1 Timothy 4

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs.

1 Timothy 4

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.


Let me summarise todays passage.

Paul always knew that eventually some people will leave the faith to follow demonic lies and petty disputes. But you know the truth, all things that God creates are good. So correct the ministers who teach falsehoods and reject the silly myths you hear. Instead pursue godliness. Physical exercise has its benefits but godliness has eternal worth. Don't forget that this is what you signed up for in Christ. So teach these things. Don't let your youth undermine you. Instead allow your good life to be an example to everyone. Until I come back to Ephesus, keep teaching and using your gifts. And keep an eye on your character and teaching because this is good for you and others too.

A key part of Paul’s theology is that we as Christians are to imitate Jesus. Which is something that most followers of Jesus can get their heads round, even if it seems an insurmountable task. But here Paul says that Timothy is also capable of setting an example to people, that people may also imitate Timothy’s godliness, that he can set an example to in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

This is good for both the person pursuing godliness, but also those who witness it and imitate it.

But a godly life doesn’t just happen. We become godly, the same way we become physically fit, by going into training (8) (1 Cor. 9:25, NIV).

Training requires intentionality, self-control, and a plan. Paul is saying to Timothy be intentional about training yourself for godliness. Show self-control, eliminating anything from your life which interferes with your training?

Are you being intentional about training yourself for godliness? Are you being self-controlled and removing anything that is a distraction? Are there patterns of behaviour that need to be put to death?

Godliness is not just a personal and private relationship with God but overflows in a fruitful life of faithful service.

Holy Spirit, we thank you for your presence, and that when we are close to you your fruit is evident in our lives. Give us your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Help us to follow Jesus with all our lives. May we experience the freedom that comes from obedience to your commands, and may others experience that freedom as they imitate us as we imitate the Son. In the strong name of Jesus. Amen.

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