11Command and teach these things. 12Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15Practice these things, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. 16Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Paul begins chapter four with the warning “that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” because their consciences have been made numb as if being seared by a hot iron. The proponents of the ecumenical monoculture and postmodern Christianity have abandoned Christ and his teachings and in turn devoted themselves to the teachings of demons. We live in that time, in verse three Paul even lists several popular false doctrines currently taught at Ephesus. The ecumenical monoculture and postmodern Christianity claims that doctrine and theology are unimportant, however, I Timothy offers several reasons why this just is not so.
v.11 Biblical Christianity and the monoculture clash over this issue. The monoculture asks, “Why, if we are all on our own spiritual journey should one man stand and speak with authority?” The pastor exists to shepherd, lead, and protect God’s flock, not merely to journey with it. A good pastor will command and teach the Word of God. The fulfillment of The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) is dependent upon teaching the nations to obey God’s Word. God is not an inert spiritual being; He is a despotic ruler (Acts 4) of absolute power who demands your obedience.
v.13 A good pastor devotes himself to three things. First, a good pastor must devote himself to the public reading of Scripture. Cashing in on Biblical illiteracy, many are abandoning the public reading of Scripture for skits, video clips, and stories. Any authority the pastor has is derived from God’s Word and apart from this the pastor has no authority. Second, a good pastor must devote himself to exhortation. Exhortation refers to the application of God’s word; this could take the form of a command to obey and submit, encouragement to persevere, comfort, or rebuke. Third, a good pastor must devote himself to teaching, also translated doctrine. The current trend of teaching anecdotal stories and pop psychology is abhorrently unbiblical. The pastor must systematically exposit God’s Word.
v.14 Paul is referring to Timothy’s spiritual gifts, to be used in ministry, of preaching/teaching, and evangelism. Through abandoning Christ and devoting themselves to demonic doctrines, the proponents of the monoculture and postmodern Christianity have no spiritual gifts. However, this passage exhorts Biblical pastors, and every Christian, to stay the course, to be doctrinally sound, and to use you spiritual gifts.
v.15 Paul continues his exhortation encouraging every good pastor to devote himself to these things to the point that all may see their progress. Quite simply others should notice your obedience to God’s Word.
v.16 This verse offers a promise from God coupled with an extremely severe warning. Perseverance in the Truth is a mark of genuine conversion and the pastor who perseveres in teaching sound doctrine can be used by God as an instrument to deliver the Gospel that God might save some (see John 8:31 and Romans 10:9-17). The pastor must persevere in two areas his teaching/doctrine and his conduct; he must teach and live the truth and because of this God will save some. The warning and the danger of the monoculture is this: the abandonment of Biblical doctrine is tantamount to abandoning Christ and the congregation who bases their salvation upon the doctrines of demons will not be saved. The monoculture wants to downplay the importance of doctrinal beliefs posing that they are unimportant, unnecessary, and should be abandoned to promote unity, ecumenism. This is a damning lie; sound doctrine is of the utmost importance because without the preaching of the true Word of Christ no one can be saved (Romans 10:9-17).