“For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:17).

“I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 2:19-21).


Timothy was known for his godliness. Paul later wrote these instructions to him:

“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely.Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).

Your holy life and your clear teaching of the gospel is the effective salvation message. What is the life.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

What is the teaching.

“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13).

Life and doctrine include what you are and what you teach, what you do and what you say. There really isn’t anything else. If your doctrine does not make you more like Jesus, then it is either not sound doctrine or it is doctrine that is only in your head, not in your heart.

Paul’s instructions are simple and complete: watch these two areas closely. The result is salvation for yourself and those you teach.

Recently I was talking with a young woman who had gone to a Christian high school and graduated from a well-known Christian college. Her parents were in Christian work. When I asked her when was the last time she had read through the New Testament, she replied that she had never read the whole thing. And of course she had read the Old Testament even less. This is now a standard question I ask, and it is almost a standard answer. Christians are not watching their life and doctrine closely. So I pass the same instruction on to you¾“Watch your life and doctrine closely.”


*Excerpted from Being Christian. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore