Paul told Timothy he was his “true child in the faith” (1:2). He is very straightforward in his advice to him about making sure he grows spiritually. Many verses in this epistle can be applied as his advice and encouragement to us, and so we can be “trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine” (4:6).

“Godliness”, Paul tells Timothy, “is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come … to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God …” (verses 8,10). Nearly all his advice equally applies to sisters. Timothy is to “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (verse 12). He was to devote himself “to the public reading of scripture …” (verse 13) as well as teaching. None of the believers would have had their own copies of scripture, which would be our Old Testament. What a blessing we have! Do we genuinely appreciate this?

There is a danger that those who see their role as being in the forefront of working for Christ – start to fail in their own spirituality – there are sad examples of this. All such should note Paul’s advice to Timothy to “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching”. Adding, “Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (verse 16).

As our world grows more godless, it is vital that we take Paul’s advice to Timothy to ourselves to “keep a close watch on yourself”.