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 thy youth, but a pattern become thou of those believing in word, in behaviour, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity; (YLT, Young’s Literal Translation)
Paul encouraged Timothy to become a pattern or example of the believers in spirit.
Most modern translations drop or leave out “in spirit.” The Received Text and the Majority Text include in the Greek text the phrase “in spirit.” Dr. Malcolm Lavender, following the Majority Text, retains “in spirit” in his excellent Lavender’s New Testament. I prefer to follow the Received Text and the Majority Text here.
in spirit. Gr. pneuma, FS121A2, +Mat 5:3 note. +*Pro 4:23.
The word “spirit” involves a significant Figure of Speech here in 1 Timothy 4:12. I provided in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury the following explanation for this Figure of Speech at Matthew 5:3,
in spirit. FS121A2, Metonymy of the Cause, +Psa 51:10, “Spirit” (Gr. pneuma) put for character as being in itself invisible, and manifested only in one’s actions. Mat 11:29, Luk 9:55, Rom 8:15; Rom 8:15, 1Co 4:21, Gal 6:1, 1Ti 4:12, **2Ti 1:7, 1Pe 3:4, Rev 19:10.
If you read the above references where the same figure of speech involving the word “spirit” is found, you will easily catch on to the meaning in each place.
Your character is made known to others only by your actions. Take care at all times and in every way that your actions represent our Lord Jesus Christ well at all times.
Character is a matter of the heart. The single cross reference given is to Proverbs 4:23,
Pro 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.