“Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:11–16, ESV)
Timothy was to exercise pastoral authority in the church, so Paul tells him to command and teach all that Timothy has been learning from Paul. It seems that some of the believers in Ephesus may have objected to Timothy's leadership because of his age. Paul exhorts Timothy not to be discouraged but instead he was to set an example for the believers. Exemplary speech must be more than just a sermon; words show the posture of the heart. Timothy must strive to use words seasoned with grace and truth instead of being argumentative and quarrelsome. The way one lives should align with what they say they believe. Love is the hallmark of the Christian life and is evidence that one has been rescued from sin and death. Timothy should trust that God will act exactly as he has promised and he is to model a life of faith. Timothy's example should include moral purity as well. As an elder, he should be above reproach.
Paul now directs Timothy to get on with the work that God has called him to do. He should give himself to the public reading of Scripture, exhortation, and teaching. In all of the pastoral responsibilities and challenges of life, Timothy was not to neglect his gift. People should see Timothy's progress in ministry as he continues in his pastoral duties. Timothy was to be vigilant in guarding his life and ministry. As Timothy set the example, he would live out his salvation and equip the Christians, who in turn would live out their salvation by receiving it gladly and putting it into practice.