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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 4

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

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Verses 1-5

1 Timothy 4:1 to 1 Timothy 6:2 a. The Charge respecting Timothy’ s own Behaviour within the Church.

( a) 1 Timothy 4:1-16 . Timothys Attitude to Error.

1 Timothy 4:1-5 . The False Asceticism.— Despite the greatness of the revelation, however, even within the Church error will arise. Prophets, inspired by the Spirit, foretell an apostasy which will be brought about by men inspired by evil spirits ( cf. 1 John 4:1 ff.) and bearing on their conscience the mark of their master, Satan (contrast Galatians 6:17). Already there flourished outside the Church— e.g. among the Essenes (p. 624 ) and the Therapeutæ , a false asceticism by which marriage and certain foods were regarded as impure. Such conceptions would— and, indeed, in respect to food ( Colossians 2:16), had begun to— invade the Church itself, despite the fact that everything created by God is good ( cf. Mark 7:15, Acts 10:15), if it be consecrated by the scriptural grace pronounced over it by every Christian ( cf. 1 Corinthians 10:30, Romans 14:6).

1 Timothy 4:2 . branded: other interpretations are: ( a) with conscience made non-sensitive (AV), ( b) with the penal branding of criminals.

1 Timothy 4:3 . and commanding, etc.; Hort suspects corruption of the text, and conjectures either “ or to touch” or “ and to take.” Neither form of asceticism in this verse requires a late date for the epistle.

Verses 6-16

1 Timothy 4:6-16 . The Treatment Needed.— Timothy must meet the errors by ( a) personal example ( 1 Timothy 4:6-10) and ( b) diligent teaching ( 1 Timothy 4:11-16).

In combating error he must continually draw his strength from the doctrinal statements hitherto followed by him. The silly myths that are current ( 1 Timothy 1:3-11 *) he must reject. The fully-developed asceticism of 1 Timothy 4:3 lies in the future, but in these fables its principles are already contained. Let him furtner counteract the evil by himself exhibiting the true self-discipline— that which aims at producing piety. For— a reliable truth— while mere bodily self-discipline has only a limited use, piety assures the highest life both now and hereafter. It is to secure this that Christ’ s preachers wage their contest (the metaphor here and in 1 Timothy 4:7 is the same— that of the athletic encounters), their hope set on God, the universal Saviour, and theirs especially who by faith appropriate His salvation. To example let Timothy add appeal and instruction ( 1 Timothy 4:11-16), and this with confidence. He was comparatively young for his post, probably less than forty. But no one must be allowed to despise his “ youth” (a term applicable up to the age of thirty-five, and therefore in this context no mark of a forger). Rather, he must use not only his private example (in conduct and in character), but also his public ministry (the reading of Scripture in church and his sermons, whether of appeal or of instruction);, to stem this evil. Years ago, when he was first set apart as a Christian missionary, he was equipped by the Holy Spirit with special grace for his task. That gift, mediated through prophecy and accompanied by ordination by the local elders, he must never neglect. Diligent attention to his example and teaching will issue in his own and his hearers’ salvation.

1 Timothy 4:13 . reading: i.e. of the OT and probably of apostolic letters (see 1 Thessalonians 5:27, Colossians 4:16).

1 Timothy 4:14 . the gift, etc.: cf. 2 Timothy 1:6. The ordination was doubtless at Lystra, on Timothy’ s being separated for missionary service (Hort, Christian Ecclesia, pp. 181 ff.). Apparently both Paul’ s and the local elders’ hands were laid on Timothy, the former mediating ( 2 Timothy 1:6), the latter accompanying ( 1 Timothy 4:14) the gift. Here, where Timothy’ s authority in the Church is concerned, the elders only are mentioned; there, where Timothy’ s personal relationship with Paul is more prominent, only one apostle. It is important to observe that “ the question is not one of the transference of an office . . . it is the exercise of teaching” (Weiss).

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/1-timothy-4.html. 1919.
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