Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 1, 1951
NUMBER 38, PAGE 12-13b

Let No Man Despise Thee

Robert H. Parish, Tarrant, Alabama

The value of influence is recognized in all circles, political, economic, social, religious, etc. Much emphasis is placed on knowing the "right" people—"having weight" in the proper places. Personality is stressed even at the expense of character. Principle is ignored and despised while policy is approved and glorified. Compromise of principle for the sake of advantage is an accepted thing in many quarters.

The Christian needs to learn who and what God wants him to influence and how it is to be accomplished. The supreme goal of too many people, who call themselves Christians, is to curry favor with the very ones and the very things which are in disfavor with God. "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets," is the warning of our Lord. We need to learn to fear what God warns us to fear and to not be afraid of the things that God tells us not to fear. No Christian should court the favor of any element at the expense of incurring God's displeasure. Yet every child of God should be so equipped and conduct himself in such a way as to command respect. This matter of being respected—having influence—(speaking with all authority) is within the reach of all. While it is within the reach of all, it is not accidental but requires study and conscious effort.

Paul exhorts Timothy to "let no man despise thy youth." He then gives the formula for preventing men's despising his youth. All gospel preachers desire respect; none want to be despised and ignored. Respect and influence in the brotherhood, which will meet God's approval, cannot be attained by mechanical devices. No assumed piety, artificial friendliness, ingratiating smiles; fawning compromise, pretended knowledge, or lofty airs will avail. The only thing that will gain the desired end is character manifested in exemplary conduct. This is evident from a study of the formula for respect, as given by Paul. I Tim. 4:12 "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an ensample to them that believe."

"In Word"

Hasty words have frequently caused preachers to be despised. Hasty words reveal hasty judgment—even prejudice. "But let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak" is James' caution in this matter. Too many have reversed the thing, they are swift to speak but slow to hear. The importance of this is further brought out by another statement of James. "If any stumble not in word the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also." Control and restraint of the tongue manifests that there is ability to control the whole body. Hasty speech is one of the devil's most effective means of weakening a preacher's influence for good. Any Christian who would avoid being despised should keep a tight rein on his tongue.

Evil speaking first detracts and finally destroys a Christian's influence. 'This is one of the things which the Christian is to put away—"All evil speakings"—I Peter 2:1. The habit of evil speaking will destroy confidence and beget distrust. Sooner or later all come to realize that their confidences are no more sacred, to the evil speaker, than those of others against whose reputation he is exercising his evil speech.

Corrupt words disgust the thoughtful. Who can have respect for the Christian whose speech reveals corruption of heart? Christ tells us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Corrupt speech cannot proceed out of the mouth without being supplied from the abundance of the heart. Corrupt speech reveals a corrupt heart, tears down rather than builds up the hearer, repels, rather than attracts. Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth!

Sound speech that cannot be condemned is the kind of speech to be used by the Christian. The preacher should set an example to the believer in this. Sound doctrine cannot be expressed with unsound words. To express unsound doctrine one must turn loose the pattern of sound words. Any idea that can't be expressed by "spiritual, words is not part of the truth which the Holy Spirit revealed. This is the point at which many modern preachers have fallen. Many no longer are recognized as speaking "with all authority" simply because they have failed to "hold the pattern of sound words." Attempts to defend some of the terms which have currently cropped up are to be interpreted as efforts to defend the ideas and things to which the terms have been applied. Speaking "with all authority" is the opposite to being despised.

Manner Of Life

Here, too, the influential preacher is an ensample. Regardless of the quality of the preacher's sermon, if his life is not on the high level of the gospel—if his manner of life is not worthy of the gospel—he will be despised. Men will not attempt to reconcile the glaring inconsistencies between theory and practice. They will just despise" the one who says and does not.


Respect has been forfeited by some in failing to be ensamples in love. Love is not just sentiment—feeling it is a way of living—a course of action. Unkindness, envy, pride, conceit, misbehavior, self-seeking, resentfulness, grudge holding, gloating, when unrighteousness gains some advantage are all opposed to love. One who sets an example in such will be despised by those he should most desire to influence. "Let all that ye do be done in love."


Confidence and assurance with respect to God's being and His care for his people is the foundation upon which the Christian character is to be built. Any distrust of God's appointments to achieve the thing for which God designed them is lack of faith. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Our duty is to "preach the word." It doesn't need to be "respectablized" by adornments from human wisdom. The church is the "pillar and ground of the truth." God so designed it; hence it is fully equipped and capable of holding up, supporting the truth without human devices, super organizations, brilliant plans or high pressure campaigns.

How can one be an ensample in faith except by the "obedience of faith," showing our faith by our works? If those works are not sanctioned by "the faith" they certainly cannot be examples in faith.

Until one is willing to trust in Jehovah with all his heart, that one is not an ensample in faith. Christ said, "Seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." To be constantly engaged in a mad rush, seeking temporal advantages and security is not, then, an ensample in faith.

This divine formula will infallibly produce that which God designed it to produce.