1 Timothy 4:1–16 (NKJV)
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.1 Timothy 4:1-5
Paul speaks of a prophetic message from the Holy Spirit that there will be a departure from the faith in the latter days. The cause will be deceitful spirits and demonic doctrines, lies taught through hypocrisy. Men will speak with seared consciences, forbidding people to marry and demanding abstinence from foods never banned before. He said that all things should be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. He then declares that all creatures of God are good, and not to be refused, because it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. 7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach.1 Timothy 4:6-11
Paul further instructs Timothy to teach these truths to the brethren. Fulfilling this duty will make Timothy a good minister of Jesus Christ. The observation of the words of faith and good doctrine will nourish the soul and bring a powerful reputation to the minister who does so. Paul tells Timothy to reject false doctrines and stories, exercising himself toward a godly life. Paul states that bodily exercise profits a little, but that godliness is highly profitable in all things, for this life and the life to come. This is worthy of belief by all. This is the reason why Paul does all that he does, because he trusts in God and believes in God. Timothy is instructed by Paul to teach and command this path of life and belief.
12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.1 Timothy 4:12-16
Paul addresses the young minister and son in the Lord, instructing him to minister in spite of those who might think he is too young. Paul tells him to set the example in his knowledge of the word, in his conduct, love, spirit, faith, and purity. He gives him the practices and tools to achieve such a reputation: read, exhort, and study doctrine. He reminds him of the gift that was given through the laying on of the hands of the elders and prophecy. He even tells Timothy to meditate on the things of God, giving his entire self to study and practice, to be able to show himself as an example. The doing of these things will save Timothy and those who hear him.
This is a great list of instructions for a young minister. Being well-read in the things of God, knowing doctrine, and living a good example are all proper practices for the young man or woman called of God for ministry. This passage also demonstrates the mentor/mentee relationship that existed between Paul and Timothy. Older ministers, take the time to show a younger minister the way. Younger ministers, take some advice from the older ministers who have been in the arena. No one knows everything, but you should be willing to share what you know, and know what is shared with you. Be open with your knowledge, and be open to others’ knowledge. In so doing, we all know more and do a better job at winning the world for Christ.