I Timothy 4


1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some

shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and

doctrines of devils;”  The Spirit saith expressly (rJhtw~v rhaetos

expressly; in stated terms; specified); only here in the New Testament, and

very rare in classical Greek. But the adjective rJhto>v - rhaetos in the sense of

something “laid down,” “definite.... expressly mentioned,” is common. It was,

doubtless, on account of these prophetic warnings of a falling away from the faith,

that the apostle gave the preceding heads of Christian doctrine in such a terse and

tangible form, and laid such a solemn charge upon Timothy. (For examples of these

prophetic utterances, see Acts 11:28; 13:2; 20:23; 21:11; I Corinthians 12:8;

14:30, 32)   Shall depart from the faith (ajposthsontai apostaesontai

Shall be withdrawing). So Paul says (II Thessalonians 2:3) that the day of Christ will

not be, “except the falling away (hJ ajpostasi>a hae apostasia - apostasy )

come first” (compare Hebrews 3:12). The faith; objective (see ch.3:9 and 16, note).

This “falling away” is to take place ejn uJste>roiv kairoi~v - en husterois kairois

In the latter times.  The adjective u[sterov husteros – latter; later; subsequent –

 is only found here in the New Testament. But in the Septuagint (e.g. I Chronicles 29:29;

Jeremiah 50:19; 27:17, Septuagint), u[sterov means “the last,” as opposed to “the first.”

And so the adverb u[steron  - husteron  -always means last in the New Testament

(see Matthew 4:2  afterward”; 21:37; 26:60; or more fully u[steron pa>nten

husteron pantenlast of all – 22:27). Here, therefore, ejn uJsteroiv kairoi~v ––

en husterois kairoisin the latter times   is equivalent to ejn tai~v ejsca>taiv

hJme>raiv - en tais eschatais haemerais – the last days -  (Acts 2:17) and

 ejn ejsca>taiv hJme>raiv– en eschatais haemrais – in last days

(II Timothy 3:1; compare James 5:3; I Peter 1:5; II Peter 3:3; Jude 1:18). It

should be observed that in all these passages there is no article.  Giving heed

(prose>contevprosechontes) ; as in v.13; in ch.1:4; Titus 1:14; Acts 8:6,

and elsewhere.  Seducing spirits (pneu>masi pla>noiv - pneumasi planois).

Such were the “lying spirits” who deceived (hjpa>thsan aepataesan ) Ahab to his

destruction (I Kings 22:22).  Pla>nov planos -seducing, is not elsewhere found in

the New Testament as an adjective (see Matthew 27:63; II Corinthians 6:8; II John 1:7,

in all which places, however, it is almost an adjective). The idea is “causing to

wander,” or “go astray.” John warns his people against such deceiving

spirits (I John 4:1-6). He calls them generically pneu>ma th~v pla>nhv pneuma taes

 planaes - “the spirit of error.” Doctrines of devils; i.e. teachings suggested by

devils.  (Darwinism, Marxism, Freudism. Humanism, etc. - I really consider it

ignorant, deceptive, and hypocritical, that evolution, which has more religious

implications than science, is fully funded in American schools that are hell bent on

excluding anything religious - CY – 2013)  So the unbelieving Jews suggested that

John the Baptist had a devil (Luke 7:33), and that our Lord Himself had a devil

(John 7:20; 8:48, 52; 10:20).


2“Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a

hot iron;”  This is the most obvious way of construing this passage, where

yeudo>logwn  - pseudologon lies; false expressions - must agree with

daimoni>wn daimoniondemons; devils – of the last verse.  But

then the clause, “having their conscience seared with a hot iron,” does not

suit “devils.” It is therefore, perhaps, best to translate the clause as the

Revised Version does, and to explain, with Bishop Ellicott, that the preposition ejn

enin -  which precedes uJpokri>sei hupokrisei – hypocrisy - defines the

instrument by which they were led to give heed to seducing spirits, viz. the

hypocritical pretences of the men who spake lies, and whose consciences were

seared. If yeudolo>gwn agrees with daimoni>wn, we must conceive that Paul

passes insensibly from “the devils” to the false teachers who spake as they

 taught them. In the Gospels, the speech of the devils, and of those possessed

by devils, is often interchanged, as e.g. Luke 4:33-34, 41; Mark 1:23-24.

Men that speak lies (yeudolo>gw); only found here in the New Testament,

but occasionally in classical Greek.  Seared.  (kekauthriasme>nwn

kekautaeriansmenonseared; branded); (where we get the modern word

cauterizeCY – 2013);  here only in the New Testament, but used in

Greek medical and other writers for to brand,” or “cauterize;” kauth>r

kautaer and kauth>rion kautaerion - a branding-iron. The application

of the image is somewhat uncertain. If the idea is that of “a brand,” a mark

burnt in upon the forehead of a slave or criminal, then the meaning is that these

men have their own infamy stamped upon their own consciences. It is

not patent only to others, but to themselves also. But if the metaphor is from the

cauterizing a wound, as the Authorized Version takes it, then the idea is that these

men’s consciences are become as insensible to the touch as the skin that has been

cauterized is. The metaphor, in this case, is somewhat similar to that of

pwro>w poroo – to make hard; callous -  pw>rwsiv   porosis – a

hardening; a covering as with a hard stone;  metaphorically uses as of

dulled spiritual perception; a hardening of the heart. (Mark 3:5; 6:52;

John 12:40, etc.). The latter interpretation seems to suit the general context best,

and the medical use of the term, which Paul might have learnt from Luke. The

emphasis of th~v ijdi>av - taes idias -“their own conscience,” implies that

they were not merely deceivers of others, but were self-deceived.



A Predicted Apostasy in the Christian Church (vs. 1-2)


In opposition to this exhibition of the mystery of godliness, the apostle

places the prediction of a serious apostasy (falling away) from the faith.



“But the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in after times some shall

depart from the faith.” It may seem strange that apostasy should be thought

of so soon after the foundation of Christianity, but the Church is fully forewarned

of the coming danger. It was foretold, not obscurely, but expressly, in the

prophecies by Daniel (Daniel 7:25; 8:23), of our Lord (Matthew 24:4, 11),

and of the apostle himself (II Thessalonians 2.:1-12; Acts 20:29-30;

Colossians 2.).  But he here alludes more specifically to a development of

error in the future, the germs of which he discerns in the present.


·        THE TIME OF ITS APPEARANCE. “In after times.” The words

signify any period subsequent to the age in which the apostle lived, for he

saw in the apostasy of the present the beginning of a still more serious

apostasy in the future. The mystery of iniquity had already begun to

 work  (II Thessalonians 2:7).  But it would project its evil shadow far

forward into the dispensation, in many various forms.


·        THE EXTENT OF THE APOSTASY. “Some shall depart from the



Ø      Some, not all. Not the whole visible Church, but a considerable part

of it. Thus an assurance is given that the true Church of God

shall not be extinguished.


Ø      The apostasy is from the doctrine of faith though it be the

 mystery of godliness not the grace of faith, which, being of an

incorruptible origin, cannot be lost. Christ is the Author and Finisher

of faith (Hebrews 12:2).  The elect cannot be finally deceived. The

doctrine of faith was to be corrupted by “denying what was true,

by adding what was false.”



to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” The prime movers were not

false teachers, but unseen agents in the spirit-world.


Ø      Man does not stand isolated in this world. If he is not influenced

 by the Holy Spirit, he is influenced by the spirits of delusion, who are

the emissaries of Satan. If we are not possessed by the truth, error will

make an easy conquest of us. Often the heart that is made empty by

skepticism is the most ready to welcome superstition.


Ø      It is possible for evil spirits to influence the human mind.


o       Satan could tempt David to number the people (I Chronicles

21:1). As the father of lies, the suggestion of error would be a

congenial work. The coming of the man of sin is to be after

 the working of Satan.


o       There is a sacrifice to devils, a communion with devils, a cup of

devils, a table of devils (I Corinthians 10:20-21). There is a

spiritual wickedness in high places capable of compassing

great destruction by error.  (Ephesians 6:12)


o       The apostle teaches the personality of such evil spirits.


o       There is no more difficulty in understanding their communication

of thought to man, than in understanding the communication of

thought from one evil man to another. An evil man can

communicate evil by a glance of his eye. But if the Spirit of God

can, without the intervention of the senses, influence the minds

of believers, it is easy to understand that seducing spirits can

have access to the centers of thought and feeling without any

similar intervention.



EVIL INSPIRATION. “In the hypocrisy of speakers of lies, being

branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron.”


Ø      They assumed a mask of holiness which they did not possess,

with the view of giving better currency to their lies. Their assumed

sanctity would throw the unwary off their guard, and lead to the

confounding of truth with error. The lies they taught were that holiness

was to be attained through abstinence from marriage and particular

kinds of food.


Ø      They were essentially corrupt, for their conscience had become so

seared through transgression that they had lost the true distinctions

between right and wrong, error and truth. They were incapable of

relishing the “mystery of godliness,” and therefore devoted

themselves to the arts of religious seduction in the interests of an

essentially unspiritual asceticism.


3 “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God

hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and

know the truth.” Forbidding to marry. This is mentioned as showing itself first

among the Essenes and Therapeutic by Josephus (‘Bell. Jud.,’ it. 8:2, and

Ant. Jud.,’ 18., 1:5). It became later a special tenet of the Gnostics, as

stated by Clem. Alex., ‘Strom.,’ 3:6; Irenaeus, “Haer.,” 1:22, etc. (quoted

by Ellicott). See other quotations in Pole’s Synopsis. Commanding to

abstain from meats; brwma>twn - bromaton – meats; foods – (I Corinthians 8:8;

Hebrews 9:10; compare  brw>sei brosei – meat; food - Colossians 2:16; Romans

14:17). The word “commanding” has to be supplied from the preceding

kwluo>ntwn koluontonforbidding; commanding not. Some of the sects

prohibited the use of animal food. A trace of this asceticism in regard to food is

found in Colossians 2:16, 21, 23.  Ga>mou uJperoyi>a par aujtoi~v - - gamou

huperopsia par autois - they despise marriage;  Essai>wn oujdei<v a]getai

gunai~ka essaion oudeis agetai gunaikaNone of the Essenes marry” (Philo,

— “A people without a single woman, for they renounce marriage” (Plin., ‘Nat. Hist.,’

5:15). As regards their food, Bishop Lightfoot says, “The Essene drank no

wine; he did not touch animal food. His meal consisted of a piece of bread,

and a single mess of vegetables” (‘Introd.,’ p. 86). Professor Burton (in

Kitto’sCyclopaedia,’ art. “Gnosticism’) says of the later Gnostics that,

from their principle of the utter malignity of matter, and the elevating

nature of gnw~siv - gnosis – knowledge - two very opposite results ensued —

one that many Gnostics led very profligate lives; the other that many

practiced great austerities in order to mortify the body and its sensual

 appetites  (p. 770). Some of our modern Encratites, in their language

concerning the use of wine and beer, approach Gnosticism very closely.

(Without trying to be judgmental, I sometimes wonder about our modern

vegetarians; pet lovers, etc. [I like both vegetables and pets] – CY – 2013)

To be received (eijv meta>lhyin eis metalaepsinto be received;

in partaking of); a classical word, but only found here in the New Testament,

not used by the Septuagint. With thanksgiving. Observe the identity of thought

with Romans 14:6. These passages, together with our Lord’s action at the Last

Supper (Luke 22:17, 19), at the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Ibid. ch.9:16),

and Paul’s on board ship (Acts 27:35), are conclusive as to the Christian duty of

giving thanks, commonly called “saying grace” at meals. The truth (see ch.3:15;

John 18:37; Ephesians 4:21).


4 “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it

be received with thanksgiving:”   Nothing is to be refused.  Every

creature of God is good (and on that account not to be rejected) if it is

received with thanksgiving  in a very good and edifying sense. Creature

(kti>sma ktisma). The form commonly used by Paul is kti>siv ktisis

creation - (Romans 8:20-22; II Corinthians 5:17). But kti>sma stands by

the side of kti>siv, like brw~ma bromameat; food - by the side of

brw~sivbrosis eating -  o[ramahorama – sight -  by the side of

o[rasiv horasis – vision - po>ma poma drink - by the side of po>siv - posis

drinking - and many more. The form kti>sma is found in James 1:18; and twice

in Revelation. Good (kalo>n kalon); with reference to Genesis 1:10, 12, etc.

To be refused (ajpo>blhton - apoblaeton); only here in the New Testament,

but found in classical Greek, and not uncommon in the Septuagint and other Greek

versions, for that which is “unclean,” or “abominable.” If it be received with

 thanksgiving. This clearly refers to “every creature of God,” and is the

condition on which it is good in relation to the receiver. Nothing can be clearer

or more certain than that the apostle is not arguing against the Manichean doctrine

of the evil of matter, or the works of the Demiurge, but against Jewish scruples

about meats. “Every creature of God,” he says, “is good” — words which

would have no force if the creatures in question were not admitted to be

the works of God, but thought to be the works of the Demiurge. But

applied to the Jewish scruples, the words are perfectly relevant. Every

creature of God is good, and on no account to be treated as common or

unclean (Acts 10:15, 28), provided only that it be received with thanksgiving.


5 “For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”  It is sanctified by the

Word of God. Considerable difference of opinion prevails among commentators

as to the precise meaning of this verse, especially of the phrase, “the Word of

God.” Some refer to Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, etc.; others to (Ibid. v.29; 9:4, as

containing the original grant of meats for the use of man; others to

the scriptural phrases embodied in the words of the ejnteu>xiv  - enteuxis

prayer; pleading; intercession  - the prayer of thanksgiving. Another possible

reference would be to the Word of God recorded in Acts 10:13, 15, 28, by which

that which had previously been unclean was now made clean or holy; or, lastly,

it might mean “the blessing of God” given in answer to the “prayer” on each

occasion, which suits well the present tense, aJgia>zeti hagiazetaisanctified.

Prayer (ejnteuxiv; see ch.2:1, note).



The Practical Features of the Apostasy (vs. 3-5)


The apostle does not enumerate the doctrinal errors of the apostates, but

touches upon two practical characteristics which would fall under general




MARRIAGE. “Forbidding to marry.”


Ø      It developed inside the Latin and Greek Churches into the celibacy

of the clergy and the religious orders.


Ø      It was a tendency wholly opposed to Scripture teaching.


o       It forbade what Scripture allowed: “Marriage is honorable

in all” (Hebrews 13:4).


o       It forbade the marriage of ministers, while Old Testament

priests and New Testament ministers were to be “husbands of

 one wife” (ch.3:2). “Have we not power to lead about a

wife, a sister?” (I Corinthians 9:5). Several of the apostles

made use of this power: “As well as other apostles.... and



o       The reason why the apostle says so little here concerning the

restriction on marriage, and so much on that respecting meats,

is probably because the one was so manifestly opposed to the

whole plan of creation, that the common sense of men would

 reject it as unnatural and wrong. Perhaps, also, the one

tendency had not assumed so definite a form as the other. The

very liberty allowed under the gospel to abstain from marriage

was not grounded on the idea of the superior holiness of celibacy

or virginity, but on its affording in special circumstances greater

opportunities and freedom for spiritual work (I Corinthians




OF CERTAIN KINDS OF FOOD. “And commanding to abstain from

meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by

them who believe and know the truth.”


Ø      It was contrary to Gods design in creation.


o       All food was from the hand of the Maker; nothing was therefore to

be accounted common or unclean under the gospel.


o       All food was good. For every creature of God is good, and

nothing to be refused.” It was not, therefore, for man to place

restrictions upon what God had given with such a liberal hand for

his use. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.”

(Psalm 24:1; I Corinthians 10:26)


Ø      The conditions under which the true design of God in creation is



o       The food was for all creatures; but “believers and those who

have known the truth” had a covenant right to it, and the true

end of creation was only fully satisfied in them.


o       The right manner of receiving the food provided. “If it be

received with thanksgiving;” for it is sanctified by the

Word of God and prayer  (vs. 4-5).  This implies:


§         that food is to be gratefully received as God’s gift;

§         that our thanksgiving is presented on the objective side by

the Word of God, and on the subjective side by prayer.

Thus the custom of grace before and after meat is

grounded in a Divine command.



A Grateful Heart (v. 4)


“If it be received with thanksgiving.” We are always to be conscious of

dependence, or else our very blessings turn to curses. We become full, and

we deny God. There is a prosperity without God which makes men proud

and hard. Men lose the consciousness of the transitoriness of earthly good

(“for we brought nothing into this world and it is certain that we

can carry nothing out.” (ch. 6:7; Job 1:21), and of their entire dependence

upon God. We are, therefore, to live in an atmosphere of gratitude. We are

not to receive mercies as though we had a right to them, but always, as Paul says,

“Be ye thankful.”



Every student of nature becomes surprised that beauty is born out of such

strange elements, and that there should be such harmony of forces that,

taken alone, would be terribly destructive. God’s thoughts are, toward us,

precious thoughts, spoken in all ages by holy men, and symbolized in the

world of nature. God has thought out all that is needful for our life.

(“What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have

not done in it?  (Isaiah 5:4)  He has stored the earth, interlaced it with

rich metallic veins, filled it with limestone and coal, that all might be ready

for his child. (And like food, mentioned above, today,  there are those

spiritual heathens who would ban the searching for resources which

 would greatly benefit mankind  - for example, coal, which they say pollutes –

all the while having NO UNDERSTANDING “that morally, they are

POLLUTING THE EARTH  at a much more rapid clip which is

 bringing destruction upon the earth; a la – THE END OF TIME



 see Revelation 11:18 – CY – 2013)  And in grace we see how God

promised a Savior, and, when his Son came into the world,

all things are now ready.”  (Luke 14:17)



Men have abused God’s mercies. If men destroy the nobleman’s shrubs, he

closes his grounds. If men deface the pictures, the galleries are no longer

free. And yet God bears with all the sin and frailty of man; and from

generation to generation this is the thought that should move man most —

not only the forgiveness, BUT THE FOREBEARANCE OF GOD!



Million-fold ministrations of pleasure there are! What has not nature been to

you, and love, and thought, and home! There is no more wonderful

contemplation than the varied pleasures of heart and mind.  (I was

sitting at a magazine rack this very day looking at some very beautiful

pictures of God’s Creation – CY – March 11, 2013)



create an atom:


Ø      we can only readjust and combine.

Ø      the artist cannot create his colors; he can only mix them.

Ø      the physician cannot create his remedies; he can only find them.

Ø      the builder cannot create his stones, he can only quarry them.

Ø      the child can gather the flower; but a whole universe of men

Ø       cannot give it life again.


Let every creation of God be received with thanksgiving.



Creation Sanctified (v. 5)


“For it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.” Here, then, is an

exquisite harmony. We have been talking of creation, and now we come to

consider the Word of God. And these creative things are to be “sanctified

by the Word of God and prayer.” Men can talk with God. His fellowship is

a test of all our pleasures and companionships and associations — “Would

the Bible be out of place here?” It is never out of place in nature’s gardens

and groves. The best descriptions of nature are in the Bible. It is never out

of place in pure festivities. It records the marriage supper, and the music

and the dance when the prodigal came home. It is never out of place in

children’s joys; for it gives the picture of a glad and happy childhood. The

prophet says, “The streets of the city shall be full of girls and boys

playing  (Zechariah 8:5); and Christ took up little children in His arms, and

blessed them. It is never out of place in pure human love; for that is poetized in

one entire book of the Bible. It is not out of place in the earnest pursuit of secular

things (The purpose of Christianity is to sanctify the secular – C. H. Spurgeon);

for the proverbs appeal to personal endeavor, and to the right enjoyment of

 riches and honor. The Bible sanctifies life from the cradle to the grave, and any

social economy apart from the Word of God is only a paper defense against tyranny

and wrong. “And prayer.” For we may speak to God. The neutral face of nature is

ghastly without Him. “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth (I Samuel 3:10).

Can I ask God to be there at all? Can I ask Him to aid me in my work? Can I ask

Him to comfort me if I fail? Can I ask Him to quicken my powers and enlarge my

opportunities? Can I ask Him to sanctify my associations? These are vital questions;

for nothing is sanctified without him, and everything is “sanctified by the Word of

God and prayer.”


6 “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt

be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and

of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.”  If thou put the brethren

in remembrance of these things (pau~ta uJpotiqe>menov toi~v ajdelfoi~v

paunta hupotithemenos tois adelphois – if thou put the brethren in remembrance);

if thou suggest these things to the brethren, lay them down as principles upon

which their conduct is to be based; or, enjoin them. It only occurs

in this metaphorical sense here in the New Testament, but is very common

in classical Greek, and not infrequent in the Septuagint. It has often the

meaning of “to advise” or” counsel.” Of course, “hypothesis,” the assumed

basis from which you start, is the same root. The brethren (toi~v ajdelfoi~v

tois adelphois).  The distinctive name for the members of Christ’s Church,

throughout the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles. The whole body is

called hJ ajdelfo>thvhae adelphotaes - the brotherhood (I Peter 2:17; 5:9).

A good minister (dia>konov diakonos). The application of this term to

Timothy, like that of ejpi>skopov episkotpos - to presbyters (ch.3:2), is an

indication of the early date of the Epistle, before the distinctive names of

the Church officers had quite hardened down into a technical meaning.

Nourished (ajntrefo>menov antrephomenos); here only in the New

Testament, and not used in the Septuagint; but in classical Greek not

uncommon in the sense of “brought up in,” “trained in from childhood.”

In Latin, innutritus. The phrase,“nourished in the words of the faith,” etc.,

explains the kalo<v dia>konov - kalos diakonos – good minister, and shows

what a man must be to deserve the appellation — one, viz., who

is nourished in the words of the faith, etc. The good doctrine, etc. In

opposition to the “doctrines of devils” in v. 1. The different epithets of

this true Christian doctrine are hJ kalh> hae kalaethe good; ideal –

(as here); uJgiai>nousa hugiainousa – sound - (ch.1:10; Titus 1:9; 2:1);

hJ kat eujsebei>an didaskali>a hae kat eusebeian didaskalia – and

according to godly teaching -  (ch.6:3); and in Ibid. v.1 we have simply

 hdidaskali>a  hae didaskalia – the teaching - without any epithet.

In like manner, hJ pi>stiv hJ, ajlhqei>a hJ eujsebei>a hae pistis,

hae alaetheia, hae eusebeiathe faith, the truth, the godliness -

severally denote the Christian religion.  Whereunto thou has

attained.   (h+| parhkolouqh>kav - hae paraekolouthaekas - which thou

hast followed until now). This is a rather more faithful rendering than that of

the Authorized Version; it is, literally, which thou hast kept close to, either

for the purpose of imitating it, or, as II Timothy 3:10, for the purpose of

observing it. Or, to put it differently, in one case so as to teach it

identically, and in the other so as to know it perfectly. In this last aspect it

is also used in Luke 1:3. The classical use is “to follow closely any

one’s steps,” or “the course of events,” when used literally; or,

metaphorically, “to follow with one’s thoughts,” “to understand.”



7 “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather

unto godliness.” The two imperatives paraitou~ paraitou refuse and

gu>mnaze  gumnaze – be ye exercising - connect and contrast the

thoughts in the two clauses of the verse, as the Authorized Version indicates

by the insertion of “rather.” Profane (bebh>louv bebaelous); ch.1:9, note)

Old wives’ (gra>wdeiv graodeiscrones; old womanish); only here in the

New Testament; not used in Septuagint; rare in classical Greek. Exercise thyself

 (gu>mnaze seuto>n gumnaze seuton) unto godliness. The verb gumna>zein

gumnazein occurs in the New Testament only in this place, twice in the Epistle

to the Hebrews (5:14; 12:11), and once in II Peter (2:14). It is common in

classical Greek. The metaphor is drawn from training for gymnastic exercises.

As regards the whole passage, it seems that there were current among the Jews

at this time many “fables” (ch.1:4; II Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:14; II Peter 1:16),

childish legends and doctrines, some of them directed especially to enforcing

certain rules about eating and drinking, and other “bodily exercises,” which

Paul utterly discountenances, and contrasts with that “good doctrine”

which he directs Timothy continually to teach. This would account,

naturally, for the introduction of the phrase, gu>mnaze seauto>n –

exercise thyself..



8 “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto

all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which

is to come.”  Bodily exercise. Exercise which only affects the body, such as

those rules which the Jewish ascetics enforced.  Gumnasi>a - gumnasia

 exercise - only occurs here in the New Testament, and not at all in the

Septuagint, but is not uncommon in classical Greek. Another form is

gu>mnasiv gumnasis, and gumna>sion  gumnasion is the place where

such gu>mnasiv takes place. Profiteth little; margin, for little, which is the

best rendering, Pro<v ojli>gon – pros oligon profiteth little; toward few

things -  may mean either “for a little while” or “for a little”(better, “for little”),

 but cannot mean both. The contrast with pro<v pa>nta – pros panta – all

things; toward all things -  determines its meaning here to be “for little.”

Promise of the life. The genitive here is the genitive of the thing promised,

as in Acts 2:33; Galatians 3:14; II Timothy 1:1. And the thing promised is

the life that now is,” meaning, of course, its enjoyment in peace and happiness

(compare Psalm 34:12, where qe>lwn zwh>n - Thelon zoaen wants life –

 is parallel to ajgapw~n hJme>rav... ajgaqa>v agapon haemerasagathas

loving [to see] good days); and “that which is to come,” viz. eternal life). There

is no occasion to strain after greater grammatical precision. There is no

contradiction between this statement of the happiness of a godly life and Paul’s

statement in I Corinthians 15:19. Another possible way of construing

the words is “Having the promise of life, both the present and the future.”



The Advantage of True Godliness (v. 8)


The apostle gives a reason for his exhortation to godliness.



EXERCISE. “For bodily exercise profiteth to a small extent.”


Ø      The allusion here is not to the ascetic discipline already noticed,



o       Though it might apply to the more developed austerities of later

times — flagellations, pilgrimages, and weary vigils — it cannot

fairly apply to the disuse of marriage and of certain kinds of food.

There is no bodily exercise implied in such a quiescent habit or

aspect of life.


o       It is impossible to think that the apostle should even concede that

such austerity was profitable to the smallest extent, for he is

opposed to the whole idea of it.


o       Besides, this was not the immediate subject in hand, which was

the excellence of true piety.


Ø      The allusion is to the gymnastic training which occupied so much

 of the time and energy of the Greek youth. It was profitable for the

healthful development of bodily life, but by its very nature it was both

temporal and temporary in its results and its rewards.



godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life

that now is, and of that which is to come.” It has the profit and the

promise of a double life.


Ø      It has the profit and the promise of this present life.


o       There is the promise of length of days. “The wicked live

not half their days.”  (Psalm 55:23)

o       There is the prophetic promise that they “shall inherit the

earth.”  (Psalm 37:11;  Matthew 5:5)

o       There is the profit:


§         of a good name,

§         of riches and honor; for they will want no good thing.


o       Godliness is profitable for all things included in the

scheme of a holy life.


Ø      It has the profit and the promise of the life to come.


o       This does not signify that it merits eternal life, but that it is

essentially connected with it in the Divine scheme of


o       Thus godliness is “great gain” for the whole life of man in

the next life.  It involves the highest blessedness of man.

o       Happy is the man whose future is provided for as well as

his present.



RESPECTING GODLINESS. “Faithful is the saying, and worthy

of all acceptation.” (v. 9)  It was a truth of universal acceptance among

Christian people, because, in spite of all the drawbacks of a persecuting time,

it had been happily realized in their checkered experience



Religious Recompense (v. 8)


“Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now

is.” It is a fair charge against mediaevalism, that it left out of sight the

Christianization of this present life, and became only another-worldism.

The host carried to the dying was everything; the elevation of the earthly

life was nothing. Marshes might remain undrained, habitations unimproved,

knowledge be imprisoned, science be garroted, and this earth neglected,

provided the people became true sons of the Church and possessed the

priestly passports to eternity! The religious nature (and there is that in

every man) was perverted. Man became the subject-power of those who, in

the name of God, darkened the moral sense, and degraded human nature

under the pretence of saving it. The gospel has always had the promise of

the life that now is; it saves men from selfishness and sin, as well as from




and human history are not accidents. God created us, and not we

ourselves. Better to be born and to die in the same hour, than to live on

through weary years, if human life has not a heavenly purpose in it. GOD

THOUGHT OUT THIS WORLD!   God designed us to use it; and when

we mourn over sin and ignorance and darkness, we rejoice that Christ came

to put away sin, and to bring in an everlasting righteousness.  Nature

is ours, with all her mountains and seas, her pastures and flocks, the silvery

thread of her rivers, and the Gothic arches of her forests, richly to enjoy.

Christ came to claim humanity, to redeem humanity. The broken harp he

will restring and set to divinest music. We will not put sepia into all the

pictures of earth’s to-morrow; for “the crooked shall be made straight,

and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord be revealed,

 and all flesh see it together.”  (Isaiah 40:5)



INFLUENCES. We read that Paul “persuaded and turned away much

people (Acts 19:26).  If the gospel has the promise, we must help in the

fulfillment of the promise. When we see wrongs, we must try to remedy them.

When God gives us the remedy, we must take care to point to THE

GREAT PHYSICIAN ALONE!   We need not be afraid. The gospel is

unique; it stands alone. IT HAS DONE MORE FOR THIS SIN-

STRICKEN WORLD than any words of man can tell. And Christ

still lives on, and His Spirit is one of restraint in men, even when it is

not a salvation. If caricature could have crushed Christianity, it would have

been silenced long ago. The life that now is was MOLDED BY THE

GOSPEL  so that men who were once darkness had light in the Lord.

Humanity breathed again; slavery felt its grasp grow weaker; polygamy

became a cruelty and a shame; and as we look at its beneficent progress,

and see orphanages and homes and refuges rising up on every hand

(of course this was in the days prior to abortion-on-demand – CY –

2013), we have abundant evidence that the gospel is promise of the life

that now is. Suicide, that had been the euthanasia of Rome, ceased (but

is now resurrected in the United States, due to our sin and its likeness to

the Roman Empire – CY – 2013), Men who had lost their love of life in the

satiety of its pleasures, and to whom death was a relief from its ennui, gave

place to a race who found new hope and new joy in the pursuit and

pleasures of the life that now is, UNDER THE LORDSHIP OF




The Great Beyond (v. 8)


“And of that which is to come.” It is not too much to say that the gospel

alone, in this age, is the witness to IMMORTALITY — a witness preserved in

three aspects:


o       it is taught by Christ’s words;

o       illustrated in Christ’s life; and

o       attested by Christ’s resurrection.


Outside the gospel we have materialism, which denies it; agnosticism, which says

it does not know about it; and the modern school who use the word “immortality,”

but mean immortality of influence, or a life which has on earth its permanent

pervasive power after we are gone: just as the oak is immortal which sends on,

from acorn to acorn, its being. Before Christ came:


o       Immortality had its place as an instinct. The philosophers

admitted that.

o       It had its place as an imagination. The poets made dreams out

of it.

o       It had its place as an ancient revelation.


The Hebrews had knowledge of it. But secularism, in the fashionable

school of Sadducees, HAD DARKENED IT!  Christ came to bring LIFE

AND IMMORTALITY to light by the gospel. It is this light in which the

gospel is bathed; the perspective behind all its picture-teachings; the consolation of

apostles, confessors, and martyrs. But Paul links it with the life that now is,

because he would not let the doctrine of immortality become basely used,

as it was in Persia. There slavery and wrong were not addressed. Persia said

to the oppressed, the poor, the serf, the miserable, “Never mind, Ormuzd

will make it right hereafter!” Not so says Paul. Religion has its rectitude’s

and its rewards here as well. The gospel has the promise of THE LIFE




Death is not a dividing power. It is a dark arch through which the

river flows. If a pure river, then he which is holy shall be holy still.

(Revelation 22;11).  If a fetid river, then he which is filthy shall be

 filthy still. (Ibid.).  This is life eternalTO KNOW CHRIST and,

having Him, we have glory and immortality. The insect does not die when it

changes its garment from the grub to the winged being, when it exchanges

earth for air. Nor do we die. We are unclothed that we may be clothed

upon with our house which is from heaven. (II Corinthians 5:2).  The body

sheds itself often. At seventy we have had ten bodies (at 69 ½  I can relate

to that – CY – 2013); but the mind, the heart, the conscience, the memory,

have a consciously unbroken continuity. We never shed them!

The road is seen today from the child’s first step; the river flows through

town and city, but it is the same river. We feel this; it is the mystery of

personality; it is the symbol of continuity. Through all the years we have

had one being, and through the dark arch of death it flows on into the life

that is to come.  (I recommend Thomas Cole’s The Voyage of Life –

CY – 2013)


·        THEN LIFE IS A PROPHECY. There is no difficulty here. As the

child is the prophecy of the man, so the man is the prophecy of the

immortal. In a mirror, and that mirror himself, man may read the future

world. His tastes, desires, pursuits, pleasures, all globe themselves in the

microcosm of his heart. He need consult no augurs about future destiny.

Here are the mystic pages: “He that believeth on the Son hath life”

(John 3:36); its form, shape, color, quality. Christ has changed the nature,

and made it GOD-LIKE AND DIVINE!   The Christian life may be shady,

imperfect, and stained with evil; but it is a God-like thing; its pity, purity,

righteousness, holiness, are attested. Perfect it, and you have heaven.

(“But my God shall perfect that which concerneth me  (Psalm 138:8).

It were well for men to think, not only of what is, but of WHAT IS

TO COME!  Even bad men hope to alter. Men think a sudden change

at last may come; a turn of the helm just as the vessel nears the rapids

may cause it to glide into the river of life. But life here is a prophecy.

It is the earnest of the inheritance of reward or shame — the life that is to

come, with its advent hour so quiet, so sure, so solemn; COMING

BUT ONCE,  but coming to ALL. We thank God for the great

sky of immortality above us, and for THE REST THAT REMAINETH

FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD!  (Hebrews 9:4)


9 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.”  (see ch.1:15, note).

Here, however, the pisto<v lo>gov pistos logos – faithful saying - is that which

precedes, viz. that “godliness is profitable for all things,” etc., which we

thus learn was a proverbial saying.


10 “For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust

in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those

that believe.”  Therefore.  To this end;  or, with this in view. He

thus justifies his assertion that the saying he had quoted is a faithful one, by

showing that the promise and all that it contained was the ground of all his

labors and those of his fellow-laborers in the gospel. Labor.  (ajgwnizo>meqa

agonizometha – strive - ojneidizo>meqa oneidizometha -  suffer reproach; we

 are  being reproached);; but the reading is doubtful. The sense conveysw

something more than mere labor — the bitter reproaches and persecutions which

he endured (II Timothy 3:11; I Corinthians 4:9-13; II Corinthians 11:23-27); and

all because of his firm trust IN THE PROMISES OF THE LIVING GOD!

 We trust in the living God.  hjlpi>kamen ejpi< Qew~|zw~nti haelpikamen epi

Theozonti  - we trust in the living God; we rely on the living God.  In ch.5:5 we

have h]lpiken ejpi< Qeo>n haelpiken epi Theou trusteth in God; relies on the

God -  with no appreciable difference of sense. Specially of them that believe;

and therefore we who believe HAVE SPECIAL CAUSE TO HOPE IN HIM,




Apostolic Endurance (v.10)


“We suffer reproach.” This is hard to bear, even when it is not deserved.

All who have broken old ties of Church or home know its power. Men ever

brand with heresy that which conflicts with their own opinions. Against

Paul men brought false charges. We must not surround the gospel then

with the glory associated with it now. We put the nimbus on the heads of

the saints and martyrs; their enemies crowned them with shame.



WORLD HOLDS DEAR. A good name and a fair fame, how

precious these are to us all! But if we move daily in an atmosphere of

suspicion and false accusation, how full of misery the outward lot becomes!

It is a proof of how precious Christ was to Paul, that he counts all things but

offal that he may win Christ. Reproach itself became a source of joy when

he felt that it was endured for the Master’s cause. “If ye be reproached

for the Name of Christ, happy are ye.” (I Peter 4:14)



RELIGION. “Because I testify of it that the works thereof are evil,”

said Christ, “therefore they have hated me”  (John 7:7).  The Master

was reproached as a blasphemer, a wine-bibber, a seditionist, a friend

of publicans and sinners.  It was a testimony to His earnest character that

Paul suffered reproach.  Wolves do not worry a painted sheep, and the

world does not persecute a mere professor. In every age of religious

earnestness reproach has had to be endured. The Covenanters of Scotland

in their wilderness-worship, when they spread the white communion cloth

on the yet whiter snow; the Puritans in their hidden assemblies; and

missionaries like Carey, satirized by the reviews! Even now it is not an

easy thing to be a Christian; but we find in the gospel that which no

secular inspiration can give — THE POWER TO LIVE IN THE




Sustaining Motive (v. 10)


“Because we trust in the living God.” One remarkable fact in the history of

Paul was that nothing damped his ardor. It was not so with such men as

Luther, who seemed to feel at last that all is vain. There were no outward

forces to sustain the life of the new Church. Well may the ancient words be

used in contrasting the cause of Mohammed with that of the gospel: “Some

trust in chariots, and some in horses, BUT WE TRUST IN THE



·        “IN THE LIVING GOD.” The tendency of Judaism was to leave God in

the past! The age of inspiration had passed, the prophetic roll had closed,

and the Jews became scribes and traditionists. They had a codex of finished

Law, and gathered up the opinions of the rabbis upon the minutest matters

of ceremonial and duty. Paul preached a God who was then baptizing men

with fire — a Holy Spirit that was working in the hearts of the faithful.



THE MARKS OF LIFE. It embodied Divine power, it manifested a living

purpose. It had an echo in the conscience and heart of men. God, who in

times past had spoken to the fathers by the prophets, had in these last days

spoken unto them by his Son. God was manifest in the flesh (Hebrews 1:1-2;

ch. 3:16).  The Spirit had descended after Christ’s ascension, and Pentecost

had already taken its place in history.



CARE OF HIS SERVANTS. He had opened ways for them; He had

touched the hearts of men. As they preached, the message had been

accompanied with POWER FROM ON HIGH  and Paul in his

imprisonment had received grace according to his day.



HIS SERVANTS DIED. Empires might fall; dynasties might change; the

ancient Jewish Church might fulfill its day; but THE LIVING GOD had

designed a new heaven and a new earth, wherein righteousness

should dwell; and thus his apostles trusted, not in an arm of flesh, but




The Universal Redeemer (v. 10)


“Who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.” Paul had no

limited atonement to preach, but that CHRIST DIED FOR ALL and was the

propitiation for the sins of the whole world  (Romans 3:23-25).  There was

no court of the Gentiles; for all alike — Jew and Greek — were included under


In Christ Jesus there is neither Greek nor Jew, bond nor free; all are one in the

provision; ALL NEED IT;  ALL MUST HAVE IT!  (Galatians 3:28; Colossians

3:11;  Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”




unless faith looks up and lays hold on Christ, the virtue will not come out

of Him, either of forgiveness or life. It matters not that the lifeboat is

provided for all in the sinking ship, unless men will leap into the lifeboat. It

matters not that the electric cord conveys the current, unless men adjust it

to their wants and bring it to their house!



In that age:


Ø      it stayed suicide,

Ø      it raised hospitals,

Ø      it emancipated Ephesians and Corinthians from lust,

Ø      it uplifted women,

Ø      it purified law, and

Ø      it created brotherhood between Samaritan, Gentile, and Jew.


In the early centuries we see it at work in the varied peoples that united

in its worship, whilst the bishops of the Church were African, Greek,

Roman, and Armenian. It saved men in the catacombs from despair,

and constrained them to write on their epitaphs words that breathed

of hope; and IT CONTINUES TO SAVE!  It enlarges the kingdom of

Christ; it breaks up the heptarchy of evil in the heart, as province after

province becomes loyal to God; and it redeems body, soul, and spirit.

“Beside me there is no Savior (Isaiah 43:11) is as true today as

ever. The love of beauty often ends in mere sensuous aestheticism. The

seeking after righteousness often leaves the upas tree of the heart with its

deadly leaves within. New ideals of social economy find man’s selfishness

supreme in every new adjustment of law. Selfishness never has been slain,

SAVE AT THE CROSS OF JESUS!   But this gospel saves them that

believe today. Men too often prefer costly ritual and formal ceremonial; but

a new heart means a new life, and the gospel saves them that believe.


11 “These things command and teach.”  Command (para>ggelle - paraggele

command; be you charging – see ch.1:3, note; 5:7; 6:13, 17). It is used very

frequently in the Gospels of our Lord’s commands to the apostles and others,

and by Paul of his own apostolic directions to the Churches (I Thessalonians 4:11;

II Thessalonians 3:4, 6, etc.).


12 “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the

believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in

purity.”  Let no man despise thy youth (compare I Corinthians 16:11;

Titus 2:15). The construction of the sentence is manifestly that adopted in

the Authorized Version and followed in the Revised Version.  Timothy would

certainly be under forty years at this time, and might be not above thirty-five.

Either age would be decidedly early for so responsible an office — one in which

he would have many elders (presbu>teroi - presbuteroi) under him (ch. 5:1, 17,19).

An ensample (tu>pov tupos example; model; type); properly the original “pattern”

or “model” after which anything is made or fashioned; hence a “pattern” or

example.” It is used in the same sense as here in Philippians 3:17; I Thessalonians

 1:7; II Thessalonians 3:9; Titus 2:7; I Peter. 5:3.  Of the believers..   oiJ

pistoi> oi piston -  are simply “believers,” or “Christians” — “the flock,” as

Peter has it, and had better be so rendered. Timothy is exhorted to make it

impossible for any one to question his authority on the score of his youth

by being a model of the Christian graces required in believers. In word.

Specially in his teaching. The exhortation to Titus (2:1, 7) is very

similar, “Speak thou the things which befit the sound doctrine. In all things

showing thyself an ensample of good works; in thy doctrine showing

uncorruptness, gravity, sound speech (lo>gon uJgih~ logou hugiae)” etc.

(compare  too ch. 5:17;  II Timothy 1:13).   Conversation - (ajnastrofh~

anastrophae conversation; Manner of life  - see ch. 3:15, note). Purity

(aJgnei>a| - hagneia); elsewhere in the New Testament only in ch.5:2,

where it has the same special sense (compare ajgno>v hagnospure;

chaste - II Corinthians 11:2; ch.5:22; Titus 2:5; I Peter 3:2).


13 “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”

Till I come (ch.1:3; 3:14). Reading (th~| ajnagnw>sei - tae anagnosei). The

public reading of the Scriptures (the Lessons, as we should say). This we know

was the practice in the synagogue (Luke 4:16; Acts 13:27; 15:21; II Corinthians

3:15). We see the beginning of reading the New Testament in the Christian

assemblies in Ephesians 3:4; and Colossians 4:16; and generally in the fact of

Epistles being addressed by the apostles to Churches. The ajnagnw>sthv

anagnostaes – reading - the reader, lector, was a regular order in the third and

fourth centuries.  Exhortation (th~| paraklh>sei – tae paraklaesei – exhortation;

entreaty); see Acts 4:36, where Barnabas’s name is interpreted as meaning “Son

of exhortation” (Revised Version), and 13:15; compare Romans 12:7 (where, as

here, para>klhsiv paraklaesis – exhortation and didaskali>a - didaskalia

doctrine; teaching - are coupled together); I Thessalonians 2:3, etc. Teaching

 (didaskali>a); almost always rendered “doctrine” in the Authorized Version.

But here, where the act of teaching (like the act of reading, the act of exhorting,

in the two preceding clauses) is intended, “teaching” is perhaps the best word

according to our modern usage. As regards the difference between didaskali>a

and para>klhsiv, the former would express “doctrinal teaching,” whether of

dogma or of precept, the latter entreaties to believe the one and practice the

other (see Acts 11:23 and 14:22 for good examples of pra>klhsiv).



The Duties of Timothy’s Public Ministry (v. 13)


The apostle urges him to the diligent exercise of his calling. “Till I come give

 attention to the reading, the exhortation, the teaching.”


·        THE READING. This referred to the public reading of the Scriptures in

the Church. The Old Testament Scriptures, and probably part of the New

Testament, would thus be read at such meeting of the saints. This reading

was necessary because


Ø      the Scriptures were the sources of all religious knowledge;

Ø      the test or standard of doctrine by which opinions were to be


Ø      the means of sanctification (John 17:17);

Ø      the spring of Christian hope and comfort (Romans 15:13).


·        THE EXHORTATION. This refers to public ministry. Timothy was

practically to enforce the duties of Christian life out of the Scriptures.


  • THE TEACHING. This refers to the matter of doctrinal instruction.

Thus full provision would be made for building up the saints in their most

holy faith, and in all the graces and virtues of a holy life.


14 Negllect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by

prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.”

The gift (ca>risma charisma - gift). The verb cari>zomai charizomai

to give anything freely,” gratuitously, of mere good will, without any payment

or return (Luke 7:42; Acts 27:24; Romans 8:32; I Corinthians 2:12, etc.). Hence

ca>risma came to be especially applied to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are

preeminently “free gifts” (see Acts 8:20). It is so applied in Romans 1:11; 12:6;

I Corinthians 1:7; 12:4, 9, 28, 30-31; I Peter 4:10. Here, then, as in the

similar passage, II Timothy 1:6, the “gift” spoken of is the special

grace given by the Holy Ghost to those who are separated forthe office

and work of a priest in the Church of God by the imposition of hands”

(Ordering of Priests). This gift Paul bids him not neglect (mh< ajme>lei

mae amelei).  The word contains the idea of contemptuous neglect — neglect

as of an unimportant thing. In Matthew 22:5 the persons invited to the feast

made light of it, and went away to other things which they cared more

about. In Hebrews 2:3, thlikau>thv ajmelh>santev swthri>av - taelikautaes

amelaesantes sotaerias – neglect so great salvation and 8:9, imply a contemptuous

disregard. So here Timothy is reminded that in his ordination he received a great

ca>risma, and that he must value it duly, and use it diligently. It must not be let

lie slumbering and smoldering, but must be stirred up into a flame. The lesson

here and in II Timothy 1:6 seems to be that we must look back to our ordination,

and to the spiritual grace given in it, as things not exhausted. The grace is there,

but it must not be lightly thought of. Which was given thee by prophecy. This

seems to be explained by Acts 13:1-3, where Barnabas and Saul were

separated for their work by the laying on of the hands apparently of the

prophets and teachers, at the express command of the Holy Ghost,

speaking doubtless by the mouth of one of the prophets. Timothy, it

appears, was designated for his work by a like command of the Holy

Ghost, speaking by one of the Church prophets, and received his

commission by a like “laying on of hands” by the elders of the Church. If

Paul refers, as he appears to do, to the same occasion in II Timothy

1:6, then it appears that he laid his hands on Timothy, together with the

presbyters, as is done by the bishop in the ordination of priests. The

presbytery (tou~presbuteri>ou) tou presbuteriou – presbytery; eldership.

The word is borrowed from the Jewish nomenclature (see Luke 22:6;

Acts 22:5).


Spiritual Negligence (v. 14)


“Neglect not the gift that is in thee.” This is a counsel specially for Timothy

as a teacher; but it applies to us all.


  • THE GIFT IS A RESPONSIBILITY. We are not merely receptive

beings. A lake, unless the living waters flow through it, is stagnant and

dangerous. The world of youth and beauty is a world of life. The sun parts

with its beams. The ocean exhales its moisture. The tree yields its fruit. The

air passes through the lungs. The river makes music of progress as it passes

to the sea. Here in nature there is no arresting hand, no force of self-restraint,

no self-hood. God has “set in order” the courses of the rivers, and

made a path for the light; and they obey His will. Man can say “No” to

God’s moral ordinations — not, of course, without harm and penalty;

But he can, and too often he does:


Ø      pervert the gift, and turn it to disloyal uses; and at other times

Ø      he neglects it he lays up the talent in a napkin. (Luke 19:20).


He turns selfish, and mars the use of his gift by misuse and by personal

Ease and indulgence. The world is no better for his birth. The Church




Ø      THE GIFT VARIES. It is, however, somewhere within us. There are

forces of life hidden in the soul, gracious gifts of help and healing; but man

neglects them. Sometimes he undervalues them with a perilous modesty,

which forgets that the weakest vessel can hold some water; the simplest

speech be eloquent for its Lord; the slender time be rich with opportunities.

God has not made a mistake in our creation. There are gifts of service,

gifts of sympathy, gifts of prayer, which, if envy were angelic, angels might

envy. Neglect not thy gift. It will be required of thee again. It needs not age

to ripen it and make it ready. “Let no man despise thy youth; be thou an

example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit,

 in faith, in purity” (v. 12).   “Be great in act as you have been in thought,”

says Shakespeare. This is our danger — neglect. We know what it means in

education, which has its now; in the dwelling, which, however well

furnished, soon becomes unhealthy and unlovely through disuse and dust;

in exercise, which, neglected, imperils muscle and blood and nerve. So in

religion we are to be active and earnest, not resting on the couch of

personal comfort, or merely enjoying, from the observatory of revelation,

the vision of the heavenly shores.


The Duty of Improving the Divine Gifts of Exhortation and Teaching (v.14)


“Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee through

prophecy, with laying on of the hands of the presbytery.”




Ø      It is not mere intellectual equipment, nor the mere possession

 of Divine grace, but the gift, which qualified Timothy for

 preaching the gospel. “For the work of an evangelist”

(II Timothy 4:5).  It was a gift:


o       of interpreting the Scriptures,

o       of dispensing the mysteries of grace with edification,

o       of bringing forth things new and old out of the good treasure

of a holy heart informed with truth.


Ø      It was a gift conferred by means of prophecy. The Holy Spirit

had, by one or more of the prophets, declared His will to confer

this gift upon Timothy. The prophecy was the Divine assurance

as to Timothy’s qualifications.  “Neglect not the gift that is

in thee.”


Ø      The response to this Divine act is signified by the action of the

presbytery in formally designating him to his special ministerial




“Neglect not the gift that is in thee.” There were several reasons to

enforce this duty.


Ø      The prophetic declaration accompanied by the concurrence of the

whole body of presbyters would fill his mind with a sense of his high

privilege and great responsibility in the possession of such a gift.


Ø      The exercise of a gift is the only method of preventing its

complete lapse. The disuse of a limb causes it to atrophy.

All faculties must be kept bright and vivid by constant exercise.


Ø      Our Lord, by the parable of the talents, teaches us the sin

and danger of hiding our talent uselessly in the ground.

(Matthew 25:24-30)


15 “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy

profiting may appear to all.”  (au~ta mele>ta - - auta meleta ). Give all your

attention and care and study to these things. It is just the contrary to mh< ajme>lei

mae amelei – neglect not -  in v. 14. The verb meleta>w meletao, besides this

passage, occurs in its classical sense of “premeditating” or “getting up a

speech,” in Mark 13:11 (where, however, the reading is doubtful), and

again in Acts 4:25, in the sense of “premeditating” certain actions. A

kindred use in classical Greek is “to practice” or “exercise” an art, as

rhetoric, dancing, shooting with a bow, and the like. It is very common in

the Septuagint, in the sense of “meditating,” practicing in the thoughts. Give

thyself wholly to them (ejn tou>toiv i]sqi – en toutois isthi); literally, be in

these things; i.e. be wholly and always occupied with them. (Proverbs 23. 17).

thy profiting  (hJ prokoph> hae prokopae - Thy progress ). Progress, advance,

or growth, is  the idea of prokoph>. It is used twice in Philippians 1:12, 25. 

The use of the  verb proko>ptw for “to advance,” “make progress,” is still

more common (Luke 2:52; Romans 13:12; Galatians 1:14; II Timothy 2:16;

3:9, 14). It is used equally of progress in good or evil.  To all. The R.T. reads

pa~sin pasin for ejn pa~sin – en pasin in the Textus Receptus., which may be

rendered either “to [or, ‘among’] all persons” or “in all things.”



Mental Absorption (v. 15)


“Meditate upon these things.” They need and will bear meditation. Divine

truths are too awful and august m their deep significance to be exhausted

by superficial notice. They need to be focused to the eye, and studied in all

their central depth and beauty.



It requires the silent study that we may enjoy “the harvest of a quiet eye,” and

see deeply into the “wondrous things” of the Divine Law (Psalm 119:18).

Meditate; for thus only will you understand your real self, and so know better

the adaptation of the gospel to your need and your sin.



These require on our part time and insight. This is the fault of our age — it

does not meditate. (Too much time required for television, entertainment,

video games, etc. – CY – 2013).  It is superficially critical; apt to fly off at

some tangent of mental difficulty; and is so impatient with the key that it

injures the lock.  We cannot think well in a hurry, any more than we

can work well in a hurry. Many of the worst human mistakes of life we

should avoid IF WE MEDITATED MORE!


“Evil is wrought by want of thought,

As well as want of heart.”


Our prayers would be wider in scope and richer in feeling if we meditated

more; and our judgment would not be so hard about the dealings of God

with us if we meditated on “the way the fathers trod,” and the Divine

revelation of our need of discipline. Meditate, and then the cross will stand

out in its august significance; the heart will feel that it needs a Savior

as well as a Teacher; and instead of feeling that you know all about that

wondrous mystery of Divine provision, you will pray that you, like Paul,

may “know the love of Christ,” which passeth knowledge and “filled with

all the fullness of God.”  (Ephesians 3:19).  Meditate on these things.”

They are pluralized; for they are many. The gospel facts and the gospel doctrines

constitute a wide range of subjects affecting alike our temporal and ETERNAL




The Observation of Others (v. 15)


“That thy profiting may appear to all.” The Christian teachings are not like

Eleusinian Mysteries; they are revelations to be lived out in THE BROAD

DAYLIGHT OF HISTORY!  A religion that ends in meditation makes the mystic

 a religion that confines itself to solitudes makes the ascetic, who shuts

himself out from the world.



or, in other words, is no mere emotionalism that may coexist with lax

character and feeble morality. Too often this has been the case, and the

Church has been apt to palliate the sins of the fraudulent trader or the

bankrupt trustee, if, though he has wronged others and brought whole

families to beggary and ruin, he has still preserved his spiritual emotions,

his seraphic rhapsodies of expression, and his fervent interest in missionary




come to the touchstone of action and character. It must energize the

conscience, quicken the passive virtues of humility and submission, and

brace the will for the stern obedience of the soldier and the faithful

obligations of the steward.


16 “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for

in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

Take heed (e]pece) epeche – give heed; attend; as in Acts 3:5 (see too

Luke 14:7). The doctrine.   hae didaskaliaThe Authorized Version, the

doctrine, is the better rendering though  the difference of meaning is very slight.

The use of hJ didaskali>a  in ch.6:1 and 3, and Titus 2:10 strongly supports

the sense of “doctrine,” i.e. the thing taught (see note on v. 13). Continue in

them -  (ejpi>mene aujtoi~v - epimene autois ); compare Acts 13:43;

Romans 6:1; 11:22-23; Colossians 1:23. It is impossible to give a satisfactory

solution to the question — What does aujtoi~v  autoisthem - refer to? It seems

to me necessarily to refer to what immediately precedes, viz. seautw~| kai< th~|

didaskali>a - seauto kai tae didaskalia  - yourself and the teaching; doctrine -,

and so to refer rather to the sense of the words than to the exact grammar. The

things which he was to “take heed to” were his own conduct and example

(included in seautw~| - yourself) and the doctrine which he preached; and in a

steady continuance in these things — faithful living and faithful teaching — he

would save both himself and his hearers. The application of the words to

the tau~ta – these -of . 15, or to all the things enumerated from v. 12 onwards, or, taken

as a masculine, to the Ephesians, or the hearers, as variously proposed by eminent

commentators seems alike possible.



A Dual Heed (v.16)


“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine.” These two God hath

joined together, and let no man put them asunder. Let not self-hood

become a self-righteousness, which ignores the doctrine that we need

Christ as our Strength and our Savior, and the Holy Spirit as our

Sanctifier. Taking heed to ourselves must not make us daringly self-

confident.  Some superficial men think that they can go this warfare on their

own charges. The whole amour of God is needful, and not the mere

equipment of personal judgment and unaided strength. But taking heed to

the doctrine, let us remember that it is not a dead dogma, but that the

Christian verities are spirit and life. We must not be hearers for others or

critics of others, judging one another, and measuring our own virtue by the

shock produced in us at the inconsistencies and failings of others.



FLESH TO DEAL WITH. Knowing what war there still is in our

members. Knowing that this same gospel says, “The spirit indeed is willing,

but the flesh is weak”  (Matthew 26:41).  Remembering that the richest lives

have made shipwreck, and the loftiest monuments been the first to be shattered

by the storm. We must remember that the teacher elevated by honor may be

the first to fall.  (“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take

heed lest he fall.”  - I Corinthians 10:12)



THIS FOR US. We know more of ourselves than any other can know. Our

tastes, our tendencies, our secret desires, our constitutional weaknesses.

We see how the “needle” trembles in the presence of certain loadstones of

evil, and we must therefore look within, and be watchful.



     The Life-Endurance (v. 16)


“Continue in them.” There must be perseverance or pressing forward. And

this is the great point. “Ye did run well” applies to many who were first in

the Atalanta race. “That your fruit may remain,” said Christ (John 15:16).

Permanence.  This is beautiful. How many actual blossoms never come to fruit

at all! And how much fruit becomes the subject of blight and withering. Young life,

like Timothy’s, is lovely in its enthusiasm; but:


  • WHAT A WORLD IS BEFORE HIM! How little he knows yet of the

perils of the way! Churches may become corrupt like Ephesus, or divided

like Corinth. Demas may desert; Hymenaeus and Philetus may make

shipwreck. Opposition may increase. Enemies may multiply. The work may

grow harder; and the atmosphere in which it is done grow colder.

Continue in them!



vessel with her freshly painted hull, her gay bunting, her trim sails, her

beautiful lines, may float swan-like in the harbor, and then skim the waters

like a thing of life. But she is nobler when, with battered sides, and gaping

bulwarks, and rent sails, and dismantled rigging, she reaches her destined

haven. “Continue in them.” The sword may not be so bright with the

silvery sheen of newness; the helmet may not be so undinted; the apparel

may not be so unstained; but the hero has won the war, fought the good

fight, and finished his course.  (II Timothy 4:7)



The Necessity of a Minister Giving His Whole Energies to His Work (vs.15-16)


The apostle here concludes his solemn instructions to his chosen representative at Ephesus.



MINISTRY. “These things do thou care for: be in them.”


Ø      A ministers heart ought to be anxious about his work. It is this

anxiety that secures the efficiency of work in this world. But the

minister’s concern is:


o       full of an inspiring zeal for God’s honor, and

o       is sustained by encouraging promises of help from on high.


Ø      A minister ought to devote himself exclusively to his work.

“Be in them.” The obstacles to this devotion are:


o       slothfulness,

o       worldliness,

o       the pressure of duties right in themselves, but lying outside the

sphere of the ministry.



progress may appear to all.”


Ø      This does not imply that Timothy was to have exclusive regard to

his right standing with the Church. This might be a questionable



Ø      It implies that his devotion to his work should be so altogether

conspicuous that it could not but be seen by all.




 and to the teaching; continue in them: for in so doing thou shalt save

both thyself and them that hear thee.”


Ø      The direct object of the minister of the gospel is the salvation

of souls.


Ø      This salvation comes by hearing the gospel. “Faith cometh

by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”  (Romans 10:17)


Ø      It is the duty of the minister to persevere with a pious insistency

on all the objects of his ministry. “Continue in them.”


Ø      Nothing is so well adapted for the salvation of ministers as

their pious labors in behalf of the salvation of others.


Ø      There is to be a double service in this ministry. The minister

must first look well to his life, exemplifying the holiness of the gospel

in word and deed (v.12); and then his teaching must be good (v. 6) and

salutary (ch.1:10). Thus he will be the instrument of much good; he

will thus cover the multitude of sins, and save a soul from death

(James 5:20).



Latter-Day Apostasies (vs. 1-16)


The history of the Christian Church is the history of the sowing of tares as

well as of the sowing of good grain; and it describes the work of seducing

spirits as well as that of the Spirit of God. The work of heresy is not merely

the denial of true doctrine, but it is the invention and propagation of a

multitude of FALSE DOCTRINES.   Nor, again, are the false doctrines so

invented and promulgated, on the face of them, necessarily ungodly doctrines.

On the contrary, they often assume to themselves to be holier, stricter, more

heavenly doctrines, than those of the Church of God. The Church of God is

not holy enough for these spirit-taught separatists; the precepts of Jesus

Christ do not attain a standard high enough for their exalted aspirations;

the apostles do but grovel in the dust of commonplace piety, while these

self-sent teachers soar to the heights of the true knowledge of the Infinite.

But not only does Church history record the rise, in a lamentable

succession, of the various troublers of the spiritual Israel, the men who

have done more to hinder God’s work on earth than all the persecutors and

atheists put together have accomplished — the Cerinthuses, and Marcions,

and Montanuses, and Manicheuses, and Socinuses, and countless other

sectaries of later times — but the spirit of prophecy revealed beforehand

for the Church’s warning that so it should be. The Holy Ghost, in no

obscure or doubtful words, made it known to the Church that there would

be apostasies many and grievous from the faith once delivered to the saints,

that the leaders of those apostasies would be seducing spirits — spirits of

antichrist, as John has it — and that some of them at least would put on

the hypocritical appearance of greater holiness, for the purpose of the

better deceiving the hearts of the simple. Thus while Christ taught by His

apostle that “marriage is honorable in all,” (Hebrews 13:4), these forbade

to marry; while the Word of God declared that “every creature of God is

good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving” (v.4)

these commanded “to abstain from meats,” saying, “Touch not, taste not,

handle not”  (Colossians 2:21).  The Word of God teaches that God gives

us richly all things to enjoy (ch. 6:17); these enjoined every kind of austerity

to the body — “bodily exercises” which profited little (v.8).  The Word of

God bids us approach bodily to the throne of grace through the mediation

of Jesus Christ; these would keep men back from God, and substitute, in the

name of humility, the worship of angels. And that these pernicious doctrines

were not confined to the first ages of the Church, the history of the Church

too sadly teaches. The most opposite forms of heresy which have in all ages

distracted the Church have always had this in common, that, pretending

to improve upon the sound, sober, and wise teaching of the Word of God,

they have corrupted and forsaken it by:


  • Enforced celibacy for pure-minded chastity;
  • artificial rules of abstinence for habitual temperance and self-restraint;
  • groveling saint and image worship for direct communion with the

     living God;

  • self-righteous separation from the world for holy living in the world;
  • bruising the body instead of mortifying the soul;
  • pretentious rejection of wealth for self-denying use of it;
  •  leaving the state of life in which God has placed a man, instead of

adorning the gospel in it;

  • making those things to be sins which God has not made sins, and

those things to be virtues which God has not made virtues;


these have ever been the characteristics of those “doctrines of devils,”

the purpose of which is to turn the simple away from THE TRUTH.

“The good minister of Jesus Christ” must hold his course boldly and

Straight-forwardly in the teeth of all such false doctrine. He must not parley

with the teachers of heresy, nor mix the wine of the gospel with the water

of falsehood. He knows that the Word of God is purer, and holier, and wiser,

and higher, than all the subtleties of human invention, and will stand in its glory

when they are ALL SWEPT AWAY INTO NOTHINGNESS. . And, knowing

this, he must give himself wholly to teaching the truth, whether men will hear or

whether they will forbear (Ezekiel 2:5; 3:11, 26-27), being fully assured that in

so doing he will both save himself and them that hear him.


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