Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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      1 Timothy - Chapter 04 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. God's Spirit clearly says that in the last days many people will turn from their faith. They will be fooled by evil spirits and by teachings that come from demons.
    2. They will also be fooled by the false claims of liars whose consciences have lost all feeling. These liars
    3. will forbid people to marry or to eat certain foods. But God created these foods to be eaten with thankful hearts by his followers who know the truth.
    4. Everything God created is good. And if you give thanks, you may eat anything.
    5. What God has said and your prayer will make it fit to eat.
    6. If you teach these things to other followers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus. You will show that you have grown up on the teachings about our faith and on the good instructions you have obeyed.
    7. Don't have anything to do with worthless, senseless stories. Work hard to be truly religious.
    8. As the saying goes, "Exercise is good for your body, but religion helps you in every way. It promises life now and forever." These words are worthwhile and should not be forgotten.
    9. (SEE 4:8)
    10. We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, but especially of those who have faith. That's why we work and struggle so hard.
    11. Teach these things and tell everyone to do what you say.
    12. Don't let anyone make fun of you, just because you are young. Set an example for other followers by what you say and do, as well as by your love, faith, and purity.
    13. Until I arrive, be sure to keep on reading the Scriptures in worship, and don't stop preaching and teaching.
    14. Use the gift you were given when the prophets spoke and the group of church leaders blessed you by placing their hands on you.
    15. Remember these things and think about them, so everyone can see how well you are doing.
    16. Be careful about the way you live and about what you teach. Keep on doing this, and you will save not only yourself, but the people who hear you.
Reflections

1 Timothy - Chapter 04

Entered: December 20, 2005
[REFER TO CHAPTER 3]

Entered: January 16, 2012

This chapter has a backward progression to it. Paul begins with the topic of a falling away from the faith that will occur in the latter times. Then he exhorts Timothy to "point these things out to the brothers." Finally, he tells Timothy to "Be conscientious about yourself and your teaching." (4:16) Paul started with the problem and worked backward to the remedy. The remedy to the problem of being drawn into the "hypocrisy of liars" and departing from the faith is to give attention to our own training "in godliness." (4:7)

Paul, and possibly others, had received a word through the Holy Spirit that in the latter times, as Christ's return approaches, there will be an increase in those who fall away from the truth as they are caught up in "deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared." (4:1-2) Such teaching will forbid things that God has created. Things that are good and intended to "be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth." (4:3) Those who teach such things will claim a special knowledge, but in truth their teachings are the teachings of demons.

Not wanting the church at Ephesus to get caught up in such teaching, Paul instructed Timothy to "point these things out to the brothers." (4:6) But if Timothy was to properly lead the church he would have to give attention to his own spiritual nurture. Paul didn't tell him to study these silly myths to better understand what they were up against, but told Timothy to "have nothing to do" with them. Instead, he was to "train yourself in godliness." Truth dispels error as light overcomes darkness. Darkness cannot overcome light as error cannot overcome truth. It stands on its own and shows the folly of error. So focus on truth.

In leading the Ephesian church Timothy was to give attention to "public reading, exhortation, and teaching." (4:13) Timothy was able to carry out this assignment through the "gift" that was in him, of which Paul told him not to neglect. It was not in his own natural abilities that he would accomplish this task, but in the ability given him through a spiritual gift.