1 Timothy 4:3-6 (The Epitome of Error)

1Ti 4:3          Through what two desires mentioned in 1Ti 4:3a is the carnal flesh of man made most manifest?  Are man’s appetites for food and intimacy inherently bad and something to be avoided?  See 1Ti 4:3b-4.  How would these longings have led man to fulfill God’s will and intention for his creation?  See Gen 1:28-31, 2:8,15,18,21-24, 9:1-3.  How did man’s fall into sin corrupt those desires?  Are the corrupt desires of man the symptoms of his disease, or the disease itself?  What is the nature of the error promoted by those hypocritical liars Paul is warning Timothy against?  How does the content of their error epitomize all the works of man’s hands with which he has throughout history tried to cover the nakedness of his sin[1]  Can the commandments and teachings of men, even those which would deny the desires most manifested by man’s sinful nature, ever truly restrain the flesh or effect true righteousness?  See Col 2:20-23.  What historical fulfillment of Paul’s words illustrates this truth?  Think Roman Catholicism.  Paul says in this verse that both marriage and foods were created by God to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth; what is the implication regarding those who would forbid marriage or advocate abstaining from certain foods?

1Ti 4:4-5     Are there elements of the physical creation that are inherently bad or evil that must be avoided?  See 1Ti 4:4a, Gen 1:31, 9:3, Mark 7:14,18-19.  In contrast to the touch-not, taste-not commandments and teachings of men, what word in 1Ti 4:3 and 4 is the key to deciding what things a believer may receive and share in while walking in true godliness?  See also Rom 14:6,14, 1 Cor 10:30, Gal 5:1.  Does our freedom in Christ absolve us from exercising prudence and caution in the things we approve?  See Gal 5:13, 1 Cor 10:23.  Does the fact that everything created by God is good mean that we cannot misuse some part of God’s creation from its intended purpose to our own or another’s harm?  By what means are all the good things of God’s creation sanctified for our use so that we may make use of them according to their intended purpose and with true gratitude enjoy them?  See 1Ti 4:5.  In what way does the word of God and prayer sanctify to our use marriage?  See Eph 5:22-33, Col 3:18-19, Tit 2:3-5, 1 Pet 3:1-9; 1 Cor 7:39, 2 Cor 6:14; Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18, Rom 7:1-3.  In what way does the word of God and prayer sanctify to our use the foods we eat?  See Lev 11:46-47, Ez 22:26, Mark 7:15,18-20, Rom 14:14-23, 1 Cor 8:13, 10:19-33.  In what way does the word of God and prayer sanctify to our use alcoholic beverages?  See 5:23, Eph 5:18.  Besides food, drink and marriage, to what other things may these same principles be applied?  See Rom 14:5, Deut 22:5, etc…  Note that these same principles will apply to whatever else the commandments and teachings of man’s religion might substitute for true godliness.

1Ti 4:6          How does Paul say Timothy should demonstrate himself to be a good servant of Christ Jesus?  What things is he to point out?  See 1Ti 2:1-4:5.  Does “point out” (KJV = “put in remembrance”) infer that it was Timothy’s responsibility to treat “these things” as a catechism into which he was to indoctrinate the people?  Do the true saints of God who possess a good and honest heart need such indoctrination?  Does such indoctrination avail those without a good and honest heart?  By what means is the good servant of Christ Jesus to “point out these things to the brethren”?  See 1Ti 4:13.  What is the relationship between a good servant putting sound doctrine in the remembrance of the brethren and his being constantly nourished on the words of the faith?

 


1. As much as Paul’s words in this verse describe the content of the error being promoted by those who wanted to be teachers of the law, the grammatical construction of his words indicate they are actually a more specific description of the character of the false teachers themselves: they are not only hypocritical liars who have been seared in their conscience as with a branding iron, but they are the sort who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from certain foods.

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