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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 6

Bengel's Gnomon of the New TestamentBengel's Gnomon

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Verse 1

1 Timothy 6:1 . Ὑπὸ ζυγὸν ) under the yoke , viz. of heathen masters. The antithesis is, but , 1 Timothy 6:2 . Service therefore, in the case of believers, is not a yoke. ἰδίους , their own ) Let them not turn from them, and attach themselves to others. Confusion [confounding of the existing order of things] is forbidden. τιμῆς , honour ) although they are without, i.e. not Christians. The opposite, despise , occurs presently. ἀξίους , worthy ) although they be without virtue [any remarkable merit]. ἡγείσθωσαν , let them count ) with affection, and in their actual conduct. ἵνα μὴ , that not ) For the masters would say, that this was the cause of their contumacious disrespect; comp. Titus 2:5 .

Verse 2

1 Timothy 6:2 . Ἀδελφοὶ , brethren ) and in that respect equal. εἰσὶν , are ) viz. the masters . Servants (slaves) might seek a pretext for refusing obedience, whether they had believing or unbelieving masters. Both sins are met (counteracted). δουλευέτωσαν , let them do service ) let them remain in the household. πιστοί εἰσι καὶ ἀγαπητοὶ are faithful and beloved ) Supply, the masters, beloved , having experienced the Divine love, and then in consequence showing love to their servants (slaves). οἱ τῆς εὐεργεσίας ἀντιλαμβανόμενοι , [Eng. Vers. partakers of the benefit , but Bengel] subserving the [divine] beneficence ) Beneficence is the beneficence of God, as the word, the name, the Spirit, the wrath , stand for the word of God, the name of God , etc. Believing masters, as being benefactors [ εὐεργέται , taken out of εὐεργεσίας ], subserve this beneficence. Believers experience the heavenly beneficence towards men, and subserve it; for example, masters towards their household, and through their household towards others. This by implication teaches also believing masters their duty: 1Ti 6:17 also teaches it.

Verse 3

1 Timothy 6:3 . Ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖ , teach otherwise ) The antithesis is, teach , in 1 Timothy 6:2 . The conclusion thus corresponding to the beginning of the discussion, ch. 1 Timothy 1:3 . μὴ προσέρχεται , accede [ consent ] not ) Seneca has, “accedere opinioni,” to accede or consent to an opinion: and so others, as we find in Pricæus.

Verse 4

1 Timothy 6:4 . Τετύφωται , μηδὲν ἐπιστάμενος ) Harpocration: τετύφωμαι , ἀντὶ τοῦ ἐμβεβρόντημαι , ἐξω τῶν φρενῶν γέγονα , κ . τ . λ . τετύφωμαι for ἐμβεβρόντημαι , I am gone out of my senses . Compare Raphelius ad Polyb. μηδὲν ἐπιστάμενος , knowing nothing ) although he claims knowledge to himself: comp. ch. 1 Timothy 1:7 . νοσῶν περὶ , sick [‘ doting ’], or morbid, about ) The antithesis is wholesome , 1 Timothy 6:3 . Plut.: νοσεῖν περὶ δόξαν , περὶ σφραγίδια πολυτελῆ , to be sick for glory, for expensive seals (signets). λογομαχίας , strifes of words ) 2 Timothy 2:14 , note. [47] ἐξ ὧν γίνεται , from which cometh ) Ib. 2 Timothy 2:23 . ἔρις , contention ) Titus 3:9 . ὑπόνοιαι πονηραὶ , evil surmisings ) by which those who do not at once agree to all things, are regarded as enemies (objects of odium).

[47] Not as Engl. Vers. of 2 Timothy 2:14 , “Strifes about words,” but “strifes in ( i.e . by means of) words about” most momentous subjects. ED.

Verse 5

1 Timothy 6:5 . Διαπαρατριβαὶ ) διατριβὴ , a scholastic disputation or treatise . The insertion of παρὰ renders it significant of something perverse, as κατατομὴ for περιτομὴ , Philippians 3:2 . It is opposed to accede ( consent ), 1 Timothy 6:3 . διαπαρατριβαὶ διεφθαρμένων ἀνθρώπων ) perverse disputings , which only become men of corrupt minds , 2 Timothy 3:8 : men corrupted in mind . νομιζόντων , thinking ) i.e. inasmuch as they think, for there is no and put before it; comp. Romans 2:18 ; Rom 2:20 ; 2 Timothy 2:21 ; Hebrews 6:6 , where the use of the participles is the same. πορισμὸν ) a gain [48] (means of making gain), a thing given for the sake of procuring property.

[48] The article before εὐσέβειαν , and not before πορισμὸν , show the construction to be, “that godliness is a gain,” a way to advance one’s worldly interest not as Engl. Vers., “that gain is godliness.” ED.

Verse 6

1 Timothy 6:6 . Ἔστι δέ , but is ) He does not wish altogether to deny that godliness is a gain . πορισμὸς ) a ready and sure (‘expedita’) mode of providing a living . [49] μέγας , great ) for it produces αὐτάρκειαι , a mind contented with its lot , unknown to all others. μετὰ αὐταρκείας , with contentment ) This is the companion of godliness.

[49] Ποριομος is strictly the act of providing a living, means of gain: πόρισμα , the living thus gained, gain . ED.

Verse 7

1 Timothy 6:7 . Οὐδὲν , nothing ) A man, when he is born, consists of soul and body: all other things are to him foreign and external. εἰσηνέγκαμεν , we have brought in ) Supply, and yet we have obtained life (including a livelihood); see Matthew 6:25 . δῆλον ὅτι ) to wit [Engl. Vers. and it is certain that ]; a form of declaring. οὐδὲ ἐξενεγκεῖν , nor carry out ) Why then do we heap up much wealth? The only object to be aimed at is that we may have πόρον , an unembarrassed journey , till we reach our true country.

Verse 8

1 Timothy 6:8 . Ἔχοντες , having ) It is by implication affirmed, that we shall have them . διατροφὰς ) food ( means of sustenance ), by which we may in the meantime be nourished. This is the meaning of διά . σκεπάσματα , clothing ) also a covering or shelter. τούτοις ) with these , although money be wanting, 1 Timothy 6:10 . ἀρκεσθησόμεθα ) we shall have enough in fact: why then not also in feeling?

Verse 9

1 Timothy 6:9 . Βουλόμενοι , wishing ) This wish is the enemy of a mind contented with its lot; it is not the wealth itself (that is the enemy of contentment): rich men are not therefore commanded to cast away their wealth, 1 Timothy 6:17-18 . πλουτεῖν , to be rich ) to have more than food and clothing. ἐμπίπτουσι βυθίζουσι , fall into drown ) A sad gradation. πειρασμὸν ) There is a Paronomasia [the signification of a word changed by a slight change of the letters]: πορισμὸς , πειρασμὸς . Temptation is opposed to ‘food,’ likewise to faith: a snare is opposed to ‘clothing’ and to righteousness: ‘ lusts ’ are opposed to “a contented mind.” παγίδα , a snare ) Therefore they do not find πόρον , true gain . ὄλεθρον , destruction ) of the body. ἀπώλειαν , perdition ) also of the soul: comp. of all , 1 Timothy 6:10 . This is opposed to that expression, great gain , 1 Timothy 6:6 .

Verse 10

1 Timothy 6:10 . Πάντων τῶν κακῶν , of all evils ) For it destroys faith, the root of all that is good: at first sight, the love of money seems to take away the nutriment or food that supports many crimes, as luxury, wantonness, etc.; but it is in reality the root of all evils. All evils in 1Ti 6:9 are comprehended under temptation, a snare, lusts, destruction, perdition; although the article τῶν does not precisely relate to those evils, but is added to πάντων , according to custom, for the purpose of amplifying or heightening the effect, without its relative power. φιλαργυρία , the love of money ) When money is loved for itself, it is not used for procuring “food and raiment.” ἧς ) φιλαργυρίας , viz. ἀργύρου . τινὲς ) some: the Ephesians, ch. 1 Timothy 5:15 . ὀρεγόμενοι , having coveted ) ch. 1 Timothy 3:1 , note [having grasped at]. ὀδύναις πολλαῖς , with many sorrows ) of the conscience, producing remorse for property badly acquired; also of the mind, urging to the laying up of more. The remedy of these sorrows is faith .

Verse 11

1 Timothy 6:11 . Ὦ ἄνθρωπε τοῦ Θεοῦ ) O man of God . So the LXX. for the Hebrew, man of God, i.e. a prophet, a mediating messenger of God to men, one removed from earthly things. ταῦτα φεῦγε , flee these things ) He resumes, after the parenthesis, the words which he had spoken at the end of 1 Timothy 6:5 . Therefore the expression, these things , is to be referred to 1 Timothy 6:4-5 : for both enumerations form an evident antithesis [to what follows in 1Ti 6:11 ]: to this antithesis flee, follow , belong. δικαιοσύνην , righteousness ) This comprehends all the other things, and is again put in the first place, 2 Timothy 2:22 . εὐσέβειαν , godliness ) The antithesis is the abuse of godliness , 1 Timothy 6:5 . πίστιν , ἀγάπην , faith, love ) Their antitheses are envy, strife , 1 Timothy 6:4 . ὑπομονὴν , patience ) by which even calumnious railings are endured, ibid. πρᾳότητα , meekness ) by which evil surmisings are overcome, ibid.

Verse 12

1 Timothy 6:12 . Τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα , the good fight ) In antithesis to strifes of words , 1 Timothy 6:4 . ἐπιλαβοῦ , lay hold of ) as something that is within reach and near at hand. Leave to others their own questions , ibid. A Metonymy of the consequent for the antecedent, with the argument drawn from what is easy [ laying hold of eternal life is easy as contrasted with the questions and strifes in 1Ti 6:4 ]. The same expression is found at 1 Timothy 6:19 . It is a simile taken from the race-course and the prizes; comp. 2 Timothy 4:7 , etc. ἐκλήθης καὶ ὡμολόγησας , thou hast been called and hast professed ) The divine calling and profession of believers are correlatives. Both take place in baptism. [ If at any time thou hast made a promise to GOD, He Himself deems that thou art bound to Him; and that is remarkable good-will on His part. V. g.] τὴν καλὴν ὁμολογίαν ) that [not [50] , as Engl. Vers.] good profession , [viz. that concerning the kingdom of Christ , 1 Timothy 6:13 . V. g.] So also in the following verse [“Christ Jesus, that witnessed that good profession ”]. But the words differ: Thou hast professed , accompanied with the assent of witnesses: He witnessed , though Pontius Pilate did not assent. ἐνώπιον πολλῶν μαρτύρων , before many witnesses ) who would testify against thee, if thou wert to fall away.

[50] Vercellensis of the old ‘Itala,’ or Latin Version before Jerome’s, probably made in Africa, in the second century: the Gospels.

Verse 13

1 Timothy 6:13 . Παραγγέλλω , I give thee charge ) See how important is the office of preaching the Gospel; 2 Timothy 4:1 . τοῦ ζωοποιοῦντος τὰ πάντα , who quickeneth all things ) LXX., Nehemiah 9:6 [ σὺ ἐποίησας καὶ σὺ ζωοποιεῖς τὰ πάντα ]. Here the creation of all things, which is there mentioned, is taken for granted. Part of the hymn is expressed, the whole hymn is implied. The power of God quickens (gives life to) thee also, O Timothy, in the discharge of thy duty, and will raise thee up to everlasting life. τοῦ μαρτυρήσαντος , who witnessed ) The confession of Christ quickens [gives life to] all confessions (professions, 1Ti 6:12 ). To witness a confession was the part of the Lord; to confess a confession (profession, 1Ti 6:12 ) belonged to Timothy. ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου , before Pontius Pilate ) A well-known chronological era. τὴν ) that which all Christians know was made by Him, viz. that concerning His kingdom , 1 Timothy 6:15 .

Verse 14

1 Timothy 6:14 . Τὴν ) this . ἄσπιλον , ἀνεπίληπτον , without spot, unrebukeable ) in the masculine gender. [51] μέχρι , until ) Believers, in regulating their practice, used in that day to set before themselves the day of Christ as near at hand: we are accustomed to set before us the hour of death. ἐπιφανείας , the appearing ) This word often occurs in the second Epistle to Timothy and in the Epistle to Titus.

[51] i.e . Agreeing with σε , not with τὴν ἐντολήν . ED.

Verse 15

1 Timothy 6:15 . Καιροῖς ἰδίοις , in His own fitting times ) The plural number is to be noticed, which does not much abridge (does not confine within very narrow limits) the shortness of the times: His own , viz. of which the reason (the regulating principle), power, knowledge, and revelation, is in His own hand. So ἴδιος , ch. 1Ti 2:6 ; 2 Timothy 1:9 ; Titus 1:3 . A divine reservation. δείξει , He shall show ) To be shown is an expression used of what formerly existed. God will show Him ( Act 3:20 ), of whom a most magnificent panegyric follows, involving in it the glory of Christ itself [as well as that of God the Father]. ὁ μακάριος καὶ μόνος δυνάστης , the blessed and only Potentate ) These are two predicates: [52] the first, with the addition also of only , is treated of in 1 Timothy 6:16 [“who only hath immortality”]; for the word μακάριος and ἀκήρατος [53] have the same derivation, and signify immortal; and hence honour ( 1Ti 6:16 ) is due to Him: the second is treated of presently after in this verse, and hence power everlasting ( 1Ti 6:16 ) is due to Him. This is the reason why men in power , and death threatened by them, should not be feared in the confession of the Gospel. So eternal power is mentioned at Romans 1:20 . τῶν βασιλευότων ΚΥΡΙΕΥΌΝΤΩΝ , of those reigning of those ruling ) Spiritually and politically.

[52] Who is the blessed and only Potentate. ὁ δυνάστης is not the subject of δείξει , but a predicate of its subject. ED.

[53] Bengel derives μακάριος from μὴ , and κήρ , death; and so ἀκήρατος from α privative, and κὴρ , death. The derivation of ἀκήρατος is rather from α and κεράννυμι : and μακάριος is of dubious etymon. Some give χαίρω (?). ED.

Verse 16

1 Timothy 6:16 . Μόνος , only ) This word only was properly put off in being treated of till now, because another similar phrase follows, “Whom no man hath seen, nor can see.” ἔχων ) having , and therefore about to give to us. ἀθανασίαν , immortality ) The adjective ἀθάνατος , immortal , is not found in the New Testament, but ἄφθαρτος , incorruptible . The LXX. has neither ἀθάνατος nor ἀθανασία . The Book of Wisdom, which never existed but in Greek, has both. φῶς , light ) After life , mention is immediately made of light . ἀπρόσιτον ) inaccessible to creatures, unless in as far as they are both admitted by Him and He goes forth to them. οὐδεὶς ἀνθρώπων , no man ) So Exodus 33:20 : That which is denied to mere men , Joh 1:18 ; 1 John 4:12 , will be vouchsafed to the saints; Mat 5:8 ; 1 Corinthians 13:12 ; 1 John 3:2 ; Revelation 22:4 .

Verse 17

1 Timothy 6:17 . Τοῖς πλουσίοις , the rich ) There were many rich men at Ephesus. This forms the Appendix ( the Postscript ) of the epistle, which is of great importance. ἠλπικέναι , to have trust ) This bad ‘trust,’ which nerves the grasp with which they cling to riches, checks the enjoyment ( ἀπόλαυσιν ), which Paul presently mentions. ἀδηλότητι , uncertain ) [lit. the uncertainty of riches ]. We ought for this reason not to trust in wealth, because it is most uncertain , as regards the time to come ( εἰς τὸ μέλλον , 1Ti 6:19 ). ἐπὶ τῷ Θεῷ , upon , or in God ) Al. Aug . 6, Boerner . Clar. Colb. 7, even more than these have ἐπί . So the antithesis is more expressly marked to the words, ἐπὶ πλούτου ἀδηλότητι . Trust , when leaning upon God, is strong. The common reading has ἐν , subjoining τῷ Θεῷ τῷ ζῶντι , taken from ch. 1 Timothy 4:10 , as I think; for Al. Boern. Colb . 7, Rae . 2, Aeth. Lat . in M.S., Reutling, Gildas, Haimo , have not τῷ ζῶντι . [54] πλουσίως , richly ) otherwise no one would be πλούσιος , rich . εἰς ἀπόλαυσιν , to enjoy ) Enjoyment consists in giving, not in holding fast. Inactivity ( i.e. the state of non-employment) should be far removed, as from man, so also from his resources: James 5:2-3 .

[54] Ἐπὶ is the reading of Lachm., with AD( Δ ) corrected, G Orig. 1, 709 b cod . Tisch., with less authority, viz. f Vulg. Orig. cod. , and Rec. Text, reads ἐν . These latter, except Vulg. (best MSS.), add τῷ ζῶντι to Θεῷ ; and so also D( Δ ) and both Syr. Versions. But AG Orig. cod., g Vulg.(Amiat.) Memph. and Theb. omit τῷ ζῶντι . ED.

Verse 18

1 Timothy 6:18 . Ἀγαθοεργεῖν ) to aim to do good. To be rich in good works follows as the consequence of this diligence: ἀγαθὸν and καλὸν differ; ἀγαθὸς involves at the sametime the idea of (divine) blessedness (comp. Mark 10:18 , note): καλὸς includes in its notion, beauty . εὐμεταδότους , [“ready to distribute”] liberal ) in imparting , viz. individually. κοινωνικοὺς , willing to communicate ) by lending, by contributing for the common good, viz. along with many. In ordinary cases i.e. where the grace of God does not change them], the rich are chiefly delighted with a division [ i.e. individual monopoly, as opposed to communicating ] in proceedings, plans, and properties, and are imperious and insolent.

Verse 19

1 Timothy 6:19 . Ἀποθησαυρίζοντας ἑαυτοῖς , laying up in store for themselves ) The best kind of property which is laid up “against the time to come.” The antithesis is κοινωνικοὺς , willing to communicate . So Tob 4:10 , μὴ φοβοῦ ποιεῖν ἐλεημοσύνην · θεμα ὰρ ἀγαθὸν θησαυρίσεις σεαυτῷ εἰς ἡμέραν ἀνάγκης , “be not afraia to perform works of charity, for thou wilt lay up for thyself a good deposit for the day of necessity.” Otherwise the rich do not collect treasures for themselves, but for others. To collect by giving , forms a pleasant Oxymoron [see Append.] The preposition ἀπὸ has admirable force in ἀποθησαυρίζοντας , apart [in store] for a distant time . θεμέλιον καλὸν , a good foundation ) An elliptical apposition, i.e. ἀποθησαυρίζοντας θησαυρὸν , namely, θεμέλιον καλόν . The metaphor is cumulative, as in Psalms 37:5 (6), with the explanation of Gejer. He calls works of beneficence a good foundation , to which is opposed the uncertainty of riches . θεμέλιος , עיקר , that on which we depend as a security (a bond), a pledge. [It is commonly called a basis (fundum). V. g.] εἰς τὸ μέλλον , for the time to come) The antithesis is, in the present world ( ἐν τῷ νῦν αἰῶνι ), 1 Timothy 6:17 ; comp. ch. 1 Timothy 4:8 . ἐπιλάβωνται , may lay hold) as persons emerging from shipwreck. The merchant saved from shipwreck [in this case, as contrasted with all other cases of shipwreck], finds his treasures sent home before him. In 1Ti 6:12 mention is made of a fight: the expression is the same, but the figure is different. τῆς [55] ὌΝΤΩς ΖΩῆς ) Comp. ὌΝΤΩς , ch. 1 Timothy 5:3 ; 1 Timothy 5:5 ; 1 Timothy 5:16 . True life [ that which is life indeed ] from the living God.

[55] This reading, to which the larger Ed. had given rather little countenance, is preferred to the reading αἰωνίον , by the margin of the 2d Ed., with the concurrence of the Germ. Vers. E. B.

AD( Δ ) corrected, G fg Vulg. read τῆς ὄντως . Rec. Text has τοῦ αἰωνίον , with only inferior uncial MSS. ED.

Verse 20

1 Timothy 6:20 . Ὦ Τιμόθεε , O Timothy ) He calls him familiarly his son, ch. 1 Timothy 1:18 , with gravity and affection. What comes last in 1 Timothy 6:20-21 , corresponds to the beginning of the epistle, and is to be explained from it. τὴν παραθήκην , what is committed ) 1 Timothy 1:18 . So the commandment , 1 Timothy 6:14 ; 2 Timothy 1:14 , note. The opposite in this passage is vain babblings , emptiness of words. τὰς βεβήλους κενοφωνίας , profane and vain babblings ) LXX., τοὺς κενολογιῦντας for המצפצפים , Isaiah 8:19 . Barbarous words were formerly used by the Magi, which are said to have a secret power, though they have in reality none, and are altogether vain. Paul seems to have had respect to this circumstance, as he has substituted the more significant term; for φωνὴ , a voice, an utterance, expresses vehemence; comp. 2 Timothy 2:15-16 , note, [where τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας is opposed to κενοφωνίας ; the φωνὴ , implying vehemence of voice, being opposed to temperate speech or word, λόγος ]. Moreover, the word γνῶσις agrees with the Hebrew ידעוני , a wizard, in the passage quoted above, which the Greeks, in the books of Samuel and Kings at least, have interpreted γνώστην [as we use the term, “a wise man,” of a dealer in magic, a wizard]. And in this way, Paul calls the false teachers by the terms signifying magi and magic, to show how much he held them in abomination: comp. γόητες , 2 Timothy 3:13 . Clemens Al., l. 2, Strom. f. 280, puts under these words of Paul the following: ὑπὸ ταύτης ἐλεγχόμενοι τῆς φωνῆς οἱ ἀπὸ τῶν αἱρέσεων , τὰς πρὸς Τιμόθεον ἀθετοῦσιν ἐπιστολάς , “the heretics being reproved by this word (voice), reject the Epistles to Timothy.” καὶ ἀντιθέσεις , and oppositions) A false γνῶσις , knowledge, curiously set forth (puffed off) various oppositions taken from philosophy, pretending that there are two Gods opposed to each other as rivals ( ἀντιτέχνους ), the one good and the other bad; and in both, that there are wonderful ἀντιστοιχίας , corresponding oppositions. Paul notices these oppositions, and at the same time severely ridicules them by a play on the words; because their teachers oppose themselves to the truth, and their θέσεις , positions [taken out of ἀντιθέσεις , oppositions], are contrary to the ‘foundation’ already laid. See the conjugates, ἀντιδιατιθεμένους and θεμέλιος , 2 Timothy 2:25 ; 2 Timothy 2:19 . On the other hand, Paul himself, in his epistles, especially to Timothy, handles most wise oppositions or ἀντιθέσεις : for example, 1 Timothy 1:7-8 ; 1 Timothy 3:16 ; 1 Timothy 4:1 ; 1Ti 4:6-7 ; 1 Timothy 6:2-3 ; 1 Timothy 6:5-6 ; 1 Timothy 6:10-11 , where we have expressly, But thou [marking an antithesis]. Moreo1Tim 1 Timothy 6 :2 Timothy 2:15-23 , in which again the phrase, But thou, is frequent; ch. 1 Timothy 3:10 ; 1Ti 3:14 , 1 Timothy 4:5 . ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως , of science falsely so called) which in 1Ti 6:21 is to be referred to science, by separating it from its epithet. The Gnostics, who are here denoted by a Metonymy of the abstract for the concrete, boasted of and applied the name science to their teaching; but Paul says that it was so named falsely; they are without understanding, ch. 1 Timothy 1:7 .

Verse 21

1 Timothy 6:21 . Περὶ τὴν πίστιν ἠστόχησαν , they have erred concerning the faith ) Although they attempt to appropriate to themselves ἐπισήμην , science , and γνῶσιν , knowledge , 1 Timothy 6:4 ; 1 Timothy 6:20 , and its εὐστοχίαν , accurate reasoning [ hitting the mark , opposed to ἀστοχέω , I miss the mark, err ] and sagacity, yet they have lost the true sagacity, which is connected with faith , not comprehending what is to be believed , and what it is to believe; comp. 2 Timothy 3:7-8 . ἡ χάρις , grace ) not unknown to thee. He briefly indicates it. μετὰ σοῦ , with thee ) No salutations to others are here added, for the epistle was not to be read in public. [56]

[56] Bengel, J. A. (1860). Vol. 4 : Gnomon of the New Testament (M. E. Bengel & J. C. F. Steudel, Ed.) (J. Bryce, Trans.) (239 288). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 6". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jab/1-timothy-6.html. 1897.
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