1 Timothy 4

E W Rogers, Oxford

Part 5 of 14 of the series Paul's Pastoral Epistles

Category: Exposition

Features of Later Times. Paul could see the trend of things, and knew that in "later" times there would be an apostasy from the faith (the a.v. has "latter" times). In its place the vacuum would be filled by seducing spirits and demoniacal teachings. Satan would use men to achieve this end, men whose consciences were branded or seared as with a hot iron.

The Spirit of God through Paul had expressly foreshadowed this in his second letter to the Thessalonians, and history has confirmed the truth of this forecast. Celibacy and vegetarian­ism have been imposed upon persons without the slightest scriptural sanction. Marriage was not only instituted by God but has His specific sanction as being an honourable estate, to be preserved as such by man and woman, Heb. 13. 4. Furthermore, Paul had already written to the Roman believers to the effect that no food was unclean in itself, Rom. 14. 14, and here he repeats his same conviction. Also what both he and Peter recognized (see Acts 10) had already been affirmed by the Lord Jesus in Mark 7. 18.

Three things should be observed, (i) Every creature of God is good. He said so in Genesis 1. 25, 31, and He extended His permission to cover animal food, excepting its blood, in Genesis 9. 3. (ii) These are to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe God's Word touching them, and know the truth of the matter, 1 Tim. 4. 3. (iii) The food is sanctified by God's Word referred to above and by prayer, that is, by seeking God's blessing upon it, "Grace at meals" should be no formal matter, much less should it be abandoned. Acts 27. 35 is an excellent example for us all.

Another matter discussed in this chapter is that of "bodily exercise", (Greek: gymnasia). Paul is careful not to write off as altogether worthless physical exercise; he recognizes its temporary benefits., but owns that comparatively they are small when placed beside the benefits of "godliness", that is, Godfearing behaviour which observes the spiritual commandments and warnings given by the apostle to Timothy. The benefits of these extend beyond this life. This explains why Paul and Timothy devoted their energies to such a physically hazardous service as disseminating the truth, risking their own personal safety, knowing that the Living God is the Preserver of all men in general, specially of those who put their trust in Him, v. 10. Whether verse 9 relates to what precedes or immediately succeeds is a moot point. Finality seems impossible.

Counsel to a Young Man, 4. 11-16. Timothy was a comparatively young man - maybe about 38 years old - and it may well be that some of the elders with whom he would have to do would be his senior. The tendency would be, there­fore, to despise him on account of his age, but nothing is so effective in gaining respect and confidence as a good example. His "speaking" should command their hearing; his "manner of life" in general should commend his teaching; his "love" to the saints should beget their confidence; his personal "faith" both in God and His Word should manifest his convictions; his "purity" of behaviour would encourage the same in those who had but recently been converted from a corrupt society.

Timothy was enjoined by Paul to give attention, or heed, to the public reading of the Scriptures, v. 13. These may include both Old and what are now known as the New Testament writings (see, e.g., Luke 4. 17; Acts 13. 15; 15: 21; Col. 4. 16; 1 Thess. 5. 27). He was not to neglect the gift that had been given to him which would enable him, not merely thus publicly to read, but as a consequence and relative to what had been read, to exhort the saints and to teach them. Note the order: exhortation has to do with conduct, teaching with belief. Both should be in harmony with each other. Timothy must himself observe this order and take heed to himself as well as to his teaching, lest what he is contradicts what he says. Luke writes of "all that Jesus began both to do and to teach", Acts 1. 1, and Paul himself could refer the Philippian saints to what they had "seen in him" as well as heard from him.

The "presbytery", I Tim. 4. 14, is the recognized body of elders, first appointed by the apostles, Acts 14: 23, and there­after appointed by the Spirit who manifested in the persons concerned the requisite qualifications of which we have spoken in chapter 3. They are "overseers". Acts 15. 6 gives the precedent for such elders to meet together from time to time to discuss matters which affect the wellbeing of the saints.

In Timothy's case the charismatic gift was given to him by the laying on of the hands of Paul, 2 Tim. 1. 6, but it was also attended by the laying on of hands of this elderhood, 1 Tim. 4« 14, which did not involve the impartation of the gift but implied identification with Timothy in his consequential work. The presumptions of so-called prelates today in this regard are to be eschewed. As a limb which is not used will atrophy, so a gift which is not exercised will lose its usefulness. Hence Timothy must not neglect his gift.

He must be "diligent in these things", v. 15 r.v. or "occupy thyself with these things", j.n.d. He must "be wholly in them", j.n.d.,-give himself wholly to them, so that his progress may be plain to all.

Timothy must remember that he does not live to himself, and further that he is in a specially responsible position having been entrusted with a divine gift which is not for his benefit but for that of the church. By taking heed to himself and to the injunctions here given by Paul, he will both save himself and those that hear him from many a pitfall into which they would otherwise come, v. 16.

There are 9 articles in
ISSUE (1973, Volume 24 Issue 5)

Dark Days - Joseph in Prison

Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities

‘In Remembrance of These Things’

Notes on the Epistle to the Colossians - Fulness Reserved

The Parables in their Setting - Part 6

Remembering the Lord


Service - The Work of God Through Men - Part 2

1 Timothy 4

There are 14 articles in this series

Paul’s Pastoral Epistles - Introduction

1 Timothy 1

1 Timothy 2

1 Timothy 3

1 Timothy 4

1 Timothy 5

1 Timothy 6

2 Timothy 1: ‘Be Courageous’

2 Timothy 2: ‘Be Careful’

2 Timothy 3: ‘Be Constant’

2 Timothy 4: ‘Be Considerate’

Titus 1: God is Faithful

Titus 2: Christian Behaviour and its Effects

Titus 3: The Christian and the State

There are 90 articles by this author

To Spread the Gospel - the Believer’s Responsibility







The Purpose of God

Paul’s Prayer

What a Change!

The Epistle to the Ephesians

The Mystery

Ministry in the Church

Gathered Threads

Some Practical Lessons

Paul’s Pastoral Epistles - Introduction

1 Timothy 1

1 Timothy 2

1 Timothy 3

1 Timothy 4

1 Timothy 5

1 Timothy 6

2 Timothy 1: ‘Be Courageous’

2 Timothy 2: ‘Be Careful’

2 Timothy 3: ‘Be Constant’

2 Timothy 4: ‘Be Considerate’

Titus 1: God is Faithful

Titus 2: Christian Behaviour and its Effects

Titus 3: The Christian and the State

The Believer’s Responsibility in Regard to the Spread of the Gospel

The Infallible Christ

Will the Church go through the Great Tribulation?

The Man of God out of Judah

Having been Gathered Out

‘For Me to Live is Christ’

Short Papers on Some Fundamental Truths

After all This

The Scriptures of Truth (Part 1)

The Scriptures of Truth (Part 2)

Evidences of New Birth

The Inspiration of Scripture

On the being of God - The Holy Trinity

The Attributes of Divine Persons

Eternal Punishment

Gospel Preaching: the Message, Motive and Method

The Believer’s Responsibility in regard to the Spread of the Gospel. 2 KINGS 7 : 9.

Question: What is the meaning of “being crafty, I caught you with guile”? (2 Cor. 12: 16)

Question: Ought Christians to testify to all whom they meet?

Question: Is it wise to submit to being called “Plymouth Brethren”?

Question: Assembly Ceasing to Exist

Question: Delivering unto Satan

Question: Does the pre-eminence of Christ Guarantee that the Saved will Outnumber the Unsaved?

Question: The Activities of The Holy Spirit in the Eternal State

Question: Is the Devil PERSONALLY able to operate in more than one place at a time?

Question: Are the instructions in James 5. 14 applicable to-day?

Question: What was wrong with the desire of the sons of Eli for roast flesh Instead of boiled flesh?

Question: Does John 14. 6 imply that the unevangelised heathen will be lost?

Question: Conviction of Sin?

Question: Attitude of Young Believers in Assembly

Question: Why did blind Bartimeus address the Lord Jesus as “Jesus, thou Son of David”?

Question: Were the “miracles” of Peter and Paul examples of faith comparable with... Heb. 11?

Question: Ministry before the Breaking of Bread?

Question: Necessary to be Baptised to Break Bread?

Question: Concerning “He that believeth on Me the works that I do shall he do also.”

Question: In what sense have believers been crucified with Christ?

Question: The Publishing of Able Brethren's Addresses to Conventions, etc.?

Question: Why are the Proverbs Neglected as a Basis for Practical Ministry?

Prayer to the Lord Jesus


The Ministry Of Reconciliation 2 Cor. 5. 19-21

Question: Does 1 Cor. 14. 34 apply to all meetings when brethren are present?

Question: How far are we justified in speaking of God as Father when preaching the gospel?

Question: What are we to understand by the “spiritual body” referred to in 1 Cor. 15?

Question: To what does the phrase, “that which is perfect,” refer in 1 Cor. 13?

Question: How is it that many of the laws in the O.T. appear to be quite cruel?

Question: If believers go to be with Christ immediately at death how can they be raised?

Question: What happens to the believer when he dies before the Lord returns?

Question: Sins of the believer at the Judgement Seat of Christ?

Question: Satan disputing with Michael?

Victory And Defeat

Paul’s thorn in the flesh

Evidences of New Birth

Coming Judgements

The Millennium

The Consummation

Our Hope

Events in Heaven with the Saints

Events on Earth

The Apocalyptic Letters - Introduction