1 Timothy 4:1
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

King James Bible
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;

Darby Bible Translation
But the Spirit speaks expressly, that in latter times some shall apostatise from the faith, giving their mind to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons

World English Bible
But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons,

Young's Literal Translation
And the Spirit expressly speaketh, that in latter times shall certain fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and teachings of demons,

1 Timothy 4:1 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Now the Spirit - Evidently the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of inspiration. It is not quite certain, from this passage, whether the apostle means to say that this was a revelation "then" made to him, or whether it was a well-understood thing as taught by the Holy Spirit. He himself elsewhere refers to this same prophecy, and John also more than once mentions it; compare 2 Thessalonians 2; 1 John 2:18; Revelation 20:1-15. From 2 Thessalonians 2:5, it would seem that this was a truth which had before been communicated to the apostle Paul, and that he had dwelt on it when he preached the gospel in Thessalonica. There is no improbability, however, in the supposition that so important a subject was communicated directly by the Holy Spirit to others of the apostles.

Speaketh expressly - In express words, ῥητῶς rētōs. It was not by mere hints, and symbols, and shadowy images of the future; it was in an open and plain manner - in so many words. The object of this statement seems to be to call the attention of Timothy to it in an emphatic manner, and to show the importance of attending to it.

That in the latter times - Under the last dispensation, during which the affairs of the world would close; see the notes on Hebrews 1:2. It does not mean that this would occur "just before" the end of the world, but that it would take place during "that last dispensation," and that the end of the world would not happen until this should take place; see the notes on 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

Some shall depart from the faith - The Greek word here - ἀποστήσονται apostēsontai - is that from which we have derived the word "apostatize," and would be properly so rendered here. The meaning is, that they would "apostatize" from the belief of the truths of the gospel. It does not mean that, as individuals, they would have been true Christians; but that there would be a departure from the great doctrines which constitute the Christian faith. The ways in which they would do this are immediately specified, showing what the apostle meant here by departing from the faith. They would give heed to seducing spirits, to the doctrines of devils, etc. The use of the word "some," here τινες tines - does not imply that the number would be small. The meaning is, that "certain persons" would thus depart, or that "there would be" an apostasy of the kind here mentioned, in the last days. From the parallel passage in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, it would seem that this was to be an extensive apostasy.

Giving heed to seducing spirits - Rather than to the Spirit of God. It would be a part of their system to yield to those spirits that led astray. The spirits here referred to are any that cause to err, and the most obvious and natural construction is to refer it to the agency of fallen spirits. Though it "may" apply to false teachers, yet, if so, it is rather to them as under the influence of evil spirits. This may be applied, so far as the phraseology is concerned, to "any" false teaching; but it is evident that the apostle had a specific apostasy in view - some great "system" that would greatly corrupt the Christian faith; and the words here should be interpreted with reference to that. It is true that people in all ages are prone to give heed to seducing spirits; but the thing referred to here is some grand apostasy, in which the characteristics would be manifested, and the doctrines held, which the apostle proceeds immediately to specify; compare 1 John 4:1.

And doctrines of devils - Greek, "Teachings of demons - διδασκαλίαις δαιμωνίων didaskaliais daimōniōn. This may either mean teachings "respecting" demons, or teachings "by" demons. The particular sense must be determined by the connection. Ambiguity of this kind in the construction of words, where one is in the genitive case, is not uncommon; compare John 15:9-10; John 21:15. Instances of the construction where the genitive denotes the "object," and should be translated "concerning," occur in Matthew 9:25; "The gospel of the kingdom," i. e., concerning the kingdom; Matthew 10:1; "Power of unclean spirits," i. e., over or concerning unclean spirits; so, also, Acts 4:9; Romans 16:15; 2 Corinthians 1:5; Ephesians 3:1; Revelation 2:13. Instances of construction where the genitive denotes the "agent," occur in the following places: Luke 1:69, "A horn of salvation," i. e., a horn which produces or causes salvation; John 6:28; Romans 3:22; 2 Corinthians 4:10; Ephesians 4:18; Colossians 2:11. Whether the phrase here means that, in the apostasy, they would give heed to doctrines "respecting" demons, or to doctrines which demons "taught," cannot, it seems to me, be determined with certainty. If the previous phrase, however, means that they would embrace doctrines taught by evil spirits, it can hardly be supposed that the apostle would immediately repeat the same idea in another form; and then the sense would be, that one characteristic of the time referred to would be the prevalent teaching "respecting" demons. They would "give heed to," or embrace, some special views respecting demons. The word here rendered "devils" is δαιμονία daimonia - "demons." This word, among the Greeks, denoted the following things:

(1) A god or goddess, spoken of the pagan gods; compare in New Testament, Acts 17:18.

(2) a divine being, where no particular one was specified, the agent or author of good or evil fortune; of death, fate, etc. In this sense it is often used in Homer.

(3) the souls of people of the golden age, which dwelt unobserved upon the earth to regard the actions of men, and to defend them - tutelary divinities, or geniuses - like that which Socrates regarded as his constant attendant. Xen. Mem. 4. 8. 1. 5; Apol. Soc. 4. See "Passow."

(4) to this may be added the common use in the New Testament, where the word denotes a demon in the Jewish sense - a bad spirit, subject to Satan, and under his control; one of the host of fallen angels - commonly, but not very properly rendered "devil" or "devils." These spirits were supposed to wander in desolate places, Matthew 12:43; compare Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:14; or they dwell in the air, Ephesians 2:2. They were regarded as hostile to mankind, John 8:44; as able to utter pagan oracles, Acts 16:17; as lurking in the idols of the pagan, 1 Corinthians 10:20; Revelation 9:20. They are spoken of as the authors of evil, James 2:19; compare Ephesians 6:12, and as having the power of taking "possession" of a person, of producing diseases, or of causing mania, as in the case of the demoniacs, Luke 4:33; Luke 8:27; Matthew 17:18; Mark 7:29-30; and often elsewhere. The doctrine, therefore, which the apostle predicted would prevail, might, "so far as the word used is concerned," be either of the following:

(1) Accordance with the prevalent notions of the pagan respecting false gods; or a falling into idolatry similar to that taught in the Grecian mythology. It can hardly be supposed, however, that he designed to say that the common notions of the pagan would prevail in the Christian church, or that the worship of the pagan gods "as such" would be set up there.

(2) an accordance with the Jewish views respecting demoniacal possessions and the power of exorcising them. If this view should extensively prevail in the Christian church, it would be in accordance with the language of the prediction.

(3) accordance with the prevalent pagan notions respecting the departed spirits of the good and the great, who were exalted to the rank of demi-gods, and who, though invisible, were supposed still to exert an important influence in favor of mankind. To these beings, the pagan rendered extraordinary homage. They regarded them as demi-gods. They supposed that they took a deep interest in human affairs. They invoked their aid. They set apart days in honor of them. They offered sacrifices, and performed rites and ceremonies to propitiate their favor. They were regarded as a sort of mediators or intercessors between man and the superior divinities. If these things are found anywhere in the Christian church, they may be regarded as a fulfillment of this prediction, for they were not of a nature to be foreseen by any human sagacity. Now it so happens, that they are in fact found in the Papal communion, and in a way that corresponds fairly to the meaning of the phrase, as it would have been understood in the time of the apostle.

There is, "first," the worship of the virgin and of the saints, or the extraordinary honors rendered to them - corresponding almost entirely with the reverence paid by the pagan to the spirits of heroes or to demi-gods. The saints are supposed to have extraordinary power with God, and their aid is implored as intercessors. The virgin Mary is invoked as "the mother of God," and as having power still to command her Son. The Papists do not, indeed, offer the same homage to the saints which they do to God, but they ask their aid; they offer prayer to them. The following extracts from the catechism of Dr. James Butler, approved and recommended by Dr. Kenrick, "Bishop of Philadelphia," expresses the general views of Roman Catholics on this subject. "Question: How do Catholics distinguish between the honor they give to God, and the honor they give to the saints, when they pray to God and the saints?

continued...

1 Timothy 4:1 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Epistle ii. To Anastasius, Bishop of Antioch.
To Anastasius, Bishop of Antioch. Gregory to Anastasius, Patriarch of Antioch. I have received the letters of your most sweet Blessedness, which flowed with tears for words. For I saw in them a cloud flying aloft as clouds do; but, though it carried with it a darkness of sorrow, I could not easily discover at its commencement whence it came or whither it was going, since by reason of the darkness I speak of I did not fully understand its origin. Yet it becomes you, most holy ones, ever to recall
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

How Intent the Ruler Ought to be on Meditations in the Sacred Law.
But all this is duly executed by a ruler, if, inspired by the spirit of heavenly fear and love, he meditate daily on the precepts of Sacred Writ, that the words of Divine admonition may restore in him the power of solicitude and of provident circumspection with regard to the celestial life, which familiar intercourse with men continually destroys; and that one who is drawn to oldness of life by secular society may by the aspiration of compunction be ever renewed to love of the spiritual country.
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

The Clergyman and the Prayer Book.
Dear pages of ancestral prayer, Illumined all with Scripture gold, In you we seem the faith to share Of saints and seers of old. Whene'er in worship's blissful hour The Pastor lends your heart a voice, Let his own spirit feel your power, And answer, and rejoice. In the present chapter I deal a little with the spirit and work of the Clergyman in his ministration of the ordered Services of the Church, reserving the work of the Pulpit for later treatment. THE PRAYER BOOK NOT PERFECT BUT INESTIMABLE.
Handley C. G. Moule—To My Younger Brethren

Seed Scattered and Taking Root
'And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 3. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. 4. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Cross References
1 Kings 13:18
He said to him, "I also am a prophet like you, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, 'Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.'" But he lied to him.

Jeremiah 23:26
"How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart,

Matthew 18:7
"Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!

Luke 17:1
He said to His disciples, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come!

John 16:13
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

Acts 20:23
except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.

Acts 21:11
And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'"

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