‘Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.’ — 1 Timothy 4:16
Paul the Apostle wrote this letter to Timothy to encourage him to stay faithful to God and to sound doctrine for the sake of the gospel and the entire church. Paul hoped to come to Timothy shortly (3:14), but, if he could not come for a while, he wanted Timothy to know how to lead the church which is the pillar and ground of the truth (3:15).
Timothy’s walk with God and his faithfulness to sound doctrine were crucial because he was leading the church and the church is responsible to hold up the truth (3:15). As Timothy took heed to himself and to his doctrine, he would both save himself and those that heard him (4:16). The idea here is that God would use his leadership and his teaching of the truth to be the means by which others knew the truth and were saved.
As we take heed to ourselves and to those that hear us, here are some things to consider:
- The gospel is the most essential and greatest truth (3:16).
- There will be some who will turn away from the faith and give in to deceptive and demonic teaching (4:1).
- Those who depart from the faith will also do all sorts of sinful things because of a seared conscience (4:2-5).
- Pastors and church leaders are to remind the brethren of what God’s Word says and to continually nourish themselves with the Word of God (4:6).
- We need to refuse manmade ideas and stories and to focus on spiritual growth (4:7-8).
- Others may despise us but we can work at being a good example in all areas (4:12).
- Pastors need to keep reading the Word, exhorting from the Word, and teaching the Word (4:13).
- We should use our gift and keep growing in our gift so we can be a blessing to others (4:14-16).
Others are watching our lives. Others are influenced by how we follow the Lord. It is crucial that we keep the right focus not just for ourselves but for others that are watching how we live and how we minister.