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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

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Friday, July 16, 2021

1 Timothy 4:3-6 (L 20)


Home Bible Study©

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                             Published: July 16, 2021

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).


Welcome back to HBS.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 14:4). 

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever.  Amen.” (Romans 16:25-27) 

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 

Before we begin I want to thank y’all for being here with your hearts, minds, and Bibles open ready to receive the Word of God especially those writings pertaining to dispensation of the grace of God which are addressed to us, the Body of Christ.

(See Romans thru Philemon). 


Please open your Bible at 1 Timothy 4:3-6. 

Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.  For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.  If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

Verse 4:3.

Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

Putting on our practical hats and thinking practically, Paul isn’t saying there is to be a total ban on marriage and the eating of certain “meats,” or foods.  Per the Word of God in “the dispensation of the grace of God,” “… the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). 

So, knowing this, these instructions (commands) run contrary to what God has said in this dispensation.  Instead, Paul refers to a ban on marriage of certain classes of people, and on the eating of certain, or all, kinds of food on specific occasions.  You may not be aware so this serves to inform you that such prohibitions existed in Paul’s day and are in force in some church denominations today.  Roman Catholicism comes immediately to mind most likely because I was a member of that church for 20 years.  And that brings to mind an interesting point.  Religion, such as Catholicism, seeks to control you for it is a regulated system of do’s and don’ts or self-reliance and self-performance (human works) all done in hope of pleasing God; and if you’ve done enough for Him in this life perhaps, just perhaps, He might let you into His heaven.  The people in these religious systems have no assurance of salvation, since it’s based on human merit instead of the grace of God, through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

The other thing worth mentioning here is only grace Believers (the Body of Christ) have “the faith,” so only they can “depart” from it (4:1).  But in the last days of this present dispensation one of the errant teachings (doctrine of devils) they’ll proclaim is “forbidding to marry” (4:3).  Why would they?  Good question.  Paul mentioned two specific points in which the false teachers of his day were mistaken i.e., “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats…  Both of these errant teachings are consistent with the heresy of Gnosticism.  Gnostics believe that all physical matter is evil; therefore, the human body, all forms of sexuality, and pleasant food were labelled evil.  As a result, the Gnostics rejected marriage and taught people not to eat certain foods.  This ascetic practice was a false teaching arising from those at Ephesus who held to early versions of Gnostic teachings to which Paul wrote: “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh” (Colossians 2:20–23).  

A focus on Jewish law would have promoted kosher dietary restrictions upon Gentile Believers, even though this ordinance had been overturned by the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15).  Thus, according to our Apostle Paul, the physical things God created for our benefit should not be rejected.  Paul's reference here to the early Church, actually dates all the way back to God's creation in Genesis chapters 1 and 2.  No food is to be rejected out-of-hand (1 Timothy 4:4), but should be embraced with grateful “thanksgiving.”  The ability to thank God for good things, instead of rejecting them, is credited to all those who understand God’s Word, rightly divided, and His will for the Church today. 

Voluntary fasting is often commendable, especially if one is instructed not to eat or drink prior to a medical exam or procedure and there might be good and valid reasons why an individual would decide to remain single.  But this Bible passage deals with legislated celibacy and fasting.  The person this is directed to has no say in the matter; it’s forced legislation.  Both of these wayward commands stick to Roman Catholicism like glue.  This particular religious system enforces celibacy of their priests and nuns.  They are required to remain unmarried, being married instead to the Church of Rome.  I note for emphasis that the priests and nuns in my parish wore a wedding band to demonstrate this commitment.  But with regard to legislated celibacy, I cite here a passage from Vatican II, P. 893, Costello Publishing Company, Northport, NY:

For these reasons, based on the mystery of Christ, and his mission, celibacy, which at first was recommended to priests, was afterwards in the Latin Church imposed by law on all who were to be promoted to holy Orders.  This sacred Council approves and confirms this legislation so far as it concerns those destined for the priesthood…”

Suffice to say Vatican II has much more to say about the priests of Rome than about her nuns, but the latter too, (with rare exceptions) are forbidden to marry, along with all who are “promoted to holy Orders.”  Thus, the Roman Catholic Church, according to her most recent council, continue to enforce legislated celibacy and her priests and nuns respond obediently to her command to remain unmarried for life. 

But here’s the thing, a pledge to a life of celibacy is a life-pledge not to do that which God sanctions, and, in a general sense, commands.  And certainly Paul, here, in 1 Timothy 4, denounces as “doctrines of demons” those teachings which forbid marriage.  Bible passages such as 1 Corinthians 7:26, where Paul, referring to unmarried people said, “I say that is good for a man so to be” have been “lifted” out of context (a practice known as proof-texting) by some to reinforce their teaching on legislated celibacy.  But Rome, and others, fail to point out, however, that Paul here gives his personal advice (not a command) to certain people, in view of “the present distress” in Corinth, Greece (evidently persecution was raging at that particular time).  Furthermore, Paul prefaces his statement with these words: “Now concerning virgins (male and female – verse 7:26) I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful” (7:25).  And in referencing “widows” he closed the chapter with these words, “ But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God” (7:40).

This personal advice from our apostle is also, of course, the inspired Word of God, nevertheless his reservations are most important, for they indicate that his advice in this case was personal, and temporary, being given only with “the present distress” in view.  Note how Paul emphasizes this distinction in 1 Corinthians 7:

  • I command, yet not I, but the Lord” (7:10).
  • To the rest speak I, not the Lord” (7:12).
  • I have no commandment from the Lord… I give my judgment” (7:25).
  • “… after my judgment; and I think also that I have the Spirit of God” (7:40).

Thus, in the one case Paul speaks by revelation, as a spokesman for the resurrected and exalted Lord (as he does in general throughout his writings), but in the other he clearly gives his own personal advice re: a particular temporary situation. 

But what is the general command from the Lord?  To find the answer we turn to the book of beginnings, Genesis, where we read that the LORD created man “male and female” (Genesis 1:27) and united them in marriage, declaring: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

To be more specific; the Lord declared through Paul that each bishop and deacon, if they be married, shall be “the husband of one wife (at a time)” - 1 Timothy 3:2, 12 and rebukes all those who would teach otherwise.  The Roman Catholic Church does teach otherwise; they forbid the priests to marry.  The Lord also declared through Paul, “I willthat the younger women marry” (1 Timothy 5:14).  But the Church of Rome teaches otherwise, it forbids the nuns to marry. 

In the beginning the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18).  Rome teaches that it is better for the man to be alone; that there is something inherently more holy about celibacy than there is about the married state.  The tenth article of the decree of the Council of Trent on marriage states:  Whosoever shall say that the married state is to be preferred to a state of virginity, or celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or celibacy, than to be joined in marriage; let him be accursed!” (Albert Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament at 1 Timothy 4:3). 

I think y’all would agree that view is rather strong and so is the language.  It would appear that the Church of Rome believes marriage is a lower state of spirituality, having legislated celibacy above it.  Paul emphatically condemns this practice in the Bible passages previously mentioned.  Indeed, in this matter Paul also gives his personal advice for Believers, in general, gained from years of experience as a man of God saying, “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). 

As to legislated “fasting,” the Scriptures are quite clear.  Believers engaged in earnest prayer may naturally feel led to refrain from eating food.  This is why fasting and prayer sometimes go together in Scripture.  Then there are those whose personal convictions prevent them from eating certain foods (See Romans 14:24; 1 Corinthians 7:1-7), while others might refrain from eating certain foods out of respect for those who believe the partaking of them is sinful (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).  But the Scriptures teach no such thing as the legislated fasting of the Church of Rome.  Even the dietary laws found in Leviticus and elsewhere in the O.T. have nothing in common with the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church, for the Mosaic dietary laws were given directly by the LORD God (not by “the fathers,” or a religious hierarchy), to teach important spiritual lessons to one particular people, for a temporary period of time (Hebrews 9:10).

The Church of Rome has imposed numerous rules on the subject of fasting, and some of them border on the ridiculous, but here I quote some of their basic laws on the subject for your edification.  Under Natural Fast, the Catholic Dictionary definition reads: “the refraining from all food, liquid, or solid, from midnight, such as is required for the lawful reception of holy communion.”  And under Fasting: “… The law is that on a fast day one full meal may be taken and that after noon.  Drink is not limited, but such  liquids as soup count as food.  Custom allows 2 or 3 ounces of dry bread or similar food at breakfast and 8 or 10 ounces of food at collation, or according to local usage.  Fasting is only imposed on those who are over 21 and under 59, but severe work, whether manual or mental, sickness and debility excuse from the obligation; in cases of doubt a dispensation may be asked for from the local parish-priest… {fasting} is an act of penitence and physical mortification imposed by the Church for exercise in temperance and health of souls” (Catholic Dictionary, Third Edition, Macmillan, New York). 

The usage of words such as “law,” “lawful,” “required,” “obligation” and “imposed,” in the above definition clearly indicate that the various fasts of the Church of Rome are mandatory, i.e., they are required by Roman Catholic law.  And, again, these dietary laws are condemned by Scripture as emphatically as are the laws prohibiting marriage for Paul wrote: “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5).

Paul had to deal with the false teachers of Judaism and the emerging threat of ascetic Gnosticism in the fledgling church located in Colosse.  His mention of Sabbaths, new moons, distinctions between meats and drinks, circumcision, etc. all point to the element of Judaism in that particular heresy.  His references to self-imposed humility, service, and the worshipping of angels, hard treatment of the body, and superior wisdom indicate that he is dealing the emerging Gnostic element in that assembly.  We note Paul does not define (label) these heresies.  Rather, we are inferring the questions by carefully examining the answers that he provides.  There is also no hard evidence that he is addressing these two groups; but it is generally agreed that many of the new Believers at Colosse were being taught false doctrine (doctrine that did not align with the teachings of our Apostle Paul) based on these two major heresies.  So then, it is with respect to those that abandon God’s instructions and would restrict us in such matters, saying, “touch not; taste not; handle not;” that Paul declared we should not be subject to them (Colossians 2:20:21).

Why should we turn away from the Substance to embrace the shadows (Colossians 2:17)?  Why should we cast reflections on the finished work of Christ Jesus in this way, living as it were, in a past and temporary dispensation which only dimly foreshadowed all that the Lord Jesus Christ is and has done for us in this dispensation?  When God creates food for us and says, “Here, enjoy it and give thanks,” is it not an enormous presumption on the part of some religious leaders to command us, “Do not eat of it, for the health of your souls, or whatever,” as though we were still living in the past under the Mosaic Law, observing the Day of Atonement, or walking hand-in-hand with those who proclaimed Gnosticism as the means to true spirituality.  Those who believe and know the truth understand why Paul sternly condemns a requirement that, while pampering religious pride, robs God of the thanksgiving due Him.  The pastor that stands for these truths of God’s grace and godliness, said Paul, is “… a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine,” (4:6b).  “Health of soul,” as the Church of Rome calls it, does not come through fasting and penance, through sacrificing food and mortifying the body.  It comes through receiving the spiritual nourishment to be found in the Word of God:

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (1 Peter 2:2).

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Ephesians 4:14-15).

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