The Scriptorium

Sanctifying Power

Let God's Word do its sanctifying work in you. 1 Timothy 4, 5

The Pastoral Epistles: 1 Timothy 4 (2)

Pray Psalm 12.6, 7.

The words of the LORD are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times.
You shall keep them, O LORD,
You shall preserve them from this generation forever.

Read and meditate on 1 Timothy 4.4, 5.


1. How many different kinds of qualifications for being and elder can you identify?

2. What must those who would be elders guard against?

Paul’s comments here refer to those deceiving teachers mentioned in verses 1-3, who were seeking to create a following for themselves by insisting people abstain from certain foods. This was probably being done by the same people who taught that believing in Jesus wasn’t enough; you had to be circumcised, and, while you’re at it, refrain from all unclean foods.

But Paul knew what Jesus had shown Peter about foods and the Gentiles – whom Jews considered to be unclean (Acts 10.9-16). His point in these two verses is to remind us of the sanctifying power of God’s Word (Jn. 17.17). God had declared all foods clean, and in so doing, He declared His salvation should be proclaimed to the Gentiles, who were to be accepted into the Body of Christ by the obedience of faith, not by keeping Jewish ceremonial and dietary laws. Paul’s instruction in verse 4 is directed not merely at foods, but at Gentile peoples of all kinds.

God had sanctified all foods simply by declaring them clean – so great is the power of His Word! That same Word speaks to our souls – heart, mind, conscience – with power to sanctify us in Christ Jesus, that we may increase in Him. If we receive the Word of God with thanksgiving, and read and study it prayerfully and obediently, we will see God at work within us, making us more like Jesus (2 Cor. 3.12-18), and fitting us for every good work of love (2 Tim. 3.15-17). Anything other than this is a diversion from grace and truth and a distraction from faith.

1. In what ways have you seen the Word of God at work in you lately, sanctifying you and transforming you into the image of Jesus Christ?

2. What does it mean to receive something from God with thanksgiving? What should we receive with thanksgiving? Why?

3. How does the Word of God sanctify us (Jn. 17.17)? How would you explain the importance of this work to a new believer?

So a thing is not unclean by nature but becomes so through your willful disobedience. What then, is not swine’s flesh unclean? By no means, when it is received with thanksgiving and with the seal. Nor is anything else. It is your unthankful disposition to God that is unclean. John Chrysostom (344-407) Homilies on 1 Timothy 12

Lord, thank You for all Your good gifts, and all the people You have put in my Personal Mission Field. Help me to receive them as my calling, and to…

Pray Psalm 12.5-7.

God’s Word has power to set free the oppressed and to refine our souls. Pray for those who need the renewing grace of God, and for yourself, that you might be faithful in the Word, as He is faithful. 

Sing Psalm 12.5-7.
Psalm 12.5-7 (Hamburg: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)
Rise up, O Lord, and rescue all
Your precious children sore distressed.
Save those who faithfully on You call.
Grant them deliv’rance, peace, and rest.

Your words are pure and proven true,
like silver seven times refined;
You will preserve Your Word ever new,
and keep the heart to You inclined.

T. M. Moore

Whatever our calling in life, we are sent to bring the joy of Christ to the people around us. Our book, Joy to Your World!, can show you how to fill your Personal Mission Field with more of the Presence, promise, and power of Christ and His Kingdom. Order your copy, as a supplement to our study of 1 Timothy, by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.