1 Timothy 4

1 Timothy 4

Some Will Depart from the Faith

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

A Good Servant of Christ Jesus

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.


1 Timothy 4 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Expect turmoil. Expect opposition. Expect deception.

These are the difficult expectations Paul lays out to Timothy and the church. His choice of language is certain. He doesn’t write that some might depart, but that they will. They will be deceived. They will have seared consciences. These are future actions we should fully anticipate as believers.

Why is it important we know this? Paul answers this question in verses 6-8,

If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished by the words of the faith and the good teaching that you have followed.  7  But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness,  8  for the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

1 Timothy 4:6-8 HCSB

First, if you stand up for the truth of God, you will validate your identity as a servant of Jesus Christ. Often, this is difficult because we want to try and live in peace with everyone. Paul’s warning prepares us for such times. There will be attacks that feel like the mother of all storms. People who have turned away from Christ may backstab us. Friends and family may embrace false teaching and even take a stand against us personally.

But Paul calls us to stand firm on the words of faith and the good teaching we have learned.

The second reason for being prepared is because we must be ready to cut ourselves off from divisive people and their silly tactics. This is not a decision we should take lightly. It is also not a decision we should justify simply because we don’t like someone. Paul urges us at different times to bear with others as well as cut them off. What is the breaking point?

I believe Scripture teaches that the breaking point is when the Gospel is being changed and people are being deceived. In Philippians, Paul acknowledges that others are preaching Christ out of selfish ambition, but he chooses to focus on the positive – they are preaching Christ. On the other hand, Paul came out swinging against those who were trying to unhinge true believers from Christ by preaching a different Gospel. This is the key.

Ascetic legalism seems to be what Paul is tackling in 1 Timothy 4, but for centuries the church has battled the deceptive doctrines of the enemy.

We must be prepared for it. We must stand up for truth. We must be ready to have nothing to do with deceivers. And finally, we must train ourselves up in godliness so we have the discernment to know when these attacks come!

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