Godliness – 1 Timothy
I am basically going through almost all of 1 Timothy because much of it touches upon godliness and warns against false teachings within God’s household. Much of this study is for myself and for those who also seek what godliness means. It is targeted toward Timothy who is overseeing the affairs of the Ephesian church, which is why it does not touch upon what it means to be free by grace etc. This freedom and grace is naturally assumed. Timothy has matured far enough to understand this truth and what the truth of the Gospel is.
Paul writes to Timothy to instruct him to “know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15).
So the body of Christ is the pillar and foundation of truth. Which makes sense when we live out the truth of God in our lives and build one another up. We do not stand alone when we walk with God. We also walk with each other in the truth.
Now the next verse is quite interesting:
16Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,[d]
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)
The mystery that Paul is talking about here is Christ. He is saying, it is amazing how Christ can work godliness into our lives. This is a great mystery. Even if we pursue it, we may not necessarily attain it. It is given and worked into our lives by Christ through what He has done.
The next chapter tells us what it means to be godly. (I am posting the whole chapter below since I do not want it to be taken out of context. Please check it with what I am saying and if there are any mistakes on my part, please comment. Please feel free to raise any questions you may have).
The simple gist of the chapter is to know the truth and give thanksgiving and to not be fooled by lies and false teachings. The truth is simple: Christ has been resurrected and we who put our faith and trust in Him are free from our sins and from the Law!
The first paragraph deals with legalism and false teachings and how these are counter to what God intended. The second deals with pointing this out to our brothers and sisters. It also tells us to be “nourished on the truths of the faith” meaning that we should devote ourselves to God’s Word and His truths. The Word of God is the bread of life, how else are we nourished? The rest of the paragraphs seem straightforward. I italicized some to put emphasis on them:
1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters,[a] you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4)
Something I want to say. Paul writes this as an instruction. If Timothy fails to carry this out, he is still saved by God’s grace. Remember that there is a difference between the Law and instructions! If we fail to follow the Law, we sin! If we fail to follow the Law, we are condemned! However, if we fail to follow instructions, we will not lose our salvation. If we sin, we will be forgiven if we repent and turn back to God. However, God will be displeased and He may discipline us or allow us to fall in order to show us that we need God. But because we are saved by grace through Christ, we know we can return and learn how to obey Him once again. There is no condemnation.
Thinking of it in terms of family is the easiest way. Your Father or your older brother or sister gives you advice and instruction. If you do not follow it, they will feel displeased but they will still accept you as part of the family. If you return to the family and follow wholeheartedly after the truth, God will rejoice and celebrate. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a great example.
There is an expectation that you will help the family now that you know God provides for all things. You do not have to follow this expectation. For God does not like people to grudgingly follow His instructions. God will test your heart to see if it is following these instructions out of love for God or out of obligation. He will work in you if you allow Him to do so. For, He knows what is best for each one of us.
Let us watch our life and doctrine closely and persevere in them.
Chapter 5 gives specific examples related toTimothy and the circumstances at that time. However, there are some general guidelines as well.
1 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)
22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. (1 Timothy 5:22)
Chapter 6 is so beautiful. It is also quite straightforward. I italicized some specific things for myself to remember. One thing that resounds here is living a life of truth. To live a godly life, one must know the truth and live it out. Once again, knowing the Word of God is so important to knowing what the truth is. We must constantly remind ourselves and not forget the truth.
1 Timothy 6:
3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.
Grace be with you all.