The other week, we ran our first inter-church youth service in my town. We ended up with kids and adults from three different churches turning up and had loads of fun playing games. More importantly, we joined in with communal worship together and a chance to interview Jimmy about his journey with Christ. The (unplanned) talk on 1 Timothy 4 was incredibly spontaneous for me but now I can’t stop thinking about it. So I thought I would share my thoughts with you.First of all, you can read the whole chapter here but below is my favourite section:
Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use. Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.
1 Timothy 4 v11-16, The Message
The whole passage focuses on the foundation of scripture in the life of Timothy, and by extension leaders of the Church. Paul is constantly repeating, in different ways, the importance of a disciplined life in God. The key, he clearly explains, is Scripture. The Bible.
The best way to be disciplined in the Bible? To study it, teach it, live it. Paul is all about encouraging Timothy to teach from the Bible, the Word, to both strengthen others and discipline himself.
So why talk about this verse at a youth service? If you’ve read the section above, it probably answers that for you. The amazing thing about Timothy is that he was still considered a youth when Paul wrote to him the first time. (Admittedly that may have between anywhere between 16 and 30 years but he would still have been considered less knowledgeable by those older than him.) Paul is determined to prevent Timothy’s age from preventing him from using the gifts God has given him. Paul sees a young man gifted by God who’s care and trainging he was entrusted with. Nothing is going to stop Paul from building Timothy up.
The example of Paul and Timothy is two-fold. Those in the Church who are in a position of responsibility, whether that is pastoral or teaching or something else, should be lifting up those who are younger than us. We need to be training them to use the gifts God has given them. More importantly, we need to provide them with the opportunity to use those gifts to benefit the Church. As a volunteer youth worker, I am so aware of this responsibility and pray that others in my position might be.
To those who are in the position of Timothy, I will say the same as I said at the youth service. You are each special to God and uniquely gifted by Him. Not all of you will have the same gifts as Timothy but that is okay. We are still called to immerse ourselves in Scripture, to exercise with God day by day. It’s only by being immersed that we will begin to use God’s gifts as He intended. But you need not do it on your own. God has a ‘Paul’ in mind for you, to encourage you in your walk with God. If you haven’t found a ‘Paul’ yet, pray that God might give you someone to walk beside you…
…Who knows, you might be ‘Paul’ to another ‘Timothy’ one day. Just remember three things:
- “Exercise daily in God”
- “And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young.”
- “Stay at your post reading Scripture”
The post Biblical Inspiration: 1 Timothy 4 first appeared on CounterCultural. CounterCouture.