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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

1 Timothy 4

Verses 1-16

  1. Intro:
    1. Memorial Day weekend: in honor of the nation's armed services personnel killed in wartime.
      1. Also, would like to honor all those have served, or are serving in the armed service,…by having you stand so we might pray for you.
    2. This would be a great chapter to have someone read before they choose the church for their family.
      1. Q: What do you look for in a church? - Look for in a pastor?
      2. Q: How should the pastor teach? - Deal with false teachers or bad doctrine? – How should he live?
    3. Outline: Word & Prayer; Nourishment & Exercise; Practice & Progress.
  2. WORD & PRAYER! (1-5)
    1. Q: Where do we run for all questions to life & godliness?
      1. The Word of God & Prayer settle the matter!
    2. Wherever the light of the gospel shines, the shadow of false doctrine lurks closely behind.
      1. The Christian faith was preached, accepted, & lived out in a world where many ideas threatened it.
      2. There’s always a danger of people adding or subtracting from the gospel message.
        1. Which is John’s final warning at the end of the Rev.
      3. Note this comes right after Paul gave us that beautiful hymn of 6 solid points of Christology! (3:16)
    3. (1) Some will depart(apostacize, fall away, abandon the truth)
      1. Not only possible, but inevitable!
    4. Satan & his ministers are at work spreading false doctrine.
      1. 2 Cor.11:13-15 “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”
        1. As God speaks truth & uses people to share it; so Satan speaks lies & uses people to share it!
      2. “Declaring war may not be popular, but it will keep us faithful.” (Warren Wiersbe; pg.799)
      3. Never does material read, “Danger: Satanic Doctrine Enclosed. Open at your own risk!”
        1. No, false teaching is often accompanied by people well dressed, well manicured, attractive, friendly, & convincing.
        2. That’s why we need to know the Scriptures so we can discern truth from error.
      4. I wrote in my notes Friday “get a watch Tower magazine”.
        1. Story - Yesterday at B of A parking lot.
        2. Show magazine – Old one’s. Jn.2:18-22.
      5. What about inside the church though? Even “good things” out of balance are a problem for a church.
        1. e.g. Prayer only emphasis; Missions only; Health & Wealth; etc.
    5. (2) Seared – may mean:
      1. [1] Their conscience was stamped w/the brand mark of Satan’s ownership.
      2. [2] Or, their conscience was “cauterized” i.e. made insensible to the distinction between right & wrong. (LKGNT; pg.625)
    6. (3) How to spot them?–They might teeter towards Asceticism[self-denying]
      1. Bodily disciplines do not automatically advance spiritual life.
      2. Col.2:23 “These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”
      3. Forbidding Marriage
      4. It’s my opinion that the R.C. church made a big mistake here in requiring priests to take a vow of celibacy (note: they do not “forbid”, they allow them to take a vow of celibacy).
      5. Not even the OT priests had this requirement on them!
        1. Ezek.44:21,22 “No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court. They shall not take as wife a widow or a divorced woman, but take virgins of the descendants of the house of Israel, or widows of priests.”
        2. Starting w/Aaron the very 1st priest…was married!
      6. This past year we saw many priests that took this vow but that didn’t have the gift of celibacy.
        1. 1 Cor.7:7 “each one has his own gift”(i.e. marriage or celibacy)
      7. They’ve missed out on many men who had the gift of marriage.
      8. Forbidding Foods
      9. Paul rejects that food falls into 2 categories(good/bad).
      10. The Ephesian church believers could relax when it came to food because there was no “food laws”.
        1. God told Peter, “kill & eat!”
        2. Here Paul tells Timothy, “Pray & eat!”
      11. 2 reasons why this shouldn’t occur:
      12. [1] God’s creation is good! All that God made is good. [Gen.1, 7x’s]
        1. James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
        2. Eccl.3:13 “every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
      13. [2] We must eat with thanksgiving what God has created.
  3. NOURISHMENT & EXCERCISE! (6-11)
    1. ​​​​​​​Q: Want to be physically fit? What are the 2 most important things?
      1. Eat right & Exercise! {Spiritually also!}
    2. Instruct – Point these things out.
      1. A good pastor or teacher won’t run from false teaching but will expose it. {point it out, help others to see it}
      2. We often shy from this so we don’t come across as negative, or as know-it-alls, or just afraid of offending someone.
      3. Don’t be afraid to say, “that’s wrong & here’s why.”
        1. Conversation w/my J.W. friend – I distinguished between a Christian vs. J.W. (explain)
        2. Conversation w/Romanian Greek Orthodox man on plane – Art in America – Then, Jesus taking away your sin(He said on judgment day you will learn what you did wrong & learn from it).
    3. A good minister – This should be the goal of all ministers.
      1. Often times a pastor is evaluated by his eloquent speech, level of education, air of professionalism, or his busyness. But God wants to know, “Are you my servant?”
      2. But, all Christians are ministers(or servants).
      3. There is no higher goal in ministry than this!
    4. Nourish – feeding with the idea of reading & inwardly digesting.
      1. Pres. part. suggests a continual process. (it’s a lifetime endeavor)
      2. You can’t point out false doctrine if you aren’t maintaining a steady diet of truth yourself!
    5. PS: Please don’t find your “truth” in novels!
      1. i.e. don’t build your eschatology from the Left Behind series! Nor, your understanding of angels on cheesy TV shows!
    6. Reject – expose the errors we oppose, & develop personal holiness.
      1. Exposing error & practicing truth is a powerful antidote to heresy.
    7. Old wives tales –
      1. Not just legends or Aesop’s fables. He is warning against stories & beliefs manufactured to promote & defend an immoral lifestyle. (Adapted from Swindoll; pg.89,90)
    8. Exercise – gumnazo “to train”. Our word gymnasium.
      1. Paul’s athletic imagery reminds us that spiritual growth doesn’t happen by accident. It takes sweat, determination, perseverance, & total submission to the trainer.
      2. You can’t just avoid wrong; you must embrace right.
      3. Just like a tri-athlete must do more than stop smoking, drinking, & stop eating donuts.
      4. He/she must also put in the miles running, swimming, & riding.
      5. But isn’t spiritual discipline an oxymoron? Doesn’t “discipline take us right down the road again to legalism?
        1. Nope, the difference is the motivation!
        2. Kent Hughes, in Disciplines of a Godly Man says, “Legalism is self-centered; discipline is God-centered. The legalistic heart says, “I will do this thing to gain merit w/God.” The disciplined heart says, “I will do this thing because I love God & want to please Him.””
    9. Godliness – “This is Paul’s term in the pastoral epistles for genuine Christianity; it brings together knowledge of & faith in God & the observable response of lifestyle.” (Philip Towner; pg.45)
    10. Godliness is taking God seriously.
    11. We must be Christians in training! (Swindoll; pg.90)
    12. And this training will make us fit for eternity! (8b)
    13. Is Paul against physical exercise? No!!! He’s just comparing the temporal from the eternal!
      1. Ps: This has nothing to do w/Salvation; but everything to do w/Sanctification.
    14. (10) Labor & strive for godliness!
      1. Suffer reproach/strive = agonizomai / agonize
      2. Becoming godly takes work. It’s a struggle.
        1. Yet, different from our earthly struggles, for we draw from the strength of our living Lord.(10b)
    15. Both Discipline & Devotion are needed to make a winning athlete, & an effective Christian.
      1. Note the balance all the way through this.
      2. Devotion & discipline; public service & private integrity; teaching others & learning & growing personally; exhorting others but 1st examining yourself; avoiding untruth while actively pursuing truth. (Ibid; pg.94 (slightly adapted))
  4. PRACTICE & PROGRESS! (12-16)
    1. ​​​​​​​Q: What 2 things assure you, you are on the right road of salvation?
      1. Practice & Progress!
    2. (12) There seemed to have been some timidity to Timothy(“Timidothy”).
    3. Let no one despise your youth! - Do our foreign ambassadors go to other countries w/apologies for carrying messages from their sovereign? No! - Then always remember, every true minister of thegospel is an ambassador for Christ!
    4. Phillips translation – “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young; see that they look up to you because you are an example to believers in your speech & behavior, in your love & faith & sincerity.”
      1. If people see Christ in you, they will notice Him instead of your age.
    5. (13) Listen How to teach God’s Word! [Biblical Exposition at its finest!]
      1. Reading = Public Reading.
      2. Exhorting = Preaching. Warn, advise, & urge.
      3. Doctrine = Teaching.
      4. This is how they did it in the OT times. [Neh.8:8 “So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.”]
      5. A practice they continued in the Synagogue. [Jesus in Naz. Syn.]
      6. And should be practiced today! {Look at how many faithful men died to get that book into your hands}
      7. You don’t absorb God’s truth by gliding over it. You must immerse yourself in it, explore its depths, take in its wonder! (Ibid; pg.92)
    6. (14) The Gift – teaching. At his ordination.
      1. Giftedness must be accompanied by godliness!
    7. “It takes real effort to grow in the Christian life & to be successful in Christian service.” (Warren Wiersbe; pg.799)
      1. Entirely = absorption in anything. The mind is to be as immersed in these pursuits as the body in the air it breathes. (LKGNT; pg.628)
        1. Have you given yourself entirely to them? – The Christian who is listless about spiritual matters will never make progress.
      2. Progress = pioneer advance.
      3. We must move into new territory & not stay the same spiritually.
      4. There are new truths to learn, new battles to fight, & new victories to win!
      5. Thomas Edison said, “Restlessness is discontent, & discontent is the 1st necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man & I will show you a failure.”
    8. (16) Note the Clergy Combo here!
    9. Take heed to yourself – Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”.
    10. And to the doctrine – It is easy to correct the doctrine, but much more challenging to live the doctrine.
    11. Save? – Like Phil.2:12 “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
    12. Preach it, teach it, practice it!
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/1-timothy-4.html. 2017.