Paul offers Timothy instruction in the administration of his gift as a teacher and leader in the body of Christ. And though there are many needs around us, we are most effective when we are diligent with our gift. All of us are first an example to people around us. As teachers and leaders we are also to recognize and combat false doctrine. And, we are to establish the right order to care for those that have need which begins with teaching people to take care of those in their ow families.
In the Last Times Some Will Depart From the Faith
1 Timothy 4:1–5
We tend to focus, and rightly so, on the goodness of the gospel and on the right doctrine we are given (see Hebrews 6:1–2 and others). There are though, some other doctrines and behaviors that we learn to identify as contrary and in opposition to the things of God. In
1 Timothy 4:1–2 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the last times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 by the hypocrisy of liars, who are seared in their own conscience,
There are some that believe that everything in the spirit realm is good and from God but clearly that is not what Paul taught. Paul identifies “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons who”, and I am sure this is not intended as an all inclusive list, but they:
- “forbid marrying”
- “insist on abstaining from foods”
Jesus also taught that there were evil spirits that do not honor the natural boundaries, that will possess and oppress people. One example is found in
Mark 5:7–8 And crying out with a loud voice he said, “What have I to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore you by God, do not torment me!” 8 (For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”)
Train Yourself for Godliness
1 Timothy 4:6–16
Paul instructs Timothy in
1 Timothy 4:6 By teaching these things to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, trained in the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed faithfully.
Then tells him again in
1 Timothy 4:11 Command these things and teach them.
Paul goes on with emphasis telling Timothy to:
- “be an example”
- “pay attention to the public reading,d to exhortation, to teaching”
- “do not neglect the gift”
- “practice these things”
- “be diligent”
- “fix your attention on yourself”
Being a teacher and leader in the church is very much like being a parent because as a parent, your children learn maybe more by your example than they do by what you say. It may seem odd that Paul would tell Timothy to “fix your attention on yourself” but there are several reasons why this is important for any teacher or leader:
- First, we must live the Christian life ourselves.
- Second, there are natural communication skills we can learn and practice that will enhance the gift God gives us.
- Also, people don’t always respond the way we think they should so we must keep our eyes on God.
The Widow Who is One Truly Is Left Alone
1 Timothy 5:1–8
Some who are widows have children and may have grandchildren and these will care for her in 1 Timothy 5:4. Paul though, talks about the true widow, the one left alone, the one that has “put her hope in God” in
1 Timothy 5:5 But the widow who is one truly, and is left alone, has put her hope in God and continues in her petitions and prayers night and day.
Let a Widow be Put on the List
1 Timothy 5:9–16
It is right for the church to care for those that need care, and Paul defines that in a fairly narrow way. In 1 Timothy 5:9 -10 he gives three criteria:
- “not less than sixty”
- “the wife of one husband”
- “well attested by good works”
This may seem too restrictive for some, but the intent is clear in 1 Timothy 5:16 “the church must not be burdened”. In fact, today, many say that this is a social problem and government must deal with these issues. And, in many countries, there are social programs to take on the needs of people that are not able to support themselves. God has always included the widow and the orphan and the stranger in the land as a responsibility of the priesthood, to be supported from the tithe.
Deuteronomy 26:12 “When you are finished giving a tithe, all of the tithe of your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, then you shall give to the Levite, to the alien, to the orphan, and to the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and they may be satisfied.
But there was also provision for these in the way a harvest was gathered. The gleanings of the field belonged to them, for them to gather in
Deuteronomy 24:20-21 When you beat off the fruit of your olive trees you shall not search through the branches afterward, for it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow…
Today, in many countries, we are so mechanized that there is nothing left to glean in the field. But we may find ways, donations from food suppliers for example, that are then available for those in need. But we, the church, has accountability here, this is not just a government social welfare problem.
- 1 Timothy 4:1–5 In the Last Times Some Will Depart From the Faith
- 1 Timothy 4:6–16 Train Yourself for Godliness
- 1 Timothy 5:9–16 Let a Widow be Put on the List
- 1 Timothy 4:1-16
- 1 Timothy 5:1-25
- 1 Timothy 6:1-10