1 Timothy 4
Summary: Paul previously left Timothy in Ephesus to confront false teachers inside the church there. He is now sending further instruction for Timothy concerning the result of the false teaching (division and controversy in the church). Paul’s overall theme of this book is that the Gospel leads to practical and visible life change when taught correctly. Paul knows that when the Church is healthy and the true Gospel is being preached genuine life change will be the result.
(V. 1-5) Paul has shifted his focus back to the false teachings. This issue is just as much a problem today as it was 1900 years ago. Something to notice is that Paul refers to anything that differs from the Gospel as demonic. There is no middle ground. When we get the Gospel wrong, we get christianity wrong. He points out things like legalism when he mentions not marrying or eating certain foods. When we focus on anything other than God’s grace shown to us in Jesus, we are basically saying it takes the cross plus something to save us. Only faith in the finished work of Jesus can save us.
(V. 6-10) In the first part of this section we learn that in order for us to be “good servants” for Christ we must be trained in the word of God and good doctrine. We are not fulfilling our calling if we are not growing in our knowledge of God and what his plans for us are. Paul then helps us keep our priorities in order: Stay away from irreverent silly myths (the opinions of men and not the word of God), and train ourselves for Godliness. The word Godliness means to have the character and attitude of God. We will never fully achieve that standard but by training and working towards it we are working for something that benefits us not only in this life, but for eternal life with Christ.
(V. 11-16) Once again we see Paul remind us that our lives are setting an example for the world. He says we are to set an example with what we: say (speech), do (conduct), how we love, in our faith, and purity.
How has your week been spiritually?
What is God teaching you?
What sins are you struggling with that you need to confess?
(V. 1-5) What is the true Gospel message of Jesus?
(V. 1-5) How has that message changed your life?
(V. 1-5) What happens if we add human thoughts to the Gospel?
(V. 6-10) How can we be “good servants” of Christ?
(V. 6-10) If working out trains our bodies physically, how do we train spiritually?
(V. 6-10) Do you train more for this life or the next? Explain.
- (V. 14-16) How can we shape ourselves into a better image of Christ?