A Biblical Study of 1 Timothy 4:1, 2 on Unclean Food
Keywords:clean, unclean, food, marriage, false teacher, false teaching, doctrine of the demons
Paul was the reliable and dependable spiritual-leadership mentor of the young
minister, Timothy, whom he assigned in the church of Ephesus. He made him
aware and conscious of the ongoing and possible future challenges of his ministry.
His pastoral letter to Timothy warned him of iterant false teachers who wanted to
become teachers of the law but knew nothing about the law. Some would be
apostatized by seducing spirits and doctrine of the demons (1Tim 1:1, 3, 4, 7).
This ongoing incident disturbed the Ephesian church. Paul’s statement says, “For
everything God created is good, and nothing to be rejected if it is received with
thanksgiving” (1Tim 4:4). This is the bone of contention within biblical
scholarship. The apostle’s declaration has been taken as blanket authority that all
unclean food is no longer a biblical issue. Two questions emerge. First, does the
text nullify the health and dietary laws in Deuteronomy (14) and Leviticus (11)?
Second, what was the real issue why Paul made such statement and what is its
contextual background? This research points out that what Paul says was the
biblical standard, and cannot be used as categorical. The issue has to do with
Greek and Jewish philosophies that crept into the Ephesian church considered as
seduction of evil spirit and doctrine of demons. The biblical understanding of the
passage has nothing to do seemingly with nullification of dietary laws.
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