1 Timothy 4

1 Timothy 4:1-3 in the latter times some shall depart from the faith...Forbidding to marry

"Most Latter-day Saint missionaries recall that Paul's letters to Timothy contain prophecies about an impending apostasy. Indeed, three of the most frequently quoted passages in the New Testament about apostasy are found in either 1 or 2 Timothy. A careful examination of these passages reveals that they deal with personal apostasy and a falling away from truth and righteousness in the latter days, even after the gospel and true church had been restored to the earth.
"The first of these is in 1 Timothy 4:1-3, wherein Paul indicates that the Spirit expressly taught him that in the last days many would 'depart from the faith,' would give heed to 'seducing spirits,' would speak 'lies in hypocrisy,' and by so doing would forbid to marry and command to abstain from meats. Regarding these two prohibitions of the apostates, the word of the Lord is clear in this last dispensation: 'Whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man....And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God.' (D&C 49:15, 18.) An editorial in the Church News elucidates the problems of 'forbidding to marry' in our day: 'Since eternal life may only be achieved through celestial marriage, Satan does all within his power to forbid men and women to marry. Celibacy, living together out of wedlock, homosexuality, adultery, abortion, and birth control are but a few of the many methods employed to pervert men's minds and prevent the creation and continuance of this holy union. In the words of President Harold B. Lee, `Satan's greatest threat today is to destroy the family, and to make mockery of the law of chastity and the sanctity of the marriage covenant.`'" (Bruce A. Van Orden, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, ed. by Robert L. Millet, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 187 - 188.)
Bruce R. McConkie
"Many who practice celibacy do so out of an excessive religious devotion and with the idea in mind that they are serving their Maker. In reality they are forsaking some of the most important purposes of their creation for a man-made, uninspired system. Indeed, Paul says of this practice of celibacy that it consists in 'giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.' (1 Tim. 4:1-3.)" (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 119.)

1 Timothy 4:1 giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils

Spencer W. Kimball
"In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, said Paul. (See 1 Timothy 4:1.) These are the latter times. We are the Latter-day Saints. These are the days when some shall depart from the faith. ... I think it's not just so much the disbelieving apostate, but more likely this permissiveness. They would give heed to the seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. It seems that the devil has a way of making very attractive the things that he proposes to mankind." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 267.)
Spencer W. Kimball
"Rasping voices proclaiming 'doctrines of devils,' saying there is no sin; there is no devil; there is no God. Saying that we will 'eat, drink, and be merry' like the antediluvians who never believed that the flood would really come.
"Many voices of seducing spirits advocate carnal pleasures and unrestrained physical satisfactions. Our world is now much the same as it was in the days of the Nephite prophet who said: '... if it were not for the prayers of the righteous ... ye would even now be visited with utter destruction. ...' (Alma 10:22.) Of course, there are many many upright and faithful who live all the commandments and whose lives and prayers keep the world from destruction." ("Voices of the Past, of the Present, of the Future," Ensign, June 1971, 16)

1 Timothy 4:2 having their conscience seared with a hot iron

"...too little guilt is deadly to our spirits. Remember, the scriptures prophesy that in the last days 'many will have their conscience seared with a hot iron' (1 Tim. 4:2), suggesting that they will become immune to the whisperings of their conscience." (Brent A. Barlow, Worth Waiting For: Sexual Abstinence Before Marriage [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 86.)
James E. Faust
"There is a defense mechanism to discern between good and evil. It is called conscience. It is our spirit's natural response to the pain of sin, just like pain in our flesh is our body's natural response to a wound-even a small sliver. Conscience strengthens through use. Paul told the Hebrews, 'But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.' (Heb. 5:14.) Those who have not exercised their conscience have 'their conscience seared with a hot iron.' (1 Tim. 4:2.) A sensitive conscience is a sign of a healthy spirit." ("A Crown of Thorns, a Crown of Glory," Ensign, May 1991, 68)

1 Timothy 4:3 commanding to abstain from meats

The dietary craze of the last few decades only seems to accelerate. Dr. Sterling B. Talmage once attended a lecture espousing a vegetarian diet. He described the lecture as follows:
"He pointed out that for a man in sedentary occupation the excessive eating of meat might bring on gastric disturbances and high blood pressure...
"But as he warmed up, his prejudices got the best of him. He said: 'No heavy meat-eater ever accomplished anything worth while, either mental or physical.' I found that objectionable, because I knew it was not true; I had heard Dr. Viljalmar Steffanson and Dr. Lauge Koch, both famous explorers, recount superhuman accomplishments in the Arctic, on a diet that, of necessity, consisted exclusively of meat.
"The chairman continued: 'When we eat meat, we partake of the nature of the beast we eat. He who eats pig becomes piggified.' I had had a pork chop for my dinner, but I felt no twinge of conscience; I knew his statement was not true.
"He even objected to the eating of eggs and milk, as animal products; he waxed sentimental, and said: 'The feeding of cow's milk to human beings is a species of highway robbery-stealing from poor, helpless little calves the food that is theirs by right.' Any farmer boy knows that a milk cow produces long after her calf passes the suckling stage, and so could brand that statement as untrue.
"He said further: 'When we eat meat, we lower ourselves to the level of the carnivorous beasts, and place ourselves on an equality with the hyenas and the jackals.'" (Glimpsed in a Flash by Dr. Sterling B. Talmage, Improvement Era, 1934, Vol. Xxxvii. October, 1934. No. 10)
So goes the argument. They are they philosophies of men. While some are vegetarians for health reasons, others are overly concerned for the animals, not understanding that 'the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance' (DC 49:19). Latter-day saints understand that abstinence from meat products and the opposite extreme of overindulgence (DC 89:12) are both contrary to the Lord's plan.

1 Timothy 4:8 bodily exercise profiteth little

Imagine a large sign plastered on the walls of the local fitness facility reading, "BODILY EXERCISE PROFITETH LITTLE!" People spending endless hours of grueling workouts could be reminded that their efforts are barely profitable. Obviously, that would be a stupid business move but it might help teach an important principle. Americans, in particular, have stopped worshipping God in exchange for worshipping their own bodies. The media has told them what they should look like, and they are just gullible enough to spend their lives trying to achieve the culture-coveted look. Their diet, exercise, and dress patterns may be glorified as examples of health consciousness, but in reality, they are expressions of a love of self. The obsession may form an ironic form of idolatry in which the creature is worshipped 'more than the Creator' (Rom. 1:25). While the latter-day saints are busy trying to develop the image of God in their countenances (Alma 5:14), the rest of the world is trying to develop the image of physical perfection in their mirrors. Paul certainly saw our day when he prophesied that 'in the last days...men shall be lovers of their own selves' (2 Tim. 3:1-2).

1 Timothy 4:8 but godliness is profitable unto all things

Russell M. Nelson
"I would not want you to neglect your body. It deserves daily care. Physical conditioning through regular exercise requires self-mastery too. I marvel at Elder Joseph Anderson, now in his ninety-sixth year. For decades, the strength of his spirit over his body has induced him to swim regularly. But his motivation has never been to attain physical longevity. That has come only incidentally. His desire has been to serve God and His anointed. Elder Anderson has followed what I label as the Lord's prescription for a long and useful life. Those faithful in 'magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. They become ... the elect of God.' (D&C 84:33-34.)
"Elder Anderson's exercise program agrees with the perspective of Paul, who said: '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.' (1 Tim. 4:8.)" ("Self-Mastery," Ensign, Nov. 1985, 32)

1 Timothy 4:10 we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God

Gordon B. Hinckley
"I picture Paul as the old, battered teacher of truth. He writes to his young friend, in whom he has confidence and for whom he has a great love.
"He says, among other things, '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' (1 Tim. 4:10).
"Paul was persecuted and driven; he was hated and despised. Eventually his life was taken because he fearlessly bore witness of the Redeemer of all men. We must be prepared to do likewise." ("Converts and Young Men," Ensign, May 1997, 48)

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth

Gordon B. Hinckley
"I was recently in London, England, and there we held a meeting with the missionaries serving in that area. Representatives of the British Broadcasting Corporation filmed part of the service. They are preparing a documentary of our missionary work in the British Isles.
"Prior to this I had been interviewed by a representative of the BBC Radio Worldwide Service. He had seen the missionaries and noted their youthful appearance. He asked me, 'How do you expect people to listen to these callow youth?'
"In case some of you do not know the meaning of callow, it means immature, inexperienced, lacking sophistication.
"I replied to the reporter with a smile, 'Callow youth? It is with these missionaries today as it was with Timothy in the days of Paul. It was Paul who wrote to his young companion, saying, 'Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity' (1 Tim. 4:12).
"'The remarkable thing is that people do receive them and listen to them. They are wholesome. They are bright, they are alert, they are upstanding. They are clean looking, and people quickly develop confidence in them.'
"I might have added, 'They are a miracle.'" ("Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 51)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"(Speaking to the young men) Those whom we teach will overlook our youth if in our conversations in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in the purity of our lives, we reflect the Spirit of Christ. We cannot indulge in swearing. We cannot be guilty of profanity; we cannot indulge in impure thoughts, words, and acts and have the Spirit of the Lord with us." ("Converts and Young Men," Ensign, May 1997, 48-49)
Harold B. Lee
"We love the youth of the Church; and we say to them, as Paul said to young Timothy, that they will be happiest if they are examples of the believers. The future of the Church is secure, but it will be even brighter if our youth in their word and in the conversation show forth the charity and purity that can only come from one who is a believer.
"If anyone questions the importance of the youth to the Church, he should note the following information prepared by the Church Historian's Office from a large statistical sample.
"Over fifty percent of the members of the Church are age twenty-five or under. There are as many members of the Church from twelve to twenty-five years of age as there are from thirty-six years up. And if one wishes to view the years from sixteen through twenty-five-probably the years of greatest stress and most crucial decisions-that group comprises over twenty-three percent of the total membership of the Church.
"You can sense from the statistics alone the immense challenge we all have, for this large group of young people will eventually serve and guide the kingdom during very critical years. We all must do a better job of preparing them than we are now doing." ("Preparing Our Youth," Ensign, Mar. 1971, 2)

1 Timothy 4:12 be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation...

Ruth B. Wright
"In Timothy, we are admonished to be an example of the believers. (See 1 Tim. 4:12.) A believer is someone who follows and knows the teachings of Christ not only in his mind but also in his heart and whose actions are a witness of that belief. It isn't easy to be an example of the believers. We don't usually wake up in the morning and say, 'Today I'm going to be an example of the believers!' Yet we can say, 'Today I will be kind and thoughtful, or considerate, or honest, or whatever quality I need to work on.' And then we will try hard all day to make a conscious effort to do so. That we can do!" ("Be Thou an Example," Ensign, Nov. 1991, 90)
Thomas S. Monson
"The Apostle Paul wrote an epistle to his beloved companion Timothy in which he provided inspired counsel equally as applicable to you and me today as it was to Timothy. Listen carefully to his words: 'Neglect not the gift that is in thee,' 'but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.' (1 Tim. 4:14, 12.)
"We need not wait for a cataclysmic event, a dramatic occurrence in the world in which we live, or a special invitation to be an example-even a model to follow. Our opportunities lie before us here and now. But they are perishable. Likely they will be found in our own homes and in the everyday actions of our lives. Our Lord and Master marked the way: '[He] went about doing good.' (Acts 10:38.) He in very deed was a model to follow-even an example of the believers.
"Are we?" ("An Example of the Believers," Ensign, Nov. 1992, 98)
Thomas S. Monson
"During a drive to amass warm clothing to ship to suffering Saints, Elder Harold B. Lee and Elder Marion G. Romney took President George Albert Smith to Welfare Square in Salt Lake City. They were impressed by the generous response of the membership of the Church to the clothing drive and the preparations for sending the goods overseas. They watched President Smith observing the workers as they packaged this great volume of donated clothing and shoes. They saw tears running down his face. After a few moments, President Smith removed a new overcoat that he had on and said, 'Please ship this also.'
"The Brethren said to him, 'No, President, no; don't send that; it's cold and you need your coat.'
"But President Smith would not take it back.
"The Apostle Paul's admonition surely was fulfilled that day: 'Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.'" ("My Brother's Keeper," Ensign, Nov. 1994, 45)

1 Timothy 4:14 the laying on of the hands of the presbytery

Gordon B. Hinckley
"Timothy was called just the way you were, by the spirit of prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Who are the presbytery? The elders of the Church who set you apart." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 359.)

1 Timothy 4:15 give thyself wholly to them

Sterling W. Sill
"A famous Canadian athletic coach once said that most people in and out of athletics were holdouts. What he meant was that we usually don't invest ourselves fully in what we are doing. We are afflicted with too many doubts, and we have too many reservations about things. There are too many issues about which we lack the necessary information on which to make solid, intelligent, proper decisions. Consequently we go into life with our fingers crossed, so to speak.
"One of our most unfortunate situations comes about when we become holdouts on life, for when we hold out on life, life holds out on us. And by holding back in our faith, we become holdouts on God and members of the unfortunate group that someone called 'life's half-believers.' They are those who believe just a part of the time, or they believe in just some of the issues. This makes us guilty of those great sins of fractional devotion and marginal morals, which produces a minimal performance." (Principles, Promises, and Powers [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], 137.)

1 Timothy 4:16 continue in them: for in so doing thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee

Gordon B. Hinckley
"Note the words, 'Thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.' Is not this the story of missionary work? He who goes forth as a servant of the Lord saves himself. He grows in faith. He grows in capacity. He grows in understanding. He grows in love for the Lord.
"He likewise blesses those who hear him. Every person in this Church, with rare exception, is a member because of missionaries who taught him or taught his forebears. Every person could stand and bear testimony and express appreciation for those who were the means of bringing to him or his forebears this work of salvation and eternal life." ("There Must Be Messengers," Ensign, Oct. 1987, 5)