Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Let no one despise you for your youth..."

Jared Wilson directs our attention to the rest of the verse:
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. — 1 Timothy 4:12

I think this verse is often misunderstood. We read it very often to say that we shouldn't let anyone look down on us for being young. This is undoubtedly true, but it is just the tip of the iceberg of what Paul is getting at, and indeed, most people who bring the verse to mind stop after the first admonition: "Let no one despise you for your youth."

When we take the whole verse into consideration we realize that Paul is telling us young'uns how to prevent the looking down upon our youthfulness. ....

The second admonition — "set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity" — tells us how to effect the first. What Paul is telling Timothy, rather, is that the key way you guard against people despising your youth is by growing up.
The Gospel-Driven Church: Slouching Manboys and the Despising of Youth