The Good Minister

David Norczyk
5 min readFeb 22, 2024

Doctrine and practice are essential. In the Bible, sound doctrine is contrasted with the doctrine of demons (1 Tim 4:1, 6). The practice of godliness is contrasted with worldliness. For a local church to thrive, it must be in good order (1 Tim 2–3). This was the Apostle Paul’s purpose in writing to Timothy at Ephesus and Titus at Crete. We have Paul’s three pastoral epistles to instruct us in these matters of doctrine, practice, and order.

Christians are ambassadors for Christ in enemy territory (2 Cor 5:20). The ruler of this world, according to Jesus, is Satan (Lk 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). The devil’s dominion is in the domain of darkness (Acts 26:18; Col 1:13). As the prince of darkness, his objective is to blind the minds of the sons of Adam (humanity) with false doctrine (lies and destructive heresies) through false teachers of philosophy (human wisdom) and man-made religion (2 Cor 4:4; 2 Pet 2:1).

Ambassadors are stewards of another king than the king of the territory in which they reside (Phil 3:20). Christian minsters are men of God entrusted with the stewardship of the Gospel mystery, which is Christ Jesus the Lord (Rom 16:25; 1 Cor 2:7; Eph 3:4; 5:32; 6:19; Col 1:26–27; 2:2; 4:3). We proclaim Him (Col 1:28), that is, we preach Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 1:18, 23; 2:2, 4; 1 Tim 3:16; 2 Tim 4:2).

Gospel ministers study to show themselves approved as workman who are not ashamed of the Gospel (2 Tim 2:15); for they believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation, for those who hear the Word of Christ and who receive the Holy Spirit and the gift of faith (Jn 7:39; 14:17; Acts 1:8; 2:33, 38; 8:15, 19; 10:47; Rom 1:16–17; 10:17; 1 Cor 2:12; Gal 3:2, 14).

Walking by the Spirit of truth as a minister of the Word of truth (Gal 5:16, 25; Col 1:5; 2 Tim 2:15), the teaching and conduct of the good minster is to be orderly and godly. With the help of fellow elders and church deacons (1 Tim 3), the pastor/teacher/elder/bishop must be an example to the flock of God (1 Pet 5:3). Progress in growing in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ, should be evident to all (1 Tim 4:15; 2 Pet 3:18). It is a worthy discipline because doctrine informs practice for both the Christian life and eternal life (1 Tim 4:8).

“Godliness is profitable for all things” is a trustworthy statement (1 Tim 4:9). The good minister labors and strives for godliness in himself and for those to whom he teaches and pastors (1 Tim 4:10). Christ has set us free from bondage to sin and the fear of death (Jn 8:32, 36; Gal 5:1), so we might serve the living God (1 Thess 1:9; Heb 9:14), in whom we hope in the promises of an apt reward for our labors (Heb 11:6).

Our God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13; 2 Pet 1:1), has put the good minister into service, giving him the spiritual gift of faithfulness (Gal 5:22; 1 Tim 1:12). The fruit of the faithful and true minister is produced by prescribing and teaching the Holy Bible, in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:4; 1 Tim 4:11; 2 Tim 4:2).

Paul instructed Timothy to pay attention to six specific practices. We consider them now: First, Timothy was to be an example to his fellow believers in every area of his life and ministry (1 Tim 4:12). The Christian life is holistic. In thought, word, deed — ministers let their faith, love, speech, conduct shine before men, especially believers.

Second, the ministry of the Word has primacy (1 Tim 4:13). Public reading of the Scriptures was to be followed by teaching, in order for the minister to explain the text that was read. There is also, in the application of the sermon, an exhortation issued for the hearers of the Word to also be doers of the Word they have heard and believed (Jas 1:22–24). With the ever-present help of the Holy Spirit, our Teacher and Guide, we walk in the manner worthy of the Lord (Col 1:10; 1 Thess 2:12), as prescribed in the Bible, fulfilling the ministry entrusted to us (Col 4:17; 2 Tim 4:5).

Third, God gave gifts to members of Christ’s church (Eph 4:8), starting with the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 10:45; Rom 5:5; 1 Thess 4:8), who Himself gives the spiritual gifts to be employed in service to Christ’s church (Rom 12; 1 Cor 12; Eph 4). In the case of the good minister, there are specific spiritual gifts that enlighten and empower his ministry. These include the desire to study, learn, and retain the Word of truth. Next, there is the gift of being able to teach and preach the Bible to others (1 Cor 12:28; 1 Tim 3:2; 2 Tim 2:2, 24; Titus 1:9).

It is the presbytery of church elders who ordains the qualified elder to join their ranks (1 Tim 4:14). Youth is not a deterrent to this office, but spiritual immaturity must be discerned. Elders should not lay their hands (ordain) on unqualified people or spiritual novices (1 Tim 5:22).

Fourth, a good minister must be focused on the kingdom of God; and his diligence in pursuit of sound doctrine and godliness must progress toward maturity (1 Tim 4:15). “Lazy servant of God” is an oxymoron. The stellar reputation of the elder should be obvious to all. Christ Jesus is the magnificent obsession of the man of God at all times (1 Cor 9:16; Col 3:2; Heb 12:2).

Fifth, the good minister has a vested interest in salvation (1 Tim 4:16). Our lives are but a vapor (Jas 4:4), and soon our days upon the earth will be over (Ps 90:10; Eccl 12:1–8). The man of God must redeem the time and persevere to the end (Eph 5:16; Col 4:5); but he must also persevere in both sound doctrine and godliness.

The beneficiaries of a faithful and true minister will reach into eternity. God’s Word promises salvation in these matters (1 Tim 4:16). The one who has taken pains to immerse himself in these things will be himself the first beneficiary. All those who hear him will also benefit now and in eternity. Remember to pray for your pastor/preacher that he would be bold in speaking against the false teachers (1 Sam 2:1; Eph 6:19)

Finally, salvation is partly the result of our relationships with others, who represent the kingdom well. A survey of church history reveals the heroes of the faith, as those who did these disciplines well. Godliness and sound doctrine in the good minister may also be used by God for generations to come. Though he may be dead and gone, the good minister has a legacy through his family, local church, and as far and wide as God chooses to employ his legacy.

The final word for 1 Timothy 4 is to remember that this is all of grace (God’s work for the benefit of those being saved). Apart from Christ, the slave of Christ can do nothing (Jn 15:5; Eph 5:5); but He who has made the good minister adequate in these matters will complete the work He has begun in His chosen servant (2 Cor 3:6; Phil 1:6).

The church of our Lord Jesus is both the place of nurture and the recipient of the good things that come from the good minister it has invested in. May God richly bless those whom God has called to these good works; and may those who receive the blessing of the good minister rejoice and give thanks to God in all these things.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

February 22, 2024

1 Timothy 4:6–16

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher