1Ti 4:3-5 KJV - 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

Is he referring to those words declared clean by Torah? Or by the pronouncement "And it was all very good" in Genesis 1?

In other words, is the author concerned with:

  • those who ignore food laws
  • those who count clean foods as unclean
  • those who refuse any meat or food

If Genesis 1, what about clean vs unclean animals which Noah seemed to be aware of?



  • Have you read the Miqsat Ma‘ase Ha-Torah (MMT) in the Dead Sea Scrolls? Really fascinating. It apparently translates as “works of the Law”. That’s a phrase Apostle Paul was accused of fabricating but seems like he was addressing a sect and not main stream Judaism. Feb 10, 2019 at 1:32

1 Answer 1


In the NT the phrase, "λόγου Θεοῦ" (logou Theou = word of God) occurs in various declensions about 41 times. In ALMOST all cases it denotes the revealed will or teaching of God. This can mean:

  • One of the commandments - Matt 15:6, Mark 7:13
  • Jesus' own preaching - Luke 5:1, 8:21, 11;28
  • The teachings and commands of God found in Scripture generally - Luke 8:11, Acts 18;11, Rom 9:6, 1 Cor 14:26, 2 Cor 4:2, Col 1:25, 1 Thess 2:13, 2 Tim 2:9, Heb 4:12, 5:12, 13:7, 1 John 2:14
  • The Apostles' preaching and teaching that was invariably based on Scripture - Acts 4:31, 6:2, 7, 8:14, 11:1, 12:24, 13:5, 7, 46, 17:13, 2 Cor 2:17, etc
  • Direct instruction from God - 2 Peter 3:5
  • Direct revelation from God via vision etc - Rev 1:2, 17:17, 19:9

The two exceptions to this general idea (that I have been able to detect) are:

  • Jesus as the Rider on the white horse who is the Word of God, Rev 19:13 (compare John 1:1-3), who inspired the prophets and who arms the armies of heaven with the sword of the Spirit and about whom the Scriptures consistently testify. So this exception is understandable.
  • 1 Tim 4:5 where food is set apart (sanctified) by the Word of God where it is NOT immediately obvious what is being said. Hence, presumably, the question at hand!

The pulpit commentary feely admits the difficulty in 1 Tim 4:5:

It is sanctified through the Word of God. Considerable difference of opinion prevails among commentators as to the precise meaning of this verse, especially of the phrase, "the Word of God." Some refer to Gem 1:4, 10, 12, etc.; others to Genesis 1:29; Genesis 9:4, as containing the original grant of meats for the use of man; others to the scriptural phrases embodied in the words of the ἐντεύξις, the prayer of thanksgiving. Another possible reference would be to the Word of God recorded in Acts 10:13, 15, 28, by which that which had previously been unclean was now made clean or holy; or, lastly, it might mean "the blessing of God" given in answer to the "prayer" on each occasion, which suits well the present tense, ἁγιάζετι. Prayer (ἐντευξις; see 1 Timothy 2:1, note).

In my simple way of reading Scripture, I believe that the obvious should be used to elucidate the obscure. I would find it astonishing of if one out of 40+ references had a completely different meaning from all the rest. So let us add some context.

Paul is discussing deceiving teachers who:

  • Forbid people to marry, ie, promote celibacy, a teach contrary to Scripture
  • Forbid the eating of foods that were created to be eaten with thanksgiving. This does NOT give a blanket permission to eat everything - quite the contrary - it gives people permission to eat that which God has provided for food. (Note, some suggest that we can now eat everything but they do not allow foods that are clearly toxic and bad for health.) Apparently these false teachers were suggesting that many foods God had provided should be avoided. Again, this is a teaching contrary to Scripture.

Thus, let us now examine the first sentence in 1 Tim 4:5, "everything God created is good [for food] and nothing is to be rejected" This cannot mean that numerous toxic and poisonous plants can now be eaten provided we say grace before the meal. Can we eat Laburnum? Can we knowingly eat jequirity, crab's eye, rosary pea, wolfsbane, white snakeroot (and many others), or even blood in contravention of Acts 15:29?

Therefore, I prefer to see food sanctified by the Word of God as food consistent with the teachings of Scripture (eg, 3 John 2, Rom 12:1, Phil 3:19) as distinct from the false teachers inventing new rules about what to eat.

  • So are you saying that they should obey the Mosaic food laws?
    – Ruminator
    Feb 10, 2019 at 11:28
  • Not quite - we would need to work out which are still relevant today and that is rather contentious. Some of the food laws are purely for ceremonial purposes and other clearly (in light of modern medicine) are excellent health advice. In any case, it appears the Jerusalem council verdict should be observed.
    – user25930
    Feb 10, 2019 at 21:30

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