The Meaning of 1 Timothy 4:2 Explained

1 Timothy 4:2

KJV: Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

YLT: in hypocrisy speaking lies, being seared in their own conscience,

Darby: speaking lies in hypocrisy, cauterised as to their own conscience,

ASV: through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron;

What does 1 Timothy 4:2 Mean?

Context Summary

1 Timothy 4:1-8 - Reject False And Foolish Teaching
We have here the Apostle's forecast of the last times, i.e., the condition in which men will find themselves as the age draws to a close. Notwithstanding all that Christ has done, the prevalence of evil will be enormous, not because of any failure in God but because the Church has failed to be the organ through which His saving help could reach mankind. The symptoms are set forth with great clearness, such as demon spirits dwelling and working in men, error taught under the specious guise of excessive religious devotion, consciences seared, natural instincts thwarted and outraged. On the contrary, let us believe that the whole body, and all gifts that are natural and innocent, are to be cherished and used under three sanctions:
1.They must be accepted and enjoyed with thanksgiving to the Creator and Father.
2.They must be sanctioned by the Word of God.
3.Their use and enjoyment must, not interfere with our prayer-life.
The minister of Christ must be daily nourished by the words of Christian truth. If he is not fed on Christ's body and blood, his teaching will soon deteriorate, John 6:1-71. He must also exercise himself in godliness with as much care as the gymnast, who is continually exercising his joints and muscles so as to keep supple and alert. This is also God's purpose in the spiritual trials and discipline which He sends. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Timothy 4

1  He foretells that in the latter times there shall be a departure from the faith
6  And to the end that Timothy might not fail in doing his duty, he furnishes him with various precepts

Greek Commentary for 1 Timothy 4:2

Through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies [εν υποκρισει πσευδολογων]
For υποκρισις — hupokrisis see note on Galatians 2:13. Πσευδολογος — Pseudologos (πσευδησ λεγω — pseudēsκεκαυστηριασμενων την ιδιαν συνειδησιν — legō) Koiné{[28928]}š word from Aristophanes on. Here only in N.T. “A good classical word for liars on a large scale” (Parry). [source]
Branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron [συνειδησιν]
Accusative case καυστηριαζω — suneidēsin retained with the perfect passive participle of πσευδολογων — kaustēriazō a rare verb only here and once in Strabo. Branded with the mark of Satan (2 Timothy 2:26) as Paul was with the marks of Christ (Galatians 6:17). Agreeing in case with pseudologōn f0). [source]
Speaking lies in hypocrisy [ἐν ὑποκρίσει ψευδολόγων]
Wrong. Rend., through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies. Ὑποκρίσις hypocrisyonce in Paul, Galatians 2:13, see note. See also on Matthew 23:13. The phrase ἐν ὑποκρίσει only here. Ψευδολόγος speakinglies, N.T.oolxx. Rare in Class. [source]
Having their conscience seared with a hot iron [ἐν ὑποκρίσει ψευδολόγων]
Better, branded in their own conscience. With a hot iron is superfluous. The verb N.T.oolxx, oClass. The metaphor is from the practice of branding slaves or criminals, the latter on the brow. These deceivers are not acting under delusion, but deliberately, and against their conscience. They wear the form of godliness, and contradict their profession by their crooked conduct (2 Timothy 3:5). The brand is not on their brow, but on their conscience. Comp. Titus 1:15; Titus 3:11. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 Timothy 4:2

Galatians 2:13 With their dissimulation [αὐτῶν τῇ ὑποκρίσει]
Not to or over to their dissimulation. Paul uses a strong word, which is employed only in 1 Timothy 4:2. The kindred verb ὑποκρίνεσθαι toplay a part, and the noun ὑποκριτής hypocrisydo not occur in his letters. Their act was hypocrisy, because it was a concealment of their own more liberal conviction, and an open profession of still adhering to the narrow Pharisaic view. It was “a practical denial of their better spiritual insight” (Wieseler). [source]
1 Timothy 5:12 Having damnation [ἔχουσαι κρίμα]
The phrase only here. See on 1 Timothy 3:6. Damnation is an unfortunate rendering in the light of the present common understanding of the word, as it is also in 1 Corinthians 11:29. Better, judgment or condemnation, as Romans 3:8; Romans 13:2. The meaning is that they carry about with them in their new, married life a condemnation, a continuous reproach. Comp. 1 Timothy 4:2; Galatians 5:10. It should be said for the translators of 1611 that they used damnation in this sense of, judgment or condemnation, as is shown by the present participle having. In its earlier usage the word implied no allusion to a future punishment. Thus Chaucer“For wel thou woost (knowest) thyselven verrailyThat thou and I be dampned to prisoun.”Knight's T. 1175.Wiclif: “Nethir thou dredist God, that thou art in the same dampnacioun?” Luke 23:40. Laud.: “Pope Alexander III. condemned Peter Lombard of heresy, and he lay under that damnation for thirty and six years.” “A legacy by damnation” was one in which the testator imposed on his heir an obligation to give the legatee the thing bequeathed, and which afforded the legatee a personal claim against the heir. [source]
1 Timothy 3:9 In a pure conscience [ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδήσει]
Comp. 2 Timothy 1:3, 2 Timothy 1:5, 19. Const. with holding. The emphasis of the passage is on these words. They express conscientious purity and sincerity in contrast with those who are described as branded in their own conscience, and thus causing their followers to fall away from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1, 1 Timothy 4:2). The passage illustrates the peculiar treatment of “faith” in these Epistles, in emphasizing its ethical aspect and its ethical environment. This is not contrary to Paul's teaching, nor does it go to the extent of substituting morals for faith as the condition of salvation and eternal life. See 2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:1; Titus 3:5. Nonetheless, there is a strong and habitual emphasis on good works (see 1 Timothy 2:10; 1 Timothy 5:10; 1 Timothy 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:21; 2 Timothy 3:17; Titus 1:16; Titus 2:7, Titus 2:14; Titus 3:1, Titus 3:8, Titus 3:14), and faith is placed in a series of practical duties (see 1 Timothy 1:5, 1 Timothy 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:15; 1 Timothy 4:12; 2 Timothy 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:9; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22; 2 Timothy 3:10). “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience” is a significant association of faith with ethics. As Weiss puts it: “It is as if the pure conscience were the vessel in which the mystery of the faith is preserved.” The idea is sound and valuable. A merely intellectual attitude toward the mystery which, in every age, attaches to the faith, will result in doubt, questioning, and wordy strife (see 1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9), sometimes in moral laxity, sometimes in despair. Loyalty and duty to God are compatible with more or less ignorance concerning the mystery. An intellect, however powerful and active, joined with an impure conscience, cannot solve but only aggravates the mystery; whereas a pure and loyal conscience, and a frank acceptance of imposed duty along with mystery, puts one in the best attitude for attaining whatever solution is possible. See John 7:17. [source]
1 Peter 3:16 Having a good conscience [συνείδησιν ἔχοντες ἀγαθήν]
The position of the adjective shows that it is used predicatively: having a conscience good or unimpaired. Compare Hebrews 13:18, “We have a good conscience ( καλὴν συνείδησιν ) Συνείδησις , conscience, does not occur in the gospels, unless John 8:1-11be admitted into the text. Nor is it a word familiar to classical Greek. It is compounded of σύν , together with, and εἰδέναι , to know; and its fundamental idea is knowing together with one's self. Hence it denotes the consciousness which one has within himself of his own conduct as related to moral obligation; which consciousness exercises a judicial function, determining what is right or wrong, approving or condemning, urging to performance or abstinence. Hence it is not merely intellectual consciousness directed at conduct, but moral consciousness contemplating duty, testifying to moral obligation, even where God is not known; and, where there is knowledge of God and acquaintance with him, inspired and directed by that fact. A man cannot be conscious of himself without knowing himself as a moral creature. Cremer accordingly defines the word as “the consciousness man has of himself in his relation to God, manifesting itself in the form of a self-testimony, the result of the action of the spirit in the heart.” And further, “conscience is, essentially, determining of the self-consciousness by the spirit as the essential principle of life. In conscience man stands face to face with himself.” Conscience is, therefore, a law. Thus Bishop Butler: “Conscience does not only offer itself to show us the way we should walk in, but it likewise carries its own authority with it, that it is our natural guide, the guide assigned us by the Author of our nature; it therefore belongs to our condition of being; it is our duty to walk in that path and follow this guide.” And again, “That principle by which we survey, and either approve or disapprove our own heart, temper, and actions, is not only to be considered as what is, in its turn, to have some influence, which may be said of every passion, of the lowest appetites; but likewise as being superior; as from its very nature claiming superiority over all others; insomuch that you cannot form a notion of this faculty, conscience, without taking in judgment, direction, superintendency. This is a constituent part of the idea, that is, of the faculty itself; and to preside and govern, from the very economy and constitution of man, belongs to it. Had it strength as it had right; had it power as it had manifest authority, it would absolutely govern the world” (Sermons II. and III., “On Human Nature”). Conscience is afaculty. The mind may “possess reason and distinguish between the true and the false, and yet be incapable of distinguishing between virtue and vice. We are entitled, therefore, to hold that the drawing of moral distinctions is not comprehended in the simple exercise of the reason. The conscience, in short, is a different faculty of the mind from the mere understanding. We must hold it to be simple and unresolvable till we fall in with a successful decomposition of it into its elements. In the absence of any such decomposition we hold that there are no simpler elements in the human mind which will yield us the ideas of the morally good and evil, of moral obligation and guilt, of merit and demerit. Compound and decompound all other ideas as you please, associate them together as you may, they will never give us the ideas referred to, so peculiar and full of meaning, without a faculty implanted in the mind for this very purpose” (McCosh, “Divine Government, Physical and Moral”). -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Conscience is a sentiment: i.e., it contains and implies conscious emotions which arise on the discernment of an object as good or bad. The judgment formed by conscience awakens sensibility. When the judicial faculty pronounces a thing to be lovable, it awakens love. When it pronounces it to be noble or honorable, it awakens respect and admiration. When it pronounces it to be cruel or vile, it awakens disgust and abhorrence. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
In scripture we are to view conscience, as Bishop Ellicott remarks, not in its abstract nature, but in its practical manifestations. Hence it may be weak (1 Corinthians 8:7, 1 Corinthians 8:12), unauthoritative, and awakening only the feeblest emotion. It may be evil or defiled (Hebrews 10:22; Titus 1:15), through consciousness of evil practice. It may be seared (1 Timothy 4:2), branded by its own testimony to evil practice, hardened and insensible to the appeal of good. On the other hand, it may be pure (2 Timothy 1:3), unveiled, and giving honest and clear moral testimony. It may be void of offence (Acts 24:16), unconscious of evil intent or act; good, as here, or honorable (Hebrews 13:18). The expression and the idea, in the full Christian sense, are foreign to the Old Testament, where the testimony to the character of moral action and character is borne by external revelation rather than by the inward moral consciousness. [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Timothy 4:2 mean?

in hypocrisy of speakers of lies having been seared in the own conscience
ἐν ὑποκρίσει ψευδολόγων κεκαυστηριασμένων τὴν ἰδίαν συνείδησιν

ὑποκρίσει  hypocrisy 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: ὑπόκρισις  
Sense: an answering.
ψευδολόγων  of  speakers  of  lies 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: ψευδολόγος  
Sense: speaking (teaching) falsely, speaking lies.
κεκαυστηριασμένων  having  been  seared 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Participle Middle or Passive, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: καυστηριάζω 
Sense: to mark by branding, to brand, branded with their own consciences.
τὴν  in  the 
Parse: Article, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἰδίαν  own 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: ἴδιος  
Sense: pertaining to one’s self, one’s own, belonging to one’s self.
συνείδησιν  conscience 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: συνείδησις  
Sense: the consciousness of anything.