Tuesday, January 8, 2008

1 Timothy 4

What is this passage all about?

Paul exhorts Timothy in his leadership and teaching that he may avoid ascetic doctrines that ignore the goodness of God's creation, and that Timothy shall be diligent in his tasks.

What can I learn from it?

Paul warns Timothy of the dangers of those who would teach asceticism, a lifestyle of denial. Paul amkes a distinction between this life which avoids those thisngs which are good gifts from God (such as marriage and good food) and the life where one determinedly seeks holiness. A Christian's life is not about keeping ourselves shut off from the world, it is about showing the glory of God in the world. This takes effort. To encourage Timothy, Paul usews phrases such as "train yourself" (v7), "we labour and strive" (v10), "devote yourself" (v13), "Be diligent" and "give yourself wholly" (v15).

One of my favourite verses from this passage relates to Timothy's age. Obviously he is not a child, but he is one of the second generation of Christians, those who have been brought up to know the Christian faith. He is not an apostle (a flollower of Jesus who stayed with Him throughout his earthly ministry) but he was annointed with a gift for teaching ministry through a prophecy and the laying on of hands (v14). Paul tells Timothy (in v12), "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."

How can I apply this to my own life?

As a parent, I should be encouraging my children, just as Paul encourages Timothy, his son in the faith, to live lives that are an example to other believers. Not because they are children of a minister-to-be (God-willing!), but because they are children of the Most High God. I should be modelling to them this life of godly speech, life, love, faith and purity; and I should teach them to also.

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