Dealing with the Despise

1Ti 4:12 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.

The thing about this passage is that most people think it only applies to young people say less than 25But when properly translated the word “youth” translates to newness or youthfullness. It can be said, let no one despise your “newness” or “inexperience”



From G3501; newness, that is, youthfulness: – youth.

Youthfulness can be relative to the situation.

For example when a Prime Minister wants a youthfull cabinet to run for elections, he is not looking for anybody under 35. To him, that is youthful granted the circumstance.

Another example, when a gym instructior is looking for young prospects for gymnastics they are looking for pre-teens.

Same applies to timothy here, he was not a young tenage boy. Timothy was about in his early thirties.

(Paul met him at about 50 AD when he started travelling with him, he wrote 1st Timothy from Jail in about 63 AD… supposing that Timothy was about 20 at conversion he could have been about 30+)

So seeing that he was 30+ we are looking at a young man that was relatively young to be running a Church.

A church full of old ppl that would have been looking down at him.

1Ti 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

A chuch full of converted Jews that still believed in doing certain traditions.

1Ti 1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

So what he was facing is the fact that he was inexperienced because of his age. His teachings (even though he had a bout 10+ years of experience travelling with Paul ) were always going to be shunned by older people because of his age/inxperience/newness.

So what did Paul tell him to do.

1Ti 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

Ignore the fables or rituals that they would be trying to impose on you to make you.

But refuse profane and old wives’ fables,

They are riddled with Jewish customs that they believe that should be part of worship to God still. This is why in 1Ti 1:8 he said

“But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;”

The church knows about the law and they know how to manupilate like a Judiazer would.

Exercise yourself rather to godliness.

That is figuratively “train” yourself unto godliness.

When someone is exercising, they can lose focus on what is their goal. If a gymnast focuses on weight training instead of being flexible he is still training, but missing the goal of his/her sport.

Likewise if a weight lifter is focusing on flexibility rather than strength training he/she is missing the goal of his sport.

Timothy was to focus on charachteristics of Godliness, not on the traditions of the Jewish Religion and how to combat them.

1Ti 4:12 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.

How he was to carry about this pursuit of Godliness was laid out in vs12. The reason he was to pursue godliness was two fold.

To reach to the level where he was not concerned about what the Jewish customs were and how they applied.

The be an example to the believers showing them that true godliness was not in the customs and traditions but in the actual acting out of one’s faith in Jesus.

So he starts of with “Let no man despise your youth” because he knew that his youth was/would be despised. What he wanted Timothy to grasp was that the only way for his youth/inexperience/newness to be not despised was by his EXAMPLE.

Be and EXAMPLE in:

Word – logos

The spoken word with more emphasis on preaching and teaching. What you say out loud. Many times we say things out loud without much thought behind it. These things affect out example and damage our credibility.

Conversation – anastrophe

Behaviour. The way we carry about ourself where, behaviour is interaction with other people in conversation. Communicatoin via conversation does not just happen verbally but it happens non verbally also. So our conversation is more of the way we interact with other people.

Charity – agape

Love in a moral sense aka brotherly love. True brotherly love is not thinking wrong of anyone but always thinking of their best interests whenever interacting with them.

Spirit – pneuma

Rational soul or vital principle or mental disposition. Your mental disposition applies best in this context. Your outlook on things and the redemtion that you have via Christ’s spirit that is in you. Don’t always be negative, or downtrodden.

Faith – pistis

Reliance upon Christ for Salvatoin. Assurance in Christ.

If we don’t show that we have this relienace on Christ for all things our example is tainted and there is room to be despisied because of it, moreso it slows down our press to Godliness. (remember this is two fold)

Purity – hagneia

Chastity (undefiled not just sexualy, but clean in actions deportment, words, corruption.). All these affect out strive to godliness and fuels the despise from older ones.

So when Paul was writing to Timothy about his youth his goal was to provoke Timothy to Godliness in an effort to helping focus not on the eyes that were on him, but on the goal set before him.

So finally:

1Ti 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

1Ti 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.


1Co 11:1 Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ.


1Th 4:1 For the rest, then, my brothers, we beseech you and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you have received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, so you would abound more and more.

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