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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY - Chapter 4 - Verse 12

Verse 12. Let no man despise thy youth. That is, do not act in such a manner that any shall despise you on account of your youth. Act as becomes a minister of the gospel in all things, and in such a way that men will respect you as such, though you are young. It is clear from this that Timothy was then a young man, but his exact age there is no means of determining. It is implied here,

(1.) that there was danger that, by the levity and indiscretion to which youth are so much exposed, the ministry might be regarded with contempt; and

(2.) that it was possible that his deportment should be so grave, serious, and every way appropriate that the ministry would not be blamed, but honoured. The way in which Timothy was to live so that the ministry would not be despised on account of his youth, the apostle proceeds immediately to specify.

But be thou an example of the believers. One of the constant duties of a minister of the gospel, no matter what his age. A minister should so live, that if all his people should closely follow his example, their salvation would be secure, and they would make the highest possible attainments in piety. On the meaning of the word rendered example, See Barnes "Php 1:27"; See Barnes "1 Th 1:7".

 

In word. In speech—that is, your manner of conversation. This does not refer to his public teaching—in which he could not probably be an example to them—but to his usual and familiar conversation.

In conversation. In general deportment. See this word explained in See Barnes "Php 1:27".

 

In charity. Love to the brethren, and to all. See Barnes "1 Co 13:1"

and following.

In spirit. In the government of your passions, and in a mild, meek, forgiving disposition.

In faith. At all times, and in all trials, show to believers by your example, how they ought to maintain unshaken confidence in God.

In purity. In chasteness of life. See 1 Ti 5:2. There should be nothing in your intercourse with the other sex that would give rise to scandal. The Papists, with great impropriety, understand this as enjoining celibacy—as if there could be no purity in that holy relation which God appointed in Eden, and which he has declared to "be honourable in all," (Heb 13:4,) and which he has made so essential to the well-being of mankind. If the apostle had wished to produce the highest possible degree of corruption in the church, he would have enjoined the celibacy of the clergy and the celibacy of an indefinite number of nuns and monks. There are no other institutions on the earth which have done so much to corrupt the chastity of the race, as those which have grown out of the doctrine that celibacy is more honourable than marriage.

{a} "Let no man" Tit 2:7,15 {+} "charity" "Love"

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