1 Timothy


3. Ministerial duties, 4:6-16

i] The training for godliness


Paul now urges Timothy to develop the art of sound teaching, along with the theological accuracy necessary to tackle the false teachers.


i] Context: See 1:1-11. Now in 4:6-6:2a, Paul deals with the ministerial duties of a good minister: of the self-discipline of abiding in hope / faith, 4:6-10; of the balance between personal piety and public duties, 4:11-16; and of dealing with matters concerning the Christian home, 5:1-6:2 - widows, elders, diet, discipline and slaves.


ii] Background: See 1:1-11.


iii] Structure: Timothy's ministry responsibilities:

Proposition / statement of fact, v6:

A good minister will teach tauta, "these things."


Avoid myths, v7a;

Train in godliness, v7b-10:

Hope / faith in Christ's saving work.


iv] Interpretation:

In ministering to his church and its ongoing problems, it is necessary for Timothy to nurture the truths he teaches, v6, turning away from fruitless fables and training himself in sound Biblical theology, v7. A sound understanding of Biblical truth applies, not just for this life, but the life to come, v8-9. Thus, Timothy is to toil at his ministry, and this within the frame of a sure hope in the living God, the saviour of all who believe, v10.


Trustworthy Saying #3. The problem we face with this saying is that it is unclear whether the saying is v8, or v10. Commentators, of course, are divided. As a general rule, the trustworthy sayings concern salvation (although note the particular sense of swqhsetai, "will be saved", in 2:15, assuming that the trustworthy saying is not 3:1???) and so v10 seems the likely contender - note also its similarity with the first saying, 1:15. It is unlikely that v10a is part of the saying, but is rather part of Paul's introduction to the saying, ie., v9+10a. So, if v10b is the trustworthy saying, then v8 serves as a preparatory statement. See Barrett, Knight (the majority of commentators), ... who support v8, and Moffatt, Guthrie, Mounce, ..... who support v10. Taking v10 as the Trustworthy Saying, the logoV proclaims the Christian hope of the divine offer of universal salvation, especially for the household of God / believers. Striving to maintain this hope / faith shapes the godliness Paul has in mind, a godliness which is something other than religious piety.


v] Exposition: A simple verse-by-verse exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 4:6

Instruction for Timothy: Pass on the truth and be nourished by it.

uJpotiqemenoV (uJpotiqhmi) pres. part. "if you point [these things] out" - advising, instructing, suggesting. The participle is adverbial, taken as conditional by NIV, possibly modal, "in", NASB, even instrumental, "by offering such advice", REB. "Teach", BAGD.

tauta pro. "these things" - Possibly referring to the points made in v1-5, possibly cataphoric, referring forward to the teaching about to follow, but more likely the teaching of this letter as a whole, ie., instructions "about law, grace, salvation and conduct in the church", Mounce.

toiV adelfoiV (oV) dat. "to the brothers / brothers and sisters" - Dative of indirect object. The brotherhood = the fellowship of believers = Christians.

kaloV .... diakonoV (oV) "good minister" - [you will be] a good servant, minister, deacon. Predicate nominative. It is unlikely that the technical sense of "deacon" is intended here. If Timothy teaches aright, he deserves the title of a good / faithful minister.

Cristou Iasou gen. "of Christ Jesus" - The genitive may be classified as adjectival, possessive, or verbal, objective / attributive, idiomatic, "a minister who serves Jesus Christ,"

entrefomenoV (entrefw) pres. mid./pas. part. "brought up on / nourished on" - being reared by, nourished, fed / trained, taught. The participle could be adverbial, possibly again taking a conditional sense, "if you are trained / taught (mid., train / teach yourself) in / on", but although anarthrous, it does stand in agreement with "good servant", so it may be adjectival, attributive, "a good servant .... who is nourished ...." Guthrie underlines the durative nature of the present tense - a continual nourishment. Reared / nourished / trained by the truths of the gospel.

toiV logoiV (oV) "on the truths" - with the words. Dative of direct object after the en prefix verb "to feed on." "Nourished on the words of the faith", Cassirer, although the specific sense "the truths" is possible.

thV pistewV (iV) gen. "of the faith" - The genitive can be classified as adjectival, attributive, limiting "the words", "the words which are of the faith", but it can also be classified as verbal, objective, "the instructions concerning the faith." "Of the faith" and the following phrase, "of the good teaching / doctrine", sums up / describes the content of "the words", namely, the gospel, so Marshall, or more specifically thV pistewV, "the gospel", and thV .. didaskaliaV, "doctrine", so Mounce. Taking toiV logoiV, "the words", as a verbal noun, the genitive may be classified as verbal, objective, "preaching the faith", so Knight.

kalhV gen. adj. "good" - [and of the] good [teaching]. The genitive as above. Here with the sense "sound teaching", D/C.

h|/ dat. pro. "that" - which. The dative pronoun here can be classified a dative of that which is followed, BAGD, or a dative of direct object after the para prefix verb "to follow closely."

parhkolouqhkaV (parakolouqew) perf. "you have followed" - To be a follower in the sense of intellectual assent. The perfect is probably extensive, "you have followed and continue to follow."


Stay well clear of subversive doctrines, rather strive for truth.

de "rather" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the argument.

touV ... paraitou (apraiteomai) pres. imp. "have nothing to do with" - refuse [the profane, vile, godless and old wives tales, myths]. Timothy is to reject the heretical teaching.

gumnaze (gumnazw) pres. imp. "train" - [and] train, exercise [yourself]. Serious training / exercise is called for.

proV + acc. "to be" - toward. The preposition is functioning adverbially, expressing purpose, as NIV, or result, "for godliness", ESV.

eusbeian (a) "godly" - godliness, piety / religion. In this context, the word is not being used of piety, of a person's prayer life, godly living, but rather religion, particularly the Christian faith, "the faith" = sound Biblical doctrine / the gospel. So, rather than training oneself in irreverent and silly myths dressing up as truth (the doctrine of the false teachers??) let us train ourselves in the mind of Christ - "in understanding be men!"


Often viewed as the next of Paul's trustworthy sayings, but it is more likely a preparatory statement, with v10b serving as the trustworthy saying. Physical training has some value, but training in the faith / gospel / sound doctrine / Christian belief, pays assured and ample dividends for this life and the life to come.

gar "for" - Possibly causal, explaining the why of v7, but more likely used as a stitching device linking the trustworthy saying with v7, and therefore not translated, nor part of the original saying, cf., Swete, Faithful Sayings.

swmatikh adj. "physical [training]" - bodily [training]. Nominative subject of the verb to-be. Variant oneidizomeqa, "suffer reproach", is unlikely, given the context. "Athletics", Knight.

proV + acc. "-" - [is beneficial, profitable] toward [a little]. Adverbial use of the preposition expressing purpose / goal / end view. "Is beneficial for a little" = "is for / of some value" = "has some value." A negative sense is possible, although unlikely; "of little use", Zerwick.

de "but" - but/and [godliness is beneficial, profitable toward all things]. Here adversative / contrastive, as NIV. The contrasting clause balances with the previous clause, although with a brachylogy (ie., overly concise with gumnasia, "training", dropped); bodily training is beneficial for little things, but godliness / the faith training is beneficial for all things = "Physical training has its benefits, but theological training has outstanding benefits, not only for this life, but for the age to come."

ecousa (ecw) pres. part. "holding [promise]" - having [a promise]. The participle is adverbial, best taken as causal; "because it has" = "training in theology has great value because it has / possesses / comes with / carries a promise / announcement of life"

thV nun "for both the present" - of the now [life and of the coming]. The genitive article serves as an adjectivizer turning the temporal adverb "now" into an attributive modifier of the the genitive noun "life", "of the now life" = "present life."

zwhV (h) gen. "life" - of life [and of the coming]. The genitive may be classified as verbal, objective, or ablative, source / origin. The life referred to here is not existence, but rather spiritual life, eternal life, life in Christ, the driver of which is godliness / the faith / Biblical truth / theology. This spiritual life is both lived here, at this time / in this age, and time in the future / in the age to come."


pistoV adj. "[this is a] trustworthy [saying]" - faithful, trustworthy [is the word]. Predicate adjective. As Marshall notes, the formula emphasises the truth of what is said, characterising it as received tradition and therefore bearing official validation, cf., 1:15, 3:1. The NIV's "this is" indicates a backward reference to v8. This is the favoured view, but other possibilities have been suggested, all or part of v10, even part of v8.

axioV adj. "that deserves" - [and is] worthy of. Predicate adjective. "How faithful to the truth, how deserving of our full acceptance, are these words", Cassirer.

apodoxhV (h) gen. "[full] acceptance" - [all] approval, acceptance. Genitive complement of the adjective axioV, "worthy = worthy of." "This is a saying you can believe and trust absolutely", Barclay.


If v10b is the trustworthy saying, then Paul uses it to make the point that we labor because we have the promise of eternal life.

gar "-" - for. More reason than cause; it "shows that this verse serves as a reason or confirmation of the preceding thought that godliness is profitable in all things", Hurther, Pastoral Epistles, 1893. "For to this end", ESV.

eiV touto "that is why" - to this end [we labor]. This construction carries the sense, "to this end"; "with this in view, ie., promise of life", Zerwick. "This" referring to v8; "this is the goal", D/C, the goal of gumnasia, "Christian training" in eusebeia, "godliness = theology." To this end kopiwmen, "we toil."

agwnizomeqa (agwnizomai) pres. "strive" - [and] strive, struggle. The variant aneidizomeqa, "to suffer reproach", although well attested, does not suit the context.

oJti "because" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why "we work and struggle so hard", CEV, ie., it "introduces the ultimate ground for this labor and striving", Knight.

hlpikamen (elipzw) perf. "we have put our hope" - we have hoped. Perfect tense; "we have hoped and continue to hope" = existing state.

epi + dat. "in" - in, on. Spacial; "on, upon", as of resting upon, putting weight upon "the living God." Again, "living", means "real" as opposed to inert pagan idols.

o{V rel. pro. "who" - [a living god] who [is saviour]. Nominative subject of the verb to-be. The living one is the saviour of all people in that he "makes the promise of life come true", D/C.

anqrwpwn (oV) gen. "of [all] men / people" - of [all] men. The genitive is usually treated as verbal, objective. The adjective pantwn, "all", is obviously not "all humanity", but "all sorts of people", Jews and now even Gentiles.

malista adv. "especially" - The adverb is probably not serving as a superlative here, but rather is specifying the "all people"; "that is, all who believe / believers" (see Skeat, Especially the Parchments, for this construction).

pistwn gen. adj. "of those who believe" - of believing ones. The adjective serves as a substantive, with the genitive being verbal, objective.


1 Timothy Introduction



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