In 1 Timothy 4:11, Paul is asking Timothy not to merely make some suggestions to the church but to “command” them to obey the principles of the word revealed by God.
The word for “be continually commanding” means to “give the orders, to pass on an announcement, [to] advance an order, [or to] charge or command.”
It is a call to obey God’s authority. The second command is to “be continually teaching these things” (“instruct by word of mouth”), referring to general truths for believers. Everything Paul commanded to Timothy, Timothy was to command others to obey.
Earlier, Paul had written a similar command: “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed” (1 Tim 4:6). Ministry is to be authoritative in the sense that whatever God commands, we are to obey and then to command to others. Paul told Titus, “These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you” (Titus 2:15).
To be a faithful servant, a level of boldness is required to freely confront sin, unbelief, and disobedience. Such boldness is balanced with understanding and gentleness; one should never be abusive or disrespectful. Authority is built on four pillars:
1. Commitment to the authority of God’s word (i.e., the teacher practices the commands first before teaching others)
2. Grammatically and contextually correct interpretation of Scripture
3. Concern that the truth of God’s word be respected and that believers be accountable to obey its precepts (1 Cor 5:1–-13; 2 Thes 3:14–-15)
4. Freedom from the fear of offending men
Preaching and teaching that does not lead to obedient actions is failing in its purpose to transform lives by “renewing of the mind” (Rom 12:2)—-that is, introducing a new way of thinking and new principles to follow.
Let us commit to living in conformity to the Scripture and then seek to transmit God’s commands faithfully and boldly to others.
“Lord, Your word is so contrary to this world’s values that most prefer to ignore it or be ignorant of it. Give me the courage to know and clarify Your commands.”