1 Timothy 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
Much of the New Testament was written to combat false teaching, and the Bible remains our best defense. Believers should have two questions in the back of their minds whenever they are being taught the faith. What verse are we talking about? And, Is that what it means? The best way for a church to avoid false teaching is for its people to know the Bible well. A good indicator of a church’s strength is how well its people know and believe God’s word.
1 Timothy 4:2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
A seared conscience is one that is hardened against the will of God. Through chronic disobedience, it has become desensitized to right and wrong, and to the impulse of the Spirit. This was true of false teachers in Paul’s day, and may be true of others. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that (1 John 5:16), wrote John.
But we should not judge too quickly. A steak that has been seared on the outside may have a tender spot on the inside. And those who appear to be apostate may have only lapsed. With God’s help they may, one day, return to the faith. Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins (James 5:20), wrote James.
1 Timothy 4:7 [T]rain yourself to be godly.
Godliness does not happen by accident any more than physical fitness happens by accident. I have never been an athlete, but I wrestled in middle school. We trained two and a half hours a day, and the last thing we did was to run stairs. We ran four flights, up and down, a minimum of ten times—and that was just middle school. What would happen if all God’s people trained themselves to be godly?
1 Timothy 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
Some people think that godliness only pays in the life to come, but here we learn that it often pays in this life too. Sin is the way to broken relationships, financial ruin, and physical decline. But godliness often leads to health, wealth and happiness. This is because God’s way is best, but also because God is often pleased to bless our obedience. Our greatest problems usually come from disobeying God rather than obeying him.
1 Timothy 4:14 Do not neglect your gift.
The exact nature of Timothy’s gift is not stated, but it appears to be related to his ministry in the church. Elsewhere the Bible teaches that every believer is gifted by the Spirit. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7), wrote Paul. Likewise, Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:10), wrote Peter.
A hardware store was in business for over a hundred years, and some of its inventory was dated. Hammers, shovels and axes that were meant to be used were never taken off the shelf. Time passed them by, and they became obsolete. In the kingdom of God it is better to wear out than to rust out.
1 Timothy 6:5 [G]odliness with contentment is great gain.
Adam and Eve refused to be content, and plunged the world into misery. Many have followed their example, and ruined their own lives. God does not give us everything we want because he wants us to be content in him. [B]e content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5), says Hebrews.
A fifty year old man was unhappily married and asked the following question: What do you do when you have everything you have ever wanted, except the one thing you want the most? The answer depends on what you believe. If you think this life is all there is, then you go for what you want. But if this life is only preparation for eternity, then it is wise to be content.
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
Money is so important that it’s hard to live without it. That is why some people will do almost anything for money. Some will sell their bodies for money. Some will sell their children’s bodies for money. Some will sell their souls for money.
A friend of mine started working overtime because he wanted to buy a boat. He usually came to church, but was often exhausted from all the extra hours he was putting in. He finally had enough money for the boat; but the boat became his church—and he never returned.
This is why God commands us to give up some of our money for him (Luke 12:13-21). If we love God more than money, we will give up money for God. But if we love money more than God, we will give up God for money. And if we have to miss church in order to wax it, we probably don’t need it.
1 Timothy 6:17 God . . . richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
Everything we have is a gift from God for our enjoyment. If we have a pencil, it is a gift from God for our enjoyment. If we have a chair, it is a gift from God for our enjoyment. Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17), wrote James. The better we understand this, the more we will praise God for all his wonderful gifts. The ultimate gift, of course, is Jesus Christ himself.
A poor man sat down to dinner and all he had was a glass of water and a poached egg. But his heart was filled with praise and he said, Thank you, Father, for all this, and for Jesus too. Whoever has Christ has all they need to be thankful.
Reflection and Review
How does godliness improve our lives?
What is the advantage of having less stuff?
Is money evil?