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1 Timothy 1:4 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— neither to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questionings, rather than a dispensation of God which is in faith; [so do I now].
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: [so do].
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than [furthering] the administration of God which is by faith.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith; [so do].
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— nor to turn their minds to fables and interminable genealogies, which bring questionings rather than [further] God's dispensation, which [is] in faith.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Not to be teaching otherwise, nor yet to be giving heed to stories and endless genealogies,—the which, bring, arguings, rather than that stewardship of God which is with faith;—
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— nor to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, that cause questions rather than the building up of God that is in faith:—
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Not to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which furnish questions rather than the edification of God which is in faith.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Neither giue heed to fables, and endlesse genealogies, which minister questions, rather then edifying which is in faith: so doe.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— nor throw themselves (away) upon stories and tales of generations which have no end, (but) which rather subserve contentions, and not edification in the faith of Aloha.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— and not to throw themselves into fables and stories about genealogies, of which there is no end, which produce contention rather than edification in the faith of God.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Neither 3366
{3366} Prime
From G3361 and G1161; but not, not even; in a continued negation, nor.
give heed 4337
{4337} Prime
From G4314 and G2192; (figuratively) to hold the mind (G3563 implied) towards, that is, pay attention to, be cautious about, apply oneself to, adhere to.
<5721> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 647
to fables 3454
{3454} Prime
Perhaps from the same as G3453 (through the idea of tuition); a tale, that is, fiction ('myth').
and 2532
{2532} Prime
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
endless 562
{0562} Prime
From G0001 (as a negative particle) and a secondary derivative of G4008; unfinished, that is, (by implication) interminable.
genealogies, 1076
{1076} Prime
From the same as G1075; tracing by generations, that is, 'genealogy'.
which 3748
{3748} Prime
From G3739 and G5100; which some, that is, any that; also (definitely) which same.
minister 3930
{3930} Prime
From G3844 and G2192; to hold near, that is, present, afford, exhibit, furnish occasion.
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
questions, 2214
{2214} Prime
From G2212; a searching (properly the act), that is, a dispute or its theme.
rather 3123
{3123} Prime
Neuter of the comparative of the same as G3122; (adverb) more (in a greater degree) or rather.
than 2228
{2228} Prime

A primary particle of distinction between two connected terms; disjunctive, or; comparative, than.
godly 2316
{2316} Prime
Of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially (with G3588) the supreme Divinity; figuratively a magistrate; by Hebraism very.
edifying y3620
[3620] Standard
From the same as G3619; confirmation.
(3618) Complement
From the same as G3619; to be a house builder, that is, construct or (figuratively) confirm.
which 3588
{3588} Prime

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
is in 1722
{1722} Prime
A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); 'in', at, (up-) on, by, etc.
faith: 4102
{4102} Prime
From G3982; persuasion, that is, credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself.
[so do].
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

1 Timothy 1:4

_ _ fables — legends about the origin and propagation of angels, such as the false teachers taught at Colosse (Colossians 2:18-23). “Jewish fables” (Titus 1:14). “Profane, and old wives’ fables” (1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:4).

_ _ genealogies — not merely such civil genealogies as were common among the Jews, whereby they traced their descent from the patriarchs, to which Paul would not object, and which he would not as here class with “fables,” but Gnostic genealogies of spirits and aeons, as they called them, “Lists of Gnostic emanations” [Alford]. So Tertullian [Against Valentinian, c. 3], and Irenaeus [Preface]. The Judaizers here alluded to, while maintaining the perpetual obligation of the Mosaic law, joined with it a theosophic ascetic tendency, pretending to see in it mysteries deeper than others could see. The seeds, not the full-grown Gnosticism of the post-apostolic age, then existed. This formed the transition stage between Judaism and Gnosticism. “Endless” refers to the tedious unprofitableness of their lengthy genealogies (compare Titus 3:9). Paul opposes to their “aeons,” the “King of the aeons (so the Greek, 1 Timothy 1:17), whom be glory throughout the aeons of aeons.” The word “aeons” was probably not used in the technical sense of the latter Gnostics as yet; but “the only wise God” (1 Timothy 1:17), by anticipation, confutes the subsequently adopted notions in the Gnostics’ own phraseology.

_ _ questions — of mere speculation (Acts 25:20), not practical; generating merely curious discussions. “Questions and strifes of words” (1 Timothy 6:4): “to no profit” (2 Timothy 2:14); “gendering strifes” (2 Timothy 2:23). “Vain jangling” (1 Timothy 1:6, 1 Timothy 1:7) of would-be “teachers of the law.”

_ _ godly edifying — The oldest manuscripts read, “the dispensation of God,” the Gospel dispensation of God towards man (1 Corinthians 9:17), “which is (has its element) in faith.” Conybeare translates, “The exercising of the stewardship of God” (1 Corinthians 9:17). He infers that the false teachers in Ephesus were presbyters, which accords with the prophecy, Acts 20:30. However, the oldest Latin versions, and Irenaeus and Hilary, support English Version reading. Compare 1 Timothy 1:5, “faith unfeigned.”

Matthew Henry's Commentary

See commentary on 1 Timothy 1:1-4.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

1 Timothy 1:4

Neither give heed — So as either to teach or regard them. To fables — Fabulous Jewish traditions. And endless genealogies — Nor those delivered in scripture, but the long intricate pedigrees whereby they strove to prove their descent from such or such a person. Which afford questions — Which lead only to useless and endless controversies.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

1 Timothy 1:4

(3) Neither give heed to fables and endless (b) genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: [so do].

(3) The doctrine is corrupted not only by false opinions, but also by vain and curious speculations: the declaration and utterance of which can help our faith in no way.

(b) He makes note of one type of vain question.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

1 Timothy 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself [rather] unto godliness.
1 Timothy 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane [and] vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
2 Timothy 2:14 Of these things put [them] in remembrance, charging [them] before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, [but] to the subverting of the hearers.
2 Timothy 2:16-18 But shun profane [and] vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. ... Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
2 Timothy 4:4 And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Titus 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.


Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.


1 Timothy 6:4-5 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, ... Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.


1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
1 Timothy 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. ... For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
Ephesians 4:12-16 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: ... From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For [it is] a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
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2Co 1:12; 7:9. Ep 4:12. 1Ti 3:16; 4:7; 6:3, 4, 11, 20. 2Ti 2:14, 16, 22; 4:4. Tit 1:1, 14; 3:9. He 13:9. 2P 1:16.

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