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Bible Commentaries

Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

1 Timothy 4

Verse 1

In his farewell address to the elders of Ephesus, Paul forewarns them that after his departure grievous wolves shall enter in among them, not sparing the flock, and that also of their own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Acts 20:29-30 . Whatever view may be held respecting the date of the present epistle, it is plain that the apostle here refers to the same corrupt leaders and teachers. But he connects their appearance with that great apostasy foretold in his second epistle to the Thessalonians, chap 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 . Of this these "grevious wolves" were the forerunners. In and through them that "mystery of iniquity" was already working, the full development of which came when he who then hindered was taken out of the way. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 .

From the faith ; from the doctrine of faith in Christ as the only foundation of hope.

Doctrines of devils ; such as Satan tempts men to embrace, as the worshipping of images, praying to the Virgin Mary or departed saints, and relying on external connections and observances for salvation. The errors of popery are a fulfilment of Scripture, having been expressly and clearly foretold by the Holy Spirit. They are therefore conclusive evidence that the Bible is given by inspiration of God.

Verse 2

Speaking lies in hypocrisy ; or, in the hypocrisy of those who speak lies, inculcating on the people as true what they know to be false; such as the power of the priests to forgive sins, the pretended working of miracles by the relics of saints, the liquifying of the blood of St. Januarius, and the weeping of the statue of the Virgin Mary.

Seared with a hot iron ; branded with the marks of their wicked deeds. Their sins are, as it were, burnt in upon their consciences. They are hardened transgressors, who carry about in their own souls the consciousness of their hypocrisy and wickedness, and are indifferent to it. To pretend to be what one is not, and by hypocrisy and lying obtain money, power, and influence awfully blinds the mind, sears the conscience, and hardens the heart.

Verse 3

Forbidding to marry ; as popery forbids the clergy, and induces monks and nuns to take vows of celibacy, declaring, as did the council of Trent, "Whosoever shall say that the married state is to be preferred to a state of virginity or celibacy, let him be accursed." Commanding to abstain from meats ; as popery does during Lent, on fast-days, and days of abstinence. See Butler’s Catechism and Dens’ Theology.

To be received ; for food, and eaten by believers who know the will of God, during Lent as well as at other times.

Verse 4

Every creature ; which God hath made for food is good for food, and not to be abstained from, but to be eaten with gratitude to God the giver.

Verse 5

Sanctified ; made holy to him who partakes of it, so that the use of it cannot defile him.

By the word of God ; ordaining it for man’s use.

Prayer ; which procures from God’s blessing upon it.

Verse 6

These things ; the truths of which he had spoken. To point out the errors of popery and the predictions of the Bible concerning it, and to warn the people against its seductive, demoralizing, and ruinous influence, is the duty of all good ministers of the gospel.

Verse 7

Profane and old wives’ fables ; see note to chap 1 Timothy 1:4 . These fables are in their spirit and influence profane, and in their character absurd and anile.

Verse 8

Bodily exercise ; the discipline of the body by fastings and other austerities, considered as a religious exercise. Godliness is profitable for both worlds; and the man who makes it his great object to do his whole duty, takes the course which is best suited to promote his own highest good.

Verse 10

Saviour of all men ; as preserving all men, and having opened for them a way of salvation, and commanded that it be made known to them, and that they should be entreated to embrace it. 2 Corinthians 5:20 .

Especially of those that believe ; for to them alone does the perfect and everlasting salvation which he has provided for and offered to all men become actual.

Verse 11

Command and teach ; teach all men these truths, and command them, from God, to believe and obey them. As the declarations of God are all true, and his commands good, those who have confidence in him will labor hard, and if need be suffer much to induce others to believe and obey him; knowing that this is the will of God, and that all who comply with it will be saved.

Verse 12

Thy youth ; compare the admonition in the second epistle, "Flee also youthful lusts," chap 2 Timothy 2:22 .

Verse 13

Reading ; of the holy Scriptures. The immediate connection of this word with "exhortation" and "doctrine" seems to show that the public reading of the Scriptures in religious assemblages, after the manner of the Jewish synagogues, is meant. This was of course to be accompanied with the exposition of its meaning.

Verse 14

The gift that is in thee ; the spiritual gift imparted to Timothy by the Holy Ghost.

By prophecy ; in accordance with preceding prophecies, which pointed him out as a man to be inducted into the sacred office. Compare chap 1 Timothy 1:18 .

With the laying on of the hands ; the special gift of the Spirit was given to Timothy, as to others, in connection with the laying on of hands. Acts 8:17 ; Acts 19:6 .

Presbytery ; an assembly of elders or ministers of the gospel.

Verse 16

Unto thyself ; to his own character and conduct.

Doctrine ; the truths which he taught.

In them ; in the belief, teaching, and practice of those truths.

Them that hear ; thy hearers, upon the condition of their obeying the truths taught them. The ability of ministers to do good may, by their own efforts under the blessing of God, be much increased; and it is their duty so to increase it that their progress shall be manifest, and so to devote themselves to their work that they may expect, through grace, to save both themselves and their hearers.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.