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. (KJV)
1Ti 4:12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (ESV, English Standard Version)
1Ti 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you for being young. Instead, make your speech, behavior, love, faith, and purity an example for other believers. (GW, God’s Word translation)
1Ti 4:12 Don’t let anyone make fun of you, just because you are young. Set an example for other followers by what you say and do, as well as by your love, faith, and purity. (CEV, Contemporary English Version)
1Ti 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an ensample to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity. (ASV, American Standard Version)
1Ti 4:12 Let no one look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in your speech, conduct, love, faithfulness, and purity. (NET Bible)
1Ti 4:12 Let no one make little of you because you are young, but be an example to the church in word, in behaviour, in love, in faith, in holy living. (BBE, Bible in Basic English)
1Ti 4:12 Let, no one, despise, thy youth, but, an ensample, become thou of the faithful, – in discourse, in behaviour, in love, in faith, in chastity. (EB, Emphasized Bible, Rotherham translation)
I remember hearing Dr. Bob Jones, Senior say that we as believers are to be “show window material for Jesus Christ.” The Apostle Paul, in his instructions to Timothy, encouraged Timothy to be an example of and to the believers in his day, and he told Timothy how to do it by specifying what to focus on in his life.
Those suggestions, really, commandments, are as valid for each of us today as they were then for Timothy.
Does your life measure up to this standard? If not, it is time to shape up!
Meditate on and study 1 Timothy 4:12 from the eight English translations I have cited above. Notice that each translation sheds more light on the meaning of the original Greek text.
Paul encouraged Timothy to be an example of the believers:
(1) in word: in speech, in discourse
(2) in conversation: in conduct, in behavior, in what you do, in manner of life
(3) in charity: in love
(4) in purity: in holy living, in chastity
Now, if you have been reading this carefully and with sensitiveness, you should see the truth of what I have said several times before, that it is good to read and study from all Bible translations, for each translation conveys, often uniquely, the sense of the original text. No one translation captures the full sense of the original text.
The next step in studying 1 Timothy 4:12 in my best judgment is to consider carefully the cross references available that shed further light on the text from what the rest of the Bible has to say. More on that next time.