and deceptive teachings (4:1-5)
Believers with Good Doctrine (4:6-11)
Setting An Example of Godliness (4:12-16)
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.
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).
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.
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
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).