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1 Timothy 4:1

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Bible Study Resources


- Nave's Topical Bible - Apostasy;   Asceticism;   Celibacy;   Commandments;   Demons;   Doctrines;   Holy Spirit;   Marriage;   Minister, Christian;   Scofield Reference Index - Apostasy;   Inspiration;   Thompson Chain Reference - Apostasy;   Demons;   Evil;   Faithfulness-Unfaithfulness;   Heresy;   Satan-Evil Spirits;   Seducers;   Spirits, Evil;   Temptation;   The Topic Concordance - Goodness;   Last Days;   Sanctification;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Apostates;   Doctrines, False;   Prophets;   Titles and Names of the Holy Spirit;  


- Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Apostacy;   Demons;   Fornication;   Paul;   Perseverance;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Corinthians, First and Second, Theology of;   Demon;   Hypocrisy;   King, Christ as;   Last Day(s), Latter Days, Last Times;   Second Coming of Christ;   Thankfulness, Thanksgiving;   Time;   Timothy, First and Second, Theology of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Daemons;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Backslide;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Colosse;   Devil;   Discerning of Spirits;   Divination;   Idol;   John the Apostle;   Timothy, the First Epistle to;   Timothy, the Second Epistle to;   Zechariah, the Book of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Apostasy;   Celibacy;   Sex, Biblical Teaching on;   1 Timothy;   2 Thessalonians;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Church Government;   Devil;   Jude, Epistle of;   Spirit;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Acceptance;   Ascension of Isaiah;   Demon;   Exorcism;   Faith;   Hour (Figurative);   Parousia;   Philosophy;   Spirit Spiritual ;   Temperance ;   Timothy and Titus Epistles to;   Winter ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Apostasy;   Demon;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Heresy;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Timothy, Epistles of Paul to;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Backsliding;   Heresy;  


- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Apostasy;   Seduce;  


- Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for June 28;  

Contextual Overview

1 But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, 1Now the Spirit expressly states that in later times some will abandon the faith to follow deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons,1 God's Spirit clearly says that in the last days many people will turn from their faith. They will be fooled by evil spirits and by teachings that come from demons. 1 The Spirit expressly states that in the acharit-hayamim some people will apostatize from the faith by paying attention to deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 1 But the Spirit speaks expressly, that in latter times some shall apostatise from the faith, giving their mind to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons 1 The Spirit clearly says that in the last times some will turn away from what we believe. They will obey spirits that tell lies. And they will follow the teachings of demons. 1 But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, 1 But the Spirit says clearly that in later times some will be turned away from the faith, giving their minds to spirits of deceit, and the teachings of evil spirits, 1 Nowe the Spirit speaketh euidently, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, and shall giue heede vnto spirits of errour, and doctrines of deuils, 1 NOW the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, following after misleading spirits, and doctrines of devils.

Bible Verse Review
  from Treasury of Scripure Knowledge

the Spirit: John 16:13, Acts 13:2, Acts 28:25, 1 Corinthians 12:11, 1 John 2:18, Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:11, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:29, Revelation 3:6, Revelation 3:13, Revelation 3:22

expressly: Ezekiel 1:3

the latter: Numbers 24:14, Deuteronomy 4:30, Deuteronomy 32:29, Isaiah 2:2, Jeremiah 48:47, Jeremiah 49:39, Ezekiel 38:16, Daniel 10:14, Hosea 3:5, Micah 4:1, 2 Timothy 3:1-9, 1 Peter 1:20, 2 Peter 3:3, Jude 1:4, Jude 1:18

depart: Daniel 11:35, Matthew 24:5-12, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 2 Timothy 4:4

seducing: Genesis 3:3-5, Genesis 3:13, 1 Kings 22:22, 1 Kings 22:23, 2 Chronicles 18:19-22, 2 Corinthians 11:3, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, 2 Timothy 3:13, 2 Peter 2:1, Revelation 9:2-11, Revelation 13:14, Revelation 16:14, Revelation 18:2, Revelation 18:23, Revelation 19:20, Revelation 20:2, Revelation 20:3, Revelation 20:8, Revelation 20:10

and doctrines: Daniel 11:35-38, 1 Corinthians 8:5, 1 Corinthians 8:6, 1 Corinthians 10:20, Colossians 2:18, Acts 17:18, Revelation 9:20,*Gr.

Reciprocal: Genesis 49:1 - last days Leviticus 15:8 - General Deuteronomy 31:29 - the latter days Deuteronomy 32:17 - sacrificed 2 Chronicles 11:15 - for the devils 2 Chronicles 18:22 - the lord hath Job 24:1 - seeing Psalms 102:23 - He weakened Proverbs 11:9 - An hypocrite Proverbs 14:25 - General Proverbs 19:9 - and Isaiah 30:8 - the time to come Jeremiah 23:26 - prophets of Ezekiel 13:4 - like Ezekiel 13:8 - behold Ezekiel 13:10 - seduced Daniel 7:24 - another Daniel 7:25 - and think Daniel 8:23 - in the Daniel 11:34 - cleave Daniel 11:38 - But in his estate Habakkuk 2:18 - a teacher Matthew 7:15 - which Matthew 15:9 - teaching Matthew 18:7 - for Matthew 24:11 - General Mark 7:7 - the commandments John 2:1 - a marriage Acts 8:29 - General Acts 10:19 - the Spirit Romans 1:18 - who hold 1 Corinthians 3:12 - wood 1 Corinthians 11:19 - there 2 Corinthians 2:17 - which Galatians 1:7 - pervert Colossians 2:4 - lest 2 Thessalonians 2:11 - that 1 Timothy 1:19 - concerning 2 Timothy 4:3 - the time Hebrews 13:9 - carried 1 John 2:26 - concerning 1 John 4:1 - many Revelation 11:2 - it is Revelation 16:13 - three


Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmitie betweene thee and the woman, and betweene thy seed and her seed: it shal bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heele.
Genesis 3:15
You and this woman will hate each other; your descendants and hers will always be enemies. One of hers will strike you on the head, and you will strike him on the heel."
Genesis 3:15
I will put animosity between you and the woman, and between your descendant and her descendant; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel."
Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall crush thy head, and thou shalt crush his heel.
Genesis 3:15
I will make you and the woman enemies to each other. Your children and her children will be enemies. You will bite her child's foot, but he will crush your head."
Genesis 3:15
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."
Genesis 3:15
And there will be war between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed: by him will your head be crushed and by you his foot will be wounded.
Genesis 3:15
I wyll also put enmitie betweene thee & the woman, betweene thy seede and her seede: and it shall treade downe thy head, and thou shalt treade vpon his heele.
Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your posterity and her posterity; her posterity shall tread your head under foot, and you shall strike him in his heel.

Gill's Notes on the Bible

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly,.... The prophecy hereafter mentioned was not an human conjecture, but, as all true prophecy, it came from the Spirit of God, who spoke or delivered it; either in the prophets of the Old Testament, who, as they spoke of the Gospel dispensation, so of the defection that should be in it; and particularly of antichrist, and of the apostasy through him, which is what is here intended, especially in Daniel's prophecies, under the names of the little horn, and vile person, Daniel 7:1 and

Daniel 11:1, or in the Lord Jesus Christ, who foretold that false prophets would arise and deceive many; or in some of the prophets in the Christian church, such as Agabus, and others, who might in so many words foretell this thing; or rather in the apostle himself, at this time, since this prophecy was delivered not in dark sayings, in an enigmatical way, in an obscure manner, as prophecies generally were, but in plain language, and easy to be understood, and wanted no interpreter to unriddle it; and seeing that it is nowhere to be found in so many express words elsewhere: and moreover, the apostle does not say the Spirit "hath spoken", but the Spirit "speaketh"; then, at the time of the writing of these words, in and by him. The prediction follows,

that in the latter times some should depart from the faith; that is, from the doctrine of faith, notwithstanding it is indisputably the great mystery of godliness, as it is called in the latter part of the preceding chapter; for from the true grace of faith there can be no final and total apostasy, such as is here designed; for that can never be lost. It is of an incorruptible nature, and therefore more precious than gold that perishes; Christ is the author and finisher of it; his prevalent mediation is concerned for it; it is a gift of special grace, and is without repentance; it springs from electing grace, and is secured by it; and between that and salvation there is an inseparable connection; it may indeed decline, be very low, and lie dormant, as to its acts and exercise, but not be lost: there is a temporary faith, and a persuasion of truth, or a mere assent to it, which may be departed from, but not that faith which works by love: here it intends a profession of faith, which being made, should be dropped by some; or rather the doctrine of faith, which some would embrace, and then err concerning, or entirely quit, and wholly apostatize from. And they are said to be some, and these many, as they are elsewhere represented, though not all; for the elect cannot be finally and totally deceived; the foundation of election stands sure amidst the greatest apostasy; and there are always a few names that are not defiled with corrupt principles and practices; Christ always had some witnesses for the truth in the darkest times: and now this defection was to be "in the latter times"; either of the apostolic age, which John, the last of the apostles, lived to see; and therefore he calls it the last time, or hour, in which were many antichrists, 1 John 2:18. And indeed in the Apostle Paul's time the mystery of iniquity began to work, which brought on this general defection; though here it has regard to some later times under the Gospel dispensation; to the time when the man of sin, and the son of perdition, was revealed, and when all the world wondered after the beast: and indeed, such will be the degeneracy in the last days of all, that when the son of man comes, as the grace, so the doctrine of faith will be scarcely to be found in the world: the means by which this apostasy will obtain and prevail will be through men's

giving heed to seducing spirits; either to doctrines which are of a deceiving nature; or to men who profess to have the Spirit of God, and have not, but are evil men and seducers, deceiving, and being deceived; that lie in wait to deceive, and handle the word of God deceitfully; and by attending on the ministry of such persons, through hearing them, and conversing with them, the defection was to begin and spread; and therefore such should be carefully avoided, and their ministry shunned; nor should they be received, nor bid God speed.

And doctrines of devils; such as are devised by devils, as all damnable doctrines be; and all lying ones, for the devil is the father of them; and as are all the false doctrines introduced by antichrist, for his coming was after the working of Satan; and particularly those doctrines of his concerning worshipping of angels, and saints departed, may be called the doctrines of devils, or of "demons"; being much the same with the demon worship among the Heathens, of which the devil was the inventor: unless by doctrines of devils should be meant the doctrines of men, who for their cunning and sophistry, for their lies and hypocrisy, for their malice, and murdering of the souls of men, are comparable to devils.

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Now the Spirit - Evidently the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of inspiration. It is not quite certain, from this passage, whether the apostle means to say that this was a revelation “then” made to him, or whether it was a well-understood thing as taught by the Holy Spirit. He himself elsewhere refers to this same prophecy, and John also more than once mentions it; compare 2 Thessalonians 2:0; 1 John 2:18; Revelation 20:1-15. From 2 Thessalonians 2:5, it would seem that this was a truth which had before been communicated to the apostle Paul, and that he had dwelt on it when he preached the gospel in Thessalonica. There is no improbability, however, in the supposition that so important a subject was communicated directly by the Holy Spirit to others of the apostles.

Speaketh expressly - In express words, ῥητῶς rētōs. It was not by mere hints, and symbols, and shadowy images of the future; it was in an open and plain manner - in so many words. The object of this statement seems to be to call the attention of Timothy to it in an emphatic manner, and to show the importance of attending to it.

That in the latter times - Under the last dispensation, during which the affairs of the world would close; see the notes on Hebrews 1:2. It does not mean that this would occur “just before” the end of the world, but that it would take place during “that last dispensation,” and that the end of the world would not happen until this should take place; see the notes on 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

Some shall depart from the faith - The Greek word here - ἀποστήσονται apostēsontai - is that from which we have derived the word “apostatize,” and would be properly so rendered here. The meaning is, that they would “apostatize” from the belief of the truths of the gospel. It does not mean that, as individuals, they would have been true Christians; but that there would be a departure from the great doctrines which constitute the Christian faith. The ways in which they would do this are immediately specified, showing what the apostle meant here by departing from the faith. They would give heed to seducing spirits, to the doctrines of devils, etc. The use of the word “some,” here τινες tines - does not imply that the number would be small. The meaning is, that “certain persons” would thus depart, or that “there would be” an apostasy of the kind here mentioned, in the last days. From the parallel passage in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, it would seem that this was to be an extensive apostasy.

Giving heed to seducing spirits - Rather than to the Spirit of God. It would be a part of their system to yield to those spirits that led astray. The spirits here referred to are any that cause to err, and the most obvious and natural construction is to refer it to the agency of fallen spirits. Though it “may” apply to false teachers, yet, if so, it is rather to them as under the influence of evil spirits. This may be applied, so far as the phraseology is concerned, to “any” false teaching; but it is evident that the apostle had a specific apostasy in view - some great “system” that would greatly corrupt the Christian faith; and the words here should be interpreted with reference to that. It is true that people in all ages are prone to give heed to seducing spirits; but the thing referred to here is some grand apostasy, in which the characteristics would be manifested, and the doctrines held, which the apostle proceeds immediately to specify; compare 1 John 4:1.

And doctrines of devils - Greek, “Teachings of demons - διδασκαλίαις δαιμωνίων didaskaliais daimōniōn. This may either mean teachings “respecting” demons, or teachings “by” demons. The particular sense must be determined by the connection. Ambiguity of this kind in the construction of words, where one is in the genitive case, is not uncommon; compare John 15:9-10; John 21:15. Instances of the construction where the genitive denotes the “object,” and should be translated “concerning,” occur in Matthew 9:25; “The gospel of the kingdom,” i. e., concerning the kingdom; Matthew 10:1; “Power of unclean spirits,” i. e., over or concerning unclean spirits; so, also, Acts 4:9; Romans 16:15; 2 Corinthians 1:5; Ephesians 3:1; Revelation 2:13. Instances of construction where the genitive denotes the “agent,” occur in the following places: Luke 1:69, “A horn of salvation,” i. e., a horn which produces or causes salvation; John 6:28; Romans 3:22; 2 Corinthians 4:10; Ephesians 4:18; Colossians 2:11. Whether the phrase here means that, in the apostasy, they would give heed to doctrines “respecting” demons, or to doctrines which demons “taught,” cannot, it seems to me, be determined with certainty. If the previous phrase, however, means that they would embrace doctrines taught by evil spirits, it can hardly be supposed that the apostle would immediately repeat the same idea in another form; and then the sense would be, that one characteristic of the time referred to would be the prevalent teaching “respecting” demons. They would “give heed to,” or embrace, some special views respecting demons. The word here rendered “devils” is δαιμονία daimonia - “demons.” This word, among the Greeks, denoted the following things:

(1) A god or goddess, spoken of the pagan gods; compare in New Testament, Acts 17:18.

(2) A divine being, where no particular one was specified, the agent or author of good or evil fortune; of death, fate, etc. In this sense it is often used in Homer.

(3) The souls of people of the golden age, which dwelt unobserved upon the earth to regard the actions of men, and to defend them - tutelary divinities, or geniuses - like that which Socrates regarded as his constant attendant. Xen. Mem. 4. 8. 1. 5; Apol. Soc. 4. See “Passow.”

(4) To this may be added the common use in the New Testament, where the word denotes a demon in the Jewish sense - a bad spirit, subject to Satan, and under his control; one of the host of fallen angels - commonly, but not very properly rendered “devil” or “devils.” These spirits were supposed to wander in desolate places, Matthew 12:43; compare Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:14; or they dwell in the air, Ephesians 2:2. They were regarded as hostile to mankind, John 8:44; as able to utter pagan oracles, Acts 16:17; as lurking in the idols of the pagan, 1 Corinthians 10:20; Revelation 9:20. They are spoken of as the authors of evil, James 2:19; compare Ephesians 6:12, and as having the power of taking “possession” of a person, of producing diseases, or of causing mania, as in the case of the demoniacs, Luke 4:33; Luke 8:27; Matthew 17:18; Mark 7:29-30; and often elsewhere. The doctrine, therefore, which the apostle predicted would prevail, might, “so far as the word used is concerned,” be either of the following:

(1) Accordance with the prevalent notions of the pagan respecting false gods; or a falling into idolatry similar to that taught in the Grecian mythology. It can hardly be supposed, however, that he designed to say that the common notions of the pagan would prevail in the Christian church, or that the worship of the pagan gods “as such” would be set up there.

(2) An accordance with the Jewish views respecting demoniacal possessions and the power of exorcising them. If this view should extensively prevail in the Christian church, it would be in accordance with the language of the prediction.

(3) Accordance with the prevalent pagan notions respecting the departed spirits of the good and the great, who were exalted to the rank of demi-gods, and who, though invisible, were supposed still to exert an important influence in favor of mankind. To these beings, the pagan rendered extraordinary homage. They regarded them as demi-gods. They supposed that they took a deep interest in human affairs. They invoked their aid. They set apart days in honor of them. They offered sacrifices, and performed rites and ceremonies to propitiate their favor. They were regarded as a sort of mediators or intercessors between man and the superior divinities. If these things are found anywhere in the Christian church, they may be regarded as a fulfillment of this prediction, for they were not of a nature to be foreseen by any human sagacity. Now it so happens, that they are in fact found in the Papal communion, and in a way that corresponds fairly to the meaning of the phrase, as it would have been understood in the time of the apostle.

There is, “first,” the worship of the virgin and of the saints, or the extraordinary honors rendered to them - corresponding almost entirely with the reverence paid by the pagan to the spirits of heroes or to demi-gods. The saints are supposed to have extraordinary power with God, and their aid is implored as intercessors. The virgin Mary is invoked as “the mother of God,” and as having power still to command her Son. The Papists do not, indeed, offer the same homage to the saints which they do to God, but they ask their aid; they offer prayer to them. The following extracts from the catechism of Dr. James Butler, approved and recommended by Dr. Kenrick, “Bishop of Philadelphia,” expresses the general views of Roman Catholics on this subject. “Question: How do Catholics distinguish between the honor they give to God, and the honor they give to the saints, when they pray to God and the saints?

Answer: Of God alone they beg grace and mercy; and of the saints they only ask the assistance of their prayers? Question Is it lawful to recommend ourselves to the saints, and ask their prayers. Answer: Yes; as it is lawful and a very pious practice to ask the prayers of our fellow-creatures on earth, and to pray for them.” In the “Prayer to be said before mass,” the following language occurs: “In union with the holy church and its minister, and invoking the blessed virgin Mary, Mother of God, and all the angels and saints, we now offer the adorable sacrifice of the mass,” etc. In the General Confession, it is said - “I confess to Almighty God, to the blessed Mary, ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the saints, that I have sinned exceedingly.” So also, the council of Trent declared, Sess. 25, “Concerning the invocation of the saints,” “that it is good and useful to supplicate them, and to fly to their prayers, power, and aid; but that they who deny that the saints are to be invoked, or who assert that they do not pray for people, or that their invocation of them is idolatry, hold an impious opinion. See also Peter Den’s Moral Theology, translated by the Rev. John F. Berg, pp. 342-356. “Secondly,” in the Papal communion the doctrine of “exorcism” is still held - implying a belief that evil spirits or demons have power over the human frame - a doctrine which comes fairly under the meaning of the phrase here - “the doctrine respecting demons.”

Thus, in Dr. Butler’s Catechism: “Question: What do you mean by exorcism? Answer: The rites and prayers instituted by the church for the casting out devils, or restraining them from hurting persons, disquieting places, or abusing any of God’s creatures to our harm. Question: Has Christ given his church any such power over devils? Anser: Yes, he has; see Matthew 10:1; Mark 3:15; Luke 9:1. And that this power was not to die with the apostles, nor to cease after the apostolic age, we learn from the perpetual practice of the church, and the experience of all ages.” The characteristic here referred to by the apostle, therefore, is one that applies precisely to the Roman Catholic communion, and cannot be applied with the same fitness to any other association calling itself Christian on earth. There can be no doubt, therefore, that the Holy Spirit designed to designate that apostate church.

Clarke's Notes on the Bible


Apostasy from the true faith predicted, and in what that

apostasy should consist, 1-5.

Exhortations to Timothy to teach the truth, 6.

To avoid old wives' fables; to exercise himself to godliness,

7, 8.

To labour, command, and teach, 9, 10, 11.

To act so that none might despise his youth, 12.

To give attendance to reading and preaching, 13, 14.

To give up himself wholly to the Divine work, 15.

And so doing he should both save himself and them that heard

him, 16.


Verse 1 Timothy 4:1. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly — Ῥητως· Manifestly, openly. It is very likely that the apostle refers here to a prophecy then furnished by the Holy Ghost, and probably immediately after he had written the words in the preceding verses; and as this prophecy contains things nowhere else spoken of in the sacred writings, and of the utmost moment to the Christian Church, we cannot hear or read them with too much reverence or respect.

In the latter times — This does not necessarily imply the last ages of the world, but any times consequent to those in which the Church then lived.

Depart from the faith — Αποστησονται - της πιστεως· They will apostatize from the faith, i.e. from Christianity; renouncing the whole system in effect, by bringing in doctrines which render its essential truths null and void, or denying and renouncing such doctrines as are essential to Christianity as a system of salvation. A man may hold all the truths of Christianity, and yet render them of none effect by holding other doctrines which counteract their influence; or he may apostatize by denying some essential doctrine, though he bring in nothing heterodox.

Giving heed to seducing spirits — Πνευμασι πλανοις· Many MSS. and the chief of the fathers have πνευμασι πλανης· spirits of deceit; which is much more emphatic than the common reading. Deception has her spirits, emissaries of every kind, which she employs to darken the hearts and destroy the souls of men. Pretenders to inspiration, and false teachers of every kind, belong to this class.

And doctrines of devils — Δαιμονιων· Demons; either meaning fallen spirits, or dead men, spectres, &c., or doctrines inspired by Satan relative to these, by which he secures his own interest, and provides for his own worship.

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