Introduction to 1 Timothy Chapter 4
In this chapter the apostle foretells a dreadful apostasy which should happen in the last times, the particulars of which he gives; and on occasion of one branch of it, discourses of Christian liberty in eating all sorts of food fit for use; and delivers out exhortations to Timothy to various duties relating to himself, his doctrine, and his charge. The prophecy is in 1 Timothy 4:1, the author of this prophecy is the Spirit of God; the manner in which it was delivered was very clear and express; the time when it should be fulfilled, the last days; the thing itself, a departure of some from the faith; the means whereby it would come about are, some giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, and the hypocrisy and hardened consciences of others, who would forbid marriage, and order an abstinence from certain meats; the evil of which last is exposed by their being the creatures of God, and by their being made for this purpose to be received with thankfulness by all believers, and who know the truth: and the reasons why they should be received and used follow; because they are all good, as they are the creatures of God; and because there is nothing to be refused, provided it be received with a thankful heart; and because every creature is sanctified by the word of God, and prayer, 1 Timothy 4:4. And then Timothy is exhorted to put the brethren in mind of those things, by which he would show himself to be a faithful minister of Christ, and well instructed in the doctrines of the Gospel, 1 Timothy 4:6, and to reject things profane and fabulous, but use himself to internal and powerful godliness, since outward worship signifies little, but the former has the promise of this, and the other world annexed to it; which is a true saying, and to be depended on, 1 Timothy 4:7 and which is confirmed from the practice and experience of the apostles, and therefore should be taught with authority, 1 Timothy 4:10. And then the apostle gives Timothy some advice, which being taken, would prevent his being despised, on account of his youth; as with respect to his life and conversation, so to behave as to be a pattern to others, 1 Timothy 4:12, and with respect to the exercise of his ministry, to make use of such means, as reading and meditation, that his profiting might be manifest to all, 1 Timothy 4:13 and with respect to the doctrines he preached, to abide by them, whereby he would be a means of saving himself, and others, 1 Timothy 4:16.