1 Timothy 3:8–13; 4:6–16comment (1)
March 14, 2013
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: 1 Timothy 3:8–13; 4:6–16
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
Honor God in Your Service
1 Timothy 3:8–13; 4:6–16
Jesus calls His people to serve. Christians serve more effectively when they understand that faithful Christian service pleases God. This week’s lesson calls our attention to those aspects of serving others that make us better servants.
Behaving Blamelessly (3:8–13)
Deacons are those who serve in the church. The word “deacon” is generally understood to refer to one who manages the temporal affairs of the local church. Deacon service arises out of Christian character; they are to be men of dignity and respect. A deacon must be honest and consistent, not twisting the truth. He must not have a reputation as a drinker; his judgment must never be clouded with alcohol. Also he can be trusted with money. He must hold the doctrines of the faith. Not only must he know the truth, he must live it. Before serving as a deacon, a man must be evaluated, given some minor task and observed so as to see how he conducts himself.
The deacon’s wife must be a believer and not a gossiper or talebearer, passing on false and malicious stories. Wives of deacons must be absolutely trustworthy in all aspects of their lives.
One additional qualification for a deacon is that he must be “the husband of one wife.” This stipulation has given rise to a number of various interpretations. Literally in the Greek language the phrase reads “a one-woman man.” At the very minimum this phrase refers to a man who is totally devoted to the woman to whom he is married, sustaining a unique commitment of devotion, affection and sexual purity to her.
Training for Service (4:6–10)
Those who serve in the church must continually feed on the Scriptures. It is the basic necessity for spiritual health. Rejecting silly myths and fables, the Christian worker must exercise himself in godliness. Just as an athlete engages in a rigorous, self-sacrificing training routine, so the Christian must exercise spiritual self-discipline. Physical exercise is important but spiritual exercise is even more essential. Both discipline and devotion are needed to make a winning athlete and an effective Christian. The believer sets his hope on the Living God who has adequate provision for all men to be saved. He is the potential Savior of all men and the actual Savior of all those who trust Jesus.
Continuing Spiritual Growth (4:11–16)
Paul gives pointed advice concerning Timothy’s personal ministry. Timothy is to teach what Paul has written in verses 6–10. He is not to allow anyone to devalue his service because of his relative youth. By being an example, he will avoid the possibility of unjustified criticism. Paul lists five ways Timothy can be a role model. (1) “In word” refers to his speech, reflecting he is a child of God and edifying his hearers. (2) “In conduct” refers to his entire behavior: nothing should disgrace the name of Christ. (3) “In love” is the motive for all his actions and his attitude. (4) “In faith” means faithfulness and dependability. (5) “In purity” refers to his moral cleanness in thought and deed.
Timothy is to make it a constant practice to read the Scriptures publically in church so all could hear God’s Word. Exhortation encourages the hearer to apply the Scripture to their lives. Doctrine refers to the systematic teaching of God’s Word. Timothy is to use his spiritual gift in leadership by preaching and teaching. By giving himself to these instructions, Timothy’s spiritual life and ministry will benefit all.
Furthermore, by continuing in these things, Timothy would save himself and those who heard him. The word “save” here has nothing to do with salvation of the soul. The fourth chapter of this letter opened with a description of false teachers who were disturbing God’s people. Timothy, by faithful adherence to a godly life and to God’s Word, will save himself from these false teachers and he would rescue his hearers as well.