1 Timothy 4:6 – If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
The minister of Jesus Christ is only as “good” as the “whereunto [he] has attained” when it comes to the matter of “the words of faith and of good doctrine.” He cannot teach what he himself has not first come to understand through diligent study and prayerful consideration of the word of God. This is why he must “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” This is why “the good minister” must invest many painstaking hours to “meditate upon these things, give [himself] wholly to them; that [his] profiting may appear to all.” He must “take heed unto [himself], and unto the doctrine.” He must “continue in them” for only “in doing this, [shall he] save [himself], and them that hear [him]” from unsound understanding of the word of God. This is the requirement of “a good minister of Jesus Christ.”
It is possible, however, to be a minister of Jesus Christ and not be a good one. It matters not how full of zeal, how full of persistence, how full of conviction the minister may be, if he has not “attained” unto a proper understanding of what God is seeking to do. A bad minister may very well utilize the Bible. He may site texts of scripture when “forbidding to marry.” He may point to a verses when he “[commands] to abstain from meats.” However, because God is doing something other than what he teaches, all his doctrine amounts to is “lies in hypocrisy” and seductively entices the saints to “depart from the faith;” that is, “the words of faith and good doctrine” concerning what God is really doing.
Becoming “a good minister of Jesus Christ” does not come cheaply. It must be “attained” through much labor in “the words of faith and good doctrine” as he “[studies] to shew [himself] approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” A “novice” has no business doing the job, for it is impossible for him to “be a good minister of Jesus Christ” no matter how sincere he may be. The knowledge of the holy scriptures is what is profitable to equip a man to be “a good minister of Jesus Christ.” God’s word makes God’s ministers; not seminaries, not zeal, not sincerity. Understanding through the scripture what God is doing today is what will make a man “throughly furnished unto all good works” and equip him as a builder of the spiritual edifice within the saints of God. Upon the only foundation of Jesus Christ the minster is called to build. Paul laid the doctrine for that foundation for us today and now the “good minister” must “follow [Paul].” In so doing dear minister, “let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”