Q. My Husband and I have a question regarding 1 Timothy 4:16. What does it mean when Paul tells Timothy to persevere, because if he does, he would save himself? Timothy would already have been saved. The notes in my Bible explain that although we are saved at the time of conversion, salvation is a process. Could you please explain this verse?
A. Here’s 1 Tim. 4:16,
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
We can know Timothy was saved because otherwise Paul wouldn’t have installed him as a pastor, and Timothy wouldn’t have received a Spiritual gift (1 Tim 4:14). It’s clear from passages like Romans 10:9, Ephes. 1:13-14, 2 Cor 1:21-22 and others that Paul knew we belong to God from the moment we believe.
Therefore Paul was telling Timothy to focus on living a life reflective of his salvation (1 Tim. 4:12) so everyone could see his progress as a man of God (1 Tim. 4:15). That way He would not be the only one saved, but by his example the members of his congregation would be saved as well.