1 Timothy chapter 4

Paul says that some people will abandon the faith. We should be a good servant of Jesus Christ. Be a good minister. Don’t neglect your gift(s).





VERSE 1. But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons,

the Spirit says expressly. Paul does not tell us how the Holy Spirit speaks so clearly.

spirits and doctrines of demons. Paul viewed his human enemies as under the influence of demons.


VERSE 2. through the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron,


VERSE 3. forbidding marriage and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

forbidding marriage. Some Christian leaders regulate the intimate aspects of the lives of their followers. Paul sees those leaders as under the influence of demons.

They tell people whether they can get married or not. They tell people who they can marry. They decide if the couple can have sexual relations or not. And how many children they are to have.

commanding to abstain from foods. Many of Christian denominations issue forth commands that their people must abstain from specific foods at specific times.

False teachers insist on abstinence for everybody. But the Bible does not:

1 Timothy 5:23. Be no longer a drinker of water only, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.


VERSE 4. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with thanksgiving.


VERSE 5. For it is sanctified through the word of God and prayer.




VERSE 6. If you instruct the brothers of these things, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished in the words of the faith, and of the good doctrine which you have followed.

the good doctrine. That is, “sound teaching.”

In our day, many Christian leaders wrongly associate “good doctrine” with “the doctrine taught in the 1950s.”

There is no reason to assume that the doctrines of the 1950s were any better than the doctrines of today.


VERSE 7. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables. Exercise yourself toward godliness.

old wives’ fables. That is, “myths.” Even in our day, many Christians base their discipleship on myths.


VERSE 8. For bodily exercise has some value, but godliness has value in all things, having the promise of the life which is now, and of that which is to come.

bodily exercise has some value. Some people wrongly interpret this as saying that bodily exercise has “almost zero” value. Based on that dubious interpretation, they foolishly avoid all exercise.


VERSE 9. This saying is faithful and worthy of all acceptance.


VERSE 10. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we have set our trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

NIV translation. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

we both labor and suffer reproach. Paul is telling us why he worked and struggled so much.

we have set our trust in the living God. Paul affixed his hopes on God.

all. The Greek word is πάντων (“pantōn”). It means all, every.

The word “all” includes everybody, both Christian and non-Christian.

Pauls does not say Jesus Christ is the Savior of:

  • some people
  • only the people who accept him
  • only the people who have faith
  • only the people who in your denomination

We examined 28 different translations. They all render the same meaning:

  • all men: 15
  • all people: 8
  • everyone: 2
  • all: 1
  • all mankind: 1
  • all of the children of men: 1

especially of those who believe. Yes, Jesus Christ is the savior of people who believe.




VERSE 11. Command and teach these things.


VERSE 12. Let no man despise your youth; but be an example to those who believe, in word, in your way of life, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.


VERSE 13. Until I come, pay attention to reading, to exhortation, and to teaching.

pay attention to reading. That is, devote yourself to the reading of Scripture. Do you read the Bible reach day? Consider our Bible Reading Project.

to exhortation. That is, listen to GREAT preaching. Don’t waste your time on mediocre preaching. Rather, find the greatest preachers, and learn from them.

and teaching. That is, sit before great teachers of the faith. Don’t waste your time on mediocre ones. Rather, find the greatest of teachers, and learn from them.




VERSE 14. Don’t neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the elders.

neglect. The Greek word is ἀμελέω (“ameleó”). It means to be careless, to disregard, to be without concern.

Many people have received authentic spiritual gifts. But the worries and cares of their busy lives choke out the gifting. Their gifting becomes without significance to their lives.

Don’t neglect your gift!

gift. The Greek word is χάρισμα (“charisma”). It means an undeserved favor, a gift of grace. It is given to edify the church. It allows one to share God’s work with others.

A spiritual gift is an incredible favor from God, something to cherish and put into practice for rest of one’s life. Explore our series on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

the laying on of the hands of the elders. In the early days, the Holy Spirit arrived by wind and fire at Pentecost. But later, the Holy Spirit usually arrived by the laying on of hands. Read more »


VERSE 15. Be diligent in these things. Give yourself wholly to them, that your progress may be revealed to all.


VERSE 16. Pay attention to yourself and to your teaching. Continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Pay attention to yourself. The Christian’s first priority is to attend to their own relationship with Jesus Christ. We pray that Jesus Christ is your first priority.

and to your teaching. The second priority is to attend to is your own ministry. We pray that learning and sharing the faith can be a high priority for you.

Continue in these things. They are the biggest of priorities. They are the ones to focus on for the rest of our lives. The other aspects of life need to fit in around those two things.

However, for many Christians, other aspects of life gradually take over. If they allow this to continue, they risk loosing their way or fizzling out.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.