1 Timothy 4


1 But 1the Spirit explicitly says that 2in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to 3deceitful spirits and 4doctrines of demons,
2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars 5seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,
3 men who 6forbid marriage and advocate 7abstaining from foods which 8God has created to be 9gratefully * shared in by those who believe and know the truth.
4 For 10everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is 11received with gratitude;
5 for it is sanctified by means of 12the word of God and prayer.

A Good Minister's Discipline

6 In pointing out these things to 13the brethren, you will be a good 14servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the 15sound doctrine which you 16have been following.
7 But have nothing to do with 17worldly 18fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of 19godliness;
8 for 20bodily discipline is only of little profit, but 21godliness is profitable for all things, since it 22holds promise for the 23present life and also for the life to come.
9 24It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.
10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed 25our hope on 26the living God, who is 27the Savior of all men, especially of believers.
11 28Prescribe and teach these things.
12 29Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, 30love, faith and purity, show yourself 31an example of those who believe.
13 32Until I come, give attention to the public 33reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.
14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through 34prophetic utterance with 35the laying on of hands by the 36presbytery.
15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.
16 37Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will 38ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

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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.

Cross References 38

  • 1. John 16:13; Acts 20:23; Acts 21:11; 1 Corinthians 2:10
  • 2. 2 Thessalonians 2:3f; 2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Peter 3:3; Jude 18
  • 3. 1 John 4:6
  • 4. James 3:15
  • 5. Ephesians 4:19
  • 6. Hebrews 13:4
  • 7. Colossians 2:16, 23
  • 8. Genesis 1:29; Genesis 9:3
  • 9. Romans 14:6; 1 Corinthians 10:30; 1 Timothy 4:4
  • 10. 1 Corinthians 10:26
  • 11. Romans 14:6; 1 Corinthians 10:30; 1 Timothy 4:3
  • 12. Genesis 1:25, 31; Hebrews 11:3
  • 13. Acts 1:15
  • 14. 2 Corinthians 11:23
  • 15. 1 Timothy 1:10
  • 16. Luke 1:3; Philippians 2:20, 22; 2 Timothy 3:10
  • 17. 1 Timothy 1:9
  • 18. 1 Timothy 1:4
  • 19. 1 Timothy 4:8; 1 Timothy 6:3, 5; 2 Timothy 3:5
  • 20. Colossians 2:23
  • 21. 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 6:3, 5; 2 Timothy 3:5
  • 22. Psalms 37:9, 11; Proverbs 19:23; Proverbs 22:4; Matthew 6:33
  • 23. Matthew 6:33; Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30
  • 24. 1 Timothy 1:15
  • 25. 2 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:17
  • 26. 1 Timothy 3:15
  • 27. John 4:42; 1 Timothy 2:4
  • 28. 1 Timothy 5:7; 1 Timothy 6:2
  • 29. 1 Corinthians 16:11; Titus 2:15
  • 30. Titus 2:7; 1 Peter 5:3
  • 31. 1 Timothy 1:14
  • 32. 1 Timothy 3:14
  • 33. 2 Timothy 3:15f
  • 34. 1 Timothy 1:18
  • 35. Acts 6:6; 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6
  • 36. Acts 11:30
  • 37. Acts 20:28
  • 38. 1 Corinthians 1:21

Footnotes 7

Chapter Summary


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

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