Some will fall away from the faith, the Holy Spirit said. How does this happen? 4:1-3 gives clarity to how this happens. First, those who fall pay attention to a source not of God. How can one know what is of God? Everything taught must be measured by the words of the Holy Spirit, just as the apostles John and Paul said (1 John 4:1, 6; Gal. 1:6-9). If something that is taught is not in accordance with the will of God, then it needs to be set to the side, laid on the shelf, then burned. Secondly, those doing the teaching are not genuinely motivated to know and teach the will of God. Earlier in this letter (1:6-7), Paul said many people think they understand when, in fact, they understand little. Third, some forbid marriage, teach the importance of staying away from some food. There is a context to this in Paul’s letter, for sure. Yet, though the context may be easily determined, there is an application for us today, as realized in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Sadly, to circumvent the clear teaching, apologists of the RCC, say something like this: “When we condemn priests for marrying, it is for breaking their vows and promises made to God of living unmarried, and of leading a more perfect life; we condemn them with the Scripture, which teaches us that vows made are to be kept; with St. Paul, who in the next chap. (ver. 12) teaches us, that they who break such vows incur their damnation” (Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary).
“Priests” in the New Testament church refers to all Christian, not select people. The Holy Spirit’s teaching applies to the whole of any group or ethnicity, even if that group is relatively small in comparison with a larger group. A second point for consideration is the abuse of Scripture applied by this commentary. In chapter 5, this was a voluntary commitment of the individual widow, not a compulsion action of a larger entity, such as the RCC.