Here’s a free youth group lesson on 1 Timothy 4:12, helping students to not let anyone look down on them for being young and to be an example to others.

Includes a fun opening game, Guess Who? Celebrity Edition, to setup the big idea of the lesson.

Looking for youth ministry curriculum? Check out the…

TWO YEAR YOUTH BUNDLE – Save 90% on 2 years of youth ministry teaching series, 9 months of youth Bible studies and 64 games. Only available through Wednesday, May 22!

YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON 1 TIMOTHY 4:12

Bible Verses: 1 Timothy 4:12; Jeremiah 1:4-9; Proverbs 18:21; Daniel 3:16-18; Luke 5:18-20; Matthew 5:43-46; Daniel 1

Bottom Line: Don’t let anyone look down on you for being young—be an example to others!

OPENING GAME: GUESS WHO, CELEBRITY EDITION

Game Supplies: 

  • Sticky notepad
  • Pen
  • Candy (optional)

Game Setup: 

  • Create a list of popular celebrities and write each name on a sticky note. 
  • Make sure you have enough for each of your students. 

How to Play the Game: 

You can choose to have each of your students play as a “guesser,” or if you have too large of a group, select 8-10 to guess. 

Place the sticky note with a celebrity name on the first student’s forehead. 

Their peers must start shouting out facts about this celebrity until the person with the sticky note can guess who they are. 

Give them a time limit for guessing—you could start with 60 seconds and move down to 30 seconds as the game progresses. 

Those who guess their sticky note correctly can receive a piece of candy (optional). 

TEACH

Alright, who is the most popular celebrity you can think of? 

Once you have them in your mind, I want us to consider what makes them popular.

How did they get so famous?

We’re seeing a rising trend in “social media influencers.” 

These people are becoming famous for posting videos on TikTok or Instagram and gaining a lot of followers. 

So, what are they doing with that influence? 

What are they doing with that fame?

Now, I want you to think of the person you admire the most.

What do you admire about them? 

What makes them influential in your life? 

That person could be a celebrity, but most likely, that person will be a friend, teacher, pastor, parent, or person who personally impacted your life.

Each of us knows someone who could be a celebrity in our lives.

We all have that person we think of and say, “Oh if you only knew so and so. She/He is amazing.” (Consider sharing about the person who comes to your mind when you think of someone influential to you.)

You may be asking, how do I become someone like that?

How do I become a person of influence?

That’s a great question to ask yourself, and that’s the very question we will be discussing today. 

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like my influence is minimal.

Sometimes, I think I’m too young, small, or quiet to make an impact.

Let’s look at what God has to say about that in 1 Timothy 4:12:

12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

The guy who wrote this was Paul, and he was writing a letter to challenge and encourage a young pastor named Timothy. 

Now Timothy was like a son to Paul, and Paul sent this letter to affirm and encourage him in his faith. 

All of you listening right now are young. 

You’re teenagers. 

And most of the world would look at you and think, “You’re too young to make any real difference.” 

They might look down on your age or dismiss you for your age. 

Paul knew that was the case for Timothy. 

He knew some people would look down on him for being so young, which is why Paul challenges him to set a different standard for himself.

Paul challenges Timothy not to dismiss his youth and not to allow anyone else to look down on him for being young, but instead to set an example.

So how do we do that? 

Let’s look at each area in which Paul encourages Timothy to set an example for believers.

Along the way, we’ll look at young people throughout the Bible whom God used to do His work and be an example to others.

Let’s start with,

1. “Be an example… in what you say.”

This one can be tough because I don’t know about you, but I know for me, sometimes words just come out of my mouth that shouldn’t.

It’s a lot easier for me to gossip, badmouth, be angry, or be rude than to speak life and truth into someone when I don’t feel like it.

Let’s take a look at the life of Jeremiah. 

We’re unsure exactly how old he was, but some Bible scholars speculate that he was most likely in his 20s, if not a teenager.

Jeremiah 1:4-9 tells us this:

The Lord gave me this message:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

“O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”

The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said,

“Look, I have put my words in your mouth!

Even Jeremiah thought he was too young and looked down on himself because he was young and couldn’t speak well!

How often do we do the same to ourselves? 

A lot of the time, the act of looking down on ourselves doesn’t come from outward places but inward.

Jeremiah wasn’t sure he was capable of what God was calling him to do. 

He didn’t think he was old enough, and he especially didn’t think he could speak all that well.

But the Lord promised to be with him and to speak through him. 

Jeremiah then became one of the most well-known prophets of Biblical history, all because he gave his youth and his mouth to God.

What do you think you’d be able to accomplish for God if you did the same? 

Proverbs 18:21 soberly reminds us that “the tongue can bring death or life.

Does what you say bring pain to those around you? 

Or does what you say bring God’s life to others? 

2. “Be an example… in the way you live and in your faith.”

This pretty much covers it all. 

In everything that you do, what example are you setting? 

Whether you realize it or not, your life sets some kind of example. 

Those around you are watching your life and how you act to determine how they live and act, too. 

You are being an “in real life” influencer, even if you only have twenty followers on TikTok.

Let’s go to Daniel chapter 3 to read about some young men who were an example of how to live for God to everyone around them.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were young Israelites—probably teenagers or early 20s—who were living in captivity in Babylon. 

This place and the people of Babylon were entirely opposite the Israelite people’s culture, faith, and traditions.

In chapter 3, we see King Nebuchadnezzar create a giant gold statue and set it up in plain sight of everyone in the area. 

He commanded that when they played music, everyone must immediately drop what they were doing to bow down and worship this giant gold thing.

If they didn’t, they risked death. 

And not just any death—being burned alive by being tossed into a blazing furnace. 

Wow, there was definitely a lot at stake here for them.

They were young. 

They still had their whole lives ahead of them.

It would have been so much easier to go with the rest of the crowd, the rest of the young people, and just bow down to this thing.

It’s just a giant statue, after all, right? 

What harm could it do?

But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew better.

They knew that to bow to this thing would be dishonoring their God. 

If they chose to bow, their life and actions would not be a good example of their faith in God.

So, they made the most challenging choice. 

They stood. 

They didn’t bow, and they didn’t waver from their faith. 

Their stand was an example that their lives were committed to following God, no matter how young they may have been. 

Daniel 3:16-18 beautifully shows their hearts and the way they’d chosen to live their life:

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

Their life and actions were a reflection of the God they served. 

They held to their faith regardless of the consequences. 

What do your life and faith reflect?

3. “Be an example…in your love.”

There’s a story in Luke 5:18-20 that really blows my mind:

18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, 19 but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”

Jesus points out their faith, but I’d also like us to take a look at their love for their friend. 

They loved their friend so much that it wasn’t an option to turn around and call it a day when they couldn’t reach Jesus. 

Nope, their love for their friend was more than just words. 

They put it into action, and they started climbing to the roof. 

They pulled their friend onto the roof with them and started removing the entire roof. 

I can’t imagine the homeowner was super thrilled.

After they get the roof open, they lower their friend down to Jesus. 

It was because of their love and faith that Jesus healed their friend. 

How well do you love the people around you? 

Do you love your friends enough to put that word into action? 

True, biblical love is a verb. 

It’s not a description. 

It’s an action. 

It’s something we do and who we are to become, not just something we say with our mouths. 

Jesus even goes on to describe the love we should be showing in Matthew 5:43-46 this way:

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’[a] and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies![b] Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

What kind of love are you showing? 

4. “Be an example…in purity.” 

Let’s look again at Daniel. 

In chapter one, we see the beginning of the story where our earlier friends, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel, are all first taken into captivity to the royal service of the king of Babylon. 

The very first test they must face is that of what to eat. 

That may not seem like a big deal to us, but for them, they were being given food to eat that was impure and unholy according to their faith. 

Daniel and his friends decided to remain pure before God and not defile themselves with the food of Babylon. 

So, they asked for only water and vegetables, not the meat and wine offered to the others.

In this story in Daniel chapter 1, we see God reward their faithfulness to remain pure before Him, and He shows them to be healthier and stronger than anyone else. 

What price are you willing to pay to remain pure before God? 

What are you willing to sacrifice and give up?

Being young doesn’t mean you don’t have any influence. 

Being young gives you a unique opportunity to be an example to others in the way you live, speak, believe, love, and act. 

What does your life say about you and who you are following?

Let’s pray. 

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  1. Who is the person you admire the most? Why do you look up to them?
  2. When have you felt too young to make a difference for God? Have you ever had a time when someone made fun of you because they thought you were too young or too ____ (you fill in the blank)?
  3. Which of the “Be an example…”  statements listed in 1 Timothy 4:12 comes easiest for you? Which of them is the hardest? (In the way you speak, in the way you live and in your faith, in your love, and in your purity)
  4. What are some things you can do this week to reflect God in the way you live your life? How can you show your faith in God this week? What would it look like to show your faith at school? (Maybe praying before lunch, inviting friends to youth group, etc.)
  5. How can you guard your mouth against speaking death this week and instead speak things that bring life to others? 
  6. Who is someone that you need to show love to this week, even if you don’t feel like it or it’s hard? 
  7. Read Colossians 3:2. How can we set our mind on God and remain pure before Him? What things of the world do we need to let go of so they stop impacting our example? 
  8. Who can you pour into this week and encourage them in their faith and walk with God? Who can you talk to and look up to this week as you learn to live for God and be an example to others?

End Lesson

Looking for youth ministry curriculum? Check out the…

TWO YEAR YOUTH BUNDLE – Save 90% on 2 years of youth ministry teaching series, 9 months of youth Bible studies and 64 games. Only available through Wednesday, May 22!

Want another free lesson? Check out this…

Youth Group Lesson on Psalm 23

4 Replies to “YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON 1 TIMOTHY 4:12”

  1. Mwangi
    • October 31, 2023

    thank you for this. i absolutely love the content. im taking a group of young people to their camp and i found very valuable resources here.

    Reply
  2. Carol
    • October 31, 2023

    I love the message here. Very inspiring and relevant to the youth group. I will share with the youths in their meeting.

    Reply
  3. Anna
    • February 24, 2024

    Thank you for sharing your curriculum. I found the content useful for a devotion at a youth camp.

    Reply
  4. glorykagendo4@gmail.com
    • May 16, 2024

    Can’t wait to share this with my students,,may God shower you with blessings,, feeling encouraged 🙏

    Reply

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