“If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has a value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
“This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.”
Now that he’s warned Timothy about deceivers and false teachers, Paul tells him how to apply his newfound knowledge and advises him to keep his eyes on the big picture. Good ministers, he says, are diligent and remind their brethren of the truth (as also noted in 2 Peter 1:12, 3:1, and Jude 5). The apostles considered it an important part of their job to make sure the listeners not only HEARD what they were saying, but REMEMBER it as well ~ because we humans are awfully slow to learn and slower still to recall. In teaching others, Paul tells Timothy, we teach ourselves.
In addition, we must not only stop doing evil, but learn to do good. I don’t know about you, but the word “train” is one of my favorites. I don’t know exactly why; it just has a great feel to it. I think it’s pretty cool how learning to follow God well takes training. Godliness requires constant exercise, just like your muscles do, except godliness is useful FOREVER, whereas eventually your muscles will fail. (Sorry, workout buffs. It’ll happen.) Much of godliness’ gain lies in this promise ~ if a godly person has few good things in this life, he can look forward to fantastic ones in the next.
And now, a trustworthy saying. Once again, the phrase “trustworthy saying” in the Bible tells us that it’s not too good to be true. And why does it deserve full acceptance? Because it’s JUST THAT GOOD.
But there in parentheses is the word “labor.” In other translations, the word “suffer” is used here instead. The life of a Christian IS to labor and suffer. If we believe in Someone who is out of this world, we can expect reproach from the world we live in. But even though we suffer for God, we will not lose Him ~ that is the hope we live with, and the hope we have in Him. True Christians trust God. And putting our hope in Him is a huge encouragement.
God is “the Savior of all men” because He doesn’t want ANYONE to die without knowing Him. And as our Savior, we can expect Him to reward anyone who serves Him. The salvation He has for those who serve Him is sufficient to recompense them.