|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-5 The Holy Spirit, both in the Old and the New Testament, spoke of a general turning from the faith of Christ, and the pure worship of God. This should come during the Christian dispensation, for those are called the latter days. False teachers forbid as evil what God has allowed, and command as a duty what he has left indifferent. We find exercise for watchfulness and self-denial, in attending to the requirements of God's law, without being tasked to imaginary duties, which reject what he has allowed. But nothing justifies an intemperate or improper use of things; and nothing will be good to us, unless we seek by prayer for the Lord's blessing upon it.
Verse 4. - Is to be rejected for to be refused, A.V. Nothing is to be rejected. The A.V., "nothing to be refused," manifestly uses "nothing" in its adverbial sense ("in no degree," "not at all," Johnson's 'Dict.'), as οὐδέν in Greek is also commonly used (Liddell and Scott). In fact, it is very difficult to construe the passage as the R.V. does. To say "nothing is to be rejected if it is received," is scarcely sense. But to say that every creature of God is good (and on that account not to be rejected) if it is received with thanksgiving is very good and edifying sense. Creature (κτίσμα). The form commonly used by St. Paul is κτίσις (Romans 8:20, 21, 22; 2 Corinthians 5:17, etc.). But κτίσμα stands by the side of κτίσις, like βρῶμα by the side of βρῶσις ὅραμα by the side of ὅρασις πόμα by the side of πόσις, and many more. The form κτίσμα ισ found in James 1:18; and twice in Revelation. Good (καλόν); with reference to Genesis 1:10, 12, etc. To be refused (ἀπόβλητον); only here in the New Testament, but found in classical Greek, and not uncommon in the LXX. and other Greek versions, for that which is "unclean," or "abominable." If it be received with thanksgiving. This clearly refers to "every creature of God," and is the condition on which it is good in relation to the receiver. Nothing can be clearer or more certain than that the apostle is not arguing against the Manichean doctrine of the evil of matter, or the works of the Demiurge, but against Jewish scruples about meats. "Every creature of God," he says, "is good" - words which would have no force if the creatures in question were not admitted to be the works of God, but thought to be the works of the Demiurge. But applied to the Jewish scruples, the words are perfectly relevant. Every creature of God is good, and on no account to be treated as common or unclean (Acts 10:15, 28), provided only that it be received with thanksgiving.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For every creature of God is good,.... For food; and should be taken and used for that purpose, at all times, without distinction; even every creature which is made for food, and which is easy to be discerned by men:
and nothing to be refused; or rejected as common and unclean, or to be abstained from at certain times:
if it be received with thanksgiving: if not, persons are very ungrateful, and very unworthy of such favours; and it would be just in God to withhold them from them; and this they may expect at his hands, who reject them with contempt, or receive them with unthankfulness, or abstain front them in a religious way he never enjoined.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4, 5. Translate as Greek, "Because" (expressing a reason resting on an objective fact; or, as here, a Scripture quotation)—"For" (a reason resting on something subjective in the writer's mind).
every creature … good—(Ge 1:31; Ro 14:14, 20). A refutation by anticipation of the Gnostic opposition to creation: the seeds of which were now lurking latently in the Church. Judaism (Ac 10:11-16; 1Co 10:25, 26) was the starting-point of the error as to meats: Oriental Gnosis added new elements. The old Gnostic heresy is now almost extinct; but its remains in the celibacy of Rome's priesthood, and in its fasts from animal meats, enjoined under the penalty of mortal sin, remain.
if … with thanksgiving—Meats, though pure in themselves, become impure by being received with an unthankful mind (Ro 14:6; Tit 1:15).
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