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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

1 Timothy 4

Verses 1-16

Chapter 4

Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils ( 1 Timothy 4:1 );

Here Paul speaks of a departure from the faith. There are some who claim that such a thing is an impossibility. But "the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times there would be some who would depart from the faith." Jesus in speaking of His return said, "When the Son of man returns, will he find faith on the earth?" ( Luke 18:8 ) A question. He also told His disciples that because of the iniquity of the earth abounding, the love of many will wax cold. And so it means that living in the last days is going to be living under a great-pressured situation. We are finding that to be true.

The opportunity of fulfilling a person's fantasies for sin are all around. You can indulge yourself now in just about any type of a sinful fantasy that you may desire. Read the personal columns in your Santa Ana Register. Any kind of a experience that a person may desire is available for a price. Pornography, the openness of our society, the breakdown of the moral values, has opened a door of opportunity for anyone to just indulge themselves in their flesh.

Jesus said "because the iniquity of the earth shall abound, the love of many will wax cold." The Spirit speaks expressly of the latter days that many will be departing from the faith." It is not easy to live the Christian life in this world in which we live today that is so totally given over to the flesh. You cannot look at any of the media without being exposed in some way or other to the things of the flesh. It's not easy to live a Christian life now. These last days it is going to be harder. To keep the faith, it is going to take a positive commitment. As Daniel, you're going to have to determine in your heart that you're not going to defile yourself with the opportunities in the world around you. But that you're going to live completely and totally for God a life of godlikeness and you cannot do it without the power of the Spirit.

So the Spirit speaks expressly of the last days. It's going to be tough. Many will "depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits." And how much seduction is in the world today! Seductive spirits are in the world today. I mean it's there, it's all around you. The seductive spirits. And "to doctrines of devils." And I'll tell you, in our society today men are espousing the doctrines of devils, telling you that any kind of life is acceptable to God. The Lord said, "because they did not want to believe the truth, God turned them over to believe a lie" ( 2 Thessalonians 2:10-53.2.11 ). And men would believe a lie rather than the truth.

And I have found this so true today. You take any kind of a screwy heresy and it can spread all over the world in six months. If you want to become popular, just dream up some new heresy for the church. Oh how I wish to God that they would be more careful in the things that they allow to be proclaimed. I wish they would just stick to the Word of God. People are so reticent to receive the truth but so ready to receive a lie, a heresy.

People are so ready to believe that California is going to get wiped out during the Olympics in an earthquake. How many people have called all worried, you know. Oh my. This earthquake's going to come. I have lived through at least ten of these visions and it hasn't come yet. Now I'll tell you what's going to happen. I'll make my own predictions now. When the Olympics are over and the earthquake did not hit, they are then going to start taking credit that their prayers kept it from happening. I mean, there's no way they're going to loose. They fasted and they prayed and they saved California.

How look how that thing in just a couple of weeks time has swept through the whole community. Our switchboard has been swamped this week with this nonsense. Hey, if you want to predict that there's going to be an earthquake in California, man, there's nothing to that. Of course there's going to be. I mean, this is earthquake country. We're surrounded by faults. But I predict that we won't have a major earthquake during the Olympics.

Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron ( 1 Timothy 4:2 );

I really wonder how these evangelists and all can really sleep at night with all of the gimmicks that they pull. "Speaking lies in hypocrisy." I don't know if you've been cursed to be on their mailing list or not. But we keep a file and the things that they can dream up to extract money from people. And you wonder, How can they do that? In the name of God, how can they tell such outlandish lies? The only answer is "their conscience has to be seared with a hot iron." They have no conscience. For them to live in palatial mansions, do the things they do and then get up and say, Friends, we need your money.

Our tour guide in Israel gets after me. He said, "You don't know how to operate a tour." He said, "Tour leaders with famous names never travel with the people on a tour. They don't travel on the jets with the people, they fly over in their own private jets. And they don't get on the buses with the people, they get in private limos and they'll meet the people twice during the tour and then fly home in their jets." He said, "You travel all around with the people. He said, You never make deals with the tourist shops and all." And he said, "You just don't know how to operate a tour." He said, "Now you ought to come and watch some of these fellows at work."

The conscience is seared with a hot iron. How in the name of God can they do these things? Except their conscience is just seared with a hot iron. Now in some of these last day weird things, there are those who will be,

Forbidding to marry ( 1 Timothy 4:3 ),

Of course, marriage is becoming almost a thing of the past. It's, "Move in with me." And there are so many just move-in relationships without marriage. That's the thing of the day.

Abstaining from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth ( 1 Timothy 4:3 ).

A lot of the cult things and occult things get into vegetarianism. But Paul tells us these things meat is to

be received with thanksgiving ( 1 Timothy 4:4 ):

Of course.

For the meat is sanctified by the word of God and prayer ( 1 Timothy 4:5 ).

So pray over your meal and eat it.

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained ( 1 Timothy 4:6 ).

So remind the brethren of these things, Paul said, writing to Timothy. If you do, then you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ as you nourish them in the words of faith, sound, good doctrine.

But refuse the profane and old wives' fables, but exercise thyself rather to godliness ( 1 Timothy 4:7 ).

Now you can waste a lot of time in earthquake scares, reading a lot of the junk that's published. Better to exercise yourself unto godliness.

Bodily exercise profits a little [or for a little] ( 1 Timothy 4:8 ):

Doesn't really forbid it. It's good, got a little profit to it. But more profitable is.

godliness it's profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come ( 1 Timothy 4:8 ).

Years ago when I really made my choice between Medicine and as a career and the ministry as a career, as the Lord was dealing with me and speaking to my heart concerning the ministry, He pointed out to me that by going into medicine, by becoming a medical doctor, by ministering to people's physical needs, I could help people but at the best, it would only be temporal. So they're strong and healthy and live for a hundred years. But if I would go into the ministry and minister to the spirit of man, healing the spirit, bringing spiritual healing, that I would be involved in something that would benefit them eternally. And He more or less put it up to me, How do you want to benefit man? In the temporary way or in an eternal way? And when He put it to me that way, I had no choice.

Now Paul is saying the same thing about exercise. Physical exercise has temporal benefits. But godliness has eternal benefits. Now we are living in a day of you know it's sort of a craze, this physical exercise. Jogging, aerobic exercises. The other night my wife and I were eating at a restaurant, we looked across the street we saw all these heads bouncing up and down and all. And man, the whole time we were eating they were bouncing. I did admire them. And I didn't eat desert. But this bit of physical fitness, it's a craze, it's swept America. And that's alright. Paul's not really coming down on it. I mean, bodily exercise has some value. Toning up yourself and all, there's nothing wrong with that. But godliness, exercising yourself in godliness, hey, that you will reap eternal dividends.

Let me tell you what, I used to be about the most physical fit person around. In time, it will get all of you. I mean, you may you know go for it for a time, sure it's great. But ultimately, what was it, the guy that did all the writing on everything you want to know about running, how about that? Died of a heart attack while he was jogging. Mister Fix. Better watch out for that jogging, it's dangerous to your health you know, it will wipe you out.

There are things that have temporal values, there are things that have eternal value and a man who is wise will engage in those things of eternal value. He will choose the eternal over the temporal, if you're really wise. There are things that can bring you temporal gain. There are things that can bring you eternal gain. The man who is wise would choose the eternal over the temporal. So Paul is telling Timothy the same. Bodily exercise it profits. Timothy was a younger man, probably keeping in shape. It's fine. But hey, don't neglect the godliness, spiritual exercise. Now again,

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation ( 1 Timothy 4:9 ).

It's again Paul uses this phrase. It's a true saying, and it's worthy that all should accept it. And that is that the spiritual is superior to the physical or the material. That it is better to exercise yourself in spiritual matters than in physical matters. One has only temporary value; the other is of life now and also that which is to come, the eternal. And because of this declaration, Paul said, the superiority of the spiritual over the physical, which is the opposite of the worldly view.

Therefore we labour and we suffer reproach ( 1 Timothy 4:10 ),

The world reproaches us. They take an opposite view of this completely. The time in church to them is a waste of time.

because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe ( 1 Timothy 4:10 ).

Jesus died for the sins of the world. But only those who believe receive the forgiveness of sins. Jesus died to redeem the world, but He will only take His treasure out of it. And so He died and is the Saviour of all men, but specifically those who believe. He provided salvation for all men, but not all have received it.

These things [Paul said, you should] command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth ( 1 Timothy 4:11-54.4.12 );

How old was Timothy? Well, he had been with Paul now traveling as a companion for fifteen years. Assuming that he was fifteen years old when he started out with Paul, and that's probably a little young, but let's say that he was only fifteen, he's at least thirty years old now. So he's not just a kid. When Paul said, "Let no man despise your youth," you shouldn't be thinking of some fifteen, sixteen-year-old kid. Timothy is probably thirty or more at this particular point. But when the elders were not really considered elders until they became fifty, there was that tendency to look down upon a younger man as lacking in the wisdom that comes from age and maturity. So "let no man despise your youth,"

but instead be an example of the believer, in the word, in your manner of life, in love, in the spirit, in faith, and in purity ( 1 Timothy 4:12 ).

Set the example, Timothy. Now what Paul writes to Timothy is good for all of us. We should be examples of what a Christian is. Paul said to the Corinthians, "You are living epistles, known and read of all men" ( 2 Corinthians 3:2 ). As a Christian, the world is watching you. Be an example of the believer, not unto the believer but of the believer. What a believer should be. This is how a believer should live. This is how a believer should act and react. Be the example of a believer, in your words. The word "conversation" there is an old English word that it is just doesn't mean in you know in your conversing with each other, but in your manner of living, your total manner of living. Let it be as becomes godliness and Christianity. "In your love, the agape, in the spirit, in faith, in purity."

Now till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine ( 1 Timothy 4:13 ).

So these are the three things that were done in the early church. The reading of the Scriptures. It was a very prominent and common practice in the early church when the Christians gathered together to read the Scriptures. These letters that Paul sent to the churches were to be read to the churches. So he tells Timothy, "Give attendance to the reading of the Scriptures." There's value in just the reading of the word of God. But then also the exhortation. As you are then prompting people to act upon the word. "To be doers of the word, and not hearers only" ( James 1:22 ). Now trust in the Lord. Now give thanks to God. And so the exhorting of the people and then also to the doctrine.

And neglect not the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery ( 1 Timothy 4:14 ).

So Paul here is mentioning how that when Timothy had hands laid upon him by the presbyturos, by the elders, they laid hands on Timothy and a prophecy came forth and in the prophecy, Timothy's ministry was declared, directed. And now Paul tells him, don't neglect that gift that was given to you by the word of prophecy when the elders laid hands on you.

Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that your profiting may appear to all. Take heed to yourself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this you will both save yourself, and those that hear you ( 1 Timothy 4:15-54.4.16 ).

Interesting. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them: for in doing this you not only save yourself, but you save others. It is important that we are reaching out. Important for our own continuance that we go on and that we're pressing on and that we're reaching out. There's really no place for stagnation.

This is something that I think that we all ought to really carefully examine our own hearts. The Bible says, "Now let a man judge himself. For if we will judge ourselves, we will not be judged of God" ( 1 Corinthians 11:28 , 1 Corinthians 11:31 ). And I think that we should all examine our own hearts and our own present relationship to Jesus Christ. And as I examine my present relationship to Jesus Christ tonight, is there a time in my walk with the Lord that I was more fervent than I am tonight? Is there a time when I was more excited about the things of Jesus than I am tonight? Is there a time when I was more diligent in my serving the Lord than I am tonight? And if in the examining of your heart, your present relationship and your past experiences, if tonight you do not have a deeper, richer, more enthusiastic relationship with the Lord, then you are in a backslidden state.

If at any time in your walk with God, your relationship to Him was more richer, more committed than it is tonight, then you are in a backslidden state and you should be very careful about that. The Spirit speaks expressly concerning the last days. That because the iniquity of the world will abound, the love of many is going to wax cold. Are you one of those in which the love is waxing cold? And it should cause us very serious consideration.

Jesus said to the church of Ephesus, "I have this against you, because you have left your first love. Now repent, do thy first works over; or else I will remove the candlestick out of his place" ( Revelation 2:4-66.2.5 ).

There is a story told of a man who was lost in a blizzard. And as he was just blindly walking through the snow, blinded by the blizzard, he was becoming tired and weary until he just stumbled and fell and he just felt, I'll lie here for a little while. I just don't have the strength to go on. But as he was lying there, he came to the realization that what caused him to stumble was a body that was lying there being buried in the snow. And so realizing that there was another person there, he picked him up, felt that the pulse was still there, picked him up and started trudging through the snow, carrying now this other person with a superhuman effort and within fifteen feet, he came to the door of a cabin where he was saved. But he came to a very interesting discovery. And that is, in saving this other person, he in reality saved himself.

That's what Paul is saying to Timothy. "Take heed to yourself and to your doctrine, continuing in them for in saving others, you really save yourself." You see, you cannot minister unto others without being ministered to by the Lord. I've often said the best way to learn is to teach because you have to study so much more in order to be able to give out that in teaching a subject, you really learn the subject thoroughly. And the best way to learn is to teach. The best way to develop is to give. To give out. "Take heed to yourself and to your doctrine." Continue in them for in saving others, in reaching out to others, you'll find that it will be your own salvation. It will be your own enrichment. It will be to your own blessing, strengthening in the things of the Lord.

Father, as Your Holy Spirit has again tonight caused us to look in the mirror, to see the truth, to face the reality of what we are, help us, Lord, not to be so foolish as to just go away and forget what we saw. But Lord, I pray tonight that there might be within our heart that renewed commitment to the things of the Lord. Things of the Spirit. Lord, we know that we are in the last days. Many have departed from the faith. Have been caught up with these seducing spirits, following after the flesh, turning away from the things of God. Being drawn into the things of the world. God, help us in these days to be like You. God, give to us a renewed experience in the Spirit that we might walk in the Spirit and live in the Spirit and be led of the Spirit. A new sense, Lord, of spiritual values. The examination of our priorities, our energies going into those things that are going to fail and those things that are going to crumble and those things that are going to be reduced to ashes while we neglect the eternal. Physically fit but spiritually bankrupt. God, may that not be our case. Renew our hearts in the things of the Spirit, our walk and life with Thee. In Jesus' name, Father, Amen.

May the Lord be with you to guide and direct you this week in the path of righteousness for His name's sake. May you be empowered by the Holy Spirit that you might be blameless, walking in love, walking in the things of the Spirit. A witness to the world around. An example of what the believer ought to be. Bringing glory unto God through your commitment to Jesus Christ. God help you in these last days to stand strong. Stand firm. Giving heed to things of the Spirit, the doctrine, saving others, saving yourself. In Jesus' name. "

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.