Paul’s Commands to Pastors Today (Timothy 11)


(READ 1 Timothy 4:12-16)  If Paul was speaking at a pastors’ conference today, what would he tell us?  That would be very helpful to know.  We can study what he wrote to Timothy about pastoring.  He would probably tell us the same things today.  Paul gave Timothy characteristics of a godly leader (4:1-13) and warned him against false teachings and teachers (4:1-5).  He also commanded Timothy to teach and preach God’s Word (4:6-11).  Then Paul summarized and concluded what he told Timothy to do to protect the people from the false teachers who had arisen among them.  He gave him 8 commands, which are very important for us as well.

  1. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young (4:12a) Evidently people weren’t showing respect to Timothy because of his youth and inexperience. Because Timothy was fearful of rejection and criticism, he didn’t stand up to those who opposed him.  When we speak for God we have God’s authority, so we have nothing to fear.  Don’t let anyone look down on you for any reason.  Jesus has called you to serve and if He is behind you it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
  2. but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity (4:12b) Don’t worry about what others think, just live faithfully for God. That will set a good example for others.
  3. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching (4:13). “Devote yourself” means it is a top priority, the most important responsibility a pastor or leader has. We must know, teach and apply God’s Word whenever we speak to our people.  That is to be our first priority.
  4. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you (4:14). God has gifted each pastor in different ways. No two of us are alike.  So don’t compare yourself to others or try to be like someone else.  That just brings discouragement.
  5. Be diligent in these matters (4:15a). “Be diligent” means to take care, to be deeply involved in preaching and teaching God’s Word and in using your spiritual gifts.
  6. give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress (4:15b). Make preaching, teaching and ministering in the areas where God has gifted you your top priority. Others will be encouraged as they see your growth. That will set an example for others to follow.
  7. Watch your life and doctrine closely (4:16a). Knowing God’s Word is very important, but if it is just head knowledge and doesn’t affect the way we live, then something is wrong. Spend time in prayer, praise, worship and meditation each day.  Don’t just grow in knowledge, grow in your relationship with God.  People will watch how you live to see if it matches up to what you say!
  8. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers (4:16b). Perseverance is necessary to keep going when things get hard and we get discouraged. It’s not easy to be a mate, parent or church leader.  Timothy wanted to quit but Paul said he must persevere, not think of quitting.  We, too, must keep moving ahead in our life and ministry no matter the difficulties or trials we face.

If Paul were leading a pastors’ conference these are the things he would command of pastors.  Would you follow his directions?

Which of these commands apply most to you?  Which are the hardest for you to follow?  Why?  What can you do to better apply them to your life?

Do you know what your spiritual gifts are?  Are you using them, or do you spend most of your time trying to do things that you are not good at?


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