The Book of 1 Timothy Bible Study Chapter 4 Part 1

Our next reading is from 1 Timothy 4:1-5

G-d warns us about our enemy. satan wants us destroyed, and he delights in bringing adversity into our lives. If we are not committed to truth, do not walk in faith, and are not obedient to G-d’s revelation, then we are opening ourselves up to his influence and attack. It is only through the truth of G-d, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and us responding to G-d’s will that we are going to experience ultimate victory. 

v1: Spirit: When the Holy Spirit is mentioned in a verse it gives the passage a context of G-d bringing about His order. The Holy Spirit brings G-dly order into our lives. 

  • Expressly says: This word is associated with the word ‘rhema’ which is a proclamation – a spoken word (i.e. this is not referring to the written word, which in Greek is ‘logos’). This word is an action word, and it puts action into what was written down – i.e. it speaks the written word into being. It is a proclamation that will come about (e.g. Gen 1:3, G-d said “let there be”- “and there was”. G-d’s statements become actions). 
  • In latter times: In the last days. In the last days there is going to be a time of transition where the kingdom of this world will give way to the Kingdom of our G-d (the millennial kingdom). There are prophetic indicators and signs, that we are seeing today, that indicate that we are moving closer and closer to this time of transition – a time of great instability (Matt 24:3-14).  
  • Some will depart: 1 John 2:19. The implication is that these people who went out were not true believers – although they professed that they had faith they, in fact, did not. The fact that they are not true believers is manifested (revealed) through their departure. People who are truly saved cannot lose their salvation. When we truly believe we are given ETERNAL life. This is life that can never be lost. People who depart from the faith reveal to us that they were never believers. 
  • Depart: This is made up of two Greek words – ‘apo’ and ‘histemi’. The word ‘apo’ means to stand away from, to leave or to depart – a moving away from what is good towards that which is bad (this is similar to the word found in 2 Thess 2:3 where Paul speaks of a great apostasy or a falling away from the faith. This apostasy is going to be one of the marks/signs that characterise the end times). 
  • The faith: Truth. Faith is about believing the truth of G-d – which is the only truth.
  • Giving heed: Holding on to or giving place to. 
  • Giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons: This is what happens to those who depart from, or who do not walk in, the truth. 
  • Deceiving spirits: Unclean spirits. Giving heed to these spirits impacts their perspective – they are unable to see the truth of G-d clearly, but they see it through a warped or twisted view. 
  • Doctrines of demons: Those who reject G-d’s truth and who depart from it embrace the teachings of demons. The demons want people to implement and apply their teachings to their lives. 

Note: This is a serious warning that Paul is giving to Timothy. Paul wants Timothy to encourage the people to remain faithful to the revelation of G-d. We should not doubt or alter G-d’s Word. Rejecting any of G-d’s Word has serious implications and consequences in our lives. Those who reject truth hinder the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This is a spiritual law. 

v2: Lies: That which is false. They will follow false instructions.

  • Conscience: We need to have a clean conscience (1 Tim 1:19). However, we do not walk according to our conscience, but we walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:16-18). These individuals who have departed from the truth do not have the Holy Spirit to lead them and so need to rely on their conscience. Even their conscience will let them down, as departing from truth has caused it to be impaired. 
  • Seared with a hot iron: A hot iron on human flesh causes the skin to burn and the nerve endings to become damaged. When that burn heals it leaves a scar. That scar has very little to no feeling in it due to nerve damage. This verse is telling us that, just like the burn from the scar, this person’s conscience no longer functions as it was created to function. It has become damaged and impaired. 

Note 1: All people (Jew and Gentile) have been created with a conscience. This conscience helps us to understand, to a certain degree, G-d’s revelation. It can also help us to discern between right and wrong, on a very basic level. Our conscience can lead us into some truth, but it is the Holy Spirit who can lead us into all truth (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit functions in a much more superior way than our conscience.  

Note 2: The word for ‘seared’ is written in the perfect tense and in the passive. The perfect tense indicates that this was true in the past, it is true right now and it will continue to be true into the future. The passive voice indicates that this is not what this person actively did to themselves. It is something that was done to them – something acted upon them from outside of themselves (i.e. the influence of deceiving spirits and the doctrines of demons). Departing from truth places people in a very dangerous location. Do not compromise or be careless with the Word of G-d. Remain in the truth!

v3: Note: Paul is instructing Timothy that these are things that are going to characterize the last days (1 Tim 4:1). This means that we should not look back into history to see if we can identify when this happened. It has not yet happened and is still a future event (as at this writing). 

  • Forbidding: A word that implies that a degree of control is exerted on people. Authorities will think that they have the right to control or forbid marriage (an institution which G-d has created and blessed – Gen 1:27-28). These authorities will not base their decisions on the Word of G-d but will base them on their desire to control. They will want people to submit to them and to their rules and not submit to G-d’s truth. 

Foods which G-d created for receiving: This does not say “all” food. G-d did not create all foods equal. He forbade the eating of certain foods, but there are many foods that G-d created for us to eat – there are more foods that we are allowed to eat than foods that we are not allowed to eat. 

Note: There has to be a consistent method for interpreting Scripture. We should not cherry pick and take from the Old Testament the things that suit us and then discard the rest as irrelevant. For example: Tithing. No preacher is against tithing today. However, the tithe was meant to be taken into the L-rd’s storehouse – the temple in Jerusalem (Malachi 3:10). The same law that instructed the tithe also instructed against the eating of unclean animals. G-d never changes. What He likes and dislikes have not changed from the Old Testament to the New. We are not under the law to be judged by it, but with the help of the Holy Spirit we are able to fulfil the righteous requirements of the law. 

Those who believe and know the truth: Those who believe know the truth (i.e. the Word of G-d, His revelation). 

Note: We are so concerned about our physical bodies – whether we should or should not eat certain foods. How wonderful it would be if we all had the same commitment and concern for what we should or should not be doing spiritually. 

v4: Every creature of G-d is good: The word ‘good’ is a word that means ‘that which is in accordance with G-d’s will’. This phrase tells us that everything that G-d has created has a purpose, everything has been created in accordance with His will. If we ask a rabbi why G-d created unclean animals, he would tell us G-d created them so that we can make wise decisions, decisions that testify that we belong to Him. The unclean animals have a purpose. They are on earth so that we can demonstrate discernment, so that we can demonstrate our obedience to G-d, and so that we can show that we are people who submit to G-d’s instructions. 

v5: It is sanctified: Written in the passive, which means that something caused it to be sanctified (made holy – i.e. behaving according to the purposes of G-d). Sanctification is a process.

  • Sanctified by the Word of G-d: Everything that G-d created is good and has a purpose. However, we do not understand the purpose for many things that G-d has created (nor their usefulness or how to respond to them) unless we know His Word. It’s only through the revelation of His Word (and prayer) that we can begin to understand the reason why G-d created certain things. 
  • The Word of G-d and prayer: It is necessary for us to approach the revelation that we find in the Word of G-d prayerfully. We are brought into G-d’s Presence through prayer. Prayer invites G-d to reveal to us His revelation, desires, etc. Prayer is a two-way conversation between us and G-d – it is not just a time for us to sprout off all of our thoughts, desires, etc and then be done. We can make our supplications known to G-d, but a very important part of prayer is listening to G-d. When we read G-d’s Word, we also want His illumination so that we know how to respond to what we have read. 

Note: An example of this in action: G-d has given us instructions in His Word concerning dietary laws. Most of us eat three times a day, seven days a week, all of our lives.  1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that we need to eat and drink in such a way as to bring glory to G-d. What does that mean for us? We can read the instructions G-d has given us in His Word and then prayerfully we can ask Him for revelation concerning our diet, as well as help on implementing what He has revealed to us regarding diet. To glorify G-d in our diet we need to make decisions about it based upon His instructions. The dietary laws are not just there for our physical health but also for our spiritual health. Every time we open our mouths to take a drink or a bit of nourishment, we are reminded that G-d’s instructions are there for us to submit to so that we can make good decisions regarding our diet based upon what His Word has revealed to us. 

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