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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY - Chapter 4 - Verse 4

Verse 4. For every creature of God is good. Gr., all the creatures, or all that God has created—pan ktisma: that is, as he made it. Comp. Ge 1:10,12,18,31.

It does not mean that every moral agent remains good as long as he is a creature of God, but moral agents, men and angels, were good as they were made at first. Ge 1:31. Nor does it mean that all that God has made is good for every object to which it can be applied. It is good in its place: good for the purpose for which he made it. But it should not be inferred that a thing which is poisonous in its nature is good for food, because it is a creation of God. It is good only in its place, and for the ends for which he intended it. Nor should it be inferred that what God has made is necessarily good after it has been perverted by man. As God made it originally, it might have been used without injury. Apples and peaches were made good, and are still useful and proper as articles of food; rye and indian corn are good, and are admirably adapted to the support of man and beast; but it does not follow that all that man can make of them is necessarily good. He extracts from them a poisonous liquid, and then says that "every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused." But is this a fair use of this passage of Scripture? True, they are good —they are to be received with gratitude as he made them, and as applied to the uses for which he designed them: but why apply this passage to prove that a deleterious beverage which man has extracted from what God has made, is good also, and good for all the purposes to which it can be applied? As God made these things, they are good. As man perverts them, it is no longer proper to call them the "creation of God," and they may be injurious in the highest degree. This passage, therefore, should not be adduced to vindicate the use of intoxicating drinks. As employed by the apostle, it had no such reference, nor does it contain any principle which can properly receive any such appellation.

And nothing to be refused. Nothing that God has made, for the purposes for which he designed it. The necessity of the case—the "exigency of the passage"—requires this interpretation. It cannot mean that we are not to refuse poison if offered in our food, or that we are never to refuse food that is to us injurious or offensive; nor can it any more mean that we are to receive all that may be offered to us as a beverage. The sense is, that as God made it, and for the purposes for which he designed it, it is not to be held to be evil; or, which is the same thing, it is not to be prohibited as if there were merit in abstaining from it. It is not to be regarded as a religious duty to abstain from food which God has appointed for the support of man.

If it be received with thanksgiving. See Barnes "1 Co 10:31"; See Barnes "Eph 5:20"; See Barnes "Php 4:6".

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