The Pastoral Letters, Lesson 4

As we continue in our study of 1 Timothy, we are constantly reminded of the great privilege of being part of a church family, especially a local church family. Paul shows us how God has provided for us, with leaders who are tested, who are required to be of good character, not perfect, but those who put service first. 

In chapter 4 Paul warns not to be surprised by false members and false teachers. There will be many who will profess belief, but will fall away, not because they lose their salvation, but because they were never believers in the first place. John explains this in his first letter.


1Jn 2:19  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

In this chapter Paul is warning about a particular type of heresy which would forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, something that is not consistent with scripture. He directs to Timothy and to all ministers: six things that have something to say to all of us.

  • Speak with authority and instruct your flock with these truths. The first point that Paul makes to Timothy is that his ministry should be authoritative.
  • Prove your office by your life. Timothy must watch his example
  • Make the focus of your ministry the reading/preaching/teaching of the word. In faithful Bible preaching there are always three things: there is the explanation of the Bible, so that you can understand it; there is the application of the Bible, so that you will understand how what the Bible teaches connects to your life. But then there is exhortation. That is, there is a compelling call to you to respond to the word of God.
  • Don’t neglect your spiritual gifting. This passage shows us that even a divine, extraordinary spiritual endowment from the third person of the Trinity can be neglected in the life of a preacher.
  • Be absorbed in this gospel business. Paul says to Timothy that he is to be engrossed with these things, with a view to making progress.
  • Pay attention to your life and teaching. The reality of our salvation has to be demonstrated in good works of love. It is in this sense that Paul tells us to ‘continue to work out’ our salvation ‘with fear and trembling’.

In chapter 5, verses 1 and 2, he continues to instruct Timothy on some practical aspects of managing the local church.

There is much practical wisdom here for everybody called to Christian leadership, and especially for younger people given responsibility beyond their years. If they watch their example, becoming a model of Christ-likeness; if they identify their authority, submitting to Scripture and drawing all their teaching from it; if they exercise their gift, giving evidence of God’s call and of the rightness of the church’s commissioning; if they show their progress, letting it be seen that their Christian life and ministry are dynamic, not static; if they mind their consistency, by practicing what they preach; and if they adjust their relationships, being sensitive to people’s age and sex—then other people will not despise their youth, but gladly and gratefully receive their ministry. (Stott, John. The Message of 1 Timothy & Titus: Guard the Truth (The Bible Speaks Today Series) (Kindle Locations 2290-2291). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.)