1 Timothy 4
1 Timothy 4:1-16-Paul’s Instructions for Maintaining Sound Doctrine in the Church
1 Timothy 4:1-5-Understand the source of unsound doctrine
Paul has just made it clear that there are certain foundational truths of the Christian faith that are absolutes (3:16). They are not debatable. It is faith in Jesus Christ as these foundational truths teach that will result in salvation. Now he says that a time will come when men will in fact question these foundational truths and try to add to them. They will claim that in addition to faith in what they teach there are also certain laws (religious practices) that must be obeyed in order to be a believer (to be saved). Laws such as forbidding marriage, and abstaining from certain foods. Paul says these things (marriage and food) are good, not evil…God created them that way (:3-5). There is no benefit in following the false teachings of these men. Notice that the source of these false teachings is, “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” These false teachings originate with Satan. It is his blatant attempt to lead people away from the teachings of salvation (by grace alone through faith) that Jesus had established and the Apostles had affirmed. Those who follow these false teachings will “fall away from the faith.”
Fall, Fallen, Falling, Fell:
when used intransitively, signifies "to stand off" (apo, "from," histemi, "to stand"), "to withdraw from;" hence, "to fall away, to apostatize," 1Ti 4:1, RV, "shall fall away," for AV, "shall depart;" Hbr 3:12, RV, "falling away."
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,
They will leave, turn away from the faith, the true means of salvation to the false means taught by these false teachers. This is a very serious matter…because it affects the eternal lives of men. Paul refers to this satanic work as “the hypocrisy of liars.” This is no slight deviation from the truth. It is a total and complete abandonment of the truth.
1 Timothy 4:6-16-Maintain the practices of sound doctrine
1 Timothy 4:6-10-Paul tells Timothy that he is to carefully instruct the members of the church in these matters. Make clear what is true and what is false. These false teachings are matters of external physical discipline (:8) and they do no good in providing for spiritual growth and development. There are spiritual disciplines that are beneficial to godliness (growing spiritually so that the character of Jesus is being formed in me). Paul says that this spiritual growth will take place when we are "nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine". Do not be caught up in "worldly fables" (cf. 1:4). Instead, we are to "discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness". These are the things we are to teach other people. These practices will strengthen us in our earthly life by developing the character of Christ in us and will also prepare us for our Heavenly life. When we teach these things we will maintain sound doctrine.
1 Timothy 4:11-16-Paul strongly urges Timothy to be diligent in what he has been called to do. Notice how many different ways he emphasizes this by the various words he uses…
• “have nothing to do”-:7
• “show yourself an example”-:12
• “give attention”-:13
• "do not neglect"-:14
• "take pains"-:15
• “be absorbed”-:15
• "pay close attention"-:16
Timothy is to pay close attention to the practice of his own spiritual walk...and, he is to teach that practice to others. His method of teaching will involve example (:12,15-16), as well as explanation (:11,13-14). The Message Paraphrase puts it this way…
11-14. Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.
15-16. Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.
Prayer: Father, please help me to discipline myself spiritually. Please help me to be an example to others of what it means to be Your follower.