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1 Timothy 4:6 – Fostering in the words of faith

08-02-2024 - Posted by Hans

By suggesting these things to the brethren, you should be an ideal servant of Christ Jesus, fostering with the words of faith and of the ideal teaching which you have fully followed.

Often after Paul has concluded part of his teaching in the letter, he emphasizes the importance of subsequently passing this on. By “these things” he refers to the previous passage, perhaps beginning in 3:14. When Timothy presents these things to others, just as he himself heard from Paul, he qualifies himself as “an ideal servant of Christ Jesus.” By ‘suggesting’, Paul refers to the total package that he had given Timothy. “…my teaching, motive, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance…” (2 Tim.3:10).

To be such an “ideal servant of Christ Jesus” one must “be fostering in the words of the faith.” With the Greek word that I render here as ‘fostering’, Paul refers to the breeding ground in which Timothy was implanted. It means that he would be continually nourished by “the words of faith.” In other words, “the excellent teaching” in which he had imitated Paul. Those words and that teaching ensure that a believer grows, builds up resistance and remains vital.