Paul verbally highlighted five points for emphasis sake in the books of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. These are five things which should be remembered.
1. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15)
Jesus came into the world. His birth was not His beginning. His “goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7).
Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Jesus said, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10); “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:18).
Paul is an example of this. Paul refers to himself as the chief of sinners. If Jesus could save Paul, then Jesus can save us!
2. “This is a faithful saying: if a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work” (1 Timothy 3:1).
There should be respect for the position of a bishop, and other positions in the church (deacons, preachers, teachers). It is so easy to criticize those who serve in public roles. However, our children and others need to know that we respect these positions and the organization by which God structured the church. Paul wrote, “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:13).
There should be respected and appreciation for those who faithfully serve in the church. Paul instructed, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in word and doctrine” (1 Timothy 5:17). Too many who serve are under-appreciated.
Service should be encouraged. Those who truly want to do the work should be encouraged, provided that they can meet the qualifications necessary for appointment. Those currently unqualified to serve as an elder or deacon should be encouraged to develop (if possible) the characteristics needed. Youth should have the idea planted in their mind that they might one day be able to serve as an elder, deacon, preacher, Bible class teacher, or song leader, or in some other way. Too few today desire such responsibility or work.
3A. “Exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life that now is and that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance” (1 Timothy 4:7b-9).
Most think that the words “this is a faithful saying…” goes with the preceding words. They are words which stand out as memorable.
Two types of “exercise” (KJV, NKJV) “discipline” (NASB), or “training” (ESV) are under consideration – bodily exercise and godliness or spiritual exercise. Physical exercise has a little profit. It may slightly, very slightly, increase longevity. It may significantly increase mobility and strength in old age. Still physical life is brief. “It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Spiritual exercise has benefits both in this life and in the life to come (Mark 10:29-30; 1 Timothy 4:8).
This is teaching the priority of spiritual matters. The things of this material world will not last. Jesus taught, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth… but treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20). Paul said, “the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Peter said, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward… rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of the Lord” (1 Peter 3:4).
3B. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:9-10).
The consistent pattern, unless this is an exception, seems to be that the words “this is a faithful saying…” go with the words which follow (1 Timothy 1:15; 3:1; 2 Timothy 2:11-13; Titus 3:8). It seems likely that such is the case here.
People may wonder why Paul and others did what they did, and endured what the endured. The answer is that they trusted in God. Paul stated, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
God is described in this passage as “the living God.” He is so described twelve times in the New Testament (Acts 14:15; Romans 9:26; 2 Corinthians 3:3; 6:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Timothy 3:15; 4:10; 6:17; Hebrews 3:12; 10:31; 12:22; Revelation 7:2). These words distinguish Him from false gods and idols (Acts 14:11-15; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:9).
God is described as the Savior. He is the Savior of all (in potential). He is the Savior of those who believe (in reality). He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
4. “This is a faithful saying: For if we die with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will also deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:11-13).
These words are to encourage perseverance despite persecution and difficulties in life. Let’s notice…
a. If we die with Him, we also shall live with Him.
Does “die” refer to the death of the old man? (Romans 6:1-3; 8:13; Colossians 3:5). Does it refer to the death of self-rule? (Galatians 2:20). Does it refer to being willing to literally die for the cause of Christ? (Matthew 16:24-25; Revelation 2:10; 12:11). All of these concepts are closely related. The Christian should die to sin, to self, and even be willing to die physically for the cause of Christ. However, the context seems to refer to literal death (cf. 2 Timothy 2:8-10). The crown of life awaits those who are faithful until death (Revelation 2:10). The victorious ones do not “love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11).
b. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.
The need for endurance is emphasized in this book (2 Timothy 2:3; 2:10; 2:12; 3:11; 4:5). The faithful will reign with Him (Revelation 3:21 cf. 22:1-5). Wayne Jackson comments, “It is analogous to the ‘salvation’ (v. 10 B.H.), the ‘eternal glory’ (v. 10 B.H.) and, ‘we shall live with Him’ (v. 11 B.H.) of the preceding statements. It is a regal state one cannot now fully appreciate, but which is clearly promised as a heavenly entitlement… There is a sense in which we are royalty already (cf. 1 Peter 2:9), but the future state in heaven will eclipse our current earthly status” (Jackson, Before I Die, p. 235).
c. If we deny Him, He will also deny us.
This is taught elsewhere. Jesus taught this (Matthew 10:32-33). John indicated that the victorious ones are willing to suffer for their testimony (Revelation 12:11 cf. 1:9; 1:13).
d. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
He is faithful whether we are or not. He means what He says. He does not lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:8). We can trust His promises. We can believe His warnings.
5. “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who believe in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men” (Titus 3:8).
These things are to be affirmed constantly. Titus has been told in this book what to emphasize in his teaching and preaching.
The goal is to instruct and motivate the people to maintain good works. “Good work(s) is emphasized in the books of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus (1 Timothy 2:10; 3:1; 5:10; 5:24-25; 6:17-18; 2 Timothy 2:22; 3:16-17; Titus 1:16; 2:7-8; 2:11-14; 3:1; 3:8; 3:14).
These things are good and profitable to men. It is profitable to teach this (Titus 3:8 cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Acts 20:20 KJV). These things are profitable for others to see practiced (Titus 3:8 cf. 2:7a; Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12).
These are faithful, trust-worthy sayings worthy of all acceptance!