1 Timothy 4 Study Notes


4:1 Just how the Spirit explicitly says is not made clear here. It is probably a reference to a prophecy (perhaps Paul’s prediction in Ac 20:29-30). The later times in view here included Timothy’s day. The last days are considered to have begun with the work of Christ.

4:2-5 Although everything created by God is good, the false teachers forbid marriage and certain foods. But Paul rejected the teachings of these liars. The good gifts of God are to be received with thanksgiving.

4:7-8 Paul compares godliness with athletic prowess. Both require training. The word train is the Gk verb gumnazo, from which we get gymnasium. It requires discipline, hard work, and sacrifice.

4:10 The statement that Jesus is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe may seem to teach universalism, the belief that all persons will eventually go to heaven regardless of whether they accept Christ. But the rest of Scripture clearly denies this idea. The Greek word translated here as “especially” expresses the sense of “particularly.” The point is not that Jesus saves everybody and then saves believers even more. Rather, Jesus is the Savior for all—all who believe. Further, “all people” pictures the transnational scope of the gospel. Thus Christ is the “Savior” of people from every race and nation.

4:11-12 Timothy was to continue to teach sound doctrine and to command the false teachers to cease. “Between the lines can be seen a constant comparison between what the Ephesian church was doing wrong and what Timothy should do correctly. Every one of the five qualities enumerated in this verse is missing from the lives of the opponents” (William D. Mounce).

4:13 Public reading refers to the reading of Scripture in corporate worship (Ac 13:15; 2Co 3:14).

4:14 Gift probably refers to Timothy’s calling and gifting for ministry indicated by God (through prophecy) and recognized by the church (laying on of hands by the elders).

4:15 These things that Paul called on Timothy to practice and be committed to are the things commanded in vv. 12-13. These encompassed his behavior and teaching.


Greek Pronunciation [soh TAYR]
CSB translation Savior
Uses in 1 Timothy 3
Uses in the NT 24
Focus passage 1 Timothy 4:10

Outside the NT, the title sotÄ“r (savior, deliverer) was applied to deserving men, leading officials, rulers, or deities (e.g., of Roman emperors Julius Caesar, Nero, and Vespasian). The term had connotations of protector, deliverer, preserver, or savior. In the NT, sotÄ“r refers exclusively to Jesus Christ and to God the Father, with a focus on their saving, delivering character as expressed through their actions. As Savior, Christ grants repentance and forgiveness of sin (Ac 5:31), protects and saves the church (Eph 5:23), will come again to deliver his people from this world (Php 3:20), has made possible the outpouring of the Spirit (Ti 3:6), has abolished death (2Tm 1:10), and has authority in his kingdom (2Pt 1:11). God is “the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe” (1Tm 4:10), and “wants everyone to be saved” (1Tm 2:4). He manifested his love in his saving acts toward the church (Ti 3:4), he poured out the Holy Spirit (Ti 3:6), and he deserves praise and adoration (Jd 25).

4:16 Ultimately, salvation requires perseverance in faith (cp. Rm 11:22; 1Co 9:27; 15:1-2; Php 2:12; Col 1:23).