“Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
Paul finishes chapter four by giving Timothy a few direct and straightforward instructions. Let’s walk through them.
Firstly, he tells him to command his people to be godly and to teach them the profit in it.
Secondly, he suggests that Timothy conduct himself in a way that would gain him respect, despite his age. “Practice what you preach,” Paul advises. “In speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity” ~ or, in other words, in strict conversation, in spiritual-mindedness, to God and all good men, by the profession of the Christian faith, with chastity. (That may actually have complicated it more, didn’t it?)
Third, Paul tells Timothy to throw himself into his study of the Scripture. Ministers still have to study and increase in knowledge so they can teach the things they learn from God’s Word, no matter how accomplished they might be.
With Paul’s fourth order, we learn that Timothy was ordained by men in office to be a minister. The office of ministry is a gift, and the gifts of God will wither if they are neglected, so Paul warns his young charge against this.
In verse 15, Paul again commands Timothy to focus on his study. As wise and knowledgeable as he was, he still had to improve.
Fifth, Paul warns his “apprentice” (so to speak) to watch how he acts and to pay attention to what Timothy himself was preaching. Ministers have to consider carefully how they conduct themselves and meditate on the great trust given to them ~ they are, after all, in charge of teaching, training, and leading a number of people, and that must be an enormous amount of pressure. His job as a minister of God is, essentially, to save people, so he should worry about saving himself first so he can help save others.