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
BECAUSE TIMOTHY was young, some in the church looked down on him and refused to receive from him. So Paul wrote to Timothy, saying, “Look, just be an example.” Paul outlined six areas where Timothy should be an example to the believers:
In word—This could be interpreted two ways. First, Paul may have meant, “Be an example in your language.” But he could also have meant, “Be an exam- ple in your knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures—be a man of the Word.” Both are important.
In conduct—Let your lifestyle be an example of what a believer is. Model Christ in your actions and your attitudes.
In love—The love that Paul described in 1 Corinthians 13 is the love that should emanate from the life of every believer.
In spirit—Some people have a sweet spirit; others are just mean-spirited. There is no place for mean-spiritedness among believers.
In faith—This also could mean one of two things. Either we are to be an example in our trust in God, or in our own trustworthiness—or both.
In purity—Timothy was young, not married, and living in a corrupt, pagan society. Paul urged him to live a life of purity, a life above reproach.
PAUL’S MESSAGE IS FOR EVERY AGE. WE ARE TO MODEL CHRIST BOTH TO THE CHURCH AND TO A WORLD WONDERING ABOUT CHRISTIANITY.
Father, help us to be a godly example to the world, that we may bring You glory. Amen.