New Defender's Study Bible Notes
4:1 the Spirit speaketh. All of Paul’s canonical epistles were subconsciously being guarded and guided by the Holy Spirit, but certain truths could not be obtained by ordinary study, research and experience. These special truths required express revelation by the Holy Spirit.
4:1 depart from the faith. The “latter times” are evidently not exactly the same as “the last days” (e.g., II Timothy 3:1), although both referred to a time yet future from when Paul was writing. Possibly it suggests a longer period than the last days, and many Protestant expositors have applied the prophecy to the church of the Middle Ages, when the clergy were forbidden to marry and all members were commanded to abstain from meats on certain days (I Timothy 4:3). It seems, however, that the terms as prophesied apply more generally than these specific restrictions suggest. See note on I Timothy 4:3.
4:1 doctrines of devils. “Devils” should read “demons.” These deceiving spirits, serving their prince, the Devil, are the invisible forces behind the latter-day departure from the faith. Their ultimate aim is to bring men and women to follow Lucifer, or Satan, but they must do this by devious, rather than open, means.
4:2 hypocrisy. Those men and women who are led into promulgating these occult doctrines know they are undermining the true Christian faith, but they must pretend they are merely introducing a more spiritual form of religion, using Biblical terms invested with different meanings, deceiving the unwary.
4:3 Forbidding to marry. A false asceticism is promoted as more spiritual than normal Christianity. Two key heresies are emphasized, a pseudo-love and vegetarianism. The Christian doctrine of permanent monogamous marriage is replaced by various forms of erotic “love” and “loving relationships.” True marriage is considered by them as an outmoded and even repressive burden imposed by the Genesis myth of creation and its legalistic paraphernalia. The word “forbidding” can properly be translated as “discouraging” here. With the modern propaganda against the traditional family, Christian marriage may actually come to be forbidden in the foreseeable future. This latter-day trend is certainly in that direction.
4:3 abstain from meats. Similarly, the animal veneration practiced in the eastern pantheistic religions is being vigorously promoted today among nominal Christians, in the name of animal rights, holistic health, and evolutionary kinship with our animal “brothers and sisters.” The word “commanding” here is not in the original, but has been added by the translators. Both traditional marriage and eating of meat is being widely opposed today by almost all New Age cults and movements, as supposedly based on the scientific “fact” of evolution. All this is aimed at the disintegration of true Biblical faith.
4:4 nothing to be refused. Note also God’s approval of the eating of all meats in Acts 10:9-15. This permission had, in fact, been granted to Noah, right after the great Flood (Genesis 9:3-4). It is noteworthy that these latter day occultists deny both creation, with its teaching on marriage, and the Flood, with its permission of eating meat.
4:8 profiteth little. Another sign of these latter times is the widespread mania for bodily exercise, along with dieting (especially eliminating animal foods, as noted in I Timothy 4:3), in order to achieve physical fitness and bodily beauty. But God says this is of little value. Our “exercise” should be “unto godliness” (I Timothy 4:7).
4:9 faithful saying. This is one of Paul’s four “faithful sayings.” See note on I Timothy 1:15.
4:10 Saviour. Jesus Christ, of course, is the Savior; also God is the Savior. This is further incidental proof that Jesus Christ is God. See also Titus 3:4.
4:10 all men. Christ’s death is sufficient to save all men (I John 2:2), but it becomes effective only for those who believe (John 3:36).
4:12 despise thy youth. Youth should not be a time for sowing wild oats, but of using one’s youthful strength in living and witnessing for Christ, serving as an example and encouragement even to older believers, who may have grown lethargic in Christ’s service. Christian young people should not only “flee youthful lusts” (II Timothy 2:22) but especially, in view of the dominance of evolutionism in modern education, “remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
4:12 conversation. That is, “manner of life.”
4:13 reading. As interim pastor of the church at Ephesus, it was important for Timothy both to do and to encourage much reading (both of the Scriptures and of other worthwhile books), to exhort the congregation to stronger Christian living, and to teach them sound doctrine. This is good counsel for all Christian leaders today as well. The admonition to “give attendance” is the same in the Greek as “continue steadfastly” (Acts 2:42).
4:14 presbytery. The “presbytery” consists of the elders (Greek presbuterion). The elders had evidently laid hands on Timothy as they prayed for him, and God answered that prayer by giving him the pastoral and teaching gifts of the Spirit.