Evening Bible Study
The book of Acts ends in AD 60 with Paul being in Rome under house arrest.
We believe Paul was later released, and visited various places, including
While traveling, Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to pastor the church.
Timothy had spent many years with Paul and was like a spiritual “son” to
This letter was written somewhere around AD 63, to guide Timothy to correct
the problems in Ephesus.
Timothy is in his mid-forties about now.
Timothy would pastor the church for 30 years, and die a martyr in AD 97.
So far, Paul has talked to Timothy about
The importance of prayer in the church
The role of women in the church
Qualifications for “overseers” (pastors) and “deacons” (servant leaders)
4:1-5 False Teachers
:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from
the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
:1 that in latter times
latter – husteros –
latter, later, coming after; after this
Paul may be talking about the “end times”, but he may also simply be
talking about a time following his own time.
:1 some will depart from the faith
The word “faith” here is not referring to the act of believing, but in the
body of what is considered accepted doctrine.
depart – aphistemi (“away”
+ “to stand”) – to make stand off; to go away; to fall away
The particular form here (future indicative) is
αποστησονται (apostesontai), and if that sounds like
the word “apostacy” that’s because this is where our English word comes from.
The bad teachings that Paul is going to mention are not under the banner of
“the faith”, or accepted doctrine.
A few years before this letter to Timothy, Paul warned the elders of the
church at Ephesus, the same church that Timothy is now pastoring:
NKJV) —29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in
among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse
things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
:1 giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons
I don’t believe that all “bad doctrine” is necessarily from a demonic
Some bad doctrines are products of sloppy study, bad teaching, and the
sinful human spirit.
But the doctrines that Paul is going to mention are teachings from the pit
It may be that these teachings were initially received as a false prophet
was under the influence of a “spirit”, sounding as if he was prophesying for
God when it was actually a demon speaking.
They may have been things that were more subtly demonically inspired in the
thoughts of a person who later shared those ideas.
When a person claims to have some idea that they’ve received through some
spiritual means, it doesn’t mean it’s from God.
People who claim to speak for the dead (mediums) are either charlatans out
to dupe people, or they are actually contacting spirits, but demonic spirits.
Be careful about these things. They
may be actual real spiritual phenomena, but they are from a source that can’t
be trusted – they are demonic, and Satan is the father of lies. He will hook people into his teachings and
slowly lead them away from the truth.
Joseph Smith claimed to have received his teachings from a spiritual
Some of his teachings are simply ridiculous.
Others clash dangerously with Scripture.
All believers are required to test the content of what’s being taught to
make sure it’s from God, kind of like a “taste test”…
The apostle John wrote,
John 4:1 NKJV) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether
they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
How do we test? With
Paul told the Thessalonians:
Thessalonians 5:19–22 NKJV) —19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not
despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from
every form of evil.
We don’t want to get so cynical about the work of the
Spirit that we quench it. We need to
test things and be sure to cling to what is good.
It is vitally important that we are reading, studying, and being taught the
whole Bible and correct doctrine.
I’ve got a video clip where apologist Ravi Zacharias warns about how believers
in churches where there is no solid teaching are going to have trouble with
Video: Ravi Zacharias talks about
Paul goes on to further describe the false teachers…
:2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a
:2 speaking lies in hypocrisy
hypocrisy – hupokrisis – the
acting of a stage player; hypocrisy
Greek actors would hide behind masks to pretend to be something they
You get the idea that these demonically inspired false teachers have the
notion that what they’re saying is wrong.
They play the part of the “prophet” while they speak lies.
:2 having their own conscience seared with a hot iron
seared with a hot iron – kauteriazo
(“cauterize”) – to mark by branding, to brand, seared; in a medical sense,
to cauterize, remove by cautery
With branding or cauterizing, a scar forms and you no longer have any
feeling at the site.
The false teacher will go ahead and speak what they know to be wrong
because their own conscience no longer feels anything.
Now Paul mentions two specific false teachings…
:3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which
God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the
:3 forbidding to marry
One particular evil heresy that would creep into the early church, and which
still has forms and remnants today was called “Gnosticism”.
Gnosticism taught that only spiritual things were good, and that all
physical things were evil.
God is good because He is a spirit.
Anything you can see or touch, like bodies, are evil.
Jesus was good, therefore He didn’t have a real physical body.
Since marriage is the joining of two people, two physical bodies, marriage
The forbidding of marriage would eventually creep into the church and
settle within the Roman Catholic church as a requirement for those who were
truly spiritual – priests, monks, and nuns.
:3 commanding to abstain from foods
The false teachers would say that certain foods would make you less “holy”
in the eyes of God.
One of the issues in Paul’s day had to do with eating meat that had been
sacrificed to an idol.
False teachers had dragged into the church the thought that if you ate meat
sacrificed to Aphrodite, that you were becoming one with Aphrodite.
Yet Paul taught:
(1 Corinthians 8:4
NKJV) Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know
that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other
God but one.
Paul would end up concluding that the issue isn’t the actual food that you
were eating, the bigger issue was about offending people who struggled with the
NKJV) —14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is
nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to
him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are
no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom
Yet the actual food itself didn’t make you unclean or unacceptable to God.
:3 which God created to be received with thanksgiving
If you have food to eat, you ought to be thankful for God providing it.
Don’t be like the Israelites who grumbled and complained about everything.
:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused
if it is received with thanksgiving;
:4 For every creature of God is good
creature – ktisma – thing
founded; created thing;
The word means literally, “a work of creation”
It actually doesn’t have to be limited to a living, breathing creature, but
anything that God has created.
It’s all good
It took God six days to create the world.
At the end of each day, God said, “It is good”.
It’s not until man rebels against God that sin is introduced to God’s
It’s when sinful man messes with God’s creation that we
come up with things that are not “good”.
How about sex? Paul talked earlier
about men forbidding marriage.
Is sex good or evil?
(Hebrews 13:4 NKJV)
is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and
adulterers God will judge.
bed – koite
– bed, marriage bed, sexual intercourse
God created sex. He created it for
God saw that it was “not good” for man to be alone, so God
created woman. Before Adam’s fall.
God intended that “two become one flesh”
If you’ve been a believer for awhile, you may tend to think of sex as
something that’s “bad” or “evil”.
Yet it’s only when man messes with God’s idea of sex that
it becomes bad.
It’s when man perverts sex to be outside the boundaries of
marriage between a man and a woman that it becomes a problem.
:5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
:5 sanctified by the word of God and prayer
sanctified – hagiazo – to
separate from profane things and dedicate to God; to purify
Making it good
Food is sanctified through God’s Word
It’s pure because God’s word says it’s pure. Jesus taught that all foods
7:18–19 NLT) —18 “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the
food you put into your body cannot defile you? 19 Food doesn’t go into your heart, but
only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this,
he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)
It’s not what goes into your body that makes you unclean
before God, it’s the things that come out of you (like lust) that make you
As we just saw, Paul came to the same conclusion about food:
14:14a NLT) I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no
food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat.
Food is sanctified through prayer
That’s one reason why we pray before we eat.
Some people don’t quite get this.
Video: Christmas Vacation Turkey
A mom had invited some people to dinner. At the table, she
turned to her six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the
blessing?” I wouldn’t know what to say,” she replied. “Just say what you hear
Mommy say,” the mom said. The daughter bowed her head and said: “Dear Lord, why
on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?
The church had a document known as the Apostolic
Constitutions, which dates back to the 4th century. In it (7.49) was this ancient grace, almost
wholly consisting of Scripture,
“Blessed art thou, O Lord, who feedest me from my youth,
who givest food to all flesh: Fill our hearts with joy and gladness, that we,
having all sufficiency, may abound unto every good work in Christ Jesus our
Lord, through whom glory, honor, and might, be to thee forever. Amen.”
Martin Luther came to believe that this principle extended far beyond food.
He applied this to marriage, and marital sex. He was quite open in talking about sex.
When one of Martin Luther’s best friends got married (Spalatin), Luther was
not able to attend the wedding, so he wrote this letter:
“When you have your Catherine in bed most sweetly
embracing and kissing her, reflect within yourself: “My Christ, to whom be
praise and glory, has given me this being, the best little creature of my
God.” And then when I have guessed the
day you will receive this letter, on that very night I will also love my wife
with the same act in memory of you.” (Metaxes, Martin Luther, pg.347)
I’m sorry my friend Martin, but for me that’s just too much information
4:6-11 The Good Servant
:6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good
minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good
doctrine which you have carefully followed.
:6 If you instruct the brethren in these things
The Old King James has “put the brethren in remembrance”
It’s good to remind people from time to time because we can tend to forget
Peter didn’t hesitate to say something he’d said before, because people
need to be reminded of what’s important.
(2 Peter 1:12 NLT) Therefore, I
will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and
are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.
:6 you will be a good minister of Jesus
minister – diakonos – one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a
master, a servant, attendant, minister
Paul is calling Timothy a “deacon”.
I think sometimes we make too much of the
“titles” we put on people.
We might at least put Timothy in the
category of “overseer” or “elder” or “pastor”, yet Paul has no problems
reminding Timothy that he’s just a “servant”.
What makes Timothy a “good minister”?
Instructing the brethren. Teaching God’s
:6 nourished in the words of faith
I can’t help but notice that Paul has been
talking about “foods”, and yet the thing that will “nourish” Timothy is God’s
What kinds of things “nourish” you? What fills you up?
Timothy will be “nourished” as he teaches
God’s Word to the people correctly.
I get way more out of God’s Word in my own
time of preparation and teaching than I tend to when I listen to others teach
(not that I don’t mind listening to others).
They say you won’t learn more about a
subject than when you teach it.
Nourishment also comes from simple
While the disciples were off getting
burgers, fries, and shakes at the Shechem In-n-out, Jesus found Himself talking
to a Samaritan woman at the well.
When the disciples got back, they were
surprised that Jesus wasn’t eating His double-double.
(John 4:32–34 NLT) —32 But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” 33 “Did someone
bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other. 34 Then Jesus
explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and
from finishing his work.
:7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward
:7 reject profane and old wives’ fables
There are subjects that are simply a waste of our time. Paul has already told Timothy:
(1 Timothy 1:4 NLT)
let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual
pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help
people live a life of faith in God.
:7 exercise yourself toward godliness
exercise – gumnazo (“gymnasium”) – to exercise
vigorously, in any way, either the body or the mind
godliness – eusebeia – reverence, respect; piety
towards God, godliness
Paul tells Timothy to “hit the gym”, not to gain physical muscles, but
The word gumnazo is often used in
NASB95) But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have
their senses trained to discern good and evil.
When we practice doing the right thing, and learning right from wrong, we
It’s doing extra “reps”.
(Hebrews 12:11 NLT)
discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there
will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this
If we allow ourselves to learn while we are going through difficult times,
we are “exercised”.
No pain, no gain.
Paul encourages Timothy to step up to the “godliness” machine in the gym
and do some “reps”.
:8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for
all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to
:8 For bodily exercise profits a little
Some would take this verse to mean that we shouldn’t be concerned at all
with physical exercise. Not so. Paul is simply putting it in its place. It’s
not worthless, it has a “little” value.
:8 but godliness is profitable for all things
Pump it up
We need to be going to the “gym” to develop our spiritual muscles.
What are things that we can do to exercise our spiritual muscles and “pump
Prayer, reading the Bible, waiting on God, memorizing Scripture, worship,
These things are a benefit to you in your life NOW as well as in the life
How do these things benefit us now?
How do they benefit us in the life to come?
:9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.
:9 This is a faithful saying
What is this “faithful saying”?
(1 Timothy 4:8
NKJV) …godliness is profitable for all things…
:10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we
trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of
those who believe.
:10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach
Both words speak of enduring difficult times, working hard, being willing
to be ridiculed and criticized.
Why is Paul willing to work hard and be criticized?
To develop godliness.
:10 the Savior of all men, especially…believe
Jesus is the Savior of all because He died for the sins of the world.
He is “specially” the Savior of those of us who believe because we have
taken advantage of God’s free gift of salvation by receiving the gift through
faith, through believing in Jesus.
I think this is one of the benefits of exercising godliness.
To give more people an opportunity to trust in Jesus and be saved.
To make us more effective in sharing our faith.
:11 These things command and teach.
This is what ministry is supposed to be all about – growing and maturing in