1 Timothy 4:1-5

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,

2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

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

4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;

5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

now (v.1) = here “but” — contrasting what follows with what has just been said in chapter 3

the Spirit expressly says (v.1) — through revelation to Paul directly

latter (v.1) = that which comes after — No period of time is referred to. Paul was indicating things that would happen after he wrote this, and were already happening.

times (v.1) = seasons characterized by some spiritual or moral feature, as opposed to a period marked by length — so Paul was referring to this entire age of grace

No specific signs were given to herald the close of the present dispensation of grace or the coming of Christ to catch His own away from this earth. The dispensation of grace is timeless and signless in character. Nothing whatever is said as to how long it will last, or when it will be brought to a close, for every day is a day of grace, pure grace, and this grace is enhanced by the very apostasy which began in apostolic days and has continued to the present. To Paul, the apostasy was already close at hand, and he instructed Timothy as to what to do abut it but God, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy, has allowed it to continue for twenty long centuries. — Stam, pages 87-88.

some (v.1) — those who are misled by the the seducing spirits

depart (v.1) = fall way, turn away

faith (v.1) — the article before the word in the original proves this refers to a specific doctrine — Paul’s doctrine

giving heed (v.1) = attaching oneself to, cleaving to (see 1 Timothy 1:4)

deceiving (v.1) = wandering, roving, misleading, leading to error

doctrines (v.1) = teachings, instructions

Verse 2 refers to the human agents of the deceiving spirits.

Our Lord called Satan the father of lies (John 8:44) and 2 Corinthians 11:14 declares that to deceive men he is “transformed into an angel of light.” And the passage goes on to say: “Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed  as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:15). — Stam, pages 92-93.

The spirits work, and the teachings are exhibited in the hypocrisy of them that speak lies; and this hypocrisy finds detailed expression in regulations suggested by a false asceticism. The clause could be better rendered “through the hypocrisy of liars.” It connects with “departing from the faith.” That is, these individuals depart from the faith through the hypocrisy of liars, the false teachers. These who depart from the faith have their conscience seared with a hot iron. The words, “Hot iron,” are superfluous … “branded in their conscience.” The metaphor is from the practice of branding slaves or criminals, the latter on the brow. These deceivers are not acting under delusion, but deliberately, and against conscience. They wear the form of godliness, and contradict their profession by their crooked conduct (2 Timothy 3:5). The brand is not on their brow but on their conscience. These are branded with the marks of Satan (2 Timothy 2:26) as Paul was with the marks of the Lord Jesus (Galatians 6:17). — Wuest, page 67.

There are religious leaders — closer to home than many think — who, with already-seared consciences, “speak lies in hypocrisy.” It is important that we understand this, for the vast majority of Christian believers go on in “innocent” ignorance of the fact that some spiritual leaders would actually — and willfully — deceive them, a sin much easier to fall into than most of us realize. Such people are easily taken in, for they leave it to the pastor to tell them what is God’s truth, instead of “searching the Scriptures daily,” as the noble Bereans did, to see “whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). And in their irresponsibility they fail to heed Paul’s exhortation and warning: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). — Stam, page 93.

forbidding to marry (v.3) — some Jewish sects were already doing this during Paul’s time, including the Essenes, who were influencing the Colossian church. And, of course, Rome adopted this in the fourth century.

to be received (v.3) = for reception

by those (v.3) = for those

creature (v.4) = created thing

good (v.4) = of worth in and of itself (as distinct from specifically “beneficial”)

refused (v.4) = thrown away, rejected

sanctified (v.5) = set apart, made holy (not just declared holy)

by the Word of God (v.5) — which has pronounced it clean

and prayer (v.5) — because a believer has given thanks for it

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