4:1 Now 1 the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the a faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
(1) He contrasts that true doctrine, with false opinions, which he foretells that certain ones who shall fall away from God and his religion, will bring in by the suggestion of Satan, and so that a great number will give ear to them. 4:2 2 Speaking lies in b hypocrisy; having their c conscience seared with a hot iron;
(a) From the true doctrine of God.
(2) Even though heretics pretend holiness ever so much, yet they have no conscience. 4:3 3 Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, 4 which God hath created 5 to be received 6 with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
(b) For they will as it were practise the art of disguised persons and players, so that we may not think they will lie lurking in some one corner or keep any resemblance of being shameful.
(c) Whose conscience became so hard, that there grew a callous over it, and so became to have a canker in it, and now at length required by very necessity to be burned with a hot iron.
(3) He sets down two types of this false doctrine, that is, the law of single life, and the difference of meats. (4) He proves that he justly called such doctrines devilish, first, because the teachers of them make laws of things which are not their own: for have they created the meats? (5) Secondly, because they overthrow with their decrees the reason why they were created by God, that is, that we should use them. (6) Thirdly, because by this means they rob God of his glory, who will be honoured in the use of them. And here with this, the apostle declares that we must use the liberality of God solemnly, and with a good conscience. 4:4 7 For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
(7) He sets an apostolic rule for taking away the difference of meats, against that false doctrine. 4:5 8 For it is d sanctified by the e word of God and prayer.
(8) He properly uses Gods benefits who acknowledges the giver of them by his word, and calls upon him. 4:6 9 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 f attained.
(d) It is so made pure and holy in respect of us, so that we may use it with a good conscience, as received from the Lords hands.
(e) We confess and acknowledge that God is the maker and giver of those creatures which we use. Secondly, that we are of the number of those, who through Christs benefit, have recovered that right over all creatures, which Adam lost by his fall. Thirdly, by our prayers we crave of the Lord that we may use those meats with a good conscience, which we receive from his hands. Fourthly, we make an end of our eating and drinking, with thanksgiving and prayer: and so are our meats sanctified to us.
(9) The conclusion with an exhortation to Timothy, to propound these things diligently to the churches, which he had gotten from the apostle even as though he were being fed. 4:7 10 But refuse profane and old wives fables, 11 and exercise thyself [rather] unto g godliness.
(f) Never departing from it in the least.
4:8 12 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
(10) He contrasts again true doctrine not only with the false and apostate doctrine, but also with all vain and curious wiles.
(11) It is not only necessary that the minister of the word be sound in doctrine, but also that his life is godly and religious.
(g) In the true serving of God.
4:9 13 This [is] a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
(12) Godliness consists in spiritual exercise, and not in outward strictness of life, which though it is something to be esteemed, if it is used correctly, yet it is in no way comparable with godliness. For it profits not in and of itself, but through the benefit of another; but godliness has the promise both of the present life, and of that which is to come.
4:12 14 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
(13) He goes a little from his matter, and shows that those who give themselves to godliness, even though they are afflicted and reproached, are nonetheless not to be considered miserable as other men are, because they are not afflicted for that reason that other men are, and the end of them both is far different one from the other. For how can God forsake his own, who is bountiful even towards his enemies? And he wishes that this doctrine is well learned by them.
4:13 15 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
(14) Now he returns to that exhortation, showing what are the true virtues of a pastor, by which he may come to be reverenced even though he is young, that is, such speech and life as are witnesses of charity, zeal, faith, and purity. But here there is no mention made of the hooked staff, ring, cloak, and such other foolish and childish toys.
4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both h save thyself, and them that hear thee.
(15) The private exercise of pastors, is the continual reading of the scriptures, from which they may draw water out of wholesome doctrine and exhortation, both for themselves and for others.
(h) Faith is by hearing, and hearing by preaching: and therefore the ministers of the word are so said to save themselves and others, because in them the Lord has put the word of reconciliation.