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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 6

Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical CommentaryAlford's Greek Testament Commentary

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CH. 6 .] The Apostle’s exhortations are continued, and pass from ecclesiastical to civil relations : and first to the duties of Christian slaves . This chapter has been charged (Schleierm., al.) with want of coherence. But to a careful observer the thread of connexion is very plain. I have endeavoured to indicate it as we pass on. Such a thread being detected, the idea of Schleierm. (partly approved by De W.) of its being a clumsy compilation out of the Epistles to Titus and 2 Tim. hardly requires refutation.

Verse 1

1 .] Let as many as are slaves under the yoke (I have adopted the rendering of De W. and Huther, attaching δοῦλοι to the predicate, as the simpler construction. The other, ‘ as many slaves as are under the yoke ,’ making ὑπὸ ζυγόν emphatic as distinguishing either 1) those treated hardly , or 2) those who were under unbelieving masters , has undoubtedly something to be said for it, but does not seem to me so likely, from the arrangement of the words. Had ὑπὸ ζυγόν been intended to bring out any distinction, it would have more naturally preceded εἰσίν . I take then ὑπὸ ζυγὸν δοῦλοι as the predicate: ‘bondsmen under yoke’) hold their own ( ἰδίους , as in Ephesians 5:22 , al., to bring out and emphasize the relation; see note there) masters worthy of all (fitting) honour, that the name of God and his doctrine (cf. Titus 2:10 , where, writing on the same subject, he admonishes slaves ἵνα τὴν διδασκαλίαν τὴν τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ κοσμῶσιν ἐν πᾶσιν . Hence it would appear that the article here is possessive, and ἡ διδασκ . corresponding to τὸ ὄνομα ) be not spoken evil of (Chrys. gives the sense well: ὁ ἄπιστος ἂν μὲν ἴδῃ τοὺς δούλους διὰ τὴν πίστιν αὐθάδως προφερομένους , βλασφημήσει πολλάκις ὡς στάσιν ἐμποιοῦν τὸ δόγμα · ὅταν δὲ ἴδῃ πειθομένους , μᾶλλον πεισθήσεται , μᾶλλον προσέξει τοῖς λεγουένοις . This verse obviously applies only to those slaves who had unbelieving masters. This is brought out by the reason given, and by the contrast in the next verse, not by any formal opposition in terms. The account to be given of the absence of such opposition is, that this verse contains the general exhortation, the case of Christian slaves under unbelieving masters being by far the most common. The exception is treated in the next verse).

Verse 2

2 .] But (see above) let those who have believing masters not despise them because (belongs to καταφρονείτωσαν only, containing the ground of their contempt, not to the exhortation μὴ καταφρονείτωσαν ) they (the masters, not the slaves) are brethren, but all the more serve them ( μᾶλλον has the emphatic position: cf. Ephesians 5:11 , where it merely signifies ‘rather,’ and the verb has the emphasis, μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἐλέγχετε . Cf. also Hom. Od. ο . 369, φίλει δέ με κηρόθι μᾶλλον : and in the same sense ἐπὶ μᾶλλον , Herod. i. 94, ἐπεί τε δὲ οὐκ ἀνιέναι τὸ κακόν , ἀλλ ʼ ἐπὶ μᾶλλον ἔτι βιάζεσθαι , iii. 104; iv. 181. “The slaves who were under heathen masters were positively to regard their masters as deserving of honour; the slaves under Christian masters were, negatively , not to evince any want of respect. The former were not to regard their masters as their inferiors, and to be insubordinate; the latter were not to think them their equals, and to be disrespectful.” Ellicott), because those who receive (mutually receive: the interchange of service between them in the Christian life being taken for granted, and this word purposely used to express it. So Eur. Andr. 742 ff., κἂν … τολοιπὸν ᾖ | σώφρων καθ ʼ ἡμᾶς , σώφρον ʼ ἀντιλήψεται . | θυμούμενος δέ , τεύξεται θυμουμένων , ἔργοισι δ ʼ ἔργα διάδοχ ʼ ἀντιλήψεται . This sense, in the active, also occurs Theogn. 110, οὔτε κακοὺς εὖ δρῶν , εὖ πάλιν ἀντιλάβοις . And Plut. Pericl. circa init. has it with the middle and the genitive construction, τῇ μὲν γὰρ αἰσθήσει , κατὰ πάθος τῆς πληγῆς ἀντιλαμβανομένῃ τῶν προστυγχανόντων …; and so Porphyr. de abstinentia, i. 46, μήτε ἐσθίων πλειόνων ἡδονῶν ἀντιλήψεται . On other senses, see below) the benefit (of their μᾶλλον δουλεύειν . There is an apt and interesting passage in Seneca, de beneficiis, iii. 18: ‘Quæritur a quibusdam, an beneficium dare servus domino possit?’ This question he answers in the affirmative: ‘servos qui negat dare aliquando domino beneficium, ignarus est juris humani: refert enim, cujus animi sit qui præstat, non cujus status:’ and at some length explains when, and how, such benefits can be said to be bestowed. The passage is remarkable, as constituting perhaps one of those curious indications of community of thought between the Apostle and the philosopher which could hardly have been altogether fortuitous. For instance, when Seneca proceeds thus, “Quidquid est quod servilis officii formulam excedit, quod non ex imperio sed ex voluntate præstatur, beneficium est,” we can hardly forbear connecting the unusual sense here of εὐεργεσία after the μᾶλλον δουλευέτωσαν , with the moralist’s discussion) are faithful and beloved .

Very various meanings and references have been assigned to these last words. Chrys., Thl., Grot., Kypke, al., interpret εὐεργεσίας of the kindness of the master to the slave (“ quia fideles sunt et dilecti qui beneficii participes sunt (vulg.): primum, quia fide in Deum sunt præditi: deinde diligendi eo nomine quod curam gerant, ut vobis benefaciant: id est ut vos vestiant, pascant, ab injuriis protegant.” Grot.). On the other hand, Ambr. (?), Lomb., Th.-Aq., Calv., Beza, Bengel, al., understand it of God’s grace in redemption. But thus, if we make οἱ τῆς εὐεργ . ἀντιλ . the subject, as by the article it must be, the sentence will express nothing but a truism: if we escape from this by turning those words into the predicate (as E. V., “because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit”), we are violating the simplest rules of grammar. These things (viz. those immediately preceding, relating to slaves) teach and exhort.

Verses 3-5

3 5 .] Designation of those who oppose such wholesome teaching fervid indeed, and going further (see Prolegg.) than strict adherence to the limits of the context would require, but still suggested by, and returning to the context: cf. 1Ti 6:5 fin. and note. If any man is a teacher of other ways (see on ch. 1 Timothy 1:3 ; sets up as an adviser of different conduct from that which I have above recommended), and does not accede to (so a convert to the true faith was called προσήλυτος : and we have in Origen, ii. 255 (Wolf), προσιόντας τῷ λόγῳ in the sense of just converted, and in ib. 395, προσερχομένους τῷ θείῳ λόγῳ . So also Irenæus, in two places cited by Wolf: see also Philo in reff. There was therefore no need for Bentley’s conjecture, προσέχεται (see itacism in א [1] , var. read.) or προσέχει , or προσίσχεται , though the use of these is commoner: see ch. 1Ti 1:4 reff. Cf. also Ellic.’s note) wholesome words (reff.), ( namely ) those of our Lord Jesus Christ (either, precepts given by Him respecting this duty of subjection, such as that Matthew 22:21 , which however seems rather far-fetched: or words agreeing with His teaching and expressing His will, which is more probable), and to the doctrine which is according to (after the rules of) piety, he is (the apodosis begins here, not as Mack, al., with the spurious ἀφίστασο , 1Ti 6:5 ) besotted with pride (see ch. 1 Timothy 3:6 , note), knowing (being one who knows: not, ‘ although he knows’) nothing (not οὐδέν , which would be used to express the bare fact of absolute ignorance or idiotcy), but mad after (so Plato, Phædr. p. 228, ἀπαντήσας δὲ τῷ νοσοῦντι περὶ λόγων ἀκοήν , ἰδὼν μὲν ἰδὼν ἥσθη ὅτι ἕξοι τὸν συγκορυβαντιῶντα . Bengel and Wetst. quote from Plut. de laud. propr. p. 546 f, νοσεῖν περὶ δόξαν , de ira cohib. p. 460 d, ν . περὶ σφραγίδια πολυτελῆ , insanire amore gloriœ , vel sigillorum pretiosorum . See more examples in Kypke. “ περί with a genitive serves to mark an object as the central point, as it were, of he activity (e.g. 1 Corinthians 12:1 , the πνευμ . δῶρα formed as it were the centre of the ἄγνοια ): the further idea of any action or motion round it is supplied by περί with the accusative. Cf. Winer, edn. 6, § 47. e : Donalds. Gr. § 482.” Ellicott) questionings (reff.) and disputes about words (see ref. The word is found only in ecclesiastical writers: see Wetst. Calv. explains it well, “contensiosas disputationes de verbis magis quam de rebus, vel, ut vulgo loquuntur, sine materia, aut subjecto”), from which cometh envy, strife, evil speakings (the context of such passages as Colossians 3:8 , shews that it is not blasphemy , properly so called ( ἐκ δὲ τῆς ἔριδος ἡ κατὰ τοῦ θεοῦ βλασφημία τολμᾶται , Thdrt.), but mutual slander and reproach which is here meant), wicked suspicions (not concerning God ( περὶ θεοῦ ἂ μὴ δεῖ ὑποπτεύομεν , Chrys.), but of one another: not “ ‘ opiniones malœ ,’ quales Diagoræ, non esse Deum,” as Grot.), incessant quarrels ( δια - gives the sense of continuance; παρατριβή , primarily ‘ friction ,’ is found in later writers in the sense of irritating provocation, or hostile collision: so Polyb. ii. 36. 5, τὰ μὲν οὖν κατὰ Καρχηδονίους καὶ Ῥωμαίους ἀπὸ τούτων ἤδη τῶν καιρῶν ἐν ὑποψίαις ἦν πρὸς ἀλλήλους καὶ παρατριβαῖς : xxiii. 10. 4, διὰ τὴν πρὸς τὸν Φιλοποίμενα παρατριβήν : see also iv. 21. 5; xxi. 13. 5; xxiv. 3. 4. According to the other reading, παρά would give the sense of useless, vain, perverse, and διατριβή would be disputation, thus giving the sense ‘perverse disputing,’ as E. V. Chrys., Œc., Thdrt., explain our word ἀπὸ μεταφορᾶς τῶν ψωραλέων προβάτων (Œc.): and Chrys. says, καθάπερ τὰ ψωραλέα τῶν προβάτων παρατριβόμενα νόσου καὶ τὰ ὑγιαίνοντα ἐμπίπλησιν , οὕτω καὶ οὗτοι οἱ πονηροὶ ἄνδρες ) of men depraved in mind (reff.; and see Ellic. on the psychology and construction) and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is gain (lit., ‘a gainful trade,’ as Conyb.: see reff.: and therefore do not teach contentment and acquiescence in God’s providence, as in 1 Timothy 6:6 ; but strive to make men discontented, and persuade them to use religion as a means of worldly bettering themselves).

[1] א The CODEX SINAITICUS. Procured by Tischendorf, in 1859, from the Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai. The Codex Frederico-Augustanus (now at Leipsic), obtained in 1844 from the same monastery, is a portion of the same copy of the Greek Bible, the 148 leaves of which, containing the entire New Testament, the Ep. of Barnabas, parts of Hermas, and 199 more leaves of the Septuagint, have now been edited by the discoverer. A magnificent edition prepared at the expense of the Emperor of Russia appeared in January, 1863, and a smaller edition containing the N.T. &c., has been published by Dr. Tischendorf. The MS. has four columns on a page, and has been altered by several different correctors, one or more of whom Tischendorf considers to have lived in the sixth century. The work of the original scribe has been examined, not only by Tischendorf, but by Tregelles and other competent judges, and is by them assigned to the fourth century . The internal character of the text agrees with the external, as the student may judge for himself from the readings given in the digest. The principal correctors as distinguished by Tischendorf are: A, of the same age with the MS. itself, probably the corrector who revised the book, before it left the hands of the scribe, denoted therefore by us א -corr 1 ; B (cited as א 2 ), who in the first page of Matt. began inserting breathings, accents, &c., but did not carry out his design, and touched only a few later passages; C a (cited as א 3a ) has corrected very largely throughout the book. Wherever in our digest a reading is cited as found in א 1 , it is to be understood, if no further statement is given, that C a altered it to that which is found in our text; C b (cited as א 3b ) lived about the same time as C a , i.e. some centuries later than the original scribe. These are all that we need notice here 6 .

Verse 6

6 .] He then goes off, on the mention of this erroneous view, to shew how it really stands with the Christian as to the desire of riches: its danger, and the mischief it has occasioned. But (although they are in error in thus thinking, there is a sense in which such an idea is true (‘eleganter et non sine ironica correctione in contrarium sensum eadem verba retorquet.’ Calv.), for) godliness accompanied with contentment (see above, and Php 4:11 ) is great gain (alluding, not to the Christian’s reward in the next world, as Thdrt., τὴν γὰρ αἰώνιον ἡμῖν πορίζει ζωήν , Erasm., Calv., al., but as Chrys., Thl., Ambr., al., the πορισμός is in the very fact of possessing piety joined with contentment, and thus being able to dispense with those things which we cannot carry away with us).

Verse 7

7 .] Reason why this is so. For we brought nothing into the world, because neither can we carry any thing out (the insertion of δῆλον or ἀληθές , or substitution of ἀλλά or καί for ὅτι , betray themselves as having all sprung from the difficulty of the shorter and original construction. The meaning appears to be, we were appointed by God to come naked into the world, to teach us to remember that we must go naked out of it. But this sense of ὅτι is not without difficulty. De W. cites Il. π . 35, γλαυκὴ δέ σε τίκτε θάλασσα , πέτραι τ ʼ ἠλίβατοι , ὅτι τοι νόος ἐστὶν ἀπηνής , and Od. χ . 36, ὦ κύνες , οὔ μ ʼ ἔτ ʼ ἐφάσκεθ ʼ ὑπότροπον οἴκαδ ʼ ἱκέσθαι | δήμου ἄπο Τρώων , ὅτι μοι κατεκείρετε οἶκον , in both which it has nearly the sense required, of ‘ seeing that .’ The sentiment is found in Job 1:21 , Ecclesiastes 5:14 ; and in words remarkably similar, in Seneca, Ep. 102. 24, ‘non licet plus efferre, quam intuleris.’ See other examples in Wetst.):

Verse 8

8 .] but (contrast to the avaricious, who forget this, or knowing it do not act on it: not as De W., = οὖν , which would be a direct inference from the preceding verse) having (if we have) food (the δια - gives the sense of ‘sufficient for our continually recurring wants,’ ‘the needful supply of nourishment:’ the plur. corresponds to the plur. ἔχοντες , and implies ‘in each case’) and covering (some take it of both clothing and dwelling: perhaps rightly, but not on account of the plural: see above: Chrys., al., of clothing only, τοιαῦτα ἀμφιέννυσθαι , ἃ σκεπάσαι μόνον ἡμᾶς ὀφείλει καὶ περιστεῖλαι τὴν γύμνωσιν . These words occur together (Huther) in Sextus Empiricus ix. 1), with these (so ἀγαπάω , στέργω , χαίρω , &c. take a dative of the cause or object of the feeling. See ref. Luke, and Matthiæ, § 403) we shall be sufficiently provided (the fut. has an authoritative sense: so in Matthew 5:48 , and Xen. Hell. ii. 3. 34, cited by Huther, ὑμεῖς οὖν , ἐὰν σωφρονῆτε , οὐ τούτου , ἀλλ ʼ ὑμῶν φείσεσθε : but is not therefore equivalent to an imperative, ‘let us be content:’ for its sense is not properly subjective but objective ‘to be sufficed,’ or ‘sufficiently provided:’ and it is passive, not middle).

Verse 9

9 .] But (contrast to the last verse) they who wish to be rich (not simply, ‘they who are rich :’ cf. Chrys.: οὐχ ἁπλῶς εἶπεν , οἱ πλουτοῦντες , ἀλλ ʼ, οἱ βουλόμενοι · ἐστὶ γάρ τινα καὶ χρήματα ἔχοντα καλῶς οἰκονομεῖν καταφρονοῦντα αὐτῶν ), fall (reff.) into temptation (not merely ‘ are tempted ,’ but are involved in, cast into and among temptations; “in ἐμπίπτειν is implied the power which the πειρασμός exercises over them.” Huther) and a snare (being entangled by the temptation of getting rich as by a net), and many foolish and hurtful lusts (foolish, because no reasonable account can be given of them (see Ellic. on Gal 3:1 ): hurtful, as inflicting injury on all a man’s best interests), such as sink men (mankind, generic) into destruction and perdition (temporal and eternal, but especially the latter: see the usage in reff. of both words by St. Paul: not mere moral degradation, as De W.).

Verse 10

10 .] For the love of money is the (not ‘ a ,’ as Huther, Conyb., and Ellicott, after Middleton. A word like ῥίζα , a recognized part of a plant, does not require an article when placed as here in an emphatic position: we might have ἡ γὰρ ῥίζα , or ῥίζα γάρ : cf. 1 Corinthians 11:3 (which, notwithstanding what Ellic. has alleged against it, still appears to me to be strictly in point to shew that for which it is here adduced), παντὸς ἀνδρὸς ἡ κεφαλὴ ὁ χριστός ἐστιν , κεφαλὴ δὲ γυναικὸς ὁ ἀνήρ , κεφαλὴ δὲ τοῦ χριστοῦ ὁ θεός . Here in the first clause it is requisite to throw παντὸς ἀνδρός into emphasis: but had the arrangement been the same as that of the others, we should have read κεφαλή (not ἡ κεφ .) παντὸς ἀνδρὸς ὁ χριστός : but no one would therefore have thought of rendering ‘ a head’) root of all evils (not, is the only root whence all evils spring: but is the root whence all (manner of evils may and as matter of fact do arise. So that De W.’s objections to the sentiment have no force: for neither does it follow (1) that the covetous man cannot possibly retain any virtuous disposition, nor (2) that there may not be other roots of evil besides covetousness: neither of these matters being in the Apostle’s view. So Diogenes Laert. vit. Diogen. (vi. 50), τὴν φιλαργυρίαν εἶπε μητρόπολιν πάντων σῶν κακῶν : and Philo de judice 3, vol. ii. p. 346, calls it ὁρμητήριον τῶν μεγίστων παρανομηματων . See other examples in Wetst.): after which ( φιλαργυρία , see below) some lusting (the method of expression, if strictly judged, is somewhat incorrect: for φιλαργυρία is of itself a desire or ὄρεξις , and men cannot be properly said ὀρέγεσθαι after it, but after its object ἀργύριον . Such inaccuracies are, however, often found in language, and we have examples of them in St. Paul elsewhere: e.g. ἐλπὶς βλεπομένη , Romans 8:24 , ἐλπίδα … ἣν καὶ αὐτοὶ οὗτοι προσδέχονται , Act 24:15 ) wandered away from the faith (ch. 1 Timothy 1:19 ; 1Ti 4:1 ), and pierced themselves through (not all round’ or ‘all over,’ as Beza, Elsner, al.: the περί refers to the thing pierced surrounding the instrument piercing : so περιπ . τὴν κεφαλὴν περὶ λόγχην , Plut. Galb. 27: see Palm and Rost, and Suicer, sub voce) with many pains (the ὀδύναι being regarded as the weapons. ἄκανθαί εἰσιν αἱ ἐπιθυμίαι καὶ καθάπερ ἐν ἀκάνθαις , ὅθεν ἄν τις ἅψηται αὐτῶν , ᾕμαξε τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τραύματα ἐργάζεται · οὕτω καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν τὸ αὐτὸ πείσεται ὁ ταύταις ἐμπεσών , κ . τὴν ψυχὴν ἀλγηδόσι περιβαλεῖ . Chrys.).

Verse 11

11 .] But (contrast to τινές above) thou (emphatic), O man of God (the designation of prophets in the O. T.: cf. LXX, 1 Kings 9:6 , 1 Kings 9:7 , 1 Kings 9:8 1 Kings 9:10 , al.; and hence perhaps used of Timotheus as dedicated to God’s service in the ministry: but also not without a solemn reference to that which it expresses, that God, and not riches (see the contrast again 1Ti 6:17 ) is his object of desire), flee these things ( φιλαργυρία and its accompanying evils): but (the contrast is to the following these things, underlying the mention of them) follow after (ref. 2 Tim., where both words occur again) righteousness (see Ellic.’s note and references), piety (so δικαίως , εὐσεβῶς , Tit 2:12 ), faith (not mere rectitude in keeping trust, for all these words regard the Christian life), love, patience (under afflictions: stedfast endurance: better than ‘ stedfastness ’ (Conyb.), which may be an active endurance), meek-spiritedness (ref.: we have πραϋπαθέω in Philo de profugis, 1, vol. i. 547, πραϋπαθής in Basil. M. These two last qualities have reference to his behaviour towards the opponents of the Gospel):

Verses 11-16

11 16 .] Exhortation and conjuration to Timotheus, arising out of these considerations .

Verse 12

12 .] Strive the good strife (see ref. and ch. 1 Timothy 1:18 ; 1 Corinthians 9:24 ff. Philippians 3:12 ff.) of the faith (not ‘of faith,’ abstract and subjective: but that noble conflict which the faith, the profession of the soldier of Christ, entails on him), lay hold upon (as the aim and object of the lifelong struggle; the prize to be gained: so that the second imperative is, as Winer well observes, edn. 6, § 43, not the mere result of the first, as in ‘divide et impera,’ but correlative with it and contemporaneous: ‘strive …, and while doing so, endeavour to attain’) everlasting life, to which thou wast called (here apparently the image is dropped, and the realities of the Christian life spoken of. Some have supposed an allusion to the athletes being summoned by a herald: but it seems far-fetched and indeed inaccurate: for it was to the contest , not to the prize , that they were thus summoned), and didst confess (we must not supply εἰς ἥν again before ὡμολόγησας , with Mack, al., ‘ in reference to which ,’ a most unnatural construction: but regard it, with De W., as simply coupled to ἐκλήθης ) the good confession (of faith in Christ: the confession, which every servant of Christ must make, on taking upon himself His service, or professing it when called upon so to do. From the same expression in the next verse, it would seem, that the article rather represents the notoriousness of the confession, ‘bonam illam confessionem,’ than its definite general character. There is some uncertainty, to what occasion the Apostle here refers; whether to the baptism of Timotheus, so Chrys. (?), Œc., Thl. (alt.), Ambr., Grot., Beng., &c.: to his ordination as a minister, so Wolf, al.: to his appointment over the church at Ephesus, so Mack: to some confession made by him under persecution, so, justifying it by what follows, respecting our Lord, Huther, al. Of these the first appears to me most probable, as giving the most general sense to ἡ καλὴ ὁμολογία , and applying best to the immediate consideration of αἰώνιος ζωή , which is the common object of all Christians. The reference supposed by Thdrt. ( πάντας παρ ʼ αὐτοῦ δεξαμένους τὸ κήρυγμα μάρτυρας εἶχε τῆς καλῆς ὁμολογίας ), Calv., al., to Timotheus’s preaching , is clearly inadmissible) before many witnesses .

Verse 13

13 .] I charge thee (ch. 1Ti 1:3 ) in the presence of God who endues all things with life (for the sense, see reff.: most probably a reference to αἰώνιος ζωή above: hardly, as De W., al., after Chrys., to the resurrection , reminding him that death for Christ’s sake was not to be feared: for there is here no immediate allusion to danger , but only to the duty of personal firmness in the faith in his own religious life), and of Christ Jesus, who testified (‘ testari confessionem erat Domini, confiteri confessionem erat Timo nei,’ Bengel. See Ellicott’s note) before Pontius Pilate (De W., al. (and Ellicott: see below on ὁμολογ .) would render it, as in the Apostles’ creed, ‘ under Pontius Pilate :’ but the immediate reference here being to His confession , it seems more natural to take the meaning, ‘coram:’ and so Chrys., who as a Greek, and familiar with the Creed, is a fair witness) the good confession (viz. that whole testimony to the verity of his own Person and to the Truth, which we find in John 18:0 ., and which doubtless formed part of the oral apostolic teaching. Those who render ἐπί , ‘under,’ understand this confession of our Lord’s sufferings and death which at least is far-fetched.

There is no necessity, with Huther, to require a strict parallel between the circumstances of the confession of our Lord and that of Timotheus, nor to infer in consequence of this verse that his confession must have been one before a heathen magistrate: it is the fact of a confession having been made in both cases that is put in the foreground and that our Lord’s was made in the midst of danger and with death before him, is a powerful argument to firmness for his servant in his own confession. Another rendering of this verse is given by Mack, al.: it makes τὴν καλὴν ὁμολογίαν governed by παραγγέλλω , and understands by it the same confession as in 1 Timothy 6:12 ; ‘I enjoin on thee, in the presence … and of Christ Jesus who bore testimony before Pontius Pilate the good confession.’ But this is quite inadmissible. For it is opposed both to the sense of παραγγέλλω , and to the following context, in which ἡ ἐντολή , not ἡ καλὴ ὁμολογία , is the thing to be observed), that thou keep (preserve: cf. ἄσπιλον below, and ch. 1Ti 5:22 ) the commandment (used not to designate any special command just given, but as a general compendium of the rule of the Gospel, after which our lives and thoughts must be regulated: cf. παραγγελία in the same sense, ch. 1Ti 1:5 ) without spot and without reproach (both epithets belong to τὴν ἐντολήν , not to σε , as most Commentators, some, as Est., maintaining that ἀνεπίληπτος can be used of persons only. But this De W. has shewn not to be the case: we have ἡ ἀνεπίληπτος τέχνη in Philo de opif. 22, vol. i. p. 15: ἀνεπιληπτότερον τὸ λεγόμενον in Plato, Phileb. p. 43 c. Besides, the ordinary construction with τηρεῖν is that the qualifying adjective should belong to its object: cf. ch. 1 Timothy 5:22 ; Jam 1:27 ; 2 Corinthians 11:9 . The commandment, entrusted to thee as a deposit (cf. 1Ti 6:20 ), must be kept by thee unstained and unreproached. Consult Ellic.’s note) until the appearance (reff.) of our Lord Jesus Christ ( τουτέστι , says Chrys., μέχρι τῆς σῆς τελευτῆς , μέχρι τῆς ἐξόδου . But surely both the usage of the word ἐπιφάνεια and the next verse should have kept him from this mistake. Far better Bengel: “fideles in praxi sua proponebant sibi diem Christi ut appropinquantem: nos solemus nobis horam mortis proponere.” We may fairly say that whatever impression is betrayed by the words that the coming of the Lord would be in Timotheus’s lifetime, is chastened and corrected by the καιροῖς ἰδίοις of the next verse. That , the certainty of the coming in God’s own time, was a fixed truth respecting which the Apostle speaks with the authority of the Spirit: but the day and hour was hidden from him as from us: and from such passages as this we see that the apostolic age maintained that which ought to be the attitude of all ages, constant expectation of the Lord’s return)

Verses 15-16

15, 16 .] which in His own times (reff.: τουτέστι τοῖς προσήκουσι , τοῖς ὀφειλομένοις , Chrys. “Numerus pluralis observandus, brevitatem temporum non valde coarctans;” Bengel) He shall manifest (make visible, cause to appear; “display,” Ellic.) ( who is ) the blessed ( ἡ αὐτομακαριότης , Chrys.) and only Potentate (Baur, al., believe the polytheism or dualism of the Gnostics to be hinted at in μόνος : but this is very unlikely. The passage is not polemical: and cf. the same μόνος in Joh 17:3 ), the King of kings and Lord of lords (this seems the place, on account of this same designation occurring in reff. Rev. applied to our Lord, to enquire whether these 1Ti 6:15-16 are said of the Father or of the Son. Chrys. holds very strongly the latter view: but surely the καιροῖς ἰδίοις , compared with καιρούς , οὓς ὁ πατὴρ ἔθετο ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ , Acts 1:7 , determines for the former: so also does ὃν εἶδεν οὐδεὶς κ . τ . λ . 1 Timothy 6:16 , which Chrys. leaves untouched), who only has immortality (Huther quotes (Ps-) Justin M., quæst. ad Orthod. 61, p. 464: μόνος ἔχων τὴν ἀθανασίαν λέγεται ὁ θεός , ὅτι οὐκ ἐκ θελήματος ἄλλου ταύτην ἔχει , καθάπερ οἱ λοιποὶ πάντες ἀθάνατοι , ἀλλ ʼ ἐκ τῆς οἰκείας οὐσίας . Bengel remarks: ‘Adjectivum immortalis non exstat in N. T. sed ἄφθαρτος , incorruptibilis : neque ἀθάνατος aut ἀθανασία habent LXX. Utrumque habet Sapientiæ liber qui semper Græcus fuit’), dwelling in light unapproachable ( ἄλλο τὸ φῶς αὐτὸς καὶ ἄλλο ὃ οἰκεῖ ; οὐκοῦν καὶ τόπῳ ἐμπεριείληπται ; ἄπαγε · οὐχ ἵνα τοῦτο νοήσωμεν , ἀλλ ʼ ἵνα τὸ ἀκατάληπτον τῆς θείας φύσεως παραστήσῃ , φῶς οἰκεῖν αὐτὸν εἶπεν ἀπρόσιτον , οὕτω θεολογήσας ὡς ἦν αὐτῷ δυνατόν . Chrys.), whom no one of men (ever) saw, nor can see (the Commentators quote Theophilus ad Autol., i. 5, p. 341: εἰ τῷ ἡλίῳ ἐλαχίστῳ ὄντι στοιχείῳ οὐ δύναται ἄνθρωπος ἀτενίσαι διὰ τὴν ὑπερβάλλουσαν θέρμην καὶ δύναμιν , πῶς οὐχὶ μᾶλλον τῇ τοῦ θεοῦ δόξῃ ἀνεκφράστῳ οὔσῃ ἄνθρωπος θνητὸς οὐ δύναται ἀντωπῆσαι ; These words, as compared with John 1:18 , seem to prove decisively that the whole description applies to the Father, not to the Son), to whom be honour and power everlasting, Amen (see ch. 1 Timothy 1:17 , where a similar ascription occurs). Some of the Commentators (Mack, Schleierm.) think that 1Ti 6:15-16 are taken from an ecclesiastical hymn: and Mack has even arranged it metrically. See ch. 1 Timothy 3:16 , 2 Timothy 2:11 ff., notes.

Verse 17

17 .] To those who are rich in this present world (no τοῖς before ἐν τῷ νῦν αἰ ., because πλούσιοι - ἐν - τῷ - νῦν - αἰῶνι is the designation of the persons spoken of. Had there been a distinction such as Chrys. brings out, εἰσὶ γὰρ καὶ ἄλλοι πλούσιοι ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι ( τῷ δὲ διορισμῷ ἁναγκαίως ἐχρήσατο · εἰσὶ γὰρ πλούσιοι καὶ τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος , οἱ τὸν μόνιμον πλοῦτον καὶ διαρκῆ κεκτημένοι . Thdrt.), the τοῖς would have been more naturally prefixed. Such a distinction would besides have been improbable, as drawing a line between the two characters, which it is the object of the exhortation to keep united in the same persons. See the distinction in Luk 12:21 ) give in charge not to be high-minded ( ταῦτα παραινεῖ , εἰδὼς ὅτι οὐδὲν οὕτω τίκτει τῦφον , καὶ ἀπόνοιαν , καὶ ἀλαζονείαν , ὡς χρήματα , Chrys.), nor to place their hope (i.e. to have hoped, and continue to be hoping: see on ch. 1Ti 4:10 ) on the uncertainty (reff.) of riches (not = τῷ πλούτῳ τῷ ἀδήλῳ , but far more forcible, hyperbolically representing the hope as reposed on the very quality in riches which least justified it. On the sense, Thdrt. says, ἄδηλον γὰρ τοῦ πλούτου τὸ κτῆμα · νῦν μὲν γὰρ παρὰ τούτῳ φοιτᾷ , νῦν δὲ πρὸς ἐκεῖνον μεταβαίνει · καὶ πολλοὺς ἔχων κυρίους , οὐδενός ἐστι κτῆμα . An uncertain author, in the Anthology, having complained of the fickleness of Fortune, says, μισῶ τὰ πάντα τῆς ἀδηλίας χάριν ), but in (see var. readd.: no distinction of meaning need be sought between ἐπί and ἐν : see Winer, edn. 6, § 50. 2) God (‘transfertur Ejus officium ad divitias, si spes in iis locatur,’ Calv.), who affordeth us all things richly ( πλοῦτος of a nobler and higher kind is included in His bounty: that βούλεσθαι πλουτεῖν which is a bane and snare in its worldly sense, will be far better attained in the course of his abundant mercies to them who hope in Him. And even those who would be wealthy without Him are in fact only made rich by His bountiful hand: ‘alias nemo foret πλούσιος ,’ Beng.) for enjoyment (for the purpose of enjoying: cf. ch. 1 Timothy 4:3 , εἰς μετάλημψιν . The term ἀπόλαυσις , the reaping enjoyment from, and so having done with (cf. ἀπέχω &c), forms a contrast to ἠλπικέναι ἐπί , in which riches are not the subject of ἀπόλαυσις , but are looked on as a reliance for the future); to do good (ref.: ‘to practise benevolence,’ as Conyb.), to be rich in good works (honourable deeds: ἀγαθός is good towards another, καλός good in itself, noble, honourable), to be free-givers, ready-contributors (Chrys. takes κοινωνικούς for affable, communicative, ὁμιλητικούς , φησι , προσηνεῖς : so also Thdrt.: τὸ μὲν ( εὐμεταδ .) ἐστι τῆς τῶν χρημάτων χορηγίας · τὸ δὲ τῆς τῶν ἠθῶν μετριότητος · κοινωνικοὺς γὰρ καλεῖν εἰώθαμεν τοὺς ἄτυφον ἦθος ἔχοντας . But it seems much better to take it of communicating their substance, as the verb in Galatians 6:6 , and κοινωνία in Hebrews 13:16 , where it is coupled with εὐποιΐα ), ( by this means ) (‘therefrom,’ implied in the ἀπό ) laying up for themselves as a treasure (hoarding up, not uncertain treasure for the life here, but a substantial pledge of that real and endless life which shall be hereafter. So that there is no difficulty whatever in the conjunction of ἀποθησαυρίζοντας θεμέλιον , and no need for the conjectures κειμήλιον (Le Clerc) or θέμα λίαν καλόν (! Lamb-Bos). For the expression, cf. ch. 1Ti 3:13 ) a good foundation (reff., and Luk 6:48 ) for the future (belongs to ἀποθησαυρίζοντας ), that (in order that, as always: not the mere result of the preceding: ‘as it were,’ says De W., ‘setting foot on this foundation,’ or firm ground) they may lay hold of ( 1Ti 6:12 ) that which is really (reff.) life (not merely the goods of this life, but the possession and substance of that other, which, as full of joy and everlasting, is the only true life).

Verses 17-19

17 19 .] Precepts for the rich . Not a supplement to the Epistle, as commonly regarded: the occurrence of a doxology is no sufficient ground for supposing that the Apostle intended to close with it: cf. ch. 1 Timothy 1:17 . Rather, the subject is resumed from 1 Timothy 6:6-10 . We may perhaps make an inference as to the late date of the Epistle, from the existence of wealthy members in the Ephesian church.

Verses 20-21

20, 21 .] CONCLUDING EXHORTATION TO TIMOTHEUS. O Timotheus (this personal address comes with great weight and solemnity: ‘appellat familiariter ut filium, cum gravitate et amore,’ Beng.), keep the deposit (entrusted to thee: reff. 2 Tim. ( μὴ μειώσῃς · οὐκ ἔστι σά · τὰ ἀλλότρια ἐνεπιστεύθης · μηδὲν ἐλαττώσῃς , Chrys. I cannot forbear transcribing from Mack and Wiesinger the very beautiful comment of Vincentius Lirinensis in his Commonitorium (A.D. 434), § 22 f. p. 667 f.: “O Timothee, inquit, depositum custodi, devitans profanas vocum novitates (reading καινοφωνίας see var. readd.). ‘O!’ exclamatio ista et præscientiæ est pariter et caritatis. Prævidebat enim futuros, quos etiam prædolebat, errores. Quid est ‘depositum custodi?’ Custodi, inquit, propter fures, propter inimicos, ne dormientibus hominibus superseminent zizania super illud tritici bonum semen quod seminaverat filius hominis in agro suo. ‘Depositum,’ inquit, ‘custodi.’ Quid est ‘depositum?’ id est quod tibi creditum est, non quod a te inventum: quod accepisti, non quod excogitasti: rem non ingenii sed doctrinæ, non usurpationis privatæ sed publicæ traditionis: rem ad te perductam, non a te prolatam, in qua non auctor debes esse sed custos, non institutor sed sectator, non ducens sed sequens. ‘Depositum,’ inquit, ‘custodi:’ catholicæ fidei talentum inviolatum illibatumque conserva. Quod tibi creditum est, hoc penes te maneat, hoc a te tradatur. Aurum accepisti, aurum redde. Nolo mihi pro aliis alia subjicias, nolo pro auro aut impudenter plumbum, aut fraudulenter æramenta supponas: nolo auri speciem, sed naturam plane … Sed forsitan dicit aliquis: nullusne ergo in ecclesia Christi profectus habebitur religionis? Habeatur plane, et maximus … sed ita tamen, ut vere profectus sit ille fidei, non permutatio. Siquidem ad profectionem pertinet, ut in semetipsa unaquæque res amplificetur, ad permutationem vero, ut aliquid ex alio in aliud transvertatur. Crescat igitur oportet et multum vehementerque proficiat tam singulorum quam omnium, tam unius hominis quam totius ecclesiæ ætatum et seculorum gradibus, intelligentia, scientia, sapientia: sed in suo duntaxat genere, in eodem scilicet dogmate, eodem sensu, eademque sententia. Imitetur animarum religio rationem corporum, quæ licet annorum processu numeros suos evolvant et explicent, eadem tamen quæ erant permanent …”), viz., the sound doctrine which thou art to teach in thy ministry in the Lord, cf. Colossians 4:17 . This is the most probable explanation. Some regard it as the ἐντολή above, 1 Timothy 6:14 ; some as meaning the grace given to him for his office, or for his own spiritual life: but ch. 1 Timothy 1:18 , compared with 2 Timothy 2:2 , seems to fix the meaning as above. Herodotus has a very similar use of the word, ix. 45, ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι , παραθήκην ὑμῖν τὰδε τὰ ἔπεα τίθεμαι . And with this the following agrees: for it is against false doctrine that the Apostle cautions him), turning away from (cf. ἀποτρέπου , 2Ti 3:5 ) the profane babblings (empty discourses: so also 2Ti 2:16 ) and oppositions (apparently, dialectic antitheses and niceties of the false teachers. The interpretations have been very various: Chrys. says, ὁρᾷς τῶς πὰλιν κελεύει μηδὲ ὁμόσε χωρεῖν πρὸς τοὺς τοιούτους ; ἐκτρεπόμενός , φησιν , τὰς ἀντιθέσεις . ἄρα εἰσὶν ἀντιθέσεις , πρὸς ἃς οὐδὲ ἀποκρίνεσθαι χρή ; understanding by ἀντιθ ., sayings of theirs opposed to this teaching. But this can hardly be. Grot., ‘nam ipsi inter se pugnabant:’ but this is as unlikely. Pelag., Luth., al., understand ‘disputations:’ Mosheim, the dualistic oppositions in the heretical systems: Mack, the contradictions which the heretics try to establish between the various doctrines of orthodoxy: Baur, the oppositions between the Gospel and the law maintained by Marcion. On this latter hypothesis, see Prolegomena. There would be no objection philologically to understanding ‘propositions opposed to thee;’ and τοὺς ἀντιδιατιθεμένους , cf. 2 Timothy 2:25 , would seem to bear out such meaning: but seeing that it is coupled with κενοφωνίας , it is much more probably something entirely subjective to the ψευδώνυμος γνῶσις ) of that which is falsely-named ( ὅταν γὰρ πίστις μὴ ᾖ , γνῶσις οὐκ ἔστι . Chrys.) knowledge (the true γνῶσις , being one of the greatest gifts of the Spirit to the Church, was soon counterfeited by various systems of hybrid theology, calling themselves by this honoured name. In the Apostle’s time, the misnomer was already current: but we are not therefore justified in assuming that it had received so definite an application, as afterwards it did to the various forms of Gnostic heresy. All that we can hence gather is, that the true spiritual γνῶσις of the Christian was already being counterfeited by persons bearing the characteristics noticed in this Epistle. Whether these were the Gnostics themselves, or their precursors, we have examined in the Prolegomena to the Pastoral Epistles),

Verse 21

21 .] which (the ψευδών . γνῶσις ) some professing (ch. 1Ti 2:10 ) erred (reff.: the indefinite past, as marking merely the event, not the abiding of these men still in the Ephesian church) concerning the faith .

1Tim 6: 22 .

22 .] CONCLUDING BENEDICTION: The grace (of God, χ ., the grace for which we Christians look, and in which we stand) be with thee .

On the subscription we may remark, that the notice found in A al., owes it origin probably to the notion that this was the Epistle from Laodicea mentioned Colossians 4:16 . So Thl.: τίς δὲ ἦν ἡ ἀπὸ Λαοδικείας ; ἡ πρὸς Τιμόθεον πρώτη · αὕτη γὰρ ἐκ Λαοδικείας ἐγράφη . The further addition in rec. al. betrays a date subsequent to the fourth century, when the province of Phrygia Pacatiana was first created. See Smith’s Dict, of Geography, art. Phrygia, circa finem.

Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 6". Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hac/1-timothy-6.html. 1863-1878.
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