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Bible Commentaries

Gray's Concise Bible Commentary

1 Timothy 4

Verses 1-16


In 1 Timothy 4:1-54.4.6 these false teachers are foretold and described. At what period are they to appear? Notice that this agrees with Paul’s teachings to the Thessalonians about the apostasy. It also has a bearing upon the current question as to whether the world is growing better or worse. That question is too vast for mortal to answer, and we can only fall back upon what God says about it. In this and in other places, He has told us what to expect as the end of the age draws near, and it is for us to square our understanding and conduct accordingly.

Notice the detail of the Holy Spirit in describing these false teachers. They shall be under what kind of influence (1 Timothy 4:1 )? What two leading tenets of their system are mentioned in 1 Timothy 4:3 ? How does the apostle contradict these teachings in 1 Timothy 4:4-54.4.5 ? Here we need to guard against the disposition to limit the application of this false teaching to Roman Catholicism. Celibacy and abstinence from meat suggest that phase of Christianity, but the teachings of the occult sciences, Christian Science included, enlarge our horizon considerably in estimating what the Holy Spirit meant in this case.

1 Timothy 4:7-54.4.16 , or perhaps beginning at 1 Timothy 4:6 , may be regarded as an exhortation to Timothy himself to that steadfastness and growth in his Christian life and calling so imperative in view of the false teaching he was called upon to combat, the germ of which had already sprung up. How does 1 Timothy 4:7 indicate that, in Paul’s estimation, these heresies were mere “abstract speculations without any connection with the historical realities and practical tendencies of Christianity”? The reference to “bodily exercise” in 1 Timothy 4:8 is interesting. According to many it had reference to the physical abstinence from certain food, from marriage, etc., referred to above, which the heretics commended, but which Paul condemned. According to others, he means the gymnastic exercises so much in vogue with the Greeks, especially the Olympic games. He would have the youth Timothy appreciate that the exercise begins with the inner man.


1. What bearing has this chapter on the questions whether the world is growing better or worse?

2. To what current heresies besides Roman Catholicism may 1 Timothy 4:1-54.4.6 apply?

3. How does Paul feel about these heresies in his day?

4. In what way may the reference to bodily exercise be explained?

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Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. 1897-1910.