I Timothy

I Timothy 4:6-11 Being A Good Servant Of Jesus Christ.

Paul, in writing to his trusted co-worker and son in the faith, wanted him to clearly understand the nature and qualifications required to be a good minister of Jesus Christ. First of all, he needed to instruct his congregation in the truth that Paul had written to him about up to this point. “These things” included apostolic doctrine, the centrality of the gospel, fighting the good fight of faith, praying for all, focusing on the qualifications of church officers, all the while refuting false teachers attempting to lead others astray. A good minister of Jesus Christ is one who is “nourished in the words of faith” (v. 6b Cf. II Tim. 3:14).

The scriptures are the words of faith for, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). From this word alone “good doctrine” can be “carefully followed.” “Profane and old wives fables” are to be rejected as contrary to the word (Cf. II Tim. 2:16; Titus 1:14). It is in the word alone that a good minister of Jesus Christ can exercise himself “toward godliness” (v. 7). It seems that Timothy was engaged in some physical exercise, which Paul does not discourage outright, but relative to godliness, the latter is a more necessary exercise. All other things being equal, bodily exercise will certainly afford one a healthier and longer life.

Godliness, on the other hand, benefits us for the present and for all eternity, “having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (v. 8 Cf. Ps. 37:7-11). Paul regarded this as “a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance” (v. 9). One must exercise themselves in the oracles of God to get beyond milk to eating solid food (Cf. Heb. 5:12-14). A good minister should not be so immersed in official duties that he neglects the spiritual disciplines. Paul and his colleagues laboured to further these truths, and they also suffered reproach for this defence. They did this because they trusted in the living God not lifeless idols or the figments of human imagination.

To this end he tells Timothy –“these things command and teach” (v. 11). When Paul says that the living God “is the Savior of all men,” he is simply reiterating what he said earlier, that men and women of every nation and station in life can be saved. Furthermore he is also reiterating that there is no one other than Jesus Christ through whom any can be saved. However, the fact that he says “especially of those who believe” highlights the great divide-some people believe and some do not, and only those who believe are ultimately saved. Only “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9).

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