BIBLE STUDY


Paul's Letters To Timothy
by Greg Williamson (c) 2014, 2019
Featuring the text of the New American Standard Bible *
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Intro | 1 Timothy 1:1-11 / 1:12-17 / 1:18-20 | 2:1-8 / 2:9-15 | 3:1-7 / 3:8-13 / 3:14-16 | 4:1-6 / 4:7-12 / 4:13-16 | 5:1-16 / 5:17-25 | 6:1-2 / 6:3-10 / 6:11-21 | 2 Timothy 1:1-7 / 1:8-12 / 1:13-18 | 2:1-7 / 2:8-13 / 2:14-18 / 2:19-26 | 3:1-9 / 3:10-12 / 3:13-17 | 4:1-4 / 4:5-8 / 4:9-22 ** | Articles & Definitions | Sources

A GODLY MINISTER: PRACTICING THE WORD
(1 Timothy 4:7-12)

7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;
8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.
10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.
11 Prescribe and teach these things.
12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

 
If believers would put as much effort into the spiritual life as they do their recreation and hobbies, what a difference it would make! Physical exercise is important, but spiritual exercise is even more essential. Both discipline and devotion are needed to make a winning athlete and an effective Christian. - Warren Wiersbe [ref]
 

QuoteWorthy: Trying vs. Training
Trying to live the Christian life implies and leads to failure; training to live the Christian life puts even failures to good use. - Neil Wilson [ref]

1 TIMOTHY 4:7 - Spiritual Priorities (vv. 6-10)

Paul shifts "to an athletic illustration at this point in his letter. Just as a Greek or Roman athlete had to refuse certain things, eat the right food, and do the right exercises, so a Christian should practice 'spiritual exercise.' If a Christian puts as much energy and discipline into his spiritual life as an athlete does into his game, the Christian grows faster and accomplishes much more for God." [ref]

worldly fables fit only for old women (1 Timothy 4:7)
"These are, of course, the false teachings and traditions of the apostates. These doctrines have no basis in Scripture; in fact, they contradict the Word of God. They are the kind of teachings that silly people would discuss, not dedicated men and women of the Word! No doubt these teachings involved the false doctrines just named (1 Tim. 4:2–3). Paul also warned Titus about 'Jewish fables' (Titus 1:14). Paul warned Timothy about these same 'fables' in his second letter (2 Tim. 4:4)." [ref]

discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7)
Literally, Paul tells Timothy to "keep on disciplining yourself" (present active imperative). [ref] "Just as a Greek athlete would exercise with a view to winning in the athletic contests, so Timothy is exhorted to exercise with a view to excelling in godliness." [ref]

"Discipline" (Greek gumnazō; closely related to our English "gymnasium") is an athletic term meaning "to exercise, to train the body or mind." [ref] "The figure which underlies the passage is, of course, that of the Greek gymnasium (or its popular imitation), comprising grounds for running, wrestling, etc. It was a place where stripped [= naked] youths by means of physical training would try to promote the grace and vigor of their bodies." [ref]

Certainly we should take proper care of our bodies, including getting needed exercise. "Our bodies are God’s temples, to be used for His glory (1 Cor. 6:19–20), and His tools for His service (Rom. 12:1–2). But bodily exercise benefits us only during this life; godly exercise is profitable now and for eternity. Paul did not ask Timothy to choose between the two; I think God expects us to practice both. A healthy body can be used of God, but we must major on holiness." [ref]

One source notes several points of comparison between the athlete and the Christian:

 
What Paul had in mind, accordingly, must have included one or more of the following comparisons:

(a) Just as a youth in the gymnasium exerts himself to the utmost, so you, too, by God's grace and power, must spare no efforts to attain your goal.

(b) Just as that youth discards every handicap or burden in order that he may train the more freely, so you, too, should divest yourself of everything that could encumber your spiritual progress.

(c) Just as that youth has his eye on a goal -- perhaps that of showing superior skill on the discus range, that of winning the wrestling match or boxing-bout in the palestra, that of being the first one to reach the post which marked the winning-point on the running track, at least that of improving his physique -- so you should be constantly aiming at your spiritual objective, namely, that of complete self-dedication to God in Christ. [ref]
 

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ATHLETIC IMAGERY

Many times Paul made use of the athletic imagery of his day:

  • "Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! ... So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. ... " (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
  • " ... I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing." (Galatians 2:2)
  • "You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?" (Galatians 5:7)
  • " ... Instead, train yourself to be godly." (1 Timothy 4:7)
  • "This is why we ... continue to struggle. ... " (1 Timothy 4:10)
  • "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race ... " (2 Timothy 4:7) (all NLT)

"As an athlete must control his body and obey the rules, so a Christian must make his body his servant and not his master. When I see high school football squads and baseball teams going through their calisthenics under the hot summer sun, I am reminded that there are spiritual exercises that I ought to be doing (Heb. 5:14). Prayer, meditation, self-examination, fellowship, service, sacrifice, submission to the will of others, witness -- all of these can assist me, through the Spirit, to become a more godly person." - Warren Wiersbe [ref]

- AC21DOJ

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THE GYMNASIUM

The gymnasium, a Greek institution that seems to have existed as far back as early classical times, went through various changes in its millennium-long history. During Greek and Hellenistic times, the gymnasium formed the basis for the Greek polis, which itself formed the basis for the state. In Hellenistic times, the gymnasium was the center of education, from primary education in letters through secondary education in Greco-Roman authors (Homer chief among them) to tertiary education in rhetoric. Along with these intellectual pursuits came a variety of physical undertakings and training in sports and combat, performed in the nude. Attendance of a gymnasium was an essential prerequisite to citizenship in the polis, and hence membership was jealously guarded and brought with it heavy responsibilities. The two most important offices of the gymnasium, gymnasiarch and kosmētēs, both carried with them a financial load. The gymnasiarch, or ruler of the gymnasium, was usually elected for a year-long term and was responsible for the supply of the basic needs of the gymnasium -- fuel for hot water and oil for anointing and lighting. The kosmētēs, or master of order, was also elected for a year and was responsible for the supervision of the procedures and routines through which the ephēbes, as students in the gymnasium were called, would pass (Lewis, 46–47).

Gymnasia in Greek and Hellenistic Life
... The essential architectural features of the gymnasium were the palaistra, an open court for wrestling, and the dromos, a track for running. The palaistra was typically surrounded with colonnades, and a variety of other rooms opened off of it (cloakroom, anointing room, oil room, dusting room, ball-playing rooms, room for exercising with the punch ball, the usual rooms of a bathhouse, teaching/ conversation rooms and even sometimes lecture theaters [Jones, 220–26]). ... Some gymnasia are even thought to have kept rather extensive libraries.

Gymnasia in Roman Life
The gymnasium eventually became part of the Roman world, but with a varying degree of change -- in the highly Hellenized Egypt, only a certain amount of practical change took place, with the civic function of the gymnasium remaining virtually unchanged (Lewis, 35). In other places the change was so fundamental as to suggest that the gymnasium remained such in name only. On an athletic level, the gymnasium became a place of demonstration rather than involvement -- physical training in Rome was confined to the Campus Martius and was essentially aimed at military activity (Bonner, 47). Gymnasia under Roman rule thus became largely educational institutions, and the architectural evidence points toward this change (Delorme; see also Yegul). Differences in Roman society necessitated this -- rather than the highest citizenship being that of the polis or metropolis, Romans looked toward a more centralized empire, and citizenship of that empire was of more importance than individual citizenship of the city. City citizenship was still important, but its role had been fundamentally changed, and this change brought a similar change in the role of the gymnasium.

The Gymnasium and the Jews
First Maccabees 1:13–15 and 2 Maccabees 4 (see 1 and 2 Maccabees) record the famous episode of the establishment of a gymnasium in Jerusalem. Apparently, in about 175 B.C., Jason asked Antiochus IV Epiphanes for two things: the right to refound Jerusalem as a Greek city, named Antioch in his honor, and to establish a gymnasium there. ...

The largest problem with the foundation of such an institution in Jerusalem was the fact that athletic activities in the gymnasium were done in the nude, which was in itself unlawful to Jews. However, 2 Maccabees 4 and Josephus (Ant. 12.5.1 §§240–41) suggest that Jews were undergoing operations to undo the effects of circumcision so as to avoid embarrassment, and priests were even neglecting their duties in the temple to partake in the gymnasium activities. ... It was indeed a -- perhaps the -- decisive moment in the overt Hellenization of Jewish culture, and it brought with it all kinds of religious, cultural and political implications, so much so that we should not be surprised to see this particular event held up for contempt in the way that it is in the Maccabean literature.

Jews in Alexandria seem to have been more at ease with the gymnasium, as Philo seems to assume a gymnasium education for upper-class Alexandrian Jews (e.g., Philo Som. 69), and the edict of Claudius in A.D. 41 (CPJ 2 no. 153) to forbid gymnasium membership and hence citizenship to Jews was received with much consternation, until the so-called revolt of Quietus in A.D. 115 to 117 virtually wiped out the Jewish community in Egypt (Hengel, 68–69).

- B. W. R. Pearson [ref]

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1 TIMOTHY 4:8 - Spiritual Priorities (vv. 6-10)

bodily discipline is only of little profit (1 Timothy 4:8)
"Care for one's body has an honorable place in Scripture: the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are to honor God with our bodies. So we should take normal precautions but avoid neglecting, overindulging or idolizing our bodies. This parallels Jewish teaching on the role of the body." [ref]

godliness is profitable for all things (1 Timothy 4:8)
The most important thing "is true Christian godliness in spirit, soul, heart, life; in faith, love, and all Christian virtues. To exercise this godliness, to keep it constantly active in every way, is to have profit beyond compare." [ref]

it holds promise for the present life and (also) for the (life) to come (1 Timothy 4:8)
As one source notes: "Godliness colors all aspects of temporal and eternal life, bestowing its blessing on all it touches." [ref]

"Godliness involves a promise for this life and for the next; but for this life as it reflects the heavenly life, is shaped and controlled by it, and bears its impress. Godliness has promise for the present life because it has promise for the life which is to come. Only the life which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:1) is life indeed (1 Timothy 6:19). Compare 1 Peter 3:10; 1 Corinthians 3:21-23." [ref]

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SPIRITUAL TRAINING

Paul was urging Timothy to model an alternative training program in Ephesus. The false teachers were promoting their system, which included controversy, heresy, legalism, and general rebellion against God. The freedom that we have through Jesus Christ does not give us license to live any way we want. Rather, it frees us from futile attempts to earn God's favor and challenges us to pursue a life of obedience based on love. In too many cases today, Christians have resisted training by calling spiritual disciplines legalism or asceticism. This has resulted, however, in ill-informed, spiritually malnourished, and unprepared believers. To use Paul's imagery, Christians want to be on Christ's Olympic team, but they don't want to live as athletes in training. We must never shift our primary focus from all that Christ has done for us, but we must not neglect the kind of living he expects of us.

Throughout much of Christian history, people have practiced the classic disciplines. Some of these, like study, meditation, prayer, and fasting, can be used for internal and private spiritual training. Others, such as solitude, silence, service, and submission, are external and visible experiences. Some, like worship and confession, require participation by other believers. All of them have been subject to misuse, but they have also proven to be effective "training exercises." They are worth exploring. Even though initially they may seem ineffective (remember what it was like to run around the track the first time when you were out of shape?), they can bring about beneficial change in your Christian life.

The following general disciplines ought to be part of every Christian's life:

  • Reading God's Word
  • Applying God's Word
  • Attending public worship
  • Praying
  • Giving time, money, and abilities to God's service
- Life Application Bible Commentary: New Testament [ref]

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1 TIMOTHY 4:9 - Spiritual Priorities (vv. 6-10)

(No commentary)

QuoteWorthy: Going His Way
An agnostic said, “I don’t believe in the devil. I’ve never met him.” A Christian replied, “You’re right. You haven’t met the devil. You don’t meet anybody when you are going the same way.” [ref]

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1 TIMOTHY 4:10 - Spiritual Priorities (vv. 6-10)

For it is for this (1 Timothy 4:10)
This means: "In fact this is why" (NET) or "For this reason."

we labor and strive (1 Timothy 4:10)
"Both words ['labor' and 'strive'] denote strenuous and painful effort. [The meaning is] 'we labor, yea struggle." [ref]

To "labor" (Greek kopiaō) is to work in the midst of difficulties and troubles to the point of exhaustion. [ref] [ref] "Strive" (Greek agōnizomai) is closely related to our English word "agony," and it means "to strive to do something with great intensity and effort" [ref] "It generally came to mean to fight, wrestle (John 18:36). Figuratively, it is the task of faith in persevering amid temptation and opposition (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7). It also came to mean to take pains, to wrestle as in an award contest, straining every nerve to the uttermost towards the goal (Luke 13:24 [cf. 1 Corinthians 9:25; Philippians 3:12 ff.; Hebrews 4:1]). Special pains and toil (Colossians 1:29; 4:12). Implies hindrances in the development of the Christian life." [ref]

we have fixed our hope (1 Timothy 4:10)
Paul had enduring confidence because "his hope was set, not on himself, some philosophy of life, other men, or nonexistent gods -- but in the living God." [ref]

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HOPE

When we use the word “hope” in casual conversation, it often has a wavering, uncertain sound. “I hope I can make it,” we say doubtfully. At times we sense the same uncertainty in Scripture. Herod “hoped” he would see Jesus do some miracle (Lk 23:8). Felix “hoped” Paul might offer him a bribe (Ac 24:26). Both men were disappointed.

The Bible seldom uses “hope” in this doubt-filled way. Instead, hope focuses attention on God and fills us with eager expectation. No one who learns to hope in a biblical way will ever be overcome by disappointment but will be filled with patience, encouragement, and enthusiasm.

In what do we hope? The OT saints knew less of God’s plans than do NT saints. But psalmists and prophets called on believers to anchor their hope in the Lord himself. Most NT references either explore the objective content of the Christian’s hope or examine the subjective impact of hope on our spiritual growth. Yet it is clear that there has been no basic change in the basis for hope. It is God who is the focus and object -- and the ultimate guarantee -- of our hope.

Everything you and I hope for is wrapped up in Jesus. He is the power who works our present transformation. He is the one whose return marks history’s furthest horizon. He is the one through whom each believer will experience both the resurrection of the body and the future’s full expression of eternal life. Our share of glory awaits his appearing.

The only significant difference between the testimony of the OT and that of the NT is that the NT contains additional facts about the future, facts God chose to not reveal to his OT people. Knowing more of his magnificent gifts tells us even more than they knew about the giver, the God of the universe. When we know how good God is, we can only respond with grateful praise and worship, as we are moved to awed wonder by the extent of his love. But it is always our sovereign and loving God who is the ground and focus of our hope. As Hebrews reminds us, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

Like the OT saints, you and I will know hurt and uncertain tomorrows. We may suffer and experience tragedy, yet we can face the future expectantly. We may have to wait a while for the full experience of the good that God intends for us, but God is fully committed to everyone who makes a faith commitment to him.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, `plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” (Jer 29:11).

As long as our hope is in God, we have hope. And a future.

- Lawrence O. Richards [ref]

the Savior of all men, especially of believers (1 Timothy 4:10)
God/Christ as Savior is a major theme in the pastoral epistles (1 Timothy 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; 2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:3, 4; 2:10, 13; 3:4, 6).

There are several ways to look at, or interpret, these words. For example:

  • "He is Saviour of all men in the sense that our Lord is 'the Saviour of the world' (John 4:42). He is the actual Saviour of those who believe, and the potential Saviour of the unbeliever in the sense that He has provided a salvation at the Cross for the sinner, and stands ready to save that sinner when the latter places his faith in the Lord Jesus." [ref]
  • "'[E]veryone' [NASB: 'all men'] refers to both Jews and Gentiles (all kinds of people rather than every single individual). The word "especially" could be translated 'namely.'" [ref]
  • [T]he Gr. word translated "especially" must mean that all men enjoy God’s salvation in some way like those who believe enjoy His salvation. The simple explanation is that God is the Savior of all men, only in a temporal sense, while of believers in an eternal sense. [ref]

And it is certainly true that everyone experiences God's goodness in the form of his common grace, his compassion, his admonition to repent, and the gospel invitation. [ref]

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GOD THE SAVIOR OF ALL

[T]he Old Testament teaches everywhere that God's kind providence extends to all men, in a sense even to plants and animals: Psalms 36:6; 104:27-28; 145:9, 16-17; Jonah 4:10-11. He provides his creatures with food, keeps them alive, is deeply interested in them, often delivers them from disease, ills, hurt, famine, war, poverty, and peril in any form. He is, accordingly, their Soter (Preserver, Deliverer, and in that sense Savior).

In the New Testament this teaching is continued, as was to be expected. In his love, kindness, and mercy the heavenly Father “makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust” … “is kind toward the unthankful and evil” (Matthew 5:45; Luke 6:35). The wickedness of evil men consists partly in this that they have not given thanks for this goodness of God (Romans 1:21). It is he who “gives to all life and breath and all things” (Acts 17:25). It is he “in whom we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). He preserves, delivers, and in that sense saves, and that “saving” activity is by no means confined to the elect! On the Voyage Dangerous (to Rome) God “saved” not only Paul but all those who were with him (Acts 27:22, 31, 44). There was no loss of life.

Moreover, God also causes his gospel of salvation to be earnestly proclaimed to all men, that is, to men from every race and nation. Truly, the kindness of God extends to all. There is no one who does not in one way or another come within the reach of his benevolence, and even the circle of those to whom the message of salvation is proclaimed is wider than the circle of those who accept it by a true faith.

- William Hendriksen [ref]

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DEFINITE REDEMPTION

Definite redemption, also called “particular redemption,” or “limited atonement,” is the historic Reformed doctrine about the intention of the triune God in the death of Jesus Christ. Without questioning the infinite worth of Christ’s sacrifice or the genuineness of God’s sincere invitation to all who hear the gospel (Rev. 22:17), the doctrine states that Christ in dying intended to accomplish what He did accomplish: to take away the sins of God’s elect, and to ensure that they would all be brought to faith through regeneration and preserved through faith for glory. Christ did not intend to die in this efficacious sense for everyone. The proof of that, as Scripture and experience unite to teach us, is that not all are saved.

In discussing the atonement, some say that Christ died for all, and that all without exception will be saved. This is an actual universalism. A second doctrine is that Christ died for all, but that His death has no saving effect without an added faith and repentance not foreseen in His death. In other words, He died for the general purpose of making salvation possible, but the salvation of particular individuals was not included in His death. This is a hypothetical universalism. The third doctrine is that although Christ’s death was infinite in value, it was offered to save only some, those who were known beforehand. This is the limited or definite atonement.

Scripture does not teach that all will be saved, ruling out actual universalism. The other two views do not differ about how many will be saved, but about the purpose for which Christ died. Scripture addresses this question. The New Testament teaches that God chose for salvation a great number of the fallen race and sent Christ into the world to save them (John 6:37–40; 10:27–29; 11:51, 52; Rom. 8:28–39; Eph. 1:3–14; 1 Pet. 1:20). Christ is said to have died for a particular people, with the clear implication that His death secured their salvation (John 10:15–18, 27–29; Rom. 5:8–10; 8:32; Gal. 2:20; 3:13, 14; 4:4, 5; 1 John 4:9, 10; Rev. 1:4–6; 5:9, 10). Before He died, Christ prayed for those the Father had given Him, and not for the world (John 17:9, 20). Jesus’ prayer lifted up those for whom He was going to die, and He promised them that He would not fail to save them. Such passages present the idea of a definite atonement. The Old Testament, with its emphasis on the election of grace, provides strong support.

The free offer of the gospel, and the commandment to preach the good news everywhere, is not inconsistent with the teaching that Christ died for His elect people. All who come to Christ will find mercy (John 6:35, 47–51, 54–57; Rom. 1:16; 10:8–13). The gospel offers Christ, who knows His sheep. He died for them; He calls them by name, and they hear Him. This is the gospel that He commanded His disciples to preach in all the world, in order to save sinners.

- The Reformation Study Bible [ref]

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1 TIMOTHY 4:11 - Effective Ministry (vv. 11-15)
A PRINCIPLE TO LIVE BY
Modeling Godliness

To be able to communicate the message of godliness to all ages, we are to exemplify Christlike qualities consistently in our own lives. (see 1 Timothy 4:11-5:2) [ref]

Prescribe and teach these things (1 Timothy 4:11)
"Prescribe" means that "Timothy is to order, announce, pound them in in an authoritative manner as Paul’s representative." [ref] And "teach" means that Timothy "is to explain so that these things will be understood, assimilated, taken to heart. ... Timothy is to keep on in this work. These are his original directions from Paul, they are repeated here so that Timothy may show them also to others wherever it is necessary. It was an advantage to him to have them in writing; it is still an advantage in the case of officials who have congregations to supervise." [ref]

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1 TIMOTHY 4:12 - Effective Ministry (vv. 11-15)

Let no one look down on your youthfulness (1 Timothy 4:12)
This may indicate "that Timothy had a tendency towards shyness or timidity. Furthermore, some in the church at Ephesus may not have accepted his authority." [ref] "When he is attending to these things with due authority Timothy is to let no one question that authority on the score of his youth." [ref]

Timothy was probably in his late 30's. [ref] [ref] "He was but a mere youth when he joined Paul (Acts 16:1-3). Eleven years had elapsed since then to the time subsequent to Paul’s first imprisonment. He was, therefore, still young; especially in comparison with Paul, whose place he was filling; also in relation to elderly presbyters whom he should 'entreat as a father' (1 Timothy 5:1), and generally in respect to his duties in rebuking, exhorting, and ordaining (1 Timothy 3:1), which ordinarily accord best with an elderly person (1 Timothy 5:19)." [ref]

"The verb ['look down on'] is present imperative in a prohibition, forbidding the continuance of an action already going on. Timothy was being despised. Paul says, 'Stop allowing anyone to despise you.' Paul means, 'Assert the dignity of your office even though men may think you young to hold it. Let no one push you aside as a boy' (Expositors). Today we would say, 'Stop allowing anyone to push you around.' And the same authority says that 'St. Paul shows Timothy 'a more excellent way' than self-assertion for the keeping up of his dignity: give no one any ground by any fault of character for despising thy youth.'" [ref]

Rather than being intimidated by his age or the opinions of others, Timothy "was to demonstrate his maturity by living such a godly life that he would become a pattern for other Christians in every area of his life." [ref]

in speech, conduct, love, faith (and) purity, show yourself an example of those who believe (1 Timothy 4:12)
"[E]xercising ourselves in godly living is not only profitable for us; it is also profitable for others (1 Tim. 4:11–12). It enables us to be good examples, so that we encourage others." [ref]

speech
"[I]n personal conversation." [ref] "Our words create impressions that either facilitate or complicate all other communication." [ref]

conduct
"[I]n customs, habits, ways of dealing with people, etc." [ref] "Our life-style as well as our specific behaviors must be consistent with the gospel." [ref]

love
"[I]n deep personal attachment to his brothers and in genuine concern for his neighbors (including even his enemies), always seeking to promote the welfare of all." [ref] "When we say the right words and live the right way but lack love, we are demonstrating a legalistic view of God's expectations." [ref]

One Bible commentator notes well all that is included within the concept of Christian love:

 
Agape, the Greek word for the greatest of the Christian virtues, is largely untranslatable. Its real meaning is unconquerable benevolence. If a man has agape, no matter what other people do to him or say of him, he will seek nothing but their good. He will never be bitter, never resentful, never vengeful; he will never allow himself to hate; he will never refuse to forgive. Clearly this is the kind of love which takes the whole of a man's personality to achieve. Ordinarily love is something which we cannot help. Love of our nearest and dearest is an instinctive thing. The love of a man for a maid is an experience unsought. Ordinarily love is a thing of the heart; but clearly this Christian love is a thing of the will. It is that conquest of self whereby we develop an unconquerable caring for other people. So then the first authenticating mark of the Christian leader is that he cares for others, no matter what they do to him. That is something of which any Christian leader quick to take offence and prone to bear grudges should constantly think. [ref]
 

faith
"[I]n the exercise of that gift of God which is the root from which love springs (note: love here probably indicates the horizontal relationship; faith, the vertical)." [ref] "Sooner or later, people around us will need to understand what motivates our speech, life, and love." [ref]

purity
"[I]n complete conformity, both in thought and act, with God's moral law." [ref] "As used here, the word implies integrity and consistency and reinforces the entire list." [ref]

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SET AN EXAMPLE

Throughout Scripture, setting an example is stressed as an important element of discipleship.

  • Matthew 11:29 - "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me." Jesus told his followers to learn from his example of gentleness and humility.
  • Philippians 3:17 - "Join with others in following my example." Paul urged believers to follow his example of enthusiasm, perseverance, and maturity.
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 - "You became imitators of us and of the Lord. . . . And so you became a model to all the believers." The new Christians at Thessalonica received training in discipleship from Paul, and even in suffering they modeled before others what they had learned.
  • 1 Timothy 1:16 - "In me . . . Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him." Paul used his unworthiness to receive Christ as an example of grace so that no one would hold back from coming to Christ.
  • 1 Peter 5:3 - "Not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock." Peter taught Christian leaders to lead by example, not by commands.

As the body of Christ, believers must show Christ to the world by being examples. Nonbelievers should be able to see Christ in believers and be so drawn to what they see that they seek Christ and his salvation. What kind of example are you?

- Life Application Bible Commentary: New Testament [ref]

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*Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org) | **This outline is from The Bible Exposition Commentary, by Warren W. Wiersbe