1 Timothy


3. Ministerial duties, 4:1-16

ii] Timothy's own conduct as a teacher


For Timothy to fulfil his teaching / preaching ministry, it is necessary for him "to be courageous, active and diligent in the task of teaching, ignoring the disadvantage of youth and relying of the power of the Spirit", Marshall.


i] Context: See 4:6-10.


ii] Background: See 1:1-11.


iii] Structure: The importance of abiding in the truth:

General Instruction:

"Command and teach tauta, "these things", v11.

Specific Instructions, v12-16:

Practice what you preach, v12;

Exercise a word-focused ministry, v13;

Use your gifts, v14;

Be diligent in tauta, "these things, v15;

Persevere in godliness and sound doctrine, v16.


iv] Interpretation:

This passage focuses, not so much on Timothy's relationship with his congregation, but with his example of courage and diligence in the task of ministering God's word in the power of the Holy Spirit. The passage is loaded with imperatives, ten in all.

Beginning with a general introduction on the business of ministry, v11, Paul encourages Timothy to overcome the barrier of his youth by practicing what he preaches, v12, and effectively prosecuting his public duties, v13. Timothy's standing as a minister can only but improve if he focuses on his spiritual gifts, v14, diligently exercising them so that all church members can witness his spiritual growth, v15. So, Timothy must apply himself to the study of God's word, live it and teach for his own standing before God, and that of his congregation, v16.


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

Text - 4:11

Instruction for Timothy the teacher, vl1-16: i] Instruct God's people, v11. This verse may conclude the previous passage, or introduce the passage before us, cf., 2:15, 6:2.

tauta pro. "these things" - [command and teach] these things. Accusative direct object of the verb "to command." See 4:6. "Command", probably in the sense of "exhort", authoritative encouragement in the application of Biblical truth, and "teach / instruct" "these things." "These things" may refers to the previous instructions just outline by Paul, or the instructions about to follow, or to the instructions in the letter as a whole.


ii] To overcome the handicap of youth, practice what you preach, v12.

katafroneitw (katafronew) pres. imp. "look down on" - let despise, scorn, look down on, treat with contempt [no one]. A "youth" at this time could be someone up to forty five years of age (in Western societies we view such a person as over the hill and ready for early retirement!). Timothy was probably in his mid thirties and so, given first century culture, there would be some disdain toward his youth.

thV neothtoV (hV htoV) gen. "because [you] are young" - the youth, young age [of you]. Genitive of direct object after the kata prefix verb "to look down on."

alla "but" - Strong adversative in a counterpoint construction; "not ....., but .....".

tupoV (oV) "[set] an example" - [become] a type, example, pattern. Predicate nominative.

twn pistwn adj. "for the believers" - of the believers, faith ones / the faithful. The adjective serves as a substantive, while the genitive is adjectival, verbal, objective, as TNIV, "an example to / for believers", or attributive, limiting "example", "an example of those who believe", NASB. The article twn probably specifies the believers in mind, ie., they are the believers Timothy ministers to. The translation "to those who are faithful" is possible, but unlikely.

en + dat. "in" - The preposition, introducing five prepositional phrases, is adverbial, possibly reference, "with respect to ....", or modal, expressing manner, "be an example to the congregation in the way you speak, behave, love, believe and commit to your ministry."

logw/ (oV)dat. "speech" - word, speech. Often taken ethically, of ways of speaking - tenderness, truthfulness, ..... Possibly teaching is in mind; Timothy's word ministry needs to be accurate etc., and stand upright against his anastrofh/, "lifestyle, conduct, manner of life."

pistei (iV ewV) dat. "faith" - [in love, in] faith, trust [in purity, chastity]. Here probably "trust / belief", but a more ethical sense may be intended, "faithfulness".


iii] Your ministry must be word focused: the public reading of scripture, exhortation / preaching and teaching, v13. Obviously, a worship service has other elements.

eJwV + pres. ind. "until" - until [i come]. Temporal conjunction. The following present indicative verb indicates "until" rather than "while". Paul is expressing uncertainty as to his visit to Ephesus, rather than predicting a definite future coming. There no implication here that Timothy is filling in for Paul, although he is probably functioning as a ministry associate.

th/ dat. "the" - [attend] to the [public reading of scripture, ] to the [exhortation], to the [teaching]. Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to pay attention to." Each of the word-centred gifts of ministry takes an article specifying that this is a known ministry function. The word paraklhsiV, "encouragement", is probably what we understand as preaching, although it will overlap didaskalia, "teaching". This verse probably indicates that Christian ministry is primarily a word ministry. It is not clear that these functions + prayers, 2:1-8, provide "a picture of the Church's meeting for worship", Barrett. As Barrett notes, there is no mention of the Eucharist, but that may simply be because this verse is not describing what happens at a worship service.


iv] Exercise your gifts, v14.

mh amelei (amelew) pres. imp. "do not neglect" - do not overlook, neglect, be unconcerned about. Expressing a prohibition. Positively = "your gift from God must be employed."

tou ... carismatoV (a atoV) gen. "gift" - the gift. Genitive of direct object after the verb "to be unconcerned about." The "gift" is obviously "the gift from God / bestowed by God through the Spirit", cf., 2Tim.1:6. The "gift" is undefined, but is obviously a spiritual gift, and given v13, is probably Timothy's Word gift - prophecy, preaching, teaching, ...

en + dat. "-" - in [you]. Here expressing possession, of that which is possessed, "the gift which you possess", which sense is carried locally, "abiding in you."

soi dat. pro. "you" - [which was given] to you. Dative of indirect object.

dia + acc. / gen. "through" - through, by means of [prophecy]. Causal, "because of" / Instrumental, expressing means, "through, by means of." The difficultly in classifying this preposition is caused by "prophecy" being either acc. pl. or gen. sing. "Prophecy" = a revelation from God.

meta + gen. "when" - with [laying on of the hands]. Here the preposition may simply express association, so "accompanied by the laying on of hands", but this sense can extend to express means = dia, "through", cf., 2Tim1:6. The preposition may also be taken as adverbial, expressing manner / attendant circumstance, "with the laying on of hands", Berkeley, although often treated as temporal (usually followed by an accusative), introducing a temporal clause, as NIV + ESV, Barclay, Cassirer, TNT, REB, ... The laying on of hands is often viewed as a form of ordination, of a person being set aside / designated to a special task for God, yet it may just be an expressive form of prayer.

tou presbuteriou (on) gen. "the body of elders" - of the elders. The genitive is adjectival, possessive; "the hands which belong to the elders" = "their hands", but possibly verbal, objective, even adverbial, purpose / result; "ordination to the presbyterate." Verbal, subjective, is also possible, "the laying on of hands by the presbyterate." Presbyterate = "a council of elders", Marshall.

twn ceirwn (r roV) gen. "hands" - of the hands. The genitive is adjectival, verbal, objective, or of definition / epexegetic, specifying the type of "laying on" being referred to.


v] Be diligent in the application of these matters.

meleta (meletaw) pres. imp. "be diligent in" - practice, cultivate, act on, think on, care for, attend carefully. "The things Timothy is to give his attention to are the practices of the church and, especially, the moral qualities appropriate to his anastrofh (his manner of behaving)", Johnson. "Carefully put into practice the duties I have just mentioned", TH.

touta pro. "these matters" - these things. Accusative direct object of the verb "to practice." See v11 above.

en + dat. "wholly to" - [be involved] in [these things]. Local, expressing space / sphere; "be immersed in these things" = "make them your absorbing interest", REB. Possibly instrumental, expressing means; "live by them", Johnson.

iJna + subj. "so that" - that [the progress of you may be plain to all]. Introducing a purpose clause or hypothetical result; "in order that / so that."

pasin dat. adj. "everyone" - to all. Dative complement of the adjective "to manifest to."

fanera adj. "see" - plain, manifest. Predicate nominative. "That your progress may be manifest to all", Cassirer.

hJ prokoph (h) "progress" - the progress [of you]. the achievement, advancement, progress [of you]. Nominative subject of the subjunctive verb to-be. Presumably "progress in the faith", cf., 1Tim.4:12, Tit.2:7, so Knight, but Marshall suggests a more general sense, progress in "Christian character and effective ministry."


vi] Summary ministry advice; What matters is "the character of the minister and the purity of their teaching", Barrett, v16. "With this exhortation comes the reason why Paul is so persistent and so concerned, because what is at stake is salvation for Timothy and his hearers", Knight.

seautw/ dat. refl. pro. "[watch] your life" - [pay attention to = watch, take notice of] yourself. Dative of direct object after the epi prefix verb "to pay attention to."

th/ didaskalia/ (a) dat. "the teaching" - [and] the = your teaching. Dative as above. "Be careful about the way you live and what you teach", CEV.

autoiV dat. pro. "in them" - [continue in = stay, remain, persevere in] them. Dative of direct object after the epi prefix verb "to continue in." The "them" is possibly the tauta, "these things", v14, or better, the doctrine / teaching and it's personal application; "remaining true to the gospel." Continuing / persevering in God's "kindness", Rom.11:22, in "faith ... hope", Col.1:22-23, is the continuing that is necessary for salvation. Believers can easily come to doubt their salvation in the face of sin, failure and the distractions of the world, but where they understand that salvation depends on their reliance upon what Christ has done for them (and not "works of the law"), then a firm confidence ensues.

gar "because" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why Timothy should "remain true to it all."

poiwn (poiew) pres. part. "if you do" - [this] doing. The participle is adverbial, probably best treated as conditional, as NIV.

swseiV (swzw) fut. "you will save" - Of course, only God saves. Salvation for Timothy and his congregation is achieved through the preaching and teaching of the gospel, received and believed.

kai .... kai "both.... and" - both [yourself] and. Correlative use of the conjunction, as NIV.

touV akouontaV (akouw) pres. part. "[your] hearers" - the ones hearing [you]. The participle serves as a substantive, accusative direct object of the verb "to save." The verb akouw, here as a participle, takes a genitive of direct object here, rather than the accusative, possibly giving it the sense "to listen to, be attentive to."


1 Timothy Introduction



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