|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 5. - Through for by, A.V. It is sanctified through the Word of God. Considerable difference of opinion prevails among commentators as to the precise meaning of this verse, especially of the phrase, "the Word of God." Some refer to Gem 1:4, 10, 12, etc.; others to Genesis 1:29; Genesis 9:4, as containing the original grant of meats for the use of man; others to the scriptural phrases embodied in the words of the ἐντεύξις, the prayer of thanksgiving. Another possible reference would be to the Word of God recorded in Acts 10:13, 15, 28, by which that which had previously been unclean was now made clean or holy; or, lastly, it might mean "the blessing of God" given in answer to the "prayer" on each occasion, which suits well the present tense, ἁγιάζετι. Prayer (ἐντευξις; see 1 Timothy 2:1, note).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For it is sanctified,.... Or set apart for use, and may be lawfully used at all times:
by the word of God; which declares that there is nothing in itself common, or unclean, or unfit for use, and that nothing that goes into a man defiles him; so that by virtue of this word of God, every creature may be made use of, that is fit for food: or else this designs the word of God, which gives a blessing to what is eaten; for it is not by bread or meat only, but through the word of God commanding a blessing on what is eaten, that man lives, Matthew 4:4 and therefore this blessing upon our food should be asked for: wherefore it follows,
and prayer; this being used before eating for a blessing on the food, and after it, in a way of thanksgiving for it, sanctifies every creature of God, or gives men a free use of any, or all of them. So the Israelites, when they had eaten, and were full, were to bless the Lord, Deuteronomy 8:10. And thus our Lord Jesus Christ, at meals, used to take the food, and bless it or ask a blessing on it, Matthew 14:19. And so did the Essenes among the Jews (h), and the Christians in Tertullian's (i) time; and the practice is highly necessary and commendable, nor ought it to be disused.
(h) Porphyr. de Abstinentia, l. 4. sect. 12. (i) Apolog. c. 39.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. sanctified—"hallowed"; set apart as holy for the use of believing men: separated from "the creature," which is under the bondage of vanity and corruption (Ro 8:19, &c.). Just as in the Lord's Supper, the thanksgiving prayer sanctifies the elements, separating them from their naturally alien position in relation to the spiritual world, and transferring them to their true relation to the new life. So in every use of the creature, thanksgiving prayer has the same effect, and ought always to be used (1Co 10:30, 31).
by the word of God and prayer—that is, "by means of intercessory prayer" (so the Greek)—that is, consecratory prayer in behalf of "the creature" or food—that prayer mainly consisting of "the word of God." The Apostolic Constitutions [7.49], give 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, honour, and might, be to thee for ever. Amen." In the case of inspired men, "the word of God" would refer to their inspired prayers (1Ki 17:1); but as Paul speaks in general, including uninspired men's thanksgiving for meals, the "word of God" more probably refers to the Scripture words used in thanksgiving prayers.
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