Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 2 Study # 6
11 These things command and teach.
12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in
charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
1901 ASV Translation:
11 These things command and teach.
12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an ensample to them that believe, in word, in manner of
life, in love, in faith, in purity.
August 28, 2005
- I. What is the Difference Between "Commanding" and "Teaching"?
- A. The word "command" typically means "to tell someone to do something with the expectation that they will do it" (Acts 4:18; 5:28; 5:40). It is used in some contexts to record the "command" of an exorcist to a demon. It is not always followed by "obedience", but that does not mean that obedience was not expected.
- 1. Paul is "commanding" Timothy to "command" others.
- 2. "Commanding" requires an underlying authority that has "teeth". If enforcement is not a part of the overall concept, "commanding" becomes "urging, exhorting, begging, nagging, suggesting, etc."
- B. The word "teach" is typically used when someone is attempting to establish a concept as Truth in the ears of his hearers by explaining certain details which will give that concept authority in the hearer's mind (Matthew 5:2; 7:29).
- 1. Paul's letter to Timothy is an example of "teaching" Timothy to "teach".
- 2. "Teaching" requires an overall grasp of the concept being imparted to the learner. If a person has only a small, or even moderate, grasp of the concept, it is very difficult to "explain" anything to another. One can "witness" of a concept as to how it developed in one's own experience, but it is not "teaching" if one doesn't really understand what is involved.
- II. Paul's Exhortation to Timothy to be an "Example".
- A. The "command" to not permit anyone to "despise" his "youth".
- 1. The term "despise" means "to think too little of someone or thing so that it is not permitted to have any real influence over one's decisions/actions".
- a. Matthew 6:24 puts it in opposition to "holding to" as a parallelism to the "hate/love" contrast in the same verse.
- b. Matthew 18:10 uses it to make sure adults do not treat children improperly because they think too little of them.
- c. Romans 2:4 uses it to indicate that someone is not giving enough "weight" to an experiential reality to allow it to direct his conclusions.
- d. Hebrews 12:2 uses it to explain Jesus' ability to endure the cross.
- e. 2 Peter 2:10 uses it to describe those who refuse to allow authority to dictate their behavior.
- 2. The word "youth" is elastic. It mostly contains an evaluation of a person on the basis of his age in respect to some issue that the evaluation involves.
- a. The letter of Paul to Timothy was written somewhere around A.D. 63, whereas the letters to the Thessalonians, who were converts on the second missionary journey were written somewhere around A.D. 51.
- b. According to Acts 16, Paul chose Timothy to be a partner in the ministry on the second missionary journey -- a man who already had a good reputation among the believers.
- c. This means that it is very unlikely that Timothy was less than 30 years of age and may have been in his mid-thirties.
- d. That some might take Timothy too lightly may have been because leadership authority in Israel was typically reserved for the "elders" (those over 40).
- B. The positive elements of the command.
- 1. In word...
- a. The issue here is the "message" one projects.
- b. The issues of a "message" are content, understanding, and application to life's events.
- 2. In manner of life...
- a. The word signals a variety of "moves", turning one way and then another and then another.
- b. This is the "application" issue of "word".
- 3. In love...
- a. This is the "agape" which sets the "value system" and determines what is important.
- b. This is the most crucial of all issues.
- 4. In faith...
- a. This is the conviction center of one's being; the determination of what is true in respect to what will be done.
- b. This is secondary to love, but is the root of all behavior.
- 5. In purity...
- a. The word is used again by Paul in 5:2 with clear "sexuality" overtones.
- b. Paul is insisting upon proper responses to physical appetites.
- C. Structural Issues.
- 1. There is no doubt, theologically, that "love" is the greatest issue of setting a "pattern".
- 2. There is no doubt, theologically, that "love and faith" are the twin towers of all behavior.
- 3. Paul seems to be moving from the big picture ("word" as "life message") to the more specific issues ("manner of life" as it is driven by "love and faith") with a specific focus upon "purity".
- 4. The "purity" issue is an interesting conclusion...
- a. The word group indicates a lack of anything that would defile.
- b. The primary physical level illustration is sexual and has the sense of one who has not crossed the boundaries that keep sex within a covenant relationship. The issue of sexual union is that of "oneness of body" and the absolute insistence by God that such a "oneness" be under a covenant commitment is interesting indeed. What is it about sexual union that is such an issue? Sexual union is fundamentally for the propagation of the race and the overtones of "commitment" before "propagation" are enormous in terms of the "mystery of iniquity". In Genesis 6, when men began to multiply sexual partners, the breakdown of godliness was complete and the flood was the only way to "cleanse" the earth.
- c. Paul, therefore, has put "purity" as the "great high wall" that will keep disintegration from progressing too rapidly. This is true for "body" issues, for "soul" issues, and for "spirit" issues. Purity in all three realms is a must if disintegration is to be kept at bay.
- 5. Thus we have a "theological chiasm" that begins and ends with the "message of the life" (with a requirement/methodology relationship between "message" and "purity"); that moves to "the manner of living" (with the "movement of living"/"faith" following a similar vein of requirement/method); and that has "love" at the very center of the entire issue.