Passage: 1 Timothy 4:11-5:2

Speaker: Steve Hands

Series: Truth Over Spin

Character Of Teachers

            Do you ever doubt yourself? I do. When you think about our task as “the church of the living God” to be “a pillar and buttress of the truth,” we probably should feel inadequate to that task! The danger of doubting ourselves, though, is that we are more focused on our inadequacies than our task us to live and speak the Word of God in our world! In this personal letter, Paul addresses Timothy’s doubts and hesitations about his youth, his gifts, and his pride. We see that to proclaim truth, we must set an example no matter our insecurity, develop not doubt our gifts, and embrace as family instead of leading harshly.

            First, we set an example no matter our insecurity  (1 Tim 4:11–12). Paul calls Timothy to “command and teach these things” (4:11), the truths of our faith. Yet Timothy has insecurities because of his youth, and the church at Ephesus is powerful and experienced! Yet Paul insists that he not focus on his age or insecurities, allowing himself to be intimidated by the experience of those around him; instead he says, “Let no one despise you for your youth” (4:12). Throughout Scripture God often uses the young to help the older generation to hear His Word! Whether we are young or old, we should not let our age or insecurities be an excuse for passivity. Instead, we should “set the believers and example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (4:12).

            Also we should develop not doubt our gifts (1 Tim 4:13–16). When we give into our insecurities, we neglect our gifts. We think more about what we cannot do than what we can do. Instead we must not “neglect the gift [we] have,” but instead we should “practice the things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress” (4:14–15). Practice and immersion are the keys to mastery. Nothing grows without careful attention; we should be growing in our gifts so that even others might be able to see our progress.

            Yet as our leadership grows, the temptation will be to lead harshly, but we must embrace as family instead of leading harshly (1 Tim 5:1–2). When we lead from a place of insecurity, then we often lead more harshly in an attempt to hide those insecurities. Paul recognizes that inherent danger, so he counsels Timothy to embrace as family. He should treat older men as fathers, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters (5:1–2). Similarly as our platform of leadership grows and we feel tempted to hide our insecurities behind our position, we must resist that temptation, face our fears and embrace as family.

            So what? The key is that we “command teach these things” (4:11). What things? We  must command and teach the things of the gospel. We must proclaim the once for all faith delivered to all the saints. We must not let our insecurities and doubts paralyze us. Instead, we must set an example no matter our insecurity, develop not doubt our gifts, and embrace as family instead of leading harshly.