1 Timothy 4-6 Common English Bible (CEB)
4 The Spirit clearly says that in latter times some people will turn away from the faith. They will pay attention to spirits that deceive and to the teaching of demons. 2 They will be controlled by the pretense of lying, and their own consciences will be seared. 3 They will prohibit marriage and eating foods that God created—and he intended them to be accepted with thanksgiving by those who are faithful and have come to know the truth. 4 Everything that has been created by God is good, and nothing that is received with thanksgiving should be rejected. 5 These things are made holy by God’s word and prayer. 6 If you point these things out to the believers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus who has been trained by the words of faith and the good teaching that you’ve carefully followed. 7 But stay away from the godless myths that are passed down from the older women.
Practices of spiritual leadership
Train yourself for a holy life! 8 While physical training has some value, training in holy living is useful for everything. It has promise for this life now and the life to come. 9 This saying is reliable and deserves complete acceptance. 10 We work and struggle for this: “Our hope is set on the living God, who is the savior of all people, especially those who believe.” 11 Command these things. Teach them. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Instead, set an example for the believers through your speech, behavior, love, faith, and by being sexually pure. 13 Until I arrive, pay attention to public reading, preaching, and teaching. 14 Don’t neglect the spiritual gift in you that was given through prophecy when the elders laid hands on you. 15 Practice these things, and live by them so that your progress will be visible to all. 16 Focus on working on your own development and on what you teach. If you do this, you will save yourself and those who hear you.
Caring for God’s family
5 Don’t correct an older man, but encourage him like he’s your father; treat younger men like your brothers, 2 treat older women like your mother, and treat younger women like your sisters with appropriate respect.
3 Take care of widows who are truly needy. 4 But if a particular widow has children or grandchildren, they should first learn to respect their own family and repay their parents, because this pleases God. 5 A widow who is truly needy and all alone puts her hope in God and keeps on going with requests and prayers, night and day. 6 But a widow who tries to live a life of luxury is dead even while she is alive. 7 Teach these things so that the families[a] will be without fault. 8 But if someone doesn’t provide for their own family, and especially for a member of their household, they have denied the faith. They are worse than those who have no faith.
9 Put a widow on the list who is older than 60 years old and who was faithful to her husband. 10 She should have a reputation for doing good: raising children, providing hospitality to strangers, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in distress, and dedicating herself to every kind of good thing. 11 But don’t accept younger widows for the list. When their physical desires distract them from Christ, they will want to get married. 12 Then they will be judged for setting aside their earlier commitment. 13 Also, they learn to be lazy by going from house to house. They are not only lazy, but they also become gossips and busybodies, talking about things they shouldn’t. 14 So I want younger widows to marry, have children, and manage their homes so that they won’t give the enemy any reason to slander us. (15 Some have already turned away to follow Satan.) 16 If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should take care of them and not burden the church, so that it can help other widows who are truly needy.
Instructions for elders
17 Elders who lead well should be paid double, especially those who work with public speaking and teaching. 18 The scripture says, Don’t put a muzzle on an ox while it treads grain,[b] and Workers deserve their pay.[c] 19 Don’t accept an accusation made against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses. 20 Discipline those who are sinning in front of everyone so that all the others will be afraid. 21 I charge you before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels to follow these practices without bias, and without playing favorites. 22 Don’t rush to commission anyone to leadership, and don’t participate in the sins of others. Keep yourself morally pure.
23 Don’t drink water anymore, but use a little wine because of your stomach problems and your frequent illnesses. 24 The sins of some people are obvious, and the sins are judged before the people must face judgment, but the sins of other people show up later. 25 In the same way, the good that people do is also obvious and can’t be hidden.
Conduct of Christian slaves
6 Those who are under the bondage of slavery should consider their own masters as worthy of full respect so that God’s name and our teaching won’t get a bad reputation. 2 And those who have masters who are believers shouldn’t look down on them because they are brothers. Instead, they should serve them more faithfully, because the people who benefit from your good service are believers who are loved. Teach and encourage these things.
Warning about false teachers
3 If anyone teaches anything different and doesn’t agree with sound teaching about our Lord Jesus Christ and teaching that is consistent with godliness, 4 that person is conceited. They don’t understand anything but have a sick obsession with debates and arguments. This creates jealousy, conflict, verbal abuse, and evil suspicions. 5 There is constant bickering between people whose minds are ruined and who have been robbed of the truth. They think that godliness is a way to make money! 6 Actually, godliness is a great source of profit when it is combined with being happy with what you already have. 7 We didn’t bring anything into the world and so we can’t take anything out of it: 8 we’ll be happy with food and clothing. 9 But people who are trying to get rich fall into temptation. They are trapped by many stupid and harmful passions that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some have wandered away from the faith and have impaled themselves with a lot of pain because they made money their goal.
11 But as for you, man of God, run away from all these things. Instead, pursue righteousness, holy living, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness. 12 Compete in the good fight of faith. Grab hold of eternal life—you were called to it, and you made a good confession of it in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I command you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and Christ Jesus, who made the good confession when testifying before Pontius Pilate. 14 Obey this order without fault or failure until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 The timing of this appearance is revealed by God alone, who is the blessed and only master, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16 He alone has immortality and lives in light that no one can come near. No human being has ever seen or is able to see him. Honor and eternal power belong to him. Amen.
Wealth of good works
17 Tell people who are rich at this time not to become egotistical and not to place their hope on their finances, which are uncertain. Instead, they need to hope in God, who richly provides everything for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to do good, to be rich in the good things they do, to be generous, and to share with others. 19 When they do these things, they will save a treasure for themselves that is a good foundation for the future. That way they can take hold of what is truly life.
Protect the tradition
20 Timothy, protect what has been given to you in trust. Avoid godless and pointless discussions and the contradictory claims of so-called “knowledge.” 21 When some people adopted this false knowledge, they missed the goal of faith.
May grace be with you all.