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 (Thessalonians, Timothy, and Titus)
Lesson 16 Sound Teaching and Example (1Tim 4:1-16)
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Lesson 16

I.       Observation

A.     Outline

False teachers and deceptive teachings (4:1-5)

Instructing the Believers with Good Doctrine (4:6-11)

Setting An Example of Godliness (4:12-16)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Depart from the faith, deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, conscience seared, instruct, words of faith, good doctrine, reject profane and old wives’ fables, exercise, godliness, be an example to the believers, meditate, give yourself entirely, progress, take heed to yourself and to the doctrine, continue in them.

II.    General Analysis

1. Carefully followed (6), exercise (7), labor (10), give attention (13), do not neglect (14), meditate on these things (15), give yourself entirely to them (15), progress (15), take heed (16), continue in them (16).

III. Segment Analysis

1. Some will depart from the faith (1). This does not refer to unbelievers who simply reject the truth that they hear. Rather, this points to people who were once believers that will listen to false teachers, commit apostasy, deny the truth and depart from the faith.

The false teachers will speak lies in hypocrisy. That is, they will spread false teachings from deceiving spirits even though they know that what they teach is false. This is because their conscience is already numbed (seared with a hot iron). This is a direct contrast with Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to have a good conscience and sincere faith (1:5).

2a.      1. Forbidding to marry.

          2. Commanding to abstain from foods.

2c. Marriage is instituted by God (Mt 19:4-6) and therefore should not be forbidden. However, this has to be between one man and one woman in the Lord (1Cor 7:39)

All foods can be eaten except for blood, strangled animals and food offered to idols (Acts 15:28-29; Acts 10:9-16)

3. The false teachers taught that certain foods were defiled in themselves. But these verses teach that all creatures are made holy by the word of God and prayer. When God created the things of this world, He saw that everything he had made was good (Gen 1:10,12,18,21,25). Nothing in God’s creation is unclean of itself (Rom 14:14). As long as we partake of our food without violating God’s word (such as offering the food to idols, indulging in gluttony, deliberately taking in harmful substances, etc), and as long as we receive the food with thanksgiving, our eating is under the blessings of God.

4.       1. Instruct, command, and teach the believers the sound doctrine (6,11,13)

          2. Reject these false teachings (7). This suggests a proactive stance of refuting the false teachings, although some may choose to ignore false teachings, others may seek a compromise, and still others may appreciate the novelty of such new teachings (Jude 3; 1Pet 3:15)

          3. Exercise himself towards godliness, which is profitable for all things (7-8).

5.       1. The false teacher has departed from the faith and teaches the doctrine of demons. But the minister of Jesus Christ is nourished in the words of faith and of good doctrine.

          2. The false teacher speaks lies in hypocrisy. He is a hypocrite because he teaches others to deny themselves through abstinence but he does not even practice true holiness in his own life (cf. Mt 23:1-4; Col 2:20-23). The minister of Jesus Christ, on the contrary, carefully follows the good doctrine.

6a. Exercise in godliness is analogous to athletic training. Just as an athlete needs to know his weakness and avoid mistakes, the man of God has to cleanse himself and shun youthful lusts (2Tim 2:21-22). Just as an athlete needs to perfect his skills and stay fit through constant practice, the man of God needs to always put God’s word into practice and pursue godly conduct so that he can become more acquainted with God’s word and be strong (Heb 3:14).

6b. Godliness is profitable in this life, giving us wisdom, helping us develop a good character, guarding us against pitfalls, and enabling us to minister to others’ needs. Ultimately, godliness brings salvation (cf. 16) because it nourishes our faith in Jesus Christ.

7. Paul labors and suffers reproach in order to train himself in godliness and instruct the sound doctrine to the believers (6-8). The basis of his labor and suffering is his trust in God the Savior (10). Because he truly believes in God and His salvation, Paul makes every effort to teach and live out the good doctrine.

8. God is the Savior of all men because He loves the world and gave His Son to the world as a ransom for all men (2:6; Jn 3:16; 1Jn 2:1-2). But, although God makes salvation available to all, not all believe on the Son of God to receive this salvation. Only those who believe Jesus Christ are actually saved. Thus, God is especially the Savior of those who believe.

9. He should be an example to believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity (12). This suggests that Timothy should work on every aspect of his spiritual nurture. That is, in word (things he says), in conduct (things he does), in love (his treatment of others), in spirit (his attitude and inner strength), in faith (his unwavering belief in God’s love, justice and might), in purity (his holiness and clear separation from the patterns of the world).

10. Reading of the Scriptures, exhortation, and teaching of doctrines (13). Learning and teaching God’s word should be the primary concern. This task must not be neglected in the midst of busy church activities, especially when false teachers are seeking to infiltrate the church.

11a. Through the laying on of hands, Timothy has received from God the ability and the charge to wage the good warfare for the truth (1:18; cf. 2Tim 1:6; 4:1-2). Paul reminds Timothy not to neglect this most important mission by failing to exercise the gift he has been entrusted with. This reminder simply reinforces the exhortations throughout the passage to be attentive and diligent.

12. Timothy must take heed to himself (i.e. his heart, thoughts, and conduct) and to the doctrine (i.e. his teachings). He must defend the sound doctrine and actively teach it to the believers. At the same time, he must watch his own life carefully to make sure that he practices what he preaches. Giving in to false doctrines or failing to live by the sound doctrine can lead to a minister’s own downfall as well as make others stumble. Only if he preaches and continues in the doctrine can he save himself and those who hear him (16).

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