Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 4

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

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Verses 1-16

Various Directions and Exhortations

1-10. A return to, and emphatic reiteration of, the first charge to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:3-20) against heterodoxy and in favour of true godliness. This form of heterodoxy which he would have to oppose was an asceticism which taught that there was merit in abstaining from meats, and forbade conjugal intercourse as on a lower moral level than celibacy.

1. The Spirit speaketh (RV ’saith’)] possibly in some definite prophecy of OT., or of our Lord, or of the Apostles, but more probably in the general prophetic testimony of the Church, and particularly in the present and former words of St. Paul himself (cp. Acts 20:29). In the latter times] RV ’in later times.’

2. Seared] RV ’branded.’ Their consciences were not made incapable of feeling, but false principles were burnt into them.

3. From meats] cp. Colossians 2:16.;

4. If we partake of food and accept other such blessings with gratitude to the Giver, which naturally shows itself in words of thanksgiving, that food and those blessings are thereby hallowed to us; so that it is not only a mistake, but a sin, to refuse them.

6. Minister] The word diaconus is still used in its general sense (cp. Ephesians 3:7) as well as specifically (1 Timothy 3:8).

7. Old wives’ fables] such as those which are recorded in the apocryphal books of the 2nd cent., and became the mythology of the Middle Ages.

8. We are to train the body and exercise self-denial, which will help us to control our lower nature, and is often necessary to be practised that we may help others. It is ’profitable for a little’ (RV)—that is, up to a certain point—as it is a help towards, and a part of, piety; but it does not lay up merit for us, and it does not procure for us the blessedness which is the promised result of piety in this and in the future life.

9. This v. is parenthetical.

There was a Christian ’saying, the Apostle reminds Timothy, to the same effect as what he had written in the last verse.

10. For] This word refers us back to the promise of the future life in 1 Timothy 4:8: ’For,’ says the Apostle, ’it is in hope of the future salvation, offered by God to all and attained by believers, that we bear toil and suffering.’

11-16. Sixth charge to Timothy—personal to himself.

12. Thy youth] Timothy was probably at this time between 35 and 40—an early age to be placed over other presbyters, all of whom were comparatively elderly men, as St. Paul’s deputy. St. Paul was called a young man when his age was about the same (Acts 7:58).

13. Reading.. exhortation.. doctrine] i.e. the public reading of Scripture in church and sermons hortative and doctrinal.

14. By prophecy] through the medium of prophecy: cp. Acts 13:1-2 for a parallel. This is a second reference to Timothy’s ordination, and we see that in it the ’prophets’ (preachers), presbyters, and St. Paul took part (1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 1:6). It is probably owing to this precedent that the presbytery alone, or in association with the bishop, according to the form of Church polity in use, has to do with laying hands on a presbyter at his ordination.

16. Thou shalt.. save] i.e. be the salvation of, or the means of, saving.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.