1 Timothy 4:3

3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

1 Timothy 4:3 Meaning and Commentary

1 Timothy 4:3

Forbidding to marry
Which points out not the Encratites, Montanists, and Manichees, who spoke against marriage; but the Papists, who forbid it to their priests under a pretence of purity and holiness, and at the same time allow them to live in all manner of debauchery and uncleanness; for these are the persons that forbid marriage in an authoritative way, and in hypocrisy: for that phrase is to be joined to all the sentences that follow it; as through the hypocrisy of those whose consciences are seared; and through the hypocrisy of those that forbid marriage to their priests, this being, by the common people, taken as an instance of great purity and holiness, and hereby they are drawn into the deception; as well as also through the hypocrisy of those that command

to abstain from meats:
not from some certain meats forbidden by the law of Moses, as did some judaizing Christians; but from all meats at some certain season of the year, as at what they call the Quadragesima or Lent, and at some days in the week, as Wednesdays and Fridays; and this all under an hypocritical pretence of holiness, and temperance, and keeping under the body, and of mortification; when they are the greatest pamperers of their bodies, and indulge themselves in all manner of sensuality: the evil of this is exposed by the apostle, as follows,

which God hath created;
and therefore must be good, and ought not to be abstained from: and besides, the end of his creation of them is,

to be received:
to be taken, and used, and eaten; and therefore it is wicked to command men to abstain from them, and evil in those that do it: and the manner in which they should be received is

with thanksgiving;
since they are the creatures of God, and useful to men, and men are unworthy of them, having forfeited them by sin; and since they are the bounties of Providence, and a free use of them is allowed; so far then should men be from abstaining from them, that they ought to take them, and use them with all thankfulness: and especially this should be done

of them which believe and know the truth:
that is, who believe in Christ, and know the truth of the Gospel, which frees from every yoke of bondage, and from the burdensome rites, ceremonies, and inventions of men; for these have the good creatures as the fruits of divine love, through Christ the Mediator, and as blessings indeed; and who have the best right, claim, and title to them through Christ, being in him heirs of the world, and for whose sake all things are; and therefore these, as they know how to use them, and not abuse them, are to receive them at the hands of God, with thanksgiving, and not put them away, or abstain from them under a pretence of religion and holiness.

1 Timothy 4:3 In-Context

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,
2 through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron.
3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving;
5 for it is sanctified by God's word and by prayer.