The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

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"Some will abandon the faith"

Moving on in 1 Timothy 4 we read:

1 Timothy 4:1-3
"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth."

If somebody who came to the faith could never abandon it then it would also be impossible for these people the Spirit is speaking about here to do that. But as it is obvious this is not impossible. How does it happen in their case? By falling victim to false teachers, who in turn are but instruments of deceiving spirits. We spoke previously about two main groups of false teachers. It seems to me that the false teachers of the above passage belong to the second group, the legalistic one, which uses false humility and promotes that a person can supposedly come to God through such things as abstinence from food or denying marriage. This is again so relevant. In fact it was only a few hundred years after Paul wrote the above, in the council of Elvira in 306 AD when, according to Canon 33: "all bishops, presbyters, and deacons and all other clerics were to abstain completely from their wives and not to have children" thus opening the way to the obligation of celibacy, which later became a requirement for ministers of some denominations.

False teachers will always lead people astray and we need to watch out. It is nevertheless impossible to watch out if we do not know for ourselves what the Word of God says. Are we reading the Word of God on our own, without the "glasses" of cherished doctrines, or do we essentially base our faith on what others say about the Word? There are many cherished beliefs that people have, yet sad to say: they would not arrive to them by reading the Bible on their own, without somebody teaching them these beliefs. They only "see" these "truths", if they put on the particular "glasses" of interpreting Scripture that somebody has given them. But the Scripture interprets itself and needs no such glasses.

Closing this section I exhort us: let us pick up our Bible and read it thoroughly, focusing on what the text says and without filtering the text through theories and theological doctrines we may have heard. God says what He means and He means what He says. If a particular doctrine is in the Bible, you will clearly see it when you read it. But if a doctrine can only be "seen", after you put on particular "glasses" of interpreting the Scriptures, I would be very careful in considering this doctrine as Biblical.

Next section: 1 Timothy 5:8: "he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever"


Author: Anastasios Kioulachoglou