We closed out 1 Timothy chapter three with words meant to establish us and fill our hearts with faith. These words also define who Jesus is and give us words of strength and trust to share with others.
Why then, is there a need to open this fourth chapter of 1 Timothy by telling the young church leader – a young man that Paul treats as a son, that there will not only be those who turn away from what we believe, but they will work their way back into the church and start teaching in resistance to what Paul has taught?
A question such as this would only be valid if Timothy had not experienced demonic resistance such as this. Paul had already experienced this very thing, and, as we will see, the Spirit of God had spoken to him about the depravity and how those in the early church were not going to have to wait for two thousand years to experience this apostasy.
[As a side note, the mere usage of the term apostasy has many saying, Ah yes, that is the sign we were looking for. You need to know two things: 1. It is not your sign, and 2. We, those who thought we were sensible, reading our bibles, could see that 2 Thessalonians 2:3 calls for a falling away of the church. The problem is that lying hypocrites got into the church and intentionally changed the meaning of the word apostasia to suit their momentary need. The Geneva Bible is one of the earliest translations, and they translated apostasia correctly and used the word a departing. That departing is the catching away of the church.]
To make this report of Paul’s even worse, the NLT, Paul calls them hypocrites that follow after deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.
I told you one of the prime examples that we, as citizens, who enjoy a civil society, have to deal with is BLM inc. Founded by a Lesbian Marxist, BLM’s leadership consult with the dead for their daily direction. In doing this, they are following the teachings of demons.
But what if many of these people who have turned away from sound teachings are not so dramatic?
1 Timothy 4:1-5 ERV The Spirit clearly says that in the last times, some will turn away from what we believe. They will obey spirits that tell lies. And they will follow the teachings of demons. (2) Those teachings come through people who tell lies and trick others. These evil people cannot see what is right and what is wrong. It is like their conscience has been destroyed with a hot iron. (3) They say that it is wrong to marry. And they say that there are some foods that people must not eat. But God made these foods, and those who believe and who understand the truth can eat them with thanks. (4) Everything that God made is good. Nothing he made should be refused if it is accepted with thanks to him. (5) Everything he created is made holy by what he has said and by prayer.
What was Paul trying to say when he said, “the Spirit expressly says.“?
Many would say (if they were willing to be vulnerable) that they have no idea what it is like having the Spirit speak to them.
Since the Spirit is closely associated with wisdom, and we see wisdom spoken of in the Proverbs, then perhaps the voice of the Spirit sounds much like what we perceive as wisdom, which was way before the advent of fortune cookies. So we are talking about the voices that you comprehend to be in your head. Look at the words of Solomon, one of the wisest men on earth at the time.
“Wisdom calls aloud in the open air and raises her voice in the public places;” Proverbs 1:20 CJB
I happen to believe that the Holy Spirit frequently speaks to us, but because we are so attuned to the voices in our head, we think that thought or idea was our own and therefore dismiss the possibility that God could or would be talking to us.
We cannot get away from Paul – who, by his own admission, was an expert in the Old Testament. Therefore he must be referring to scriptures that will establish a viable witness for us. It’s either that or Paul, refers to the faith fathers, such as Abram, Moses, and Samuel, to name a few, to validate how God speaks to us.
2 Chronicles 15:2 does convey the idea that God is with you, along with His voice, but it does not explain how Paul could say that “the Spirit expressly says.”
“…the Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him, craving Him as your soul’s first necessity], He will be found by you;…” (2 Chronicles 15:2b AMP)
And, this verse opens the door of explanation as to why He may not be talking to you, as you make NO effort to be with Him.
Unfortunately, 1 Timothy 4:1 is the only place we find the Greek word rhētōs used in scripture, so I cannot fall back on another scripture for my reference.
The word expressly, or explicitly is the Greek word rhētōs and means to express in words.
Webster’s dictionary defines the word explicitly as an adverb, which means to speak plainly, expressly, without duplicity, or disguise or reservation of meaning, not by inference or implication.
AVOW‘, is to declare openly, or simply to own.
Where else do we see this level of openness and honesty?
In God’s conversations with Abram, where God would say, “as for Me,” God showed His character, as he declared openly, and He owned what He said by saying, He swore by Himself.
“Such teachings come from the hypocrisy of liars whose own consciences have been burned, as if with a red-hot branding iron.” 1 Timothy 4:2 CJB
A fitting quote from Dr. J. Vernon McGee.
“’Speaking lies in hypocrisy.’ The apostate will pretend to be very pious and very religious. I have come to be suspicious of this pious position taken by super-duper saints who claim to have something special. My friend, if you do have the truth, it will make you humble because the first thing you will find out is how little you know.”
Hypocrisy is the Greek word hupokrisis and means acting under a feigned part.
You might say, as some do, are you kidding me! You’re telling me that these people were faking it the entire time. On a personal note, several of my grandchildren have a daddy who did all the appropriate, religious actions, tears and baptism included; however, every time I encounter a study like this, I think of him. It sure seems like what he did was just an act.
Paul, in verse two, speaks of “their conscience being seared.” If this were literal, nerve endings would be burned off, and scarring would have taken place. In the surgical arena, they use a device that simultaneously cuts and seals, but nerves inevitably become damaged in the process.
1 Timothy 4:3-5 NASB “men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. (4) For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; (5) for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”
The opportunity for people who come to the Lord, to become legalistic is an opportunity looking for a victim; this happens within the “faith movement.” Having been in the faith camp for several years, I would have fought with you, saying, NO, they are not because we only teach the Bible. To be honest, my first response is to say; Paul is talking about Jews. This assertion is probably valid as Paul, for many years, made his first stop in the synagogues, where he preached this gospel of Jesus Christ. The Jews, still to this day, abstain from certain foods; for example, they have no room for a pulled pork sandwich. Paul wrote about this very thing in his letter to the church in Rome.
As you read the passage, consider how your liberty could cause someone else to stumble. This life in Christ is not about living a legalistic life; it’s about consideration.
“I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if, because of food, your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats because his eating is not from faith, and whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:14-23 NASB)
The word destroy is the Greek word apollumi and has a wide range of meanings: to destroy fully, or lose. But also figuratively mar.
According to Webster’s dictionary, MAR is to injure by cutting off a part or to wound and make defective.
Do you see not only what the hypocrites can do, but what we, with our religious freedoms, can do to others?