1 Timothy, 4
1: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2: Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 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. 4: For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6: 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. 7: But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8: For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 9: This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. 10: For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 11: These things command and teach. 12: Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13: Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14: Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15: Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16: Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
Paul reminds Timothy that the Holy Spirit has been saying that some time in the future some men will leave the apostolic doctrine and start to listen to evil spirits who will deceive their hearers and who will teach the heresies of demons. They will speak lies behind a mask and their consciences will be made to be hard and unfeeling. They will also forbid believers to marry and insist they become vegetarian. Paul can see this coming. God he says has created all meat to be eaten with thanksgiving by believers. All animals are good for food and nothing is to be refused on religious grounds but it is to be received with thanksgiving to God because it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. When you remind the brethren about these things, says Paul, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ. And you will be well fed by obeying this teaching. Don’t feed yourself on common fiction (the equivalent today would be soaps and films and TV) but keep your mind spiritually fit. Ordinary physical exercise lastly only for a while but spiritual health is much more long lasting, because it promises health here and now and in eternity. This is a proverb that is trustworthy and everyone should accept it. Paul says that it is for this reason that we work so hard and struggle, suffering for Christ, because our hope is set in the living God and He is the Saviour of all men and especially of those who are believers. (Here Paul clearly states that Christ is the Saviour of all men – There is no limited atonement here!) Paul says, Timothy – insist that believers do these things. Timothy was probably between 38-40 years of age, so he says, don’t let anyone look down on you because of your age, but be an example in your teaching and in your ordinary conversations and in your giving to the poor and in faith and practical holiness. Paul reminds Timothy to give careful attention to the public exposition of the scriptures. Do not neglect this gift from the Lord, because it was confirmed by a word from the Lord and by the ordination of the leaders of the congregation. Think long about these things and concentrate on doing them so that your ministry will be seen by all to be beneficial. And look after yourself and your teaching and push on in serving the Lord because this will bless you and those who hear you.