Timothy’s instruction in ministry
This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book.
When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.
Let’s start in verse six of the fourth chapter of First Timothy.
A Good Servant of Christ Jesus
1st Timothy 4:6 (ESV) 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. 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 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. 9 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.
Paul ties up his previous thoughts and gives the exhortation that if he instructs (or put these things before the brothers) then he will be doing what he is called to do and be a good servant of Jesus Christ. He was calling Timothy to instruct in words, deeds and actions. He had already stated the standard of conduct in chapter three.
For me the greatest leaders or best pastors are those who lead from the front, who not only instruct the word but they live the word and let their lives be a testimony, they pray hard, they trust more and they are more likely to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, they will be mentors, they will be trainers, they will be teachers and they will be shepherds.
Being trained in the words of the faith
This is just the foundation though; the important part comes next…
V6b …being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed…
Timothy will do well if he follows those principles, but he has to remember the main thing that he has to do all these things but he has to use the good doctrine, the doctrine that he got straight from Paul and minister to where he has been planted. He must remain grounded in God’s word, much like a ship with an anchor; he has to use this as his sure foundation. The next part shows what Paul means…
Nothing to do with silly myths
V7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;
As stated prior; we (Timothy also) have to have our priority on God’s word and not the daily rumor mill that will change from day to day. If we have our foundation on something that is so changeable as the words of man, whether it be what we call news, whether it be entertainment, whether it be philosophies that have no eternal value. That is really the crux of what he is saying to Timothy that he has to stay on point. This point that he has to remain focused on God’s infallible word. God is truth and God never changes and man’s word is so unreliable.
Train yourself for godliness
You have to ask yourself, would you base your life’s philosophy on what is said on Fox News? Or what is on the NFL channel? Or is it based on your favorite sports team’s results? Or what movies are playing? Or what your favorite celebrities are saying? These things will all change tomorrow; it is easy to get caught up in it. (My hot buttons are politics and sports)
What I am asking is “Are you passing time or are you fighting the LORDs fight?” Is your focus on the eternal things or the earthly temporary things? Paul covers this when he states to “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths” and Paul states what should replace that. Paul states that you should “train yourself for godliness” and then explains what he means by this using a culture that was prevalent at that time and one that we can recognize today.
Godliness is of value in every way
V8 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.
Paul is speaking to a culture that placed a lot of credence in body sculpting and personal fitness. The Roman army chose the finest specimens in the empire to serve in the Imperial army! So much so that in that culture having a fit body and becoming fitter and fitter was an overriding passion and an idol in so many people’s lives.
Don’t get me wrong, I would like to drop a few pounds (or 50/60) and I am covetous of (or certainly admire) those who have kept better shape than I have and I do have it as an ambition of mine to become in better shape, but I want to do it for my service to the LORD and in order to better serve my wife and daughter rather than wishing to compete in any competition. This is not the only time Paul talks about training like an athlete, Let’s look at Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth…
1st Corinthians 9:24 (ESV) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Explains what I explained although much better!
Finding Godly contentment
We have to be careful that we don’t find our contentment in things that are not Godly! Paul talks about an idol of the day and whilst that gives a temporary accomplishment, it will eventually not be as fulfilling as before.
Paul has a great attitude about this; he equates the training that one does for a competition as how we should train ourselves for godliness. We should have that same desire, same drive for success and same discipline that an athlete has when they are trying to better themselves, not for a crown or a piece of gold, but for eternal reward!
Paul promises that godliness is the only life that holds promise both in this life and the life to come, to those who believe. Our life has meaning and has eternal value once we believe and have faith that Jesus did in fact paid it all. God does not desire that any should perish but have everlasting life. We won’t all be in heaven because some men have hard hearts and will not believe in the lifesaving power of the cross. Which is how Paul finishes this passage…
Set your hope on the living God
V9 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.
It reminds me of a story that my father told me about a man who was evangelizing in a big city and wished to find out the effectiveness of handing out flyers for his Christian event, so he and a friend handed out flyers promising that if people met them in a certain place in about 6 hours from when they received that flyer they would receive a free gift of 5 pounds (UK money) all they had to do was turn up at the appointed time with the invite (the flyer) and accept the free gift.
Now he had money to pay if everyone turned up, and he estimated that he handed out about 500 flyers and he stood there and waited at the appointed time and very few people came to claim their prize. It cost them nothing and the price was bared by the man who offered the free gift!
Jesus offered us a free gift too, eternal life! It cost us nothing but cost him everything! The Christian life isn’t easy, when we accept Jesus we are not no longer affected by toil and strife, we will still have earthly issues distracting and getting us down. So Paul is correct, we do toil and strive in this life, being a Christian doesn’t mean an easy life it means that we are forgiven in our sins and will still have issues.
But this life is no longer the end of the road for us; we have our hope set on a heavenly existence eternally with our creator God, for me it sounds awesome and a much better alternative to an existence in the lake of fire!
From my point of view, I have tried a life of sin and it left me really unfulfilled, when I was in alcohol I had a temporary high (that felt good, I am not going to lie) and then came a huge low (when the after effects kicked in) it profited me little as I was destroying myself and it also had no heavenly value.
Which is the question I leave you with, do you live your life in a way that has eternal worth? All that the earth offers, wealth, fame, fortune, notoriety none of that will matter when you pass from this earth, as Greg Laurie says “you don’t ever see a U-Haul following a funeral car!” Which is the truth, you can’t take it with you! What will your legacy be? Will it be a life lived for you or a life lived for Christ?
Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.