Timothy is often likened to a soldier. Throughout his first letter from Paul he is encouraged to “strongly engage in battle” (1 Timothy 1:18). In the second letter, he is warned, “no one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian warfare, but rather tries to please his commanding officer” (2 Timothy 2:4). Ministers today need to be ready to engage in spiritual warfare, and not engage in anything that could hinder that.

To be prepared, a minister must have two things: “faith, and a good conscience” (1 Timothy 1:19). Faith allows you to believe for bigger and better things. It is what enables you to engage in spiritual warfare believing that you will win.
A good conscience is what keeps you close to God. If you live in a way where you can be “found blameless” (1 Timothy 3:10) then you can be confident that God will prosper your ways. This isn’t to say that a past that isn’t blameless means you can’t serve God and His church. It is your present way of living must reflect the presence of God in you.

Teach Sound Doctrine

One of the first challenges that Paul lays out to Timothy is to stay in Ephesus so “that [he] may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer” (1 Timothy 1:3). He goes on to say, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister” (1 Timothy 4:6). To be a good minister, you must be sure to teach the church doctrine which fits with God’s word.

Paul also points out those who don’t teach sound doctrine. He mentions those who indulge in “godless chatter,” saying that “their teaching will spread like gangrene” (2 Timothy 2:16-17). Gangrene works by cutting off blood flow to infected areas. This means that these areas lose access to their life source and so eventually die. Unsound teaching can restrict access to God, causing those who listen to it to be cut off from His presence and begin to die spiritually.

Another problem with gangrene is it can be very contagious, spreading through the body quickly. False teaching can sound very attractive and, because of that, spread through the church quickly, infecting people as it goes. The best way to prevent this is to remove the infection as quickly as possible so it cannot spread. So, it is the responsibility of all those that minister within a church to make sure that all their teaching is sound, and be ready to deal with unsound teaching before it spreads.

Devoted to Study
Another charge Paul gave Timothy was, “devote yourself to public reading of scriptures, to preaching and to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13). To fully invest in others through preaching and teaching you need to first invest in yourself.

If scripture hasn’t been sewn into your heart, then what comes out won’t be scripture. It will be opinion or personality, or even church cliché, but it won’t be scripture. Ultimately, if church leaders aren’t invested in the Word, how can they possibly invest the Word into their church?

Pastor Ron Baker