Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Scripture of The Day Instalment 20

1 Timothy 4:1 (New American Standard Bible)

1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons

In this passage "later times" means "end times" - i.e. the time when Jesus will return

The people who were alive when this epistle was written were expecting Jesus to return any minute, just as many people do today - hence it is a call to remain faithful to God's spirits and God's teachings, as opposed to being faithful to "deceitful spirits and teachings of demons" - because once Jesus returns it will be too late to repent, hence there is a matter of urgency

The title that goes in front of the chapter this is from (in the NASB) is "abandonment of faith" - and that is a key issue with this text - it urges the reader to remain faithful and not be manipulated by demonic influences - I'll explain what I think it means by this later

I think the author of this text had Gnosticism in mind more than Paganism or Judaism, as Gnosticism was a rival to Christianity rather than an outright opponent

I also think this could be applied to various Christian "heresies" too

But basically, it is warning the early church that people may abandon the Christian faith due to the influence of deceitful, demonic teachings - by which the author would I believe have meant teachings that either a) deny Christ or b) posit a rival to Christ - or indeed do A and B together

I should know about this - in the past I have allowed this to happen to me!

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