Study Notes

1Timothy 4:6-16


There are several places in Scripture that outline the pastor's job description. Jesus telling Simon Peter, "Feed My sheep, tend My lambs, shepherd My flock" (John 21:15-17) comes to mind. The apostles saying that they needed to devote themselves to the Word of God and to prayer (Acts 6:4) also stands out. But here in 1Timothy 4, the pastor's job of presenting the Word and walking the walk are expounded upon.

4:6 Pointing Out These Things To The Brethren

Pointing out what things? Again, looking at the context, "these things" refers to everything that has come before in Paul's letter:

People in the church shouldn't teach strange doctrines.

Christians should pray for the people in authority.

Women should dress modestly and not take spiritual authority over their husbands.

Men should be godly in their reputation and behavior.

We should be warned that some will fall away from the faith.

A lot of these things won't make you very popular if you teach them in church. Trust me, I know - I've been teaching them for the last eight weeks! But Paul says that when a pastor points out these things, he is a good servant of Christ Jesus. I know that the pastoral performance review that I need to be concerned with is the one that Jesus is going to give me. If everybody loves what I'm teaching because it makes them feel all squooshy inside, I'm doing something wrong! Jesus said,

Luke 6:26 "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets.

I know that if I point out sound doctrine to the church, some will probably be offended at me, but Jesus will be pleased with me. And that's what I'm living for, to someday hear the words,

Matt. 25:21 (KJV) ..."Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."

I simply want to be counted a good servant of Christ by nourishing the body of Christ.

Nourished On Words And Doctrine

It is true that the words of faith and sound doctrine are nourishment. Just as our bodies need food for nourishment, so too do our spirits need nourishment. The Bible uses this illustration a number of times:

1Pet. 2:2 like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation


John 4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.

The Word of God is life-giving nourishment to your spirit. Like food to our bodies, the Word of God feeds our spirit. It is time that we asked ourselves, "How have you been feeding yourself lately?" Are you nourishing yourself on the Word of God? If not, you're spiritually emaciated. No wonder it seems like some people never have the spiritual strength to fight the good fight and resist temptation.

4:7-9 Worldly Fables

We are to "have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women." That doesn't sound very politically correct, does it? The King James renders that phrase,

1Tim. 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables...

This is of course, where we get our expression "old wives' tales." It is an expression that illustrates unbiblical stories that circulate around a religious community.

The word rendered "fables" in Greek is "MOO-thos," from which we derive our word "myths."

Myths did not end with fanciful, mystic, Jewish tales written in the Talmud. Religious myths have spread throughout the church age, propagated by groups such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Mormon Religion, and even by evangelical Christians.

Most of use have heard the stories that claim of an uncle's friend's cousin picked up a hitchhiker that said "Jesus is coming soon," then suddenly disappeared - an angelic passenger!

We've heard that Russian scientists in Siberia that drilled a hole nine miles deep, lowered a microphone down into the hole and heard human screams - they had found hell!

We've heard that Proctor & Gamble sponsors the church of satan, and that the long day of Joshua rescued NASA's crashing computers.

We've heard that there is a giant computer in Belgium nicknamed "The Beast" and it contains information on every person in the world, along with a unique ID number for each one.

These things are all fiction, yet they spread throughout the Christian community like wildfire. Meanwhile, the truth of the Scriptures lays buried. After all, when was the last time someone sent you an e-mail saying, "Hey, did you hear that Jesus said,

Luke 14:26-27 "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple."

Too many of us are paying attention to myths and neglecting the word of God. Paul told Timothy to "have nothing to do with" these things.

Discipline For Godliness

On the other hand, we are to be paying attention to, working on, becoming godly people. He contrasts it with being in physical shape. We work so hard at the gym to keep ourselves fit, but how much spiritual sweating are we doing? Frankly, no matter how hard we work, our bodies will continue to deteriorate. But the investments we make with prayer and Bible study will last for an eternity.

4:10-11 Fixed Our Hope

Paul says that "we have fixed our hope on the living God."

Many people have fixed their hope on many things. They may have fixed their hope in their Y2K preparations. They may still have their hope fixed on their financial security. They are trusting in their retirement account to carry them through. Paul will tell Timothy in chapter six,

1Tim. 6:17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God...

Some are fixing their hope on their success. Others have fixed their hope in their religion (John 5:45).

Can you say today that you have fixed your hope on the living God?

2Cor. 1:9, 10 ...we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead... He on whom we have set our hope.

If you are fixing your hope on anything that is on this earth, it will fail you. But if you fix your hope on the living God, then you will not ever be let down.

Savior Of All Men?

I should also point out something else in these verses. You will run into people who delight in having doctrinal disputes and controversies about covenants. One favorite of many is the idea of "limited atonement." This is the teaching that Jesus died only for the "elect" - those who are chosen to be saved. That Jesus did not die for those who He knew would reject Him.

But here it says that the salvation of Christ is available to all. Indeed,

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

1Tim. 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

2Pet. 3:9 ...not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Jesus Christ died for every person here today. Even those that continue to reject Him.

4:12 An Example Of Those Who Believe

Timothy was a young man to be a pastor, but he could prevent people from looking down at him, if he set an example in five areas. Whether young or old, you can prevent people from looking down at you, if you pay attention to these five areas of your life

Speech - what comes out of your mouth. I meet some people, and everything they say is negative. Complainers, coarse talking, profanity. All things that God hates. Other people are so completely likable, because they are positive. Finding the good in situations, being encouragers. Peter wrote,

1Pet. 3:10 ..."Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.

Keeping our tongues from evil will serve to keep people from looking down on you.

Conduct. The way that you live, the way that you act, your behavior. What does your life communicate to people? Are you one who the cops know by name? Are you the guy that your coworkers know as the slacker? Are you known as a meddler or a troublemaker? Peter also wrote,

1Pet. 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God...

Our conduct should be impeccable, our lives drawing people to Jesus.

Love . The word for love is agape love. The kind of love that the Lord has for us - unconditional love. God loved each one of us in the world, even though there was nothing lovable about us - and that's the kind of love God wants us to have for each other. Love that stays even when someone is unloveable. When they gossip about us, and treat us hatefully. Love that reaches out to the person that no one else can stand. We are to...

Eph. 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Love people that are hard to love.

Faith. We've heard it so many times before:

Rom. 10:17 ...Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

When we fall short of faith in God, we need to turn to the Word of God.

Purity. Purity means to be free of pollution, to be undefiled. How many of us have defiled and polluted ourselves with the things of the world? The Lord desires that we would be pure.

4:13 The Importance Of The Word

Paul emphasizes to Timothy again how important the Word of God is to the ministry of a pastor. He must read the Word publicly, exhort people to act on it faithfully, and teach it understandably. Shouldn't he have a degree in psychology? Shouldn't he be up on all the latest spirtual trends? Shouldn't he be attending seminars on seeker-sensitive church growth techniques? No. The Bible says this:

2Tim. 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

That tells me that the pastor is to be teaching ALL of Scripture. It tells me that I need to bring reproof and correction, and train men to be righteous. And the only wat to do it is by teaching ALL of Scripture. And if I teach ALL of Scripture, then those I teach will be equipped for EVERY good work. No seminars, programs, or spiritual trends are necessary.

4:14 The Spiritual Gift

Don't be thrown by that church-sounding word "presbytery." These guys were not Presbyterians, but the elders of the church (the Greek word "pres-boo-TER-ee-on" means "a body of elders").

There are many ways to receive Spiritual gifts, and one is by the laying on of hands by the elders. Timothy had received his gift in this manner.

There are many spiritual gifts, and they are listed in 1Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and 1Peter 4. What was Timothy's gift? We are not told directly, but judging from the context, I believe it is the gift of teaching, which is mentioned specifically as a spiritual gift in Romans 12:7.

4:15-16 Pay Close Attention

Timothy is told to make sure he is growing in the Lord. Make no mistake about it: it is obvious to everyone whether or not you are growing in the Lord. It exudes from you - seeps out through your speech, your behavior, and your countenance.

Insure Salvation

Whether you are a called to be a pastor, a leader, or any other kind of Christian, you can insure salvation not only for yourself, but for those you encounter. Pay attention to your life. Grow spiritually. It will become obvious to everyone.

1Pet. 3:15(KJV) ...sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you...

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