It Matters

[I am not endorsing or promoting Louis Gaussen as a true Christian when I quote from him.  Underlining mine.]

Let us listen, further, to two or three passages to which people have made bold to refuse the honors of inspiration, because they have started with the idea that they are without any spiritual bearing.  We will quote but a very small number here” (Louis Gaussen, God-Breathed: The Divine Inspiration of the Bible, p. 276)

One of the very small number Gaussen mentions is 1 Timothy 5:23.

“No longer drink water, but use a little wine on account of your stomach and your frequent infirmities” (1 Timothy 5:23).

Here is Gaussen commenting on 1 Timothy 5:23:

“One of the passages which we have most frequently heard adduced, when people have wished to justify the distinction between what is inspired in the Word of God and what is not, is Paul’s recommendation to Timothy with regard to the stomach complaints and ailings with which that young disciple was afflicted.  ‘Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and frequent infirmities.’

Nevertheless, examine this passage more closely; what an admirable and living revelation do we find in it of the grandeur of the apostolic calling, and of the amiability of the Christian character!  Mark, first, that it was as it were in the temple of God that it was pronounced; for immediately before you hear those solemn words:  ‘I charge you before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that you observe these things, without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.  Lay hands suddenly on no man, keep yourself pure, drink no longer water.’  One sees that it is in the presence of their common Master and of his holy angels that Paul desired to speak to his disciple; let us enter then into the same temple, in order to comprehend him …

… Here you will learn, for example, Timothy’s sobriety…You will see here…with what a tender and fatherly delicacy the apostle reproved him, either for his imprudence, or for austerity carried too far.  You will remark here with what wisdom the Lord authorizes, and even bids by these words, the men of God to pay the necessary attention to their health, at a time, nevertheless, in which he has thought fit to compromise it by sicknesses.

… Here you will see…with what tender solicitude, and with what fatherly watchfulness, the apostle, in the midst of his high functions, and notwithstanding the cares with which all the churches overwhelmed him (from Jerusalem to Illyricum, and from Illyricum to Spain), directed his regards to the personal circumstances, to his health, to the weakness of his stomach, to his often infirmities, and to the imprudent habits of his daily regimen” (Louis Gaussen, God-Breathed: The Divine Inspiration of the Bible, pp. 276-278).

How does Gaussen know that imprudence or inordinate austerity or “imprudent habits of his daily regimen” played any role at all in Timothy’s weak stomach and “often infirmities”?  Perhaps Timothy lacked knowledge about certain medicinal qualities of the wine the Holy Spirit mentions through the apostle Paul.  But where in Paul’s letter to Timothy is imprudence, excessive austerity, or employment of an unwise daily regimen even being implied?  I trust that by the illumination of God the Holy Spirit, Christ’s people may discern and chew the beneficial meat while spitting out any non-Biblical bones.

“But I thought it needful to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker, and my fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister of my need, since he was longing for you all and has been troubled because you heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick, coming near to death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him, but also me, lest I should have grief on grief. Therefore, I sent him more eagerly, that seeing him again you may rejoice, and I may be less grieved. Then receive him in [the] Lord with all joy and hold such in honor, [because] that through the work of Christ he drew near as far as [to] death, [his] life having been exposed, that he may fill up your lack of service toward me” (Philippians 2:25-30).

“Then be humbled under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in time; casting all your anxiety onto Him, because it matters to Him concerning you. Be sensible, watch, because your adversary [the] Devil walks about as a roaring lion seeking someone he may devour; whom firmly resist in the faith, knowing the same sufferings are being completed in your brotherhood in [the] world. Now the God of all grace, the [One] calling you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, [you] having suffered a little, Himself will perfect, confirm, strengthen, establish [you]. To Him [be] the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:6-11).

Gaussen mentioned people wishing “to justify the distinction between what is inspired in the Word of God and what is not.”  This reminds me of one suppositious sot who said that the epistle of James is spurious and in the Scripture canon it belongeth not.

Related and Recommended

An Epistle Full of Straw

Not of Apostolic Provenance

Thou Hast Covered My Head

On being neglected by unbelievers