timothy.
1 Timothy 4:6-13 NLT
A Good Servant of Christ Jesus
6 If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed. 7 Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. 8 “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 9 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.
11 Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. 12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 13 Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.
Paul’s advice to Timothy is all about Truth, and it can be broken down for us in a few steps:
Talk about Truth (1 Timothy 4:6) – we know that “all who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.” (1 John 4:15) Thus, we must pray for wisdom and discernment, and stay rooted in the Word, so that as we speak it is bathed in Truth and in one accord with the teachings of Christ.
Train in Truth (1 Timothy 4:7) – we know that the ungodly motives of this world clash with God’s heart, and thus we are not to waist time arguing with the world’s ideas, rather we are to remain yoked to the Lord and to learn from Him through His Word. (Matthew 11:27-30)
Be an Example of Truth (1 Timothy 4:12) – we are called to be an example of Christ, as a light to the world. Jesus calls us to let our good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise our Heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:14-16)
Teach the Truth (1 Timothy 4:13) – God calls each of us into “ministry”, how those “ministries” look are different (i.e. as children, parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, neighbors, coworkers, music, missionary, pastors, etc.), regardless of your ministry, you are there to teach about Christ. So, stay in the Word and encourage fellow believers.
As we remain in these places of Truth and holding on to Christ, His wisdom is made known to us. So, through the work of the Holy Spirit, we will know when someone is a false teacher.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Truth. I need Your wisdom and guidance as I talk about You and as I grow to know more and more about You. Help me, Lord, to be a shining light for You, and thank You for the places that You have called me into ministry. Father, please allow me the discernment to understand false teachings, and keep me close to You and far from them. I ask all of this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.
Written By: Jennifer Auer, Pastor Mary Haley’s Assistant