1 Timothy 4

1 Timothy 4:1

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

Some will fall away from the faith. To fall from the faith is to fall from grace (Gal. 5:4). Such a person is no longer trusting in the grace of God but is relying on their own efforts. They have lost their way, but not their salvation. See entry for Eternal Security.

1 Timothy 4:2

by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,

Seared in their own conscience. Because they consistently ignored the inner witness of their conscience, their conscience has been rendered mute. To quote the Passion Translation, “Their consciences won’t bother them at all!”

1 Timothy 4:5

for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

The word of God i

(a) Sanctified. When we live, work, eat, and marry prayerfully and in accordance with God’s will, we live sanctified lives. We are not sanctified because we do these things; we are sanctified by the sacrifice of the Lamb (Heb. 10:10). But we sanctify our conduct. See also Titus 2:5.

(b) The word of God is the revealed will of God. See entry for Word of God.

1 Timothy 4:6

In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.

Constantly nourished on the words of the faith. Feed yourself and others on the good news of Jesus. We have been called to preach the gospel of Jesus because nothing else can feed our faith.

1 Timothy 4:10

For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

(a) The Savior of all men. Jesus is not merely the Jewish Messiah, but the Gentile Messiah and the Savior of the whole world (1 John 4:14). On the cross, Jesus did not carry only the sins of the Jews. He bore all our sins.

(b) Especially of believers. Jesus is the Savior of the world, especially those who believe and are, in fact, saved.

1 Timothy 4:13

Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.

Teaching. The gift of teaching is the ability to reveal Jesus the Living Word of God (Acts 4:2, 13:12, 15:35, 18:11, 28:31, Col. 3:16). Teaching also includes the ability to unpack the scriptures (Acts 2:42).

1 Timothy 4:14

Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.

(a) Neglect. God gives all of us spiritual gifts of one kind or another and they are meant to be used. If you have been gifted to teach, then teach. Don’t allow timidity or prejudice diminish the gift or gifts God has given you.

(b) Spiritual gift. According to Eusebius the church historian, Timothy was a shepherd or pastor of the church at Ephesus. Paul recognized that Timothy was gifted to teach and refute those who taught bad doctrine (1 Tim. 1:3).

(c) Gift. The original word (charisma) is related to the word for grace (charis). Spiritual gifts are bestowed freely and cannot be earned.

(d) Bestowed. Timothy’s gift was activated when the elders (presbuterion) laid hands on him and prayed for him.

1 Timothy 4:16

Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

(a) Pay close attention to yourself. In other words, “Don’t neglect your spiritual health. Keep doing what you’re doing and don’t get distracted.” Timothy was a gifted leader responsible for the public reading of scripture and other things that leaders do.

(b) You will ensure salvation. Other translations have “you will save both yourself and your hearers,” which is an odd turn of phrase. Timothy can’t save anyone. Only “God is the Savior of all” (see verse 10). But in exercising his gift as a preacher of the gospel, Timothy can bring salvation to others. Put this verse next to verse 14 and Paul is saying “do not neglect the spiritual gift within you and the result will be the salvation of others.”

(c) Salvation for yourself and for those who hear you. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Don’t neglect the gift within you. God’s grace for you isn’t solely for your own benefit; it’s meant to be shared with others.

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