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Bible Commentaries

Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Timothy 4

Verse 1

1 Timothy 4:1 . Δὲ , [ now ] but ) The antithesis is between ἑδραίωμα , the ground , ch. 1 Timothy 3:15 , and ἀποστήσονται , shall depart or fall away; as also between “the mystery of godliness,” and “the mystery of iniquity,” of which the apostle speaks here by description, and by name at 2 Thessalonians 2:7 . ῥητῶς ) expressly , as of a thing of great importance, which will speedily come to pass, in a set form of words . λέγει , speaketh ) by the prophets in the time of Paul, or by Paul himself, who also was a prophet; hence he says, “This know ,” 2 Timothy 3:1 . ἐν ὑστέροις καιροῖς , in the last times ) Paul shows that these times , following after the ascension of the Lord, ch. 1 Timothy 3:16 , were then already in existence, inasmuch as he uses a present remedy for the then existing evil, 1 Timothy 4:5-6 ; comp. 2 Timothy 3:1 , et seqq. ὑστέρος is used comparatively ( latter ), for ὕστατος expresses a different idea ( the last times of all). ἀποστήσονταί τινες τῆς πίστεως , some shall depart , or fall away, from the faith ) Comp. 2 Timothy 2:18 ; shall depart , viz. by denying what is true and adding what is false. τινἑς ) some, i.e. many, and gradually more; Romans 3:3 , note. [28] Their names are not mentioned. There are not wanting those who suspect the person meant to be Apollonius Tyanæus, who came to Ephesus in the lifetime of Timothy. They do not deserve well at the hands of the truth, who too much extenuate the heretical doctrines of the first century. τῆς πίστεως , from the faith ) which in all its exactness maintains Divine revelation, 1 Timothy 4:6 , [ and of which the foundation was a little ago described ( 1Ti 3:15-16 ). V. g.] πνεύμασι πλάνοις καὶ διδασκαλίαις δαιμονίων , seducing spirits and doctrines of demons ) Seducing spirits are those who speak by false prophets, and are called spirits , not only in respect of their own nature, but because they inspire [29] (with their deceit) these false prophets; therefore the word spirits is parallel to doctrines [not to demons ]. Δαιμονίων , of demons , is the genitive of the cause (the source from which the doctrines flow). Δαιμόνιν is often taken in a good sense by the Greeks; for example, by the Athenians, Acts 17:18 : but with the LXX. interpreters and the apostles, it always denotes evil spirits.

[28] Some , for many . An Euphemism. And moreover unbelievers, though they be many, are spoken of as some , indefinitely, because they are not much taken into account. ED.

[29] The use of spirant in connection with spiritus , cannot be imitated in a translation. TRANSL.

Verse 2

1 Timothy 4:2 . Ἐν ὑποκρίσει ψευδολόγων , [Engl. Vers. speaking lies in hypocrisy ] through the hypocrisy of liars ) This is construed with they shall fall away , or depart . That hypocrisy , which is the characteristic of liars , shall carry them away. Τινὲς , some , viz. they , are the seduced; the liars are the seducers, ψευδολόγων , the genitive, depends solely on ὑποκρίσει . The expression, of liars , implies a relation to others, and therefore the antithesis is in ἰδίαν , their own conscience. κεκαυτηριασμένων τὴν ἰδίαν συνείδησιν , having their own conscience seared with a hot iron ) As faith and a good conscience are joined in ch. 1 Timothy 1:5 (where see the note [30] ), so, hypocrisy ( i.e. unbelief , Matthew 24:51 , note [31] ) and a depraved conscience in this passage; where, on the contrary, ‘faith’ and “the knowledge of the truth,” and ‘thanksgiving’ (1 Timothy 4:3 ; 1Ti 4:6 ), are presently after commended. The medical use of cautery is for the purpose of curing; here, therefore, a different use is denoted, it is for the purpose of branding men as infamous. Those who are αὐτοκατάκριτοι , condemned of themselves , are here intended, Titus 3:11 ; those who are infamous of themselves in their own conscience, which is branded with spots (scars) of deceit; having a conscience not good and pure, because they have cast it from them, but μεμιασμένην , polluted . For so, in Titus 1:15 , those seared as with a hot iron here, are described by the expression, their conscience is defiled; just as liars ( ψευδόλογοι ) here, are described by the words there, their mind is defiled . Καυτὴρ , a branding iron , denotes the same thing, in a bad sense, as σφραγὶς , a seal , in a good sense, 2 Timothy 2:19 ; although Macarius uses both words in a good sense, concerning the flock of Christ, Homil. xii. § 13. Plato, in Gorgias, speaks of “the soul marked with stripes ( διαμεμαστιγωμένην ) and covered with scars ( οὐλῶν μεστὴν ), in consequence of perjury and iniquity, which every man’s own conduct has deeply impressed ( ἐξωμόρξατο ) upon his soul.” Claudian says, “Why do you foolishly deny what is manifest? lo! branded spots disfigure the breast.” [32] τὴν ἰδίαν , their own ) while, however, they urge others.

[30] Faith is as the precious liquor, a good conscience as clean glass. Faith is towards God; conscience, towards one’s self. ED.

[31] In Matthew 24:5 , “Shall appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; ” in Luke 12:46 , “with the unbelievers .” The two are therefore akin. ED.

[32] “Quid demens manifesta negas? En pectus inustæ Deformant maculæ.”

Verse 3

1 Timothy 4:3 . Κωλυόντων γαμεῖν , ἀπέχεσθαι βρωμάτων , forbidding to marry to abstain from meats ) The hypocritical appearance of false doctrines, very austere and plausible, which gains a show for all the rest of their dogmas (giving colour to them in the eyes of the dupes), is here expressed: comp. Colossians 2:23 . Explain the sense by analysis thus, commanding, not to marry, to abstain from meats . Κωλύω is the same as I command, that not, not to. To marry and to abstain are construed with commanding; the negative belongs only to the expression, to marry . Pricæus has pointed out examples of this Zeugma, of which examples that of Chrysostom corresponds most nearly to the present instance: Ταῦτα λέγω , οὐ κηδωύειν κωλύων , ἀλλὰ μετὰ συμμετρίας τοῦτο ποιεῖν , “I mention these things, not forbidding you to take care, but desiring you to do this only in due measure.” Paul refutes the more specious error respecting meats . He considers it enough here merely to mention that respecting marriage (unless the ἅ , which , that follows, is to be referred to this also), and he refutes it also below, ch. 1 Timothy 5:14 . βρωμάτων , meats ) They shall not forbid all kinds of meats (therefore the article is not added); for who would listen to such prohibitions? therefore it is only some kinds that they forbid. Also it is implied here, that he who forbids even one kind does a wrong to his Creator and to believers. The old heresies are chiefly denoted; but their remains, however, have come down to those who pride themselves on antiquity. τοῖς ) the Dative, as the Hebrew ל , signifies, so far as concerns believers. For God hath created meats, even for those who are without faith and do not give thanks. Paul turns away from them who are without faith and the ‘knowledge of the truth, and leaves them, as it were, to themselves; he declares that he is speaking of believers. πιστοῖς καὶ ἐπεγνωκόσι , to them who believe and have known) The words are synonymous. The second synonym, knowing the truth, gives occasion for presently declaring the truth, ὅτι πᾶν , κ . τ . λ ., and forms a more express antithesis to lying, ψωῦδος , which is contained in ψευδολόγων , 1 Timothy 4:2 . τὴν ἀλήθειαν , the truth) This is explained in the following verse.

Verse 4

1 Timothy 4:4 . Καλὸν , good ) Genesis 1:0 καὶ , and ) The particle connects the two propositions, of which the second has this subject, every thing which is received with thanksgiving; the predicate, is not to be refused . μετὰ ευχαριστίας , with thanksgiving ) This includes a good conscience. Romans 14:6 , “He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks .”

Verse 5

1 Timothy 4:5 . Ἁγιάζεται , is sanctified ) Leviticus 19:24 . διὰ λόγου Θεοῦ , by the word of God ) The word of God enters into all thanksgiving , nay, also into the creation and granting of meats. καὶ ἐντεύξεως , and intercessory [or consecratory ] prayer ) It is the duty of the children of God to offer intercessory [ch. 1 Timothy 2:1 ; or consecratory ] prayer for the creatures which they use. It is a high dignity. Not only Christians, but also Jews and Heathens, consecrated the table with prayer.

Verse 6

1 Timothy 4:6 . Ὑποτιθέμενος ) bringing under the notice, suggesting mildly. Eustathius says, νοεῖν on the one hand implies perceiving at once and spontaneously; ὑποθέσθαι , on the other, to cause to perceive, by admonition . καλὸς διάκυνος , a good minister ) 2 Timothy 2:15 . ἐιτρεφόμενος ) The present combined with reference to the preterite, nourished up , 2 Timothy 1:5 ; 2 Timothy 3:15 . Continued nourishment . τῆς πίστεως , of the faith ) in thy behalf [for thine own good]. τῆς καλῆς διδασκαλίας , of good doctrine ) in behalf of others [for the good of others]. ᾗ παρηκολοὑθηκας ) which thou hast commenced (undertaken) to follow up ( i.e. in all its details). Concerning this word, see Luke 1:3 , note.

Verse 7

1 Timothy 4:7 . Βεβήλους , profane ) The antithesis presently follows, godliness . Whatever is not profitable to this godliness, though specious, is profane, 2 Timothy 2:16 . [33] μὑθους , fables ) The antithesis is faithful , 1 Timothy 4:9 . παραιτοῦ ) refuse , reject them, so as not to suggest them to the brethren . γύμναζε δὲ σεαυτὸν , but exercise thyself ) A rare expression (as 1Jn 5:21 [34] ) for γυμνάζου ; comp. Notes on Chrys. de Sacerd., p. 393. Paul had been accustomed to ‘exercise’ Timothy when present with him; he now commands Timothy to be a Paul to himself.

[33] Καὶ γραώδεις , and old wives ’) Both old wives ’ fables and youthful lusts are equally to be avoided, 2 Timothy 2:22 . V. g.

[34] The active verb with the reciprocal pronoun ( φυλάξατε ἑαυτοὺς , keep yourselves from idols), is elegantly used as expressing more than φυλάξασθε , Be on your guard . ED.

Verse 8

1 Timothy 4:8 . Ἡ σωματικὴ γυμνασία , bodily exercise ) and that, whether violent or pleasant. πρὸς ὀλίγον , is profitable to but a short extent ) viz. its benefit extends only to the private fortune, to one’s reputation, to one’s enjoyment, to the promotion of long life; and therefore it is terminated in this life of the body . Timothy, as a young man, seems to have sometimes used some bodily exercise [ch. 1Ti 5:23 ], which Paul does not so much forbid as not praise. He mixes up a similar admonition, salutary to a young man, with the same argument against profane doctrines, 2 Timothy 2:22 . πρὸς πάντα , unto all things ) in the case of body and soul. ἐπαγγελίαν , promise ) on which hope (‘trust’) is brought to bear, 1 Timothy 4:10 . Whatever does not serve this purpose is scarcely profitable . ζωῆς τῆς νῦν , of the life that now is ) the advantage of which they who exercise the body seem in other respects to consult.

Verse 9

1 Timothy 4:9 . Πιστὸς , faithful ) The following verse is joined to this short preface by the for , as in 2 Timothy 2:11 . Godly men appear often to suffer loss with respect to the enjoyment of the present life. Paul refutes this notion.

Verse 10

1 Timothy 4:10 . Εἰς τοῦτο , it is with a view to this , that) on this account, for this end, with this hope. καὶ κοπιῶμεν καὶ ὁνειδιζόμεθα , we both labour and suffer reproach ) despising the advantages and aids (safeguards against suffering) of this life: ὀνειδιζόμεθα , in the Middle voice [we suffer ourselves to be reproached]. ἠλπίκαμεν , we have hoped ) we have placed (rested) our hope , viz. for the future, despising present things. ζῶντι , living ) who will also give life to us, 1 Timothy 4:8 ; 2 Timothy 2:18 . πάντων ἀνθρώπων , μάλιστα πιστῶν , of all men, especially of those that believe ) Paul shows that he, and men like him, hope for a double salvation from God: salvation [or safety] in this life , for God saves [or else preserves ] all men (nay, even He wishes all men to have salvation for ever): as also, what is of greater consequence , in the life that is to come , for He especially saves [or preserves] them that believe, who even in this life also experience greater protection, on account of their greater temptation. μάλιστα , most of all ) There lies hid beneath this word the strength of the argument from the less to the greater. [35]

[35] If God saves, in a sense, even the ungodly; a fortiori, the godly. ED.

Verse 11

1 Timothy 4:11 . [37] Ταῦτα ) these things , dismissing all other things.

[37] Πιστῶν , of believers ) who place their hope in the living God. V. g.

Verse 12

1 Timothy 4:12 . Μηδεὶς , no man ) Conduct thyself so, that no one can despise thee on the ground of being a young man. Worthless old men are glad to do so. τύπος , a type, an example ) The way of obtaining true authority. ἐν λόγῳ , in word ) public and private. ἐν ἀναστροφῇ ) in daily intercourse or conversation . ἐν ἀγάτἐν πνεύματι , in love in the Spirit ) 2 Corinthians 6:6 , note. [38] ἐν πίστει , in faith ) Faith, considered apart from its office in justification, enters often into the middle of an enumeration of this kind, and denotes sincerity of the mind trusting in God, in prosperity and adversity: ch. 1 Timothy 6:11 ; 2 Timothy 2:22 : comp. Galatians 5:22 , which passage has faith likewise in the middle of the enumeration. ἐν ἁγνείᾳ , in purity ) ch. 1 Timothy 5:2 .

[38] “By the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned.” Love follows immediately after mention of the Spirit , as being its principal fruit, and that which governs the use of spiritual gifts. ED.

Verse 13

1 Timothy 4:13 . Τῇ ἀναγνώσει , to reading ) of the Sacred Scripture in the Church. To this are added two principal genera: exhortation , which refers to conduct; and doctrine , which refers to knowledge; ch. 1 Timothy 6:2 , at the end; Romans 12:7-8 .

Verse 14

1 Timothy 4:14 . Μὴ ἀμέλει , do not neglect ) They neglect , who do not exercise the gift, and who think that they cannot fall away. χαρίσματος , the gift ) 2 Timothy 1:6 . διὰ προφητείας μετὰ ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν τοῦ πρεσβυτερίου , by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands [viz. by prophecy] of the presbytery ) Construe the prophecy of the presbytery . For Paul laid his hands on Timothy, 2 Timothy 1:6 ; i.e. the presbytery consisted of Paul himself (comp. 2 John 1:1 ; 1Pe 5:1 ) and Silas, or others also. Many Latin copies have presbyteri , “of the presbyter.” The imposition of the hand is properly done by one person, and that, too, a person more dignified. But prophecy was also exercised by equals, viz. by more than one, who, while Paul was laying his hands on Timothy, were offering congratulations, and augured every good thing; perhaps even in the absence of Timothy. This is an energetic young man, they said; God will do much good by him.

Verse 15

1 Timothy 4:15 . Μελέτα , meditate ) Μελετᾷν is also applied to the gymnastic exercises; comp. 1 Timothy 4:7 , γὐμναζε σεαυτόν . Let this, he says, be thy study . He directed Timothy to continue in the same study when he was further advanced in life, Ephesians 2:0 , ch. 1 Timothy 3:14 , etc. Who would not desire to be engrossed with the same study as Ions: as he lives? There are vicissitudes in all other studies; some are the fashion to-day, others will be the custom tomorrow. The one study which is devoted to (bestowed upon) Sacred Scripture never seems to be very conspicuous, but at the same time it alone never becomes obsolete. It has an everlasting kingdom, without tyranny and superstitious fascination, a solid reward, an use which will cause no regret. ἐν τούτοις ἴσθι , give thyself wholly to them ) He who gives himself wholly to them, will be less in worldly boon-companionships (convivialities); he will less engage in the study of other things, in collecting books, shells, coins, in which many pastors, unawares, waste a considerable part of their life. προκοπὴ , profiting ) which is maintained by exercise.

Verse 16

1 Timothy 4:16 . Ἔπεχε , take heed ) Hesychius has the following: ἔπε ε , ἐπίκεισο , πρόσεχε , κάτεχε , ἐπίμενε ; Job 18:2 , תבינו , ἐπίσχες , give heed, ‘mark;’ and so, often the son of Sirach. αὐτοῖς , to them) Refer this to ταῦτα , these things, 1 Timothy 4:15 ; or to what follows ( τοὺς ἀκούοντάς σου ), i.e. (continually attend) to them that hear thee. σώσεις , thou shalt save) viz. so as not to be seduced 1 Timothy 4:1 . τοὺς ἀκούοντας , them that hear) with obedience.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.