1 Timothy 4:5
For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.—Not only are all created things to be considered pure, and not lightly to be put aside; but in the sight of God “every creature” is holy when received as His gift with thanksgiving and with prayer—such thanksgiving-prayer containing thoughts in exact accordance with the Spirit of God revealed in Scripture. Thus all food is sanctified, not only, or even chiefly, by the common formula of a Christian grace before meat. This too often degenerates into a mere form of words—into lip-service of the most heartless form—and is too often looked upon as a kind of religious charm. The sanctification referred to by St. Paul belongs to no one prayer or grace, but to the constant habit of referring everything to God as the giver of all—to the perpetual “office” of a devout heart which, taking everything as a gift from God, the lover and the friend of man, thanks God from the heart continually.

One, if not the oldest, form of a Christian grace before meat is the one found in the Apostolic Constitutions. It is very simple and beautiful, and perhaps not too long for daily use. It runs as follows: “Blessed be Thou, O Lord, who nourisheth men from very youth up, who givest meat to all flesh; fill our hearts with joy and gladness, so that we, always enjoying a sufficiency, may abound unto every good work in Christ Jesus our Lord, through whom be ascribed to Thee glory, honour, and power unto the ages. Amen.”

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.For it is sanctified by the word of God - By the authority or permission of God. It would be profane or unholy if he had forbidden it; it is made holy or proper for our use by his permission, and no command of "man" can make it unholy or improper; compare Genesis 1:29; Genesis 9:3.

And prayer - If it is partaken of with prayer. By prayer we are enabled to receive it with gratitude, and everything that we eat or drink may thus be made a means of grace.

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.

For it is sanctified: sanctified in this place signifies made pure, or lawful to be used.

By the word of God; by the gospel, which declares it so, Acts 10:15; or by God’s ordination, which hath so determined it.

And prayer; and prayer to God for a blessing upon it. 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.

{8} For it is {d} sanctified by the {e} word of God and prayer.

(8) He properly uses God's benefits who acknowledges the giver of them by his word, and calls upon him.

(d) It is so made pure and holy in respect of us, so that we may use it with a good conscience, as received from the Lord's hands.

(e) We confess and acknowledge that God is the maker and giver of those creatures which we use. Secondly, that we are of the number of those, who through Christ's benefit, have recovered that right over all creatures, which Adam lost by his fall. Thirdly, by our prayers we crave of the Lord that we may use those meats with a good conscience, which we receive from his hands. Fourthly, we make an end of our eating and drinking, with thanksgiving and prayer: and so are our meats sanctified to us.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Timothy 4:5 serves to elucidate the thought expressed in 1 Timothy 4:4, that every meat taken with thanksgiving is good, and not to be rejected.

Ἁγιάζεται γὰρ διὰ λόγου Θεοῦ καὶ ἐντεύξεως] ἁγιάζειν is not “declare to be clean and permissible,” but “make something holy.” In itself the meat is not something holy, for, as a purely material thing, it can be called neither holy nor unholy (so also van Oosterzee). It is less suitable to say, with Wiesinger, that “the κτίσις being burdened with a curse, is subject to ματαιότης and the δουλεία τῆς φθορᾶς;” but it is made holy for those who enjoy it by the λόγος Θεοῦ. Wahl and Leo take Θεοῦ to be the objective genitive, and interpret it as “oratio ad Deum facta,” which makes the expression synonymous with ἔντευξις following it; but λόγος Θεοῦ never occurs in this sense. Other expositors have supposed that reference is made to some particular passage of the Scriptures, either to Genesis 1:31 or Acts 10:15; but de Wette rightly remarks that the words in that case go quite beyond 1 Timothy 4:4, and touch on the question whether certain meats are clean or unclean. For the same reason, λόγος Θεοῦ cannot mean generally “the expressions of the divine doctrine, the principles of Christianity” (Heydenreich). Since the expression points back to μετὰ εὐχαριστίας in 1 Timothy 4:4, and is closely connected with ἔντευξις, it can only mean the word of God occurring in the prayer of thanksgiving (de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee), either in this sense, that the word of thanks itself is called the Word of God, inasmuch as it is the expression of God’s indwelling Spirit, or because the prayer is supposed to consist of the words of Scripture.[156]

Regarding ἜΝΤΕΥΞΙς, see 1 Timothy 2:1.

[156] In the Apostolic Constitutions, vii. 49, there stands the following grace before meat: εὐλογητὸς εἶ, Κύριε, ὁ τρέφων μὲ ἐκ νεότητός μου, ὁ διδοὺς τροφὴν πάσῃ σαρκί, πλήρωσον χαρᾶς καὶ εὐφροσύνης τὰς καρδίας ἡμῶν, ἵνα πάντοτε πᾶσαν αὐτάρκειαν ἔχοντες, περισσεύωμεν εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐν Χρ. Ἰησοῦ, τῷ Κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, διʼ οὗ σοὶ δόξα, τιμὴ καὶ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.1 Timothy 4:5. ἁγιάζεται: The use of the present tense here supports the explanation given of 1 Timothy 4:4, and helps to determine the sense in which λόγος θεοῦ is used. The food lying before me at this moment, which to some is ἀπόβλητος, is sanctified here and now by the εὐχαριστία. See 1 Corinthians 10:30.

λόγος θεοῦ and ἔντευξις (see note on 1 Timothy 2:1) are in some sense co-ordinate (almost a hendiadys), and together form elements in a εὐχαριστία. If St. Paul had meant by λόγος θεοῦ, the general teaching of Scripture, or the particular text, Genesis 1:31, he must have said ἡγίασται. At the same time, the written word was an element in the notion of the writer. λόγος θεοῦ has not here merely its general sense, a divine communication to man; it rather determines the quality of the ἔντευξις, as a scriptural prayer; a prayer in harmony with God’s revealed truth. The examples that have come down to us of grace before meat are, as Dean Bernard notes here, “packed with scriptural phrases”.

The best commentary on this verse is the action of St. Paul himself on the ship, when, having “taken bread, he gave thanks to God in the presence of all; and he brake it, and began to eat” (Acts 27:35).

Although there is not here any direct reference to the Sacrament of the Eucharist, it is probable that thoughts about it have influenced the language; for the Eucharist is the supreme example of all benedictions and consecrations of material things. And if this be so, the passage has light thrown on it by the language of Justin Martyr and Irenæus about the Prayer of Consecration; e.g., Justin, Apol. i. 66. “As Jesus Christ our Saviour, by the word of God (διὰ λόγου θεοῦ) made flesh, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so we have been taught that the food over which thanks have been given by the word of prayer which comes from him (τὴν διʼ εὐχῆς λόγου τοῦ παρʼ αὐτοῦ εὐχαριστηθεῖσαν τροφήν)—that food from which our blood and flesh are by assimilation nourished—is both the flesh and the blood of that Jesus who was made flesh”. Similarly Irenæus (Haer. 1 Timothy 4:2-3), “Both the mingled cup, and the bread which has been made, receives upon itself the word of God, and the Eucharist becomes the body of Christ” (ἐπιδέχεται τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ γίνεται ἡ εὐχαριστία σῶμα Χριστοῦ). Perhaps by the word of prayer which comes from him Justin means a formula authorised by Christ. It must be added that the Prayer Book of Serapion, bishop of Thmuis in Egypt, circ. A.D. 380, contains an epiclesis in which we read, “O God of truth, let thy holy Word come to sojourn on this bread, that the bread may become Body of the Word, and on this cup, that the cup may become Blood of the Truth” (Bishop J. Wordsworth’s trans.).

A comparison of these passages suggests an association in the thought of the primitive Church of the Holy Spirit and the λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ.5. for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer] Rather, through. The ‘word of God’ is most commonly in N.T. ‘the gospel’ generally, Acts 4:31, 1 Corinthians 14:36, Colossians 1:25, 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Revelation 20:4; sometimes more pointedly ‘the word which God speaks through His messengers or immediately in the heart of each man, Hebrews 4:12, 1 Peter 1:23, Titus 1:3; sometimes still more specifically, the very Son of God Himself, the Word incarnate, John 1:1, 1 John 1:1, Revelation 19:13. But it is also the record of God’s will and truth as declared by the Old Testament lawgivers and prophets, Mark 7:13, Romans 9:6. And so with Huther, Ellicott, Conybeare, Lightfoot and Alford, we understand it here of O.T. declarations of God’s creating and sustaining goodness incorporated in the ‘invocation.’ We take it to imply that the thanksgiving was commonly made in some Scriptural words, such as those quoted from a primitive grace before meat (Apostolical Constitutions, vii. 49), which begins ‘Blessed art thou, O Lord, Who nurturest me from my youth up, Who givest food to all flesh.’ Compare the Latin Version of Psalm 145:15 :

Oculi omnium in Te sperant, Domine,

Et Tu das escam illis in tempore.

The word for ‘prayer’ here is the same as that rendered ‘intercessions’ in 1 Timothy 2:1, where the meaning is discussed. Here perhaps it is chosen as more directly expressing the recognition of God’s particular providence; each recipient of ‘daily bread,’ after reciting the very words of God speaking to him and giving him every good gift, is to speak in his turn face to face with God and pray with thankful heart for blessings to others, ‘Our Father, give us our daily bread.’ The whole life of a Christian (and therefore everything of which he partakes) is sanctified through the word of God and prayer.

The bearing of this passage on the social and religious question of total abstinence from alcoholic drink is seen in the following note of Fairbairn; all the better because he is evidently not thinking specially of that particular form of abstinence:

‘Scripture indeed does not deny that a person may occasionally abstain from certain meats or from marriage, with advantage to his own spiritual life or the good of the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:16-17; Matthew 17:21; Matthew 19:12; 1 Corinthians 7:32-37). But in such cases the alternative is not put as between a relatively pure and perfect state by the one course, and an impure or defective one by the other; but the one is presented merely as affording opportunities or helps for prosecuting more freely and unreservedly the work of faith than can well be done in the other. If temporary fasting should dispose and enable one to fight more successfully against the lusts of the flesh, or if by abstaining from marriage one could in particular spheres of labour, or in certain conjunctures of the Church’s history, more effectually serve the interests of the Gospel than otherwise, then the higher principles of that Gospel, the nobler ends of a Christian calling, will undoubtedly justify the restraint or the sacrifice. But to do this is only to subordinate a less to a greater good: it creates no factitious distinctions in respect to the allowable or forbidden, holy or unholy, in the ordinary relationship and circumstances of life; and calls for a rejection of the natural good in these only when it may be conducive as means to a definite spiritual end.’1 Timothy 4:5. Ἁγιάζεται, is sanctified) Leviticus 19:24.—διὰ λόγου Θεοῦ, by the word of God) The word of God enters into all thanksgiving, nay, also into the creation and granting of meats.—καὶ ἐντεύξεως, and intercessory [or consecratory] prayer) It is the duty of the children of God to offer intercessory [ch. 1 Timothy 2:1; or consecratory] prayer for the creatures which they use. It is a high dignity. Not only Christians, but also Jews and Heathens, consecrated the table with prayer.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). It is sanctified (ἁγιάζεται)

Not declared holy, but made holy. The declaration confirms the last clause of 1 Timothy 4:4. Thanksgiving to God has a sanctifying effect. The food in itself has no moral quality (Romans 14:14), but acquires a holy quality by its consecration to God; by being acknowledged as God's gift, and partaken of as nourishing the life for God's service. Comp. Paul's treatment of the unbelieving husband and the believing wife, 1 Corinthians 7:14.

By the word of God (διὰ λογοῦ θεοῦ)

That is, by the word of God as used in the prayer. Scripture is not called "the Word of God." The Word of God includes much more than Scripture: but Scripture contains the Word of God, and the thanksgiving at table was in the words of Scripture. See Psalm 145:15,Psalm 145:16. The custom of grace at meat appears 1 Samuel 9:13. Christ blessed the loaves and fishes (Matthew 14:19; Matthew 15:36): Paul on the ship gave thanks for the meal which the seamen ate (Acts 27:35). Ἑντεύξεως prayer, see on 1 Timothy 2:1.

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