What the Bible says about Timothy

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1 Timothy 4:12

12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

4:12 Youth was a term applied to men until they were 40. Timothy might have been between 35 and 40 years old at this time. The antidote for his youth was his life. He was to set an example in six areas: (1) in word, meaning conversation; (2) in conduct, or behavior; (3) in love, which is the love of God; (4) in spirit, the attitude or power of the Holy Spirit; (5) in faith, meaning trust in God; and (6) in purity, both in sexual matters and in thoughts (5:2). These godly elements are not only for the young, but should be desired and practiced by all. These qualities should be developed early in a Christian’s life.

Read more from NKJV Study Bible

2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

7 There are two ways of interpreting this verse. One is to assume that we have here three figures of speech: the first military, the second athletic, the third religious. But the three clauses of the verse may all be taken as related to athletics. The verb translated "fought" can have a military meaning (cf. Jn 18:36), but it can just as clearly relate to athletics (1Co 9:25). All in all, it seems more natural to understand Paul as speaking in the athletic sense in all of them (cf. especially 1Ti 6:12). If so, then we can paraphrase the verse like this: "I have competed well in the athletic contest [of life], I have finished the race, I have kept the rules"—not "fouled out" and so been disqualified from winning.

Read more from Expositors Bible Commentary (Abridged Edition): New Testament