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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 4

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

Expressly (ρητως). Late adverb, here alone in N.T., from verbal adjective ρητος (from root ρεω). The reference is to the Holy Spirit, but whether to O.T. prophecy (Acts 1:16) or to some Christian utterance (2 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 14:1) we do not know. Parry recalls the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:10; Matthew 24:24.

In later times (εν υστεροις καιροις). Old adjective (Matthew 21:31) usually as adverb, υστερον (Matthew 4:2). Relative time from the prediction, now coming true (a present danger).

Some shall fall away (αποστησοντα τινες). Future middle of αφιστημ, intransitive use, shall stand off from, to fall away, apostatize (2 Corinthians 12:8).

From the faith (της πιστεως). Ablative case (separation). Not creed, but faith in God through Christ.

Giving heed (προσεχοντες). Supply τον νουν (the mind) as in 1 Timothy 3:8.

Seducing spirits (πνευμασιν πλανοις). Old adjective (πλανη, wandering), here active sense (deceiving). As substantive in 2 Corinthians 6:8. Probably some heathen or the worst of the Gnostics.

Doctrines of devils (διδασκαλιαις δαιμονιων). "Teachings of δαιμονς." Definite explanation of the preceding. Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:20.

Verse 2

Through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies (εν υποκρισε ψευδολογων). For υποκρισις, see Galatians 2:13. Ψευδολογος (ψευδησ, λεγω) Koine word from Aristophanes on. Here only in N.T. "A good classical word for liars on a large scale" (Parry).

Branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron (κεκαυστηριασμενων την ιδιαν συνειδησιν). Accusative case συνειδησιν retained with the perfect passive participle of καυστηριαζω, a rare verb only here and once in Strabo. Branded with the mark of Satan (2 Timothy 2:26) as Paul was with the marks of Christ (Galatians 6:17). Agreeing in case with ψευδολογων.

Verse 3

Forbidding to marry (κωλυοντων γαμειν). Present active participle of common verb κωλυω, to hinder, genitive case agreeing with ψευδολογων. See Colossians 2:16; Colossians 2:21, where Paul condemns the ascetic practices of the Gnostics. The Essenes, Therapeutae and other oriental sects forbade marriage. In 1 Timothy 4:1 Paul does not condemn marriage.

To abstain from meats (απεχεσθα βρωματων). Infinitive dependent, not on κωλυοντων, but on the positive idea κελευοντων (implied, not expressed). Ablative case of βρωματων after απεχεσθα (present direct middle, to hold oneself away from). See 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Timothy 4:15 for disputes about "meats offered to idols" and Colossians 1:22 for the Gnostic asceticism.

Which God created (α ο θεος εκτισεν). First active indicative of κτιζω (Colossians 1:16). Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:25.

To be received (εις μεταλημψιν). "For reception." Old word, only here in N.T.

By them that believe and know (τοις πιστοις κα επεγνωκοσ). Dative case, "for the believers and those who (one article unites closely) have known fully" (perfect active participle of επιγινωσκω), a Pauline use of the word (Colossians 1:6).

Verse 4

Creature (κτισμα). Late word from κτιζω, result of creating. See Genesis 1:31; Mark 7:15; Romans 14:14 for the idea stated.

To be rejected (αποβλητον). Old verbal adjective in passive sense from αποβαλλω, to throw away, here only in N.T.

If it be received (λαμβανομενον). "Being received." Present passive participle of λαμβανω, in conditional sense, "with thanksgiving."

Verse 5

It is sanctified (αγιαζετα). Present passive indicative of αγιαζω, here "rendered holy" rather than "declared holy." Cf. verse 1 Timothy 4:4.

Through the word of God and prayers (δια λογου θεου κα εντευξεως). See 1 Timothy 2:1 for εντευξις. Paul seems to refer to Genesis 1. It is almost a hendiadys "by the use of Scripture in prayer."

Verse 6

If thou put the brethren in mind of these things (ταυτα υποτιθεμενος τοις αδελφοις). Present middle participle of υποτιθημ, to place under, to suggest, old and common verb, here only in N.T., "suggesting these things to the brethren."

Thou shalt be a good minister of Christ Jesus (καλος εση διακονος Χριστου Ιησου). This beautiful phrase covers one's whole service for Christ (1 Timothy 3:1-7).

Nourished in (εντρεφομενος). Present passive participle of εντρεφω, old verb, to nourish in, used by Plato of "nourished in the laws," here only in the N.T.

The words of the faith (τοις λογοις της πιστεως). Locative case. The right diet for babes in Christ. The Bolshevists in Russia are feeding the children on atheism to get rid of God.

Which thou hast followed (η παρηκολουθηκας). Perfect active indicative of παρακολουθεω, old verb, to follow beside, of persons (often in old Greek) or of ideas and things (Luke 1:3; 1 Timothy 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:10). With associative instrumental case η (which).

Verse 7

Refuse (παραιτου). Present middle imperative second person singular of παραιτεω, old verb, to ask of one and then to beg off from one as in Luke 14:18; Acts 25:11; 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 5:11; Titus 3:10; 2 Timothy 2:23.

Profane (βεβηλους). See 1 Timothy 1:9.

Old wives' fables (γραωδεις μυθους). On μυθος, see 1 Timothy 1:4. Γραωδεις, late word (Strabo, Galen) from γραυς, old woman, and ειδος (look, appearance). Such as old women tell to children like the Gnostic aeons.

Exercise thyself (γυμναζε σεαυτον). Present active imperative of γυμναζω, originally to exercise naked (γυμνος). Old and common verb, but in N.T. only here and Hebrews 5:14; Hebrews 12:11.

Verse 8

Bodily exercise (η σωματικη γυμνασια). Γυμνασια (from γυμναζω), also a common old word, here only in N.T. So also σωματικη (from σωμα, body) in N.T. only here and Luke 3:22.

Profitable (ωφελιμος). Another old word (from ωφελεω, to help, to profit), in N.T. only here, Titus 3:8; 2 Timothy 3:16.

For a little (προς ολιγον). "For little." Probably extent in contrast to προς παντα (for all things), though in James 4:14 it is time "for a little while."

Which now is (της νυν). "The now life."

Of that which is to come (της μελλουσης). "Of the coming (future) life."

Verse 9

See 1 Timothy 1:15 for these very words, but here the phrase points to the preceding words, not to the following as there.

Verse 10

To this end (εις τουτο). The godliness (ευσεβεια) of verse 1 Timothy 4:8. See 2 Corinthians 6:10 as Paul's own commentary.

We labour (κοπιωμεν, Colossians 1:29)

and strive (κα αγωνιζομεθα, Colossians 1:29). Both Pauline words.

Because we have set our hope (οτ ελπικαμεν). Perfect active indicative of ελπιζω (Romans 15:12).

Saviour of all men (σωτηρ παντων ανθρωπων). See 1 Timothy 1:1 for σωτηρ applied to God as here. Not that all men "are saved" in the full sense, but God gives life (1 Timothy 6:13) to all (Acts 17:28).

Specially of them that believe (μαλιστα πιστων). Making a distinction in the kinds of salvation meant. "While God is potentially Saviour of all, He is actually Saviour of the πιστο" (White). So Jesus is termed "Saviour of the World" (John 4:42). Cf. Galatians 6:10.

Verse 12

Despise (καταφρονειτω). Imperative active third singular of καταφρονεω, old verb, to think down on, to despise (Romans 2:4).

Thy youth (σου της νεοτητος). Genitive case of old word (from νεος) as in Mark 10:20.

Be thou (γινου). Present middle imperative of γινομα. "Keep on becoming thou."

An ensample (τυπος). Old word from τυπτω, a type. Pauline use of the word (1 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; Philippians 3:17; Titus 2:7).

To them that believe (των πιστων). Objective genitive.

In word (εν λογω). In conversation as well as in public speech.

In manner of life (εν αναστροφη). "In bearing" (Galatians 1:13; Ephesians 4:22).

In purity (εν αγνεια). Old word from αγνευω (αγνος). Sinlessness of life. Used of a Nazirite (Numbers 6:2; Numbers 6:21). Only here and 1 Timothy 5:2 in N.T.

Verse 13

Till I come (εως ερχομα). "While I am coming" (present indicative with εως), not "till I come" (εως ελθω).

Give heed (προσεχε). Present active imperative, supply τον νουν, "keep on putting thy mind on."

The reading (τη αναγνωσε). Old word from αναγινωσκω. See 2 Corinthians 3:14. Probably in particular the public reading of the Scriptures (Acts 13:15), though surely private reading is not to be excluded.

To exhortation (τη παρακλησε),

to teaching (τη διδασκαλια). Two other public functions of the minister. Probably Paul does not mean for the exhortation to precede the instruction, but the reverse in actual public work. Exhortation needs teaching to rest it upon, a hint for preachers today.

Verse 14

Neglect not (μη αμελε). Present active imperative in prohibition of αμελεω, old verb, rare in N.T. (Matthew 22:5; 1 Timothy 4:14; Hebrews 2:3; Hebrews 8:9). From αμελης (α privative and μελε, not to care). Use with genitive.

The gift that is in thee (του εν σο χαρισματος). Late word of result from χαριζομα, in papyri (Preisigke), a regular Pauline word in N.T. (1 Corinthians 1:7; 2 Corinthians 1:11; Romans 1:11; etc.). Here it is God's gift to Timothy as in 2 Timothy 1:6.

By prophecy (δια προφητειας). Accompanied by prophecy (1 Timothy 1:18), not bestowed by prophecy.

With the laying on of the hands of the presbytery (μετα επιθεσεως των χειρων του πρεσβυτεριου). In Acts 13:2, when Barnabas and Saul were formally set apart to the mission campaign (not then ordained as ministers, for they were already that), there was the call of the Spirit and the laying on of hands with prayer. Here again μετα does not express instrument or means, but merely accompaniment. In 2 Timothy 1:6 Paul speaks only of his own laying on of hands, but the rest of the presbytery no doubt did so at the same time and the reference is to this incident. There is no way to tell when and where it was done, whether at Lystra when Timothy joined Paul's party or at Ephesus just before Paul left Timothy there (1 Timothy 1:3). Επιθεσις (φρομ επιτιθημ, to lay upon) is an old word, in LXX, etc. In the N.T. we find it only here, 2 Timothy 1:16; Acts 8:18; Hebrews 6:2, but the verb επιτιθημ with τας χειρας more frequently (Acts 6:6 of the deacons; 1 Timothy 8:19; 1 Timothy 13:3; 1 Timothy 5:22, etc.). Πρεσβυτεριον is a late word (ecclesiastical use also), first for the Jewish Sanhedrin (Luke 22:66; Acts 22:5), then (here only in N.T.) of Christian elders (common in Ignatius), though πρεσβυτερος (elder) for preachers (bishops) is common (Acts 11:30; Acts 15:2; Acts 20:17, etc.).

Verse 15

Be diligent in these things (ταυτα μελετα). Old verb from μελετη (care, practice), present active imperative, "keep on practising these things." In N.T. only here and Acts 4:25.

Give thyself wholly to them (εν τουτοις ισθ). Present imperative second person singular of ειμ, "keep on in these things." Note five uses of εν in verse 1 Timothy 4:12 and three datives in verse 1 Timothy 4:14. Plutarch (Pomp. 656 B) says Caesar was εν τουτοις ("in these things"). It is like our "up to his ears" in work (ιν μεδιας ρες) and sticking to his task.

Thy progress (σου η προκοπη). Koine word from προκοπτω, to cut forward, to blaze the way, in N.T. only here and Philippians 1:12; Philippians 1:25. Paul's concern (purpose, ινα and present subjunctive η of ειμ) is that Timothy's "progress" may be "manifest to all." It is inspiring to see a young preacher grow for then the church will grow with him.

Verse 16

Take heed to thyself (επεχε σεαυτω). Present active imperative of old verb επεχω, to hold upon (Philippians 2:1; Philippians 2:16), but here τον νουν (the mind) must be supplied as in Acts 3:5 and as is common with προσεχω. With dative case σεαυτω. "Keep on paying attention to thyself." Some young preachers are careless about their health and habits. Some are too finical.

And to the teaching (κα τη διδασκαλια). This is important also.

Continue in these things (επιμενε αυτοις). Present active imperative of επιμενω, old and common verb to stay by the side of a person or thing. See Romans 6:1; Colossians 1:23. "Stay by them," "stick to them," "see them through." "Stick to the business of framing your own life and your teaching on right lines" (Parry).

Thou shalt save (σωσεις). Future active of σωζω, effective future, finally save. Cf. 1 Corinthians 9:27; John 10:9.

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/1-timothy-4.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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