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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament

1 Timothy 4

Verse 1


The Spirit says. “Although the church supports the truth by preserving the secret of our religion in the world, the Spirit revealed to me and to others who are inspired, that apostasy will take place in the church itself. In fact, this is going on right now (2 Thessalonians 2:7).” It was “standard practice” for a prophet to speak out against the sin and sinners of his own time, in the form of a prediction. See also 2 Tim. ch 3; Acts 20:29-30 and notes. Lying spirits. Those who falsely claim to speak by inspiration. See note on 1 Corinthians 12:3. Teachings of demons. This may mean: (1) worship of the dead, evil spirits, and angels (one manuscript adds to this verse: ‘For they will be worshipers of the dead, as in Israel also they were worshiped’); (2) evil spirits will themselves “think up” the false teachings and give them to men.

Verse 2


These teachings come from. The great mass of mankind are merely deceived, and can be taught the truth of God. But these men are active agents of the Devil. This is examined in notes on Rev. ch 13. “These teachings which I am about to mention, come from men who are liars. As hypocrites, they pretend to be very holy and humble. But unlike the pagans who have an active conscience (Romans 2:15), these have a dead conscience and are amoral. But you will be able to recognize them by the way they act (Matthew 7:15-20).”

Verse 3


Wrong to marry. Even Paul taught that marriage was sometimes not the best answer (1 Corinthians 7:26), but these will teach that marriage is wrong in itself. This false idea was very quickly introduced into the church by some who claimed marriage was the invention of the evil god (Satan). They said it was sinful to bring children into this world to be unhappy and to eventually die. Out of this grew the idea that only celibacy is holy. The worship of demons and the forbidding of marriage go hand in hand. To eat certain foods. With Greek thought viewing the body as “evil and anti-spiritual,” it was easy to misuse such scriptures as Romans 8:13. These false teachers said it was “holy” to deny your body the better grade of food. They generally prohibited either all meats or certain kinds, and some lived on bread and water. These things are still found among certain religious communities. But God created these foods. The Devil is not the one who is the Creator!!! False teachers were saying that the evil god (Satan) created the world and all that is in it. Some who claim to be Christians show by their actions that this is what they believe! Truth tells us that God is the Creator, and He created these foods to be eaten so that our physical bodies may preserve their measure of health.

Verse 4


Everything. This points back to Genesis 1:31. See what Jesus said in Matthew 15:10-20. This shows that all dietary rules have been repealed, especially those of the Law.

Verse 5


Because. See how Paul applied this in his own actions (Acts 27:35). [There was a closer association in the minds of the early Christians between the ordinary act of eating and the Lord’s Supper (Holy Meal), than of us today. They still ate the Supper in the context of a meal (Acts 20:7 note). Compare John 21:11-13.] Make it acceptable. “The word of God (Acts 10:15) and your prayer of thanks make it acceptable. God uses this food to bless you. And even though I did not mention it, this same logic applies to marriage, which God himself also created to bless you.”

Verse 6


These instructions. “You must teach the truth about these things I have just mentioned, to warn the brothers about the false things that some will teach.” As you feed yourself spiritually. “If you are to be a good servant of Christ, you must feed yourself spiritually, as you did in the past (2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:15). Christian growth is vital (Hebrews 6:1-3), both to yourself and to those whom you must teach!”

Verse 7


But keep away from. “Some things appear to have wisdom (Colossians 2:20-23), but in truth they may be destructive. Those godless legends (1 Timothy 1:3-4) are an example of what I mean. These things actually IMPEACH the goodness of the Creator, and so turn many away from Him!” Keep yourself in training. True Christian asceticism is not essentially of the body, although the human body is the means by which the spiritual nature is stirred and influenced. Compare 1 Timothy 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 9:27.

Verse 8


But spiritual exercise. The Greeks spent a lot of time training and developing their bodies for the Games. In this same way, Christians are to think of themselves as in training for Eternity! [MacKnight thinks this may mean: “The false humility and severe treatment of the body seems wise, but it has no real value.”]

Verse 9


This is a true saying. What he just said in 1 Timothy 4:8.

Verse 10


That is why. Paul examines this in 2 Corinthians 6:1-10. Neither physical exercise, nor severe treatment of the body, nor animal sacrifice, nor the power of any idol – can make you happy, either here or in Eternity!!! Note that eternal life begins NOW, in this present world, for those who love God! Compare John 10:10.

Verse 11


Command. In the point of time, you first teach, and then command. This command must refer to basics which have been accepted, but are in danger of being forgotten. “Timothy, there will be times when you must speak out with the authority you have as an evangelist. Silent example or mild suggestion may not be enough.” For an example, see the Lord’s warning to Ephesus in Revelation 2:4-5 and notes.

Verse 12


Do not let. “Do not let anyone ignore what you say just because you are young. Use your authority, which belongs to the rank of an evangelist.” Timothy was probably in his early thirties, but the first century worshiped age. Anyone under fifty years old was “just a kid.” Compare John 8:57. The church leaders were probably all older than he was, and there was a real danger that they (or the false teachers especially) would look down on him. But be an example. “Your life should be good enough to set a pattern for others.”

Verse 13


To the public reading. Since the printing-press had not yet been invented, books were hand-made and scarce. Public reading of the Scriptures was an important part of the church meeting.

Verse 14


Do not neglect. “Do not fail to make use of the spiritual gift that you received when I laid my hands on you (2 Timothy 1:6), at the time you were publicly identified as an evangelist of the Good News.” Compare notes on Acts 13:1-3; Acts 16:1-3.

Verse 15


Practice these things. The preacher, and every Christian as well, must practice what they preach if they expect to succeed in their life as a Christian. Compare Ephesians 4:13-16.

Verse 16


Both yourself and those who hear you. This is the special honor and reward of those who are servants of God! Compare Ezekiel 33:9; Romans 10:14-17.

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Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.