Paul’s words to young Timothy were so descriptive of the trials he would have to face. Those verses in 1 Timothy 4 were given to Timothy because of what was happening. The gospel was soon to be preached to every creature under heaven, and the future of the church was so promising.
Paul warned Timothy that the Holy Spirit of God had clearly revealed that some would depart from the faith and begin following false teachers and the lies they taught (1 Tim. 4:1). Their teaching was that Christians must refrain from eating certain foods. What was the truth about this matter? The Holy Spirit revealed through Paul that such was false teaching for “…every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:4-5).
Timothy’s task was to take this truth and instruct the brethren. If he did this, he would be a good minister of Jesus Christ, for he had been nourished in the words of faith and had carefully followed them (1 Tim. 4:6). Notice how the truths of God are described. They are based on the words of faith.
Look again at the contrast. Some had left the faith by following those who had departed from the faith. When they spoke, they did not speak the words of truth, but they were “…speaking lies in hypocrisy.” Timothy’s task was to stay faithful to the truth and instruct his listeners to stay in accordance with the words of faith.
Faith is based on words. If there are no divine words to describe what one believes, then his faith is not based on what God said. We express ideas using words. We express heavenly ideas by using heavenly words. If there are no Biblical words to describe one’s faith, then it cannot express an idea which has its origin in heaven.
There is more to be added to these thoughts. Paul instructs Timothy saying, “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me” (2 Tim. 1:13). The words of faith become the basis of the “pattern of sound words.” A pattern shows what must be done and become the basis of duplicating precisely what was in the pattern. The reason forbidding the eating of certain foods was false teaching is because such teaching does not follow the pattern. This pattern is expressed in words, sound words.
Now make the application. Timothy was instructed to take the things he learned from Paul and deliver them to faithful men who then could deliver them to others (2 Tim. 2:2). Timothy was to take the words of faith and teach as a pattern to be followed by using sound words. This pattern was then to be given to others. God help us to find the words of faith!