1 Timothy 4:7-10 – A Brief Exegesis

1 Timothy 4:7-10

But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto 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 acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Notice that there are a set of parallels that build up to verse 10.

1) refuse profane and old wives’ fables || exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

2) For bodily exercise profiteth little || but godliness is profitable unto all things,

3) [Implied that bodily exercise has a promise in this life] || [godliness has] promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God,

4) who is the Saviour of all men || specially of those that believe

The point then from that we get in the fourth parallel, utilizing the contextual indications, is that the living God (the God of Life) is both the Savior with respect to preserving the physical lives of his creatures but with respect to believers their Savior in the special sense of giving them eternal life. All life comes from God, both our physical life and eternal life as well.

This is confirmed from later in the text when Paul tells Timothy:

1 Timothy 6:17-19
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Notice that the living God gives us both the riches of this life, but also of the life to come. Notice indeed the similarity between being more concerned about doing good and laying up for the life to come, rather than on this life.

I realize that’s a short exegesis, but I think that it commends itself over any exegesis that argues that “Saviour of all men” should be understood as being a savior in a potential way. That sense leaves the phrase like a fish out of water, with no ties to the context.


6 Responses to “1 Timothy 4:7-10 – A Brief Exegesis”

  1. natamllc Says:

    Yep, noticed it before and now again!Clear, trustworthy and it would be well of full acceptance as well!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Regarding "profane old wives' fables": Roman and EO apologists have sometimes liked to accuse Protestants of rationalistic unbelief when they dismiss all the wild miracles hagiographically attributed to their saints (and wonder-working images) – even asking "if you deny these miracles, why don't you deny the Gospel miracles as well, to be consistent?"But that verse of Paul shows that Christians have a right to use their reason.

  3. Daniel Murphy Says:

    Baugh (at WSC) in WTJ (1992) has an article on verse 10, and comes to the conclusion that you (TF) do, basically. To approach it from another angle (drawing from my memory of Baugh), there was allegedly a statue of Caesar in Ephesus with the ascription 'Saviour of the world'. 'Saviour' can mean benefactor, and on such a use it naturally comprehends physical benefits, not merely spiritual ones. God is benefactor over all (e.g., rain on just and unjust), but especially believers.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I realize that's a short exegesis,It is! Would you dare elaborating an in-depth exegesis?-Another Anonymous on American Ground

  5. Turretinfan Says:

    Here's a link to the more detailed exegesis by BaughAlso, for your edification: a somewhat detailed exegesis by Alan Kurschner

  6. natamllc Says:

    Baugh:"….Erickson describes his position as "the most moderate form of Calvinism" (probably Amyraldianism), but Arminian theologians likewise utilize 1 Tim 4:10 to support their doctrine of a universal atonement.2…".The sad thing is "their doctrine" will only support their leader's understanding.When we realize that, we need only go to the "Leader's" understanding to understand the error of the doctrine.What do we learn from the Leader about this error of those Baugh is highlighting to contrast John Calvin's doctrine then?Here:Luk 10:17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" Luk 10:18 And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Luk 10:19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Luk 10:20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Luk 10:21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. Luk 10:22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." What do we find about universal atonement from Our Leader's own Words to those particular Elect?Yes, He has universal authority given to Him, say, over all things.But, peculiarly, He makes the distinction that John Calvin comes after and makes while the others do not about particular atonement.The question I would like answered is "why"?Could it be John Calvin's "Leader" is none other than Jesus Christ Himself?You be the judge, then, or not?

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