1 & 2 Timothyby Robert M. Solomon
Timothy has a hugely important task at hand. In view of the serious damage that false teachers can do, and in view of the need to ensure that God’s people conduct themselves well in God’s household, it is of utmost importance that he serves as a “good minister of Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 4:6).
A good minister holds firmly to God’s truth. Paul reminds Timothy of being “nourished on the truths of the faith” and the “good teaching” that he had sincerely followed (v. 6). It is easier to abandon the truth by pursuing untrue “godless myths” and superstitious “old wives’ tales” (v. 7). These things were very popular and were making the false teachers famous. As a good pastor, Timothy must teach what is true and central to the gospel of Jesus, and not be distracted by what may be popular or peripheral.
The truth is the gospel—it’s about the “Saviour of all people”, our need to believe in Him, and our need to “put our hope in the living God” (v. 10). Holding on to the gospel will result in the completion of God’s mission and the salvation of people. Abandoning it for heresies and myths will have disastrous consequences. Timothy must not only guard his doctrine (which has practical results), but he must also guard his life. Paul urges him, “train yourself to be godly” (v. 7). How do we do this? It suggests that just as an athlete must be disciplined and determined to remain fit and grow in strength, so too must Christ’s disciple in spiritual matters.
There are certain spiritual disciplines that are essential for spiritual fitness and growth. These include Bible reading and meditation, prayer, and worship. Obeying God constantly is required. The diligent fulfilment of Christian duties and wholehearted service for God are ways in which disciples train themselves to be godly. Such training will have wonderful spiritual results in your life and ministry.
Lazy Christians do not become godly. Those who neglect their spiritual disciplines and regular times of communion with the Lord will not grow in godliness or usefulness to the Lord.
What is the value of godliness—both in the present life and in the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8)? Why do people forget this as they live and work in a busy world obsessed with consumerism and selfish pleasure?
How are you training yourself to be godly? What lessons and habits do you think God wants you to learn more deeply?