11Command and teach these things. 12Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:11-16
Sometimes we treat “youth” as an excuse for excess and for sin. So you are young and strong!? These are the days in which your process of digging a deep foundation for your life in the Gospel will open the way for you to lead and serve others. “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.”
Paul wants Timothy to continue in his pastoral assignment in Ephesus without succumbing to a “I’m young” or “You are so young” point of view. Leadership under the grace of God is possible even as a young person. So Paul commends Timothy to keep a high view of himself because of the Gospel. Not just a high view of self-respect and self-leadership but also a large view of the character Jesus will reveal through his speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.
Timothy’s authority for leadership would not be his just because he had been given a position. The authority for the Gospel ministry came from the Scripture, so Paul tells him to “devote himself to the public reading of Scripture.” The power of the ministry wasn’t just his own power; it came from the gift of the Holy Spirit recognized and called out in the leadership of the Church. But, it is Timothy’s character being built by Christ that will ultimately yield the lasting fruit. So, Paul tells this young and strong leader: watch your life and doctrine, for by so doing you save both yourself and your hearers.”
Keep a close watch on your life. Keep a close watch on the content of your teaching.