Friday, January 6, 2012

10. First Timothy 4

(This is the first in a series of ten posts counting down my ten favorite chapters in the New Testament. My friend David is also counting down his ten favorite chapters in the New Testament. You can find the corresponding post on his blog by clicking here.)
Three great verses do not necessarily a great chapter make, but in the case of First Timothy 4, the three verses have meant enough to my life as a Christian to squeak the chapter into my top ten.

The chapter begins on a negative note with a prediction of ones departing from the faith and being hypocrites in later times. Verse 6 marks the change, as Paul starts to explain the contrast from those mentioned in verses 1-5 to a good minister of Christ. That leads us to verse 8, which is the first of the three great verses:
"Exercise yourself unto godliness. For bodily exercise is profitable for a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the present life and that which is to come."
Okay, I included the end of verse 7 for a little contextual help. This verse gave me some perspective in my days as a competitive runner. All of the hours I spent running were not wasted; they were bodily exercise that was profitable for a little. Running greatly benefited my physical health and gave me something useful to do with my time. But the benefits of running are not lasting, and they definitely will not carry over into the life which is to come. But spiritual exercise unto godliness is profitable for all things in this life and the next life! That's awesome, but exercise is not always fun. Just like I had to force myself to exercise physically, I continually have to force myself to exercise spiritually. But the benefits are always there.

The next great verse is verse 12:
"Let no one despise your youth, but be a pattern to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity."
When he received this letter from Paul, Timothy was a young man, probably in his early twenties like me. This verse helped me see that I do not have to be full-grown, physically or spiritually, to live a godly life as a pattern to others. Recently, I have also met several believers younger than me who have been definite patterns to me in their word, their conduct, and their love.

The third great verse is verse 16:
"Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things; for in doing this you save both yourself and those who hear you."
This verse revolutionized my gospel preaching. Through this verse, I realized that my speaking and teaching about the Lord was not only to save others, but also to save myself. Of course, I desire that others to hear and respond to the gospel, but it's up to the Lord whether or not their hearts are prepared to receive it. But now, each time I preach the gospel, at least one person gets saved - me!


danielle mccartney said...

That's really encouraging that every time we speak about the Lord to someone, at least one person will get saved, Us!

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