1 Timothy 4

1 Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, listening to spirits of error and doctrines of demons;
2 that in hypocrisy shall speak lies; having their conscience seared as with a hot iron;
3 they shall forbid to marry and shall command men to abstain from foods, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving by those who are faithful and have known the truth.
4 For everything that God created is good, and nothing is to be refused, if it is received with thanksgiving,
5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
6 If thou put these things before the brethren, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, unto which thou hast attained.
7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
9 The Word is faithful and worthy of acceptation by all.
10 For this we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
11 Command and teach this.
12 Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the faithful in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
13 Until I come, occupy thyself reading, exhorting, teaching.
14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which is given unto thee to prophesy, through the laying on of the hands of the elders.
15 Occupy thyself in these things with care, for in this is everything, that thy profiting may be manifest unto all.
16 Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine; be diligent in this, for in doing so thou shalt both save thyself and those that hear thee.

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1 Timothy 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

Of departures from the faith that began already to appear. (1-5) Several directions, with motives for due discharge of duties. (6-16)

Verses 1-5 The Holy Spirit, both in the Old and the New Testament, spoke of a general turning from the faith of Christ, and the pure worship of God. This should come during the Christian dispensation, for those are called the latter days. False teachers forbid as evil what God has allowed, and command as a duty what he has left indifferent. We find exercise for watchfulness and self-denial, in attending to the requirements of God's law, without being tasked to imaginary duties, which reject what he has allowed. But nothing justifies an intemperate or improper use of things; and nothing will be good to us, unless we seek by prayer for the Lord's blessing upon it.

Verses 6-10 Outward acts of self-denial profit little. What will it avail us to mortify the body, if we do not mortify sin? No diligence in mere outward things could be of much use. The gain of godliness lies much in the promise; and the promises to godly people relate partly to the life that now is, but especially to the life which is to come: though we lose for Christ, we shall not lose by him. If Christ be thus the Saviour of all men, then much more will he be the Rewarder of those who seek and serve him; he will provide well for those whom he has made new creatures.

Verses 11-16 Men's youth will not be despised, if they keep from vanities and follies. Those who teach by their doctrine, must teach by their life. Their discourse must be edifying; their conversation must be holy; they must be examples of love to God and all good men, examples of spiritual-mindedness. Ministers must mind these things as their principal work and business. By this means their profiting will appear in all things, as well as to all persons; this is the way to profit in knowledge and grace, and also to profit others. The doctrine of a minister of Christ must be scriptural, clear, evangelical, and practical; well stated, explained, defended, and applied. But these duties leave no leisure for wordly pleasures, trifling visits, or idle conversation, and but little for what is mere amusement, and only ornamental. May every believer be enabled to let his profiting appear unto all men; seeking to experience the power of the gospel in his own soul, and to bring forth its fruits in his life.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO 1 TIMOTHY 4

In this chapter the apostle foretells a dreadful apostasy which should happen in the last times, the particulars of which he gives; and on occasion of one branch of it, discourses of Christian liberty in eating all sorts of food fit for use; and delivers out exhortations to Timothy to various duties relating to himself, his doctrine, and his charge. The prophecy is in 1Ti 4:1-3, the author of this prophecy is the Spirit of God; the manner in which it was delivered was very clear and express; the time when it should be fulfilled, the last days; the thing itself, a departure of some from the faith; the means whereby it would come about are, some giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, and the hypocrisy and hardened consciences of others, who would forbid marriage, and order an abstinence from certain meats; the evil of which last is exposed by their being the creatures of God, and by their being made for this purpose to be received with thankfulness by all believers, and who know the truth: and the reasons why they should be received and used follow; because they are all good, as they are the creatures of God; and because there is nothing to be refused, provided it be received with a thankful heart; and because every creature is sanctified by the word of God, and prayer, 1Ti 4:4,5. And then Timothy is exhorted to put the brethren in mind of those things, by which he would show himself to be a faithful minister of Christ, and well instructed in the doctrines of the Gospel, 1Ti 4:6, and to reject things profane and fabulous, but use himself to internal and powerful godliness, since outward worship signifies little, but the former has the promise of this, and the other world annexed to it; which is a true saying, and to be depended on, 1Ti 4:7-9 and which is confirmed from the practice and experience of the apostles, and therefore should be taught with authority, 1Ti 4:10,11. And then the apostle gives Timothy some advice, which being taken, would prevent his being despised, on account of his youth; as with respect to his life and conversation, so to behave as to be a pattern to others, 1Ti 4:12, and with respect to the exercise of his ministry, to make use of such means, as reading and meditation, that his profiting might be manifest to all, 1Ti 4:13-15 and with respect to the doctrines he preached, to abide by them, whereby he would be a means of saving himself, and others, 1Ti 4:16.

1 Timothy 4 Commentaries

The Jubilee Bible

(from the Scriptures of the Reformation)

edited by Russell M. Stendal

Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2010