The "Man of God"

Updated: Mar 31

I would like for you to read I Timothy 6:1-12.

There is much controversy in our day. There is controversy and confusion in almost every area....including religion and theology. There is even controversy surrounding the verses you just read. Many people get caught up in all of the arguing, and fussing. The wise way to approach all of this controversy and confusion is to

  1. Love God with all of your heart and your neighbor as yourself,

  2. Thoroughly study and understand your Bible, and

  3. Wisely, judiciously, and with discernment, put the Bible into practice in your life.

This article will hopefully help you do that.

I want to deal with one area that I see come up repeatedly. That area is the apparent problem surrounding the phrase "man of God." This phrase is usually abbreviated to MOG in social media posts. Apparently some people take exception with the use of this term in relation to New Testament preachers / pastors.

The phrase "man of God" is found 78 times in the Bible. It is found 76 times in the Old Testament and 2 times in the New Testament. Both occasions in the New Testament are found in Paul's Epistles to Timothy.

The verses are as follows:

1 Timothy 6:11

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness,faith, love, patience, meekness.

2 Timothy 3:17

That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

It looks like this in the Greek

ἄνθρωπε τοῦ Θεοῦ

ἄνθρωπε - Man

τοῦ - of

Θεοῦ - God

This phrase, man of God, was almost exclusively used in relation to OT prophets.

Joshua 14:6

Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea.

1 Samuel 2:27

And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?

1 Kings 12:22

But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying,

If this Old Testament usage predominates, then why would Paul use it here to refer to Timothy? He obviously understood its Old Testament context. The Holy Ghost deliberately chose this designation for Timothy.

The Old Testament prophet, being designated as a "man of God," is identified as a person who belonged to God and represented God. This was an extremely powerful and honorable designation. It was a position of great privilege, but also great responsibility. The position dare not be misused or, certainly, evil will follow (See the very unusual story in I Kings 13:11-32).

Because a true "man of God" belonged to God in a unique way, and represented God in a special way, he was revered in the Old Testament -

1 Samuel 16:4

And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Beth-lehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?

We see this same sentiment alluded to in the New Testament when John the Baptist is referenced.

Mark 6:20

For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

It wasn't too long ago that New Testament gospel preachers were honored and given the respect due their position. I can remember when the breakdown of honor and respect began in a public fashion. It began with certain scandals among some high profile preachers. Soon, more and more scandal was revealed among the ranks of ministers. Today, it seems that hardly a month goes by when we do not hear about another preacher falling and disgracing his calling in some way....if he ever had a calling (which is a discussion for another day).

So why would Paul identify Timothy as a "man of God?"

I believe that Paul was trying to identify Timothy (and encourage him) as one who had a special calling, and a special message from God, in contrast to those who didn't.

There is a great challenge which lies before "men of God."

Timothy, as a "man of God" in this passage, was to do two things:

  1. Flee