Paul and his verbs

Wow. 1 Timothy 4 is filled with instruction. The second portion is filled with lots of verbs:

  • Command
  • Teach
  • Don’t
  • Devote
  • Do not neglect
  • Be diligent
  • Watch
  • Persevere

Paul seems to be getting shorter in his messages and stronger here in this verse. How can we tackle all he is asking us to do? Let’s start with the view of Paul as Timothy’s coach and as our coach. The first part of this chapter tries to point out that some will go astray. He could be talking about the people of Ephesus but he also is showing us that it could happen to people we know today. He is clear that demons and temptation will take people down a different path in life, an ungodly life, those focused on using God’s gifts in the wrong manner. He reminds us that everything he created is good. That’s a great way to start each day, isn’t it? Remembering all we see, have, do was created by God and is intended to be good, not evil or for evil use.

 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

Paul then asks us to work on our discipleship, helping others learn and grow, and helping others stay on the right path. If we are “…nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed…”, then maybe we can help others learn about this good teaching. I think we can do this in many situations. I tried it out this week and received a good response (not always the case I know). One of my friend’s took her oldest to college way far away. I sent her my favorite verse Jeremiah 29:11. I have never really had an in depth conversation with her on this subject of religion so I was taking a risk, but I wanted to show I share her anxiety. It worked. She was caught off guard and very thankful.

Back to Timothy.  Paul then moves on to coach us to not only focus on physical training, but to focus on our spiritual training. In some cases it is easy to go out and run or go to the gym, but shouldn’t it also be easy to sit down and read the bible or go to church on Sundays? Doesn’t seem to be as easy. We have to train ourselves, get in the routine (our Bible Journal community), and continue to track our progress.   He reminds us to put our hope in the living God, the living word and spirit.

Lastly, Paul goes to his strong verbs. Even though some of us are young :-),  I think he really means all people who might be young in studying the word or young in sharing our faith with others or truly young in age. He wants us to be confident in our ways and in our voice, not letting others overshadow us. He wants us to set an example for the nonbelievers and believers in our speech, in our conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

And don’t take it lightly or think you aren’t worthy. I take this as speaking openly or testing the waters when it might seem uncomfortable. Or if it’s too hard to speak, put your faith into action.

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 1

Lastly, one of my favorite verbs.  Persevere! That’s hard, but if we go back to the first part of this chapter, we don’t want to be one of the ones Paul refers to as abandoning the faith.

I wish you well today as you:

  • See everything God created as good
  • Coach others
  • Stretch to show your faith even if you might be “young”
  • Watch for signs
  • Continue to persevere in following God’s path