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  • Joe Norton

Be an Example in Word (7/7/2024)

Second in a series of studies of Paul’s instruction to Timothy


“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” (1 Timothy 4:12).


Paul’s instruction to the young preacher Timothy is that he is to “command and teach” the principles in which he is giving him instruction in this passage. As well, Paul tells him he is to be an example of the believer in all of these principles so that he can carry out his evangelistic ministry more effectively.


The command to be an example “in word” could refer to Timothy’s public teaching; however, it may more specifically refer to his personal and social interactions with other Christians since Paul addresses public teaching in the next verse.


Timothy’s words, public and private, are always to be true—he is to speak honestly in all matters; and, as well, his language is to be such that will provide an example for all other believers to follow. He is never to allow his “words” to be coarse or un-Christlike because such words would hinder his effectiveness in converting the lost and in strengthening the faithful.


As with all of the admonition in this passage, Paul’s instruction to this young preacher provides sound guidance for all those involved in evangelistic efforts today as well as for all Christians who are serious in making Heaven their eternal home.


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