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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Let No Man Despise You

I came across some passages about Timothy and Titus, both written by the Apostle Paul to these men. They said the same thing: let no man despise you. What does that mean? What is Paul saying? Does he mean that they shouldn’t let people walk all over them?

I want to know. I want to know, because it might be a window into their characters. It might be something we need to know—especially since it’s repeated, and it’s in the Word of God.

Here are the verses, and then we’ll see what they’re about:
            Let no man therefore despise him (Timothy): but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren. (1 Corinthians 16:11)
            To Timothy: Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
            To Titus: Let no man despise thee. (Titus 2:15b)

I’m no Greek scholar, but I can go to my trusty dusty commentaries and see what they say. The words used for despise are three different Greek words, all with similar meanings—to despise, disdain.

Now, to understand the contexts. Why did the Apostle Paul tell others not to despise Timothy but to help him? And why did he instruct both Timothy and Titus not to let people despise them?

This is what I learned:

1 Timothy 4:12 is saying that Timothy should be an example and not give anyone cause to look down on him. He was a young pastor, probably between thirty and thirty-five years old, much younger than many of the elders in the churches. Paul’s instruction encourages him to be what he needs to be, an example of how a Christian should act.

For Titus, the instruction (2:15) was to boldly preach the gospel and help the brethren. He had the authority and calling of the Holy Spirit. So, even though he was a young man, Titus could hold his head high, knowing confidently that he was sharing the Word of God with others.

What’s the practical application for us?

Even non-pastors like me can boldly proclaim God’s Word, because we know we have the authority of the Holy Spirit. We are handling Truth. If we’re young (count me out on that one), we shouldn’t let that hold us back from being an example to the believers in everything we do. If we’re older (count me in), this passage still holds true. We are called to be . . . an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Let no man despise thee.


  1. I used to wonder about that -- how could I help how other people felt about me? But it is helpful to realize it means to have such an example and character that no one has just cause to despise me. Thank God for His enabling grace.

  2. I was encouraged also! God bless!


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