Timothy’s Ministry in the Later Times

1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will desert the faith and occupy themselves1 with deceiving spirits and demonic teachings,2 2 influenced by the hypocrisy of liars3 whose consciences are seared.4 3 They will prohibit marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creation of God is good and no food5 is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. 5 For it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.

6 By pointing out such things to the brothers and sisters,6 you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, having nourished yourself on the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.7 7 But reject those myths8 fit only for the godless and gullible,9 and train yourself for godliness. 8 For “physical exercise10 has some value, but godliness is valuable in every way. It holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.” 9 This saying11 is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance. 10 In fact this is why12 we work hard and struggle,13 because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people,14 especially of believers.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in your speech, conduct, love, faithfulness,15 and purity. 13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of scripture,16 to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you have,17 given to you and confirmed by prophetic words18 when the elders laid hands on you.19 15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that everyone will see your progress.20 16 Be conscientious about how you live and what you teach.21 Persevere in this, because by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.

1tn Or “desert the faith by occupying themselves.” 2tn Grk “teachings of demons” (speaking of the source of these doctrines). 3tn Grk “in the hypocrisy of liars.” 4tn Or “branded.” The Greek verb καυστηριάζω (kausthriazw) can be used to refer either to the cause (“brand”) or the effect (“seared”).sn Consciences are seared. The precise meaning of this phrase is somewhat debated. Three primary interpretations are (1) the consciences of these false teachers are “branded” with Satan’s mark to indicate ownership, (2) their consciences are “branded” with a penal mark to show they are lawbreakers, or (3) their consciences have been “seared” (i.e., totally burnt and desensitized) so that they are unable to notice the difference between right and wrong. See G. W. Knight, Pastoral Epistles (NIGTC), 189. 5tn Grk “nothing.” 6tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1, where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelfoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited). 7sn By pointing out…you have followed. This verse gives a theme statement for what follows in the chapter about Timothy’s ministry. The situation in Ephesus requires him to be a good servant of Christ, and he will do that by sound teaching and by living an exemplary life himself. 8sn Those myths refer to legendary tales characteristic of the false teachers in Ephesus and Crete. See parallels in 1 Tim 1:4; 2 Tim 4:4; and Titus 1:14. 9tn Grk “the godless and old-wifely myths.” 10tn Grk “bodily training” (using the noun form of the verb “train” in v. 7b). 11tn Grk “the saying.”sn This saying. The literal phrase “the saying” refers to the preceding citation. See 1 Tim 1:15; 3:1; 2 Tim 2:11; Titus 3:8 for other occurrences of this phrase. 12tn Grk “for toward this,” denoting purpose. The conjunction “for” gives confirmation or emphasis to 1 Tim 4:8-9. 13tc A number of mss (א2 D 0241vid 1739 1881 Ï latt sy co) read ὀνειδιζόμεθα (oneidizomeqa, “suffer reproach”), while the reading behind the translation (ἀγωνιζόμεθα, agwnizomeqa) is supported by א* A C F G K Ψ 33 1175 al. The reading from the verb ἀγωνίζομαι (agwnizomai) has slightly better external credentials, but this verb is found in the corpus Paulinum five other times, twice in the Pastorals (1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7). The verb ὀνειδίζω (oneidizw) occurs only once in Paul (Rom 15:3), not at all in the Pastorals. In this instance, transcriptional and intrinsic evidence might seem to be opposed to each other. In such cases, the external evidence should be given more weight. With some hesitation, ἀγωνιζόμεθα is preferred. 14tn The plural Greek term ἀνθρώπων (anqrwpwn) is used here in a generic sense, referring to both men and women, and is thus translated “people.” 15tn Or “faith.” 16tn Grk “reading.”sn The public reading of scripture refers to reading the scripture out loud in the church services. In a context where many were illiterate and few could afford private copies of scripture, such public reading was especially important. 17tn Grk “in you.” 18tn Grk “which was given to you through prophecy.” Here as in 2:15 the preposition “through” denotes not “means” but accompanying circumstances: “accompanied by prophecy.”sn These prophetic words perhaps spoke of what God would do through Timothy in his ministry (cf. 1 Tim 1:18). 19tn Grk “with the imposition of the hands of the presbytery” (i.e., the council of elders). 20tn Grk “that your progress may be evident to all.” 21tn Grk “about yourself and your teaching.”