“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, and to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given to you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” - 1 Timothy 4:12-15
The final two chapters of 1 Timothy feel much more personal and directed toward Timothy. Beginning with the above passage in chapter 4, Paul focuses heavily, though not exclusively, on the “Man of God” that Paul wants his protégé to be.
In chapter 5 there is an interlude, however, addressing how charity distributions to widows are to be handled. Remember that one of the first controversies in the church, which we read about in Acts 6, had to do with fair treatment of widows. The Jerusalem congregation’s resolution was primarily structural: certain leading men were designated as deacons to manage contributions and distributions. Thus there is precedent for churches wrestling with questions about this, and it is natural that protocols would be incorporated into these instructions about establishment of leadership roles.
But the spotlight returns again to the character of the church’s leader. It is hard to imagine, though, that these instructions are exclusive to Timothy alone. Indeed, one of the peculiarities of these epistles to Timothy and Titus is that public reading is implied: only if the text was known to all could apostolic authority be enforced.
So, put yourself in the room when these letters are read to everyone, wrestling with your responsibility to follow as Timothy is instructed about how to consider older and younger men, older and younger women… how to confront those who persist in sin… how to instruct those who are slaves… to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” And to “fight the good fight of the faith.”
Our verse for this week is Deuteronomy 10:12: And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
1 Timothy 5 and 6. Now let’s read it!
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,