Summary: Study on 1 Tim 4:10
IS CHRIST THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN? II
A study on 1 Tim. 4:10
Last week we began a study into a passage of Scripture that can be difficult to understand. It is one of the Scripture that when simply read on it own, that is read out of it’s context and out of the context of Scripture as a whole, it seems to say something contrary to what the rest of Scripture says. It is one of those passages that simply cannot be pulled out of its place and then form a doctrine based on what it seems to say.
As I pointed out last week whenever we read the Bible we must take into account two means by which all Scripture must be interpreted. There is a method we must follow it we are to a 1 Tim. 2:15 states rightly divide the word of truth, that is the Scriptures.
First we must look at the context of the passage. You cannot simply pull a passage out of its context and say this means so and so. The passage is where it is at, it is in the context it is in because that is where the Holy Spirit of God placed it. To pull it out of its place in Scripture is to say we know better then the Holy Spirit of God who is in fact the author of Scripture.
Second, Scripture must be allowed to interpret Scripture. If your understand of a passage contradicts other Scripture you have problem. I will say that your understanding of that passage is wrong. Scripture does not contradict itself. I don’t care what any opponent of the Bible may say. Some say it contradicts itself because they do not take into account the context of the passage or they simply do not understand what a contradiction is.
Regarding Scripture interpreting Scripture John Piper states this "The word of God ... is the only rule to direct us. You cannot have a subordinate standard. You have one rule, and everything else is under the control of that rule. The Bible is the only touchstone. It judges the preaching. It judges the decrees of councils. It judges the creeds of the church. It judges even our interpretation of the Bible itself."
So we must keep in mind those two things, Context, and Scripture must interpret Scripture, if we to get a true understanding of whatever passage we are studying.
One last thing I want to remind you of that I pointed out last week that bears repeating, Just because folks may understand certain passages in different ways, does not mean that the passage does in fact have different meanings. There may be different applications, but there is only one meaning.
Last week I used the example that if a passage states “Paul sat on a chair.” And a person who does not believe in chairs understands that word chair to mean table, does not in fact mean that the word chair means table. The persons belief does not change the meaning of chair. If the Greek word means chair, it means chair whether we like it or not. This is not to say that there are words in Scripture that are used in different ways, again we go back to context.
But a passage of Scripture is NOT validated by OUR understanding of it, it is validated by what it states within its context. While there may in fact be different viable interpretations of a passage, in the end only one is correct, only one is the truth.
Let us now turn to the passage that we began looking at last week. Please turn with me to 1 Tim 4:10.
I want to remind of the background of 1 Tim because this will play a part in our understand of 1 Tim. 4:10. 1 Tim is of course actually a letter. It is a letter written by the Apostle Paul to young man by the name of Timothy. The letter is written sometime around 62-66 AD.
Paul writes to Timothy in order to encourage him in his work of overseeing the Ephesian church. In 1 Tim. 1:3 we read , “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia––remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,”
This tells us the location of Timothy, which is in Ephesus. We can also see that 1 Timothy is somewhat of a church leadership manual.
Because context is important in our understanding of this passage I want us to read beginning in verse 6;
“If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.”