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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 6

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

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Verses 1-10

Various Prescripts, Warnings, and Exhortations

1 Timothy 6:1-21

A.—The obligation of Christian slaves.—Warning against false teachers.—Praise of moderation, and warning against covetousness

1 Timothy 6:1-10

1Let as many servants as are [as many as are servants] under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. 2And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren;1 [,] but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit [who are partakers of the benefit]. These things teach and exhort. 3If any man teach otherwise, and consent2 not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; [,] 4He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, 5strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings3 of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness [godliness is a means of gain]: from such withdraw thyself.4 6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain5 we can carry nothing out. 8And having food and raiment, let us be therewith [with these] content. 9But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10For the love of money is the [a] root of all evil: [,] which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.


1 Timothy 6:1. Let as many servants as are under the yoke, &c. [Under the yoke, as bondservants. Δοῦλοι is not the subject, but an explanatory predicate; Ellicott, in loco.—W.] The Apostle begins in this chapter to give counsel for various classes in the community, as he has before set forth whatever is required of its overseers and officers. At the outset he directs Timothy as to the duty of those members of the church who belong to the condition of slaves (1 Timothy 6:1-2). It was not strange that such persons should think themselves placed, by their Christian profession, in a changed relation toward both their heathen and their converted masters. They might pervert the doctrine of a Christian freedom, or they might find in the Jewish law, by which slaves were released every seventieth or Sabbatic year, some reason to withdraw, sooner or later, wholly or partly, from the yoke. It was therefore necessary to urge on them the duty of a constant subordination (comp. Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22; Titus 2:1; Titus 2:9-10; 1 Peter 2:18). Christianity does not abolish slavery at once, in opposition to law; but, on the contrary, the bondmen must, through their true Christian conduct, offer a living letter of commendation, to be read by all, of the true and living character of Christianity. To further this end, the Apostle counsels how Christian slaves (1 Timothy 6:1) are to demean themselves toward unbelieving (1 Timothy 6:2) and believing masters.—Let as many as are servants under the yoke. Not referring directly to such as were treated with special severity, but, in general, to the oppressive character of slavery.—Count their own masters worthy of all honor. Almost the same literal injunction given in regard of the presbyter, in 1 Timothy 5:11. The Apostle points to a τιμὴ, which dwells in the heart, and is thence exhibited in the words, demeanor, conduct.—That the name of God—of the true God, whom the Christian slaves honored, in contrast with their idolatrous masters—and the doctrine—viz., of God (comp. Titus 2:10), the divine gospel—be not blasphemed; which would doubtless be the case should the Christian slaves be guilty of disorderly action. In another place (Romans 2:24) the Apostle accuses the Jews, because through them the name of God was blasphemed among the heathen; and it was counted the greatest sin of David (2 Samuel 12:14), that he had made the enemies of God to blaspheme. The warning of the text is designed to prevent a like danger.

1 Timothy 6:2. And they … exhort. Christian slaves, who, on the other hand, have the privilege of believing masters, might easily forget that they who, as believers, were their brethren, yet had another relation as their superiors, and might thus withhold the honor due to them. The Apostle strongly opposes this exaggerated view of Christian freedom and equality.—They that have believing masters—[see Trench, “Synon.,” § 28, on the distinction between δεσπότης and κύριος. The former signifies the relation to those who have been bought, who are owned as property; the latter the family headship, the relation of the man to wife and children. It is to be observed that in his other Epistles St. Paul uses κύριος as the general title.—W.]—(πιστοὺς is placed before emphatically) let them not despise them, because they are brethren;i.e., the masters. Such a contempt is meant here as would wholly, or in part, lose sight of the natural difference between master and slave. There is no respect of persons before God; but before man the divisions of social rank must be held in due regard.—But rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved. It is almost unexplainable, that both these last objections should have been thought to refer either to the slaves (Wetstein), or to masters and slaves together (Matthies). It is plain that the Apostle here expressly distinguishes the masters, and in such wise, indeed, as to persuade the slaves to honor and revere them. As believers in Christ and beloved of God, the masters can claim peculiarly the respect of their Christian bondmen. It is a harder question, what the Apostle means by the words: partakers of the benefit, οἱ τῆς εὐεργεσίας�; [qui participes sunt; Vulgate.—W.] We might, perhaps, suppose that εὐεργεσία = χάρις signifying the blessing of Christianity (comp. Romans 1:7; thus Heydenreich and others). But this thought is already expressed in ἀγαπ. and πιστοί, and would thus be only an empty tautology. It is then better to understand, by εὐεργεσία, the faithful service of the slaves, so that the sense should be: slaves ought so much more to serve believing masters, because they who receive such service are believers and beloved. The remembrance that a true service, done from a Christian principle, would be a benefit to the believing masters, was indeed well calculated to persuade Christian slaves.—These things teach and exhort. A direct reference, as in 1 Timothy 4:11; 1 Timothy 5:7, to what has been said just before.

[This exposition, while it seems true to the letter, is untrue to the principle of Christianity. Undoubtedly St. Paul did not attempt to abolish slavery. But when it is inferred from this that the moral action of the primitive Church gives us the complete standard for all time, it is a petitio principii. The Church of that day was composed of men who had no political or civil ties outside their little body; to them, all else was “the world” of heathendom. It was enough for St. Paul to inculcate the law of love, and leave the larger question of Roman slavery to the future. But when Christianity became the religion of the State, and its believers citizens, there arose a new, definite sphere of social duty outside the church relationship. It may, indeed, be proven from this passage, that slavery is not absolutely and in all cases a sin, like lying or stealing; that, like polygamy, it may be one of the phases of social growth. But to say that, because Christian philanthropy did not then touch it, it may now claim the sanction of Christianity, is monstrous.—We might, indeed, draw from this very passage one of the strongest arguments against the modern apologist. St. Paul does not counsel masters to be kind, but slaves not to despite their masters, because they are brethren. The tone of the whole proves that slavery in that Christian community was hardly a yoke at all. What would the slaveholders of our Christian time think of a bishop who should mildly beg bondmen to treat a master with respect, not scorn him, because he was a brother?—But we take here the largest ground. To say that Christianity is to-day confined within the limits of St. Paul’s action, is to say that in 1800 years it has wrought no change in the world it came to reform. It is to say, that it is behind Judaism at that very time; for slavery, under the teaching of humane Rabbis, had in St. Paul’s day almost wholly vanished from Palestine. It is to narrow Scripture; it is to narrow Christian ethics; it is to narrow Christian history. Civilization has, step by step, been fulfilling the first prophecy of the Lord, that He came to “break every yoke.” As early as the code of Justinian, we have the statement of the maxim, “Cum jure naturali omnes liberi nascerentur;Cod. Just., lib. 1 Timothy 5:01 Timothy 5:0. It was a social law which the early Christian himself had not grasped: it was the new growth of social ethics. Christian jurisprudence and Christian philanthropy hare only interpreted it. We may well demand, at this day, that Scriptural criticism shall no longer make the word of God the apologist of social wrong.—W.]6

1 Timothy 6:3. If any man teach otherwise, &c. The Apostle proceeds from the slaves to the false teachers. The connection of his thoughts seems this: that the false teachers have proposed dangerous maxims in regard of Christian freedom and order, which might, if they spread further, mislead the bondmen. We may thus understand the ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν definitely of corrupt maxims concerning the topics just discussed, although we may add that the Apostle takes occasion here, as in other passages of these Epistles, to point out and oppose false doctrines in general. Their character is here described, and their condemnation given with a fulness of language that might seem somewhat irrelevant, if we do not consider how dangerous such false teachers were, and how sad their corrupting influence on many.—And consent not. This more definite expression now marks the false teachers as men who were directly hostile to the gospel doctrine, which is enjoined by St. Paul as the fountain and touchstone of the truth.—Consent not (μὴ προσέρχεται), naturally signifies that acceptance, in a spiritual view, which leads of itself to agreement (accedere opinioni, alicui accedere). The words of the Lord are spoken of as wholesome, in contrast with the diseased character of the false doctrines (comp. νοσῶν, 1 Timothy 6:4); and the truth of the gospel is here named as according to godliness (κατ̓ εὐσεβ.), to show the indivisible unity between Christian truth and morality, in consequence of which any, who has mistaken the latter, has already in himself the sentence of his condemnation. [Not “quæ ad pietatem ducit,” but “quæ pietati consentanea est;” Ellicott.—W.] Since Christianity directly quickens and demands godliness, a lax morality cannot have union with it The Apostle now proceeds, 1 Timothy 6:4-5, to show the sources and effects of each grievous error.

1 Timothy 6:4. He is proud … strifes of words. A darkened understanding is the first characteristic which St. Paul ascribes to such an errorist (τετύφωται); he is beclouded, wholly blinded, from his proud conceit (comp. Ephesians 4:18); knowing nothing [aright]; the result of the former vice. He who is blinded in his view of the whole, cannot possibly look at particulars from a right point of sight. To judge truly the special truths of Christianity, must require, in some measure, a knowledge of its whole character. To this sad state of the mind there is added a yet more melancholy state of the heart.—But doting about questions and strifes of words, νοσῶν περὶ ζητ., κ. τ. λ. The proposition declares the objects in regard to which this disease is manifest The false teacher is unhappily busied with ζητήσεις and λογομαχίας. He is tormented with the pursuit of those beyond the good and needful limit; and while he perhaps believes that he may attain the right result, he opens for himself and others a source of deep wretchedness. What else can be the end of all these strifes? (see below.)—Whereof cometh, &c., ἐξ ὧν, sc.ζητήσεις καί λογομαχίας.—Envy, strife, railings; not directly against God (Chrysostom), but rather against other men.—Evil surmisings. “Suspiciones malæ, per quas ii, qui non statim omnia assentiuntur, invidi putantur;” Bengel.

1 Timothy 6:5. Perverse disputings; παραδιατρίβαι, according to the common reading, to which, however, another (διαπαρατριβαί) deserves the preference (see Tischendorf). The first denotes useless disputation, the other, growing hostilities and conflicts (comp. Winer, Gramm., p. 92).—Men of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth. The Apostle states here the deepest ground of this blindness, which he has described in 1 Timothy 6:4. Here, too, the corrupt heart is, in his view, the abyss out of which proceeds the darkness which obscures the spiritual vision. “This and the preceding participial clause denote, therefore, that the errorists were before unperverted, and in possession of the truth; but both these royal jewels have been forfeited, and, according to 1 Timothy 4:1, through demoniacal influence;” Huther. As a signal proof of the extent of this perversion, the Apostle adds the following.—Supposing that gain is godliness. This trait completes the sketch of the false teachers, who thus appear as unprincipled hypocrites, abusing the spiritual gifts they had received to their selfish ends (comp. 2 Timothy 3:5). Εὐσέβεια is not here the objective religion, which is ἥ κατ̓ εὐσεβείαν διδασκαλία (1 Timothy 6:3), but godliness in a subjective sense, the religious spirit, or piety. This was regarded by the heretics as πορισμός, a source of secular gain. They put on the guise of godly, conscientious men, from pure selfishness. A show of Christian life was in their view a lucrative business (Titus 1:11, a trade; Luther); and they may be thus called an order of Jesuits before Loyola, since they followed in this the rule, that “the end sanctifies the means.” The contempt of the Apostle for such worthless men is seen in his choice of words; and Timothy hardly needed the express exhortation, “From such withdraw thyself,” which is not in the original text (see Critical notes).

[There is a singular likeness between this sketch of the false teachers, and the Sophists so keenly portrayed in Plato as the opponents of Socrates. Their philosophy was a mere dialectic hair-splitting, without any moral truth—a λογομαχία, a word-fighting; and the ζητήσεις of this Epistle answer exactly to the captious, questioning style of the Greek schools. As a last feature, they were χρηματιστάι, and boasted that they sold their wisdom to the youth of Athens. See Gorgias, c. 7; Protag., c. 3. It was the same empty, immoral sophistomania, cropping out in this refined Jewish-Christian shape.—W.]

1 Timothy 6:6. But godliness with contentment is great gain. It might be thought that the Apostle denied godliness to be in any sense a πορισμός. To correct so wrong an inference from his words, he would show how far godliness gives true success; and this leads him to a full view, reaching to the end of 1 Timothy 6:10, of the Christian contentment Ἐστι δὲ πορισμός. Godliness is the very reality, although in another and higher sense, which these errorists pervert—With contentment. If it be closely joined with contentment, then it is a nobler gain. In this concise and weighty meaning the Apostle expresses both these main ideas, that godliness makes us content, and to be content is the highest good. “Eleganter, non sine ironicâ correctione in contrarium sensum, eadem verba mox retorquet, ac si dixisset; perperam illi et nequiter, qui venalem habent Christi doctrinam, quasi vere pietas esset quæstus. Ideo autem sic vocat, quod plenam et absolutam beatitudinem nobis affert. Ita vero felicitas in pietate sita est, hæc vero sufficientia est veluti quoddam auctorium;” Calvin.

1 Timothy 6:7. For we brought nothing into this world. In this and the following verses the Apostle shows the many grounds of this Christian αὐτάρκεια. The first lies in the very nature of those worldly things for whose possession the unsatisfied man strives. They are not our lawful property, but a loan, received at our birth, to be soon surrendered at the first summons. As we brought nothing into this world (comp. Job 1:21), it is certain we can carry nothing out (comp. Psalms 49:17-18; Luke 12:15-21). The absence of δῆλον in A. F. G., 1 Timothy 6:17, seems to us a mere error of the MSS., since this word can hardly be dispensed with. It is hence justly restored by Tischendorf, in his 7th edition, although he had before erased it.

1 Timothy 6:8. And having food and raiment, let us, &c. A second reason for contentment, because men have fewer real wants than they commonly suppose.—Having food and raiment, διατροφὰς κσὶ σκεπάσματα; both words ἅπαξ λεγόμ.: that which serves for the nourishment and clothing of the body; under the latter, shelter also should be understood. “Ἔχοντες, habentes, implicate affirmatur, nos habituros esse;” Bengel.—Let us be therewith content, ἄρκεσθησόμεθα. The future may here be considered perhaps as an exhortation. (Let us then be content; Luther). It is simpler, however, to take it in the ordinary sense, as that which may be reasonably expected. The folly of discontent is thus at once recognized.

1 Timothy 6:9. But they that will be rich, &c. A third reason of αὐτάρκεια, the sad result of the opposite state. (The Vulgate is logically right, but not strictly grammatical, nam qui volunt, &c.)—That will be;βουλόμενοι, not θέλοντες. Bengel justly says: “Hæc voluntas animi suâ sorte contenti, inimica, non ipsæ opes, quas idcirco divites non jubentur abjicere” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).—Fall into temptation; that is, into the temptation to increase their worldly goods in an unjust way.—And a snare, καὶ παγίδα. They are thereby fettered, and led captive by evil; with what results, appears directly after.—And many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. The last two words strengthen each other, and may perhaps be distinguished by applying the former to the destruction of the body, the latter to the perdition of the soul. It is arbitrary, in any case, to refer them wholly to moral corruption (De Wette), into which they are already so sunken as to be incapable of any further degree; or to eternal perdition (Huther), because that is only the complete manifestation of what is aleady begun on earth. The here and hereafter in this warning of St. Paul must not be wilfully disjoined. But that he has not spoken too strongly here, is proved by the next verse.

[The force of the compound form ἀπώλ., and the more abstract termination of the latter word, perhaps, give a hint that a climactic force is intended; ὄλεθρος is destruction in a general sense, whether of body or soul; ἀπώλεια intensifies it, by pointing mainly to the latter; Ellicott, in loco.—W.]

1 Timothy 6:10. For the love of money is the root of all evil. The omission of the article before ρίζα should be understood. [A root; Alford, Conybeare and Howson; see, however, Ellicott for the other view.—W.] St. Paul does not say that the root of all evil is the desire of money, in which case this would be here represented as the source of all other sins—a view opposed as well to sound sense as to daily experience—but he only enumerates together the κακά springing out of the φιλαργυρία; although it is as true that the same can be said of other sins; ambition, lust, indeed every evil passion which masters mankind. Yet it must be acknowledged that there is no sin which so entirely rules, influences, and hardens men against every better feeling, as this. (This is contrary to De Wette in loco.) This love of money (φιλαργυρία) not merely signifies the lust for gaining money in all possible ways, but the desire of keeping it at every cost.—Which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith;ἦς.sc. φιλαργυρίας. As this last is an ὄρεξις, it must be granted that the connection of thought seems not quite correct, since, in a strict sense, the money itself, not the love of it, is the object of such toilsome effort. The sense is, however, clear enough; and it is therefore needless to explain ὀρέγεσθαι in the sense of deditum esse; Matthies. Whoever thirsts after money, seeks at the same time to satisfy his passion with his whole power, and thus he wanders from true Christian faith (comp. 1 Timothy 1:6; 1 Timothy 1:19), and has pierced himself through with many sorrows. The ὀδύναι, here imaged as a sword piercing the soul (Luke 2:35), and leaving a deep wound, are the pangs of conscience which the covetous feel when their eyes are opened to the shameful means they have used toward the end. They are, further, the forewarning of that ἀπώλεια whereof the Apostle has spoken in the previous verses. Personal recollections of this or that covetous man may have risen to his mind. Instead of παριέπειραν, transfixerunt, some critics have περιέσπειραν—a reading on which the Vulgate translation rests (inseruerunt), signifying that they have surrounded their life with pain, as with a hedge of thorns. It is clear, however, that the Recepta, which critically is far better sustained, gives us likewise a much stronger sense.


1. The injunction of the Apostle in regard of slavery is important, because it defines, simply and exactly, the relation of Christianity to it. The gospel sustains indeed the principle of the new philanthropy, servitium humani generis flagitium; and condemns all abuse of the slave by the master. But on the other hand, where bondage exists, it will in no way release the slave from his duty to his master. It prepares the way for a better condition, but it does not abolish this as by a magic stroke; Freedom, equality, fraternity, in the revolutionary sense of the word, are positively an unchristian sentiment; and the boundary line is here sharply drawn between revolution and reformation. The freedom to which the Lord calls his disciples is not an egoistic, individual one, which severs all bonds, but the freedom to do good in our allotted sphere, and to serve others through love.

[This sentence has in it a weighty side of Christian truth, but it may be made that half-truth which is whole error. The gospel morality does not teach mere political equality; it does not upturn the just distinctions of social rank; but, while it first purifies the heart, it seeks also to abolish unsocial caste. It does not teach the slave to revolt; but it does pronounce slavery an institution debasing both to mind and body, and at war with the growth of Christianity. An Epictetus may be inwardly free in bonds; but his virtue does not justify servitude. The quietism here taught, which severs the Church of Christ from social philanthropy, like Simeon the Stylite in the desert, has too often proved itself the worst egoism, that of a selfish or an emasculated piety.—W.]

2. Here the Apostle commends a practical godliness, in his hostility to all strifes of words. “Dicat autem aliquis, unde discernam quæstiones utiles ab inutilibus? Respondeo, norma est fundamentum, ut Paulus inquit (1 Corinthians 3:11). Complectitur autem fundamentum scripta prophetica et apostolica, et illustre discrimen est legis et evangelii. Item justitia fidei et operum. Item veri cultus, a Deo instituti et falsi cultus ab hominibus instituti, etc. Intra has metas coercendæ sunt cogitationes, et frenanda est curiositas, et prorsus fugiendæ sunt illæ pestes, ostentatio argutiorum, sophistomania et amor contentionis;” Melanchthon, on 1 Timothy 6:3.

3. The warning of the Apostle against avarice recalls the impressive words of the Lord, especially in the parable, Luke 12:15-21. Compare also with this the excellent sermon of Ad. Monod, L’ami de l’argent, Paris, 1843; handled in part like the essay of Harris, “Mammon, or Covetousness the Sin of the Church.” It is clear, from Philippians 4:11-13, how far Paul himself had advanced in the art of the Christian αὐτάρκεια.


Christianity and slavery.—The love of freedom, and the service of love.—Woe to him through whom the offence cometh (Matthew 18:7).—The Christian and the unchristian communism.—The old heresies in many respects types of the new.—Arrogance and ignorance go commonly hand in hand.

1 Timothy 6:3-5. Heresy: (1) Its characteristics; (2) its sources; (3) its results.—Error, the caricature of truth.—The connection of godliness and contentment. Godliness (1) makes content; (2) brings great gain.—Three motives to contentment: (1) We really possess nothing (1 Timothy 6:7); (2) we really need nothing (1 Timothy 6:8); (3) we become poorer in happiness the richer we become in worldly things (1 Timothy 6:9-10).—Avarice a root of all evil: (1) As every cardinal sin; (2) more than any other cardinal sins.—Avarice the most utter egoism, in its diametrical hostility to the gospel of love.—The many examples from sacred and secular history which confirm the power of avarice.—The friend of Mammon his own enemy.

Starke: Anton: Man is inclined to leap beyond his sphere; but such aims are unwise (Romans 12:16; Sir 3:19).—Spiritual brotherhood overturns no civil organization (Matthew 16:24).—The false men of the world think religion harmful. Nay, it is great gain. But the enemy knows how to blind them (Romans 13:1, et seq.)—Lange’s Opus: A false, seducing doctrine and a corrupt spirit always go together, specially in perverted teachers. For as they are unenlightened, understanding and will are both evil (1 Timothy 6:4).—Cramer: The devil has no more direct way of doing injury to the Church, than to become a lying spirit in the mouth of the prophets (1 Kings 22:22). He begins with insolence; then come strife of words, hate, slander, envy, and one misfortune on another, so that an incurable injury is brought upon the Church of God (Psalms 133:1).—Starke: Whoever is godly, hath God; whoso hath God, hath all good.—Unhappy miser, restless with his heap, and never owning enough!—Nothing can more humble man, and help him to renounce the vanity of the world, than when he reflects aright on his entrance into, and his exit from the world (Job 1:21). We need food and covering for the body; God has promised both, if we do His will; yet He has not promised luxury. Let those who have that, be grateful, and all others contented (Genesis 28:20).—Osiander: The avaricious man wants what he has, as well as what he has not.—Avarice is an evil mother, and has many hateful daughters.—Avarice can as little coexist with faith, as can any other ruling vices.—Avarice is fearful, not only because the Divine condemnation rests on it (1 Corinthians 5:11; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5), but because no vice so masters the soul, and keeps it from conversion.

Heubner: Pastors should not neglect to look specially after servants.—Meditation on death is a safeguard against avarice.—The Christian limitation of our wants.—Discontent is a source of discouragement.—Avarice is already a lapse from Christianity. The avaricious is his own tormentor.

Lisco (1 Timothy 6:1-2): How Christian liberty proves itself the true, by obedience (1 Timothy 6:3; 1 Timothy 6:10).—Godliness: (1) In relation to false doctrines; (2) to worldly goods.—The incompatibility of avarice with godliness.—The wealth of the godly spirit.—K. J. Klemm: The great prize of the Christian.—Gerok: A contented spirit great gain: (1) Shields us from the snares of the devil; (2) teaches us to strive after heavenly wealth; (3) gladdens the brief time of life; (4) prepares us to die.—Marezoll: Encouragement and aid to contentment.—Dietzsch: How incalculable a good is contentment in regard of our worldly possessions.

Von Gerlach (1 Timothy 6:5): The gospel casts a wondrous light, to warm and illuminate man; but if it fail through his own sin, then that light thrown back from him flings its rays on the world, and dazzles him with deceitful images, till he loses at last the trace of truth, although he eagerly follows after its shadows. Sin remains undestroyed in his heart, and fleshly desires take advantage of the confusion. Such were the heretics of old, and such the Gnostics of all time.

[Pascal, Penseés, i., p. 1 Timothy 6:0 : The discontent of man.—Our desires flatter us with the image of a happy condition, because they add to what we have, the pleasures we have not; but when we reach these, we are no happier, for we then have still new desires for a happiness beyond them.

Dr. South, Sermons: Godliness is gain. “To exhort men to be religious, is only, in other words, to exhort them to pleasure—a pleasure high, rational, and angelical, with no sting, no loathing, no remorses, or bitter farewells; neither liable to accident, nor exposed to injury. And when age itself shall begin to remind us of mortality, yet then the pleasure of the mind shall be in its full youth, vigor, and freshness. A palsy may as well shake an oak, or a fever dry up a fountain, as shake or impair the delight of conscience. For it lies within; it centres in the heart; it grows into the very substance of the soul, so that a man never outlives it; and for this cause, because he cannot outlive himself.”—W.]


1 Timothy 6:2; 1 Timothy 6:2.—[The words ὅτι� are wanting in the Sinaiticus.—E. H.]

1 Timothy 6:3; 1 Timothy 6:3.—[The Sinaiticus, in contrast with the other witnesses, has προςέχεται.—E. H.]

1 Timothy 6:5; 1 Timothy 6:5.—[Instead of the received reading, all the authorities have διαπαρατριβαί.—E. H.]

1 Timothy 6:5; 1 Timothy 6:5.—According to A. D. F. G., and others, these words are to be regarded as a spurious addition, and are consequently left out by Tischendorf. They are not in the Sinaiticus [nor in Lachmann.—E. H.].

1 Timothy 6:7; 1 Timothy 6:7.—[δῆλον: no competent authority for this word, although retained by Tischendorf. It is omitted by Lachmann; nor is it in the Sinaiticus.—E. H.]

[6][On the relation of Paul to slavery, comp. also the remarks of the Am. Ed. in Com. on Ep. to Philemon.—P. S.]

Verses 11-21

B.—Address to Timothy.—A word for the rich.—Conclusion of the Epistle

CH. 1 Timothy 6:11-21

11But thou, O man of God,7 flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on [the] eternal life, whereunto thou art also8 called [unto which thou wast called], and hast professed a [the] good profession before many witnesses. 13I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth9 all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a [the] good confession; [,] 14That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ [Christ Jesus]: [,] 15Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; [,] 16Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; [,] whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.10 17Charge them that are rich in this world,11 that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches [uncertainty of riches], but in the living12 God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; [,] 18That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, 19Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal [the true]13 life. 20O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called [falsely named knowledge]: 21Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.14


1 Timothy 6:11. But thou, O man of God, &c. The Apostle turns suddenly again to Timothy, as if he had entered almost too far into general topics, and wished henceforth to keep his young disciple wholly in view to the close of the Epistle. There is an emphasis in the tone with which he addresses him, as not only his spiritual son, but the man of God, the servant of the Lord. O man of God, is equivalent to the Hebrew אִישׁ אֱלּהִים. This name places Timothy, as a Christian prophet, by the side of the chosen messengers of the Divine will in the Old Testament (comp. 2 Peter 1:21).—Flee these things, ταῦτα; that is, the φιλαργυρία, already spoken of, and again in 1 Timothy 6:17, where St. Paul mentions the true use of earthly riches.—Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness (comp. 2 Timothy 2:22). According to Romans 12:21, evil must be overcome by good; and thus St. Paul sets against the opposite vices a series of Christian virtues and affections. Righteousness is not here to be taken sensu forensi, but sensu morals, as uprightness, or integrity. Godliness, or, more specially, the direction of the inward life toward God (comp. Titus 2:12). Faith, love, the two primal virtues of Christianity, are to be here under stood in the usual Pauline sense. Patience, finally, concerns all which could disturb the soul; and meekness (πραϋπάθειαν, after the more probable reading; see Tischendorf), refers to all which might embitter the heart. So long as Timothy grew into this moral character, he ran no danger of infection from the shameless avarice of the heretical teachers. [These virtues seem grouped in pairs; δικαιοσύνη and εὐσέβεια, touching general obedience to God’s law; πίστις and ἀγἀπη, the inner springs of Christian character; ὑπομ. and πραύ̈π., our spirit toward the enemies of the truth; see Huther, in loco.—W.]

1 Timothy 6:12. Fight the good fight of faith (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 3:12; 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 4:7). A repetition of the favorite image by which St. Paul is wont to describe the Christian life, and especially that of the minister of the Lord. Here, too, Timothy is not addressed merely as a man or as an Evangelist, but in both relations. This fight is called good, not only in regard of its moral excellence, but as a lofty and noble one.—Fight of faith; not strictly because it is on behalf of the faith (Mack and Heydenreich), but rather because it is born of the faith, is proper to the faith, and has its power only from the faith. The same figurative style is continued in what follows.—Lay hold on eternal life; as the βραβεῖον, for which the athlete strives, and which he grasps at the end of his course.—Whereunto thou art called. This, according to Heydenreich, should also be considered a figurative expression, alluding to the herald who solemnly summons the athletes to the contest But this is less probable, since such a summons, though required, indeed, for the strife, was not so for the prize. We therefore understand ἐκλήθ. here in the ordinary sense of that outward and inward calling which gave success to the confessor of the gospel. This remembrance would awaken Timothy to his duty to press toward the mark; it would strengthen him in the assurance that, if he strove, his calling was the pledge of eternal life.—And hast professed the good profession. A. fresh motive for Timothy in the fight of faith. Thou hast professed, should rather (De Wette, and others) be considered a new, independent proposition, than, as many do, to make ὡμολόγησας dependent on the preceding εἰς ἥν, which gives a hard construction and a scarcely intelligible sense. The good profession which Timothy had made is not clearly defined by Paul. Some think it the confession made at baptism; others, that given at his induction into the ministry; others, a Christian testimony, given by him during some public persecution or some severe conflict But the youth of Timothy makes the last view improbable; and as his testimony (1 Timothy 6:13) is compared in some degree with that of the Lord, who had borne witness before Pilate in words as well as deeds, we may best refer this to one of the two occasions already named. The many witnesses, who surely were present at his ordination rather than his baptism, lead us to conclude that the Apostle alludes to the same event, named in 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6. [This view of the text is maintained by Neander, “Planting and Training of the Church,” vol. ii; also by Ellicott, and others, in loco. It is worth noting, however, that the authentic traditions of the Church point back to the custom of such a “confession of faith” at baptism. “Mos ibi servatur antiquus, eos qui gratiam baptismi suscepturi sunt publice, id est, fidelium populo audiente symbolum reddere;” Ruffinus, De Symb. 3. We do not suppose that the later baptismal office existed in the apostolic day; but it is not at all improbable that the germ of such a usage began at that time.—W.]

1 Timothy 6:13. I give thee charge … confession. The allusion to Timothy’s confession leads the Apostle now to speak of the Saviour Himself, whose remembrance must awaken a new motive for fidelity and zeal.—I charge thee (comp. 1 Timothy 1:3); a form of solemn adjuration well fitted to the grandeur of the subject—In the sight of God, who quickeneth all things. “An encouraging remembrance of the resurrection, and thus indirectly a motive against the fear of death in the cause of Jesus, to which the following clause also alludes;” De Wette.—And before Jesus Christ, who before Pontius Pilate. ̓Επὶ does not signify under Pontius Pilate (De Wette; so Bengel, periocha temporis notissima), but, as Matthew 28:14, and elsewhere, coram. The recollection that the Lord had lived and suffered in the days of Pontius Pilate, was quite superfluous; but the statement that His confession was made coram procuratore, clearly shows to what witness the Apostle refers. It can only be that narrated in John 18:36 and Matthew 27:11; and this was indeed worthy to be held up to Timothy, as the pattern of a true confessor of the truth in face of death. Μαρτυρεῖν means here the same as ὁμολογεῖν in the verse before; and we may thus, when we recall this passage, justly regard Christ as the first Martyr of the New Covenant.

[There is somewhat striking in the identity of these words of Paul with the clause of the Apostle’s Creed, “suffered under Pontius Pilate.” It does not seem to us a mere verbal fancy, if we regard it, when coupled with the καλὴ ὁμολογία made by Timothy, as giving a hint in regard to the formation of that first and simplest symbolum of the faith. We reject, of course, the old, mechanical tradition, that this creed was made by the Apostles, or existed in its present written form before a later age. But the various fragments of such a received “form of words,” as we find them in Justin Mart., Apol., i. 13, Dial., 85; Irenæus, Hæres., 1, 2, and Tertullian; all agreeing in the ideas and general structure, while differing in detail, point clearly to some original “confession of faith,” probably oral; and although without sure date or authorship, yet running back so far toward apostolic time as to have been naturally ascribed to it. Thus this phrase, “under Pontius Pilate,” as cited by St. Paul, may have become incorporated with the earliest germinal creed. We have here what seems the structural law of growth in the church: first the age of organic, yet undeveloped life, then of scientific formation in doctrine and worship.—W.]

1 Timothy 6:14. That thou keep, &c. St. Paul now sets forth the matter, which he has introduced to Timothy with so solemn a charge. Τηρῆσαί σε τήν ἐντολήν. It is not likely, after so lofty an adjuration, that he meant merely his exhortation to flee from avarice (1 Timothy 6:11), and like sins. We look rather at his encouragement to the good fight of the Christian life, and the bold confession of the Lord (1 Timothy 6:12, et seq.). We may say that in this, as the chief commandment, all is embraced which could be asked of Timothy. The view of many, that we must regard this word, commandment, as the παραγγελία of the Christian moral law in general (1 Timothy 1:5), seems too far-fetched, and quite needless.—Without spot, unrebukable; not to be referred to σε, but to ἐντολήν. “Paul exhorts Timothy so to keep the law, that it may not be stained and open to reproach, as with the false teachers;” Huther.—Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. The final παρουσία of the Lord, at the judgment of the world, which in the apostolic age was expected as nigh at hand. Bengel justly says: “Fideles in praxi suâ proponebant sibi diem Christi ut appropinquentem; not solemus nobis horam mortis proponere.” We must, however, add that the Christian life of many has gained nothing by the change.

[It is to take nothing from the essential authority of the apostolic writings, if we grant their belief in a speedy advent of Christ. Indeed, our Lord declared that they had no revelation of the times (Acts 1:7). The prophecy was, in its nature, a dim one, only to be interpreted by history; and it was natural that to them the lofty truth should be a present reality. It is thus by degrees the crude millennial theories of a Papias have faded away, because through eighteen centuries the Church has seen always a new, further horizon rise before it, and can more soberly read the historic plan of Christianity. Yet the kingdom of God should be to our mature faith a nobler reality than if we believed it literally at hand. See, in Neander’s “Planting and Training,” some admirable remarks on the spiritual character of St. John’s doctrine of the παρουσία.—W.]

1 Timothy 6:15. Which in his times, &c., ἥν καιροῖς ἰδίοις δείξει, κ.τ.λ.; a peculiar expression, unlike the usual style of St. Paul, yet clear in its meaning. God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, will show, set forth, bring to pass, the glorious revelation of His Son (δεικνύναι). Christ is unseen for a while; the time of His manifestation in full glory (ἐπιφάνεια) rests in the counsels of God, who has appointed the exact moment.—In his times (comp. Titus 1:3; Galatians 4:4).—The blessed and only Potentate. This mention of God, as One through whom the Epiphany of Christ is to be made known, calls forth from the Apostle a psalm of thanksgiving, in which he expresses those attributes of the Almighty which confirm this Christian hope, and which are contrasted with the desires of man after the transient goods of this world. Blessed, signifies one who has in Himself alone the sources of the highest joy; the only Potentate, the one only who has and exercises power. Perhaps μόνος is indirectly contrasted with the Gnostic notion of the many Æons—a notion which existed in its germ already in the Pauline age.—The King Of kings and Lord of lords; not only in a spiritual, but a cosmical sense.

[We cannot but think that this passage, taken in connection with the whole sketch of these errorists, refers emphatically to a Jewish doctrine of Æons. It may be clearly traced to the mystics of the Essene type. They held a hierarchy of Powers, emanations from the First Principle, and presiding over certain cosmical spheres. It was the germ of the Sephiroths of the Kabbala, and the Æons of the Gnosis. See Ewald, Gesch. d. Volkes Israel, B. 4, p. 208. This was the esoteric science, kept for the illuminati, while the people held only the Jewish angelology in its exoteric, fanciful form. Such floating seeds of error may easily have fallen into the Jewish-Christian soil of the Church. See, for a clear view of this earlier Jewish Gnosticism, Reuss, Theol. Chret., vol. 1, p. 371, et seq.—W.]

1 Timothy 6:16. Who only hath immortality. The Apostle continues to praise the excellencies of God; and here he specially sets forth that completeness, whereby in His eternal Being He is lifted above all changing things. “Ac si dixisset Paulus, solum Deum non a seipso tantum esse immortalem et suapte natura, sed immortalitatem in potestate habere, ut in creaturas non competat, nisi quatenus suam illis virtutem inspirans eas vegetat;” Calvin.—Dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto. Possessor of the light, as He is possessor of the life. Like descriptions are found in Psalms 104:2. God is clothed with light, as a garment, 1 John 1:5. God is light, &c.—Whom no man hath seen, nor can see. A description of the invisible nature of God, which includes also the idea that He is incomprehensible (comp. Joh 1:18; 1 John 4:12; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 11:27; Romans 11:33-36).—To whom be honor and power everlasting) i.e., to whom they properly belong. Some suppose that we have here, as 1 Timothy 3:16, he fragment of an ancient church-hymn.

1 Timothy 6:17. Charge them that are rich in this world. The Apostle might have fitly closed the Epistle with this doxology. But he once more turns back to the topic, which bad been interrupted by his digression (1 Timothy 6:11-16). He had named the dangers of those who would be rich; he now addresses those who are rich in worldly goods. But he at once shows the merely relative worth of their wealth, in calling it of “this world.” He does not, however, speak of the rich as having their part exclusively in this world (Luke 16:25); rather, he encourages them to Christian godliness, because their wealth, though in itself temporal, may, by a wise and reasonable use, be raised to somewhat higher. Timothy must, therefore, warn them of their peril, and charge them not to he high-minded—a peculiar vice of rich men (Jeremiah 9:24; Psalms 62:9). Pride may be found without wealth; but it is hard to have wealth without pride.—Nor trust in uncertain riches. The Apostle, in speaking not only of uncertain riches, but in substant. of the uncertainty of all riches, beautifully conveys the thought that he who trusts in them rests on that which is itself ὰδηλότης, and so is in worst peril.—But in the living God, who giveth us richly, &c. As ζῶντι is critically untenable, many of the comments here are useless; yet those of Melanchthon and Calvin deserve notice. Instead of trusting in wealth, the rich should trust in the Giver, who wills that we should enjoy His rich gifts. Εἰς�, not strictly contrasted with asceticism, but with excessive desire for earthly things. “To enjoy, not to rest our hearts on;” Wiesinger.

1 Timothy 6:18. That they do good … communicate. The Apostle does not merely warn the rich against error, but sets before them the right way which will gain the enjoyment God allows. To do good, is a general conception, like ἀγαθοποιεῖν (Acts 14:17); promoting the happiness of others.—Rich in good works; meaning not Christian beneficence merely, but good action in general. The two next words are specific: ready to distribute, willing to communicate (comp. Luke 3:11;, Ephesians 4:28). If there be any distinction here, the former may mean the generous hand, the latter the sympathetic heart; both conceptions, however, are connected, and neither of worth without the other.

1 Timothy 6:19. Laying up in store, &c., ἀποθησαυρίζοντας ἑαυτοῖς. St. Paul makes clear, that through such works of love we promote our own eternal interests. Our action toward others is a treasure for ourselves (comp. Matthew 6:21). It is obvious that spiritual treasures are meant, as a good foundation against the time to come, θεμέλιον καλὸν εἰς τὸ μέλλον. This view of a treasure as θεμέλιον is not strange in such a concise style as the Apostle here uses, evidently hastening to the close, and critical conjectures are thus superfluous. The conception is at bottom the same with that of our Lord (Luke 16:9).—That they may lay hold on the true life. Ὀντως instead of αἰωνίου (see textual note above). Ἴνα τελικῶς, not ἐκβατικῶς, is here to be understood. The attainment of a true life is thus the highest end, which the rich must seek by the wise and worthy use of his wealth. Thus he reaches the βραβεῖον, which St. Paul set before Timothy. Bengel very finely says: “Mercator, naufragis salvus, thesauros domum præmissos invenit.” [This strong expression of St. Paul seems at first glance hardly Pauline. It must not be abused into any notion of a deposit of meritorious works, as it has been by some Roman expositors. In the deepest sense, eternal life is a gift, and its only θεμέλιον the grace of God. To be charitable for the sake of gaining heaven by it, is absurdity, for the selfish motive vitiates the act. It is the same fallacy which in former days so often led the rich noble, after a life of bloodshed, to wipe out his sins by building a church. But St. Paul alike denies that empty faith which has no fruit in real charity. The love that is “rich in good works,” grows within as it gives away; and that wealth of the heart a Christian man shall “carry with him when he dieth,” for it is of the very being of the sow.—W.]

1 Timothy 6:20. O Timothy, keep that, &c. Once more the Apostle sums the whole Epistle in one heartfelt, closing injunction. O Timothy, he says out of the fulness of his fatherly heart, keep that committed to thy trust, τὴν παρακαταθήκην φύλαξον (comp. 2 Timothy 1:12). As there is no exact statement here, there is room for many conjectures, and there have been enough, older and newer. It seems obvious, from the occurrence of παρακαταθήκη at the close, that something general and of high value is meant; it may be the sound doctrine, it may be the ministerial office, or both together. The former view seems preferable, since φύλασσειν is better referred to the treasure of the word, than of the διακονία; and yet more there seems to be, in what directly follows, an antithesis between sound doctrine and error. Παραθήκη as well as παρακαταθήκη in the Greek signifies the deposit of anything with a person, who holds himself bound to return it uninjured; and hence the word is applied to the thing, the depositum itself.—Avoiding, &c.; denoting the way in which Timothy should keep this trust.—Profane and vain babblings (comp. 2 Timothy 2:16). Nothing is here meant beyond the ματαιολογία and λογομαχία, whose worthlessness St. Paul has already shown; the error of the heretical teachers, here anew branded as at bottom empty negation. He adds a yet further feature: oppositions of science falsely so called; i.e., unworthy of so good a name. The errors are called ἀντιθέσεις, not only because they were utterly opposed in themselves to pure gospel doctrine, but brought forward in a direct polemic way against it. For other explanations, see Be Wette. Conybeare and Howson well say in loco: “The most natural interpretation (considering the junction with κενοφωνίας and the λογομαχίας ascribed to the heretics above, 1 Timothy 6:4) is to suppose that St. Paul here speaks not of the doctrines, but of the dialectical and rhetorical arts of the false teachers.” These antitheses were the fruit of the falsely so-called science. It is acknowledged that the errorists already in that time boasted of a higher knowledge in the mysteries (Colossians 2:8). But St. Paul, at the close, explains how this γνῶσις was the direct enemy of the πίστις, the principle of faith in the truth.

[This expression at the close deserves far more study than most expositors give it. It clearly shows that these false theories not only existed in a sporadic way, but had already assumed the defined form, and even the name of a Gnosis. No explanation of the ἀντιθέσεις is satisfactory, from our almost entire ignorance of the methods of that early school. Perhaps some earlier Marcion had brought forward his views in the shape of an antilogy to the received teaching. But, in any case, St. Paul recognized the distinct chasm between a Christian truth and a false science. The one was a theosophy, the other a living spiritual fact. The one turned Christianity into a Rabbinical school, with its doctrine of divine emanations and the dualism of an evil material principle; the other taught the plain revelation of God in the incarnate Son. The one held the union of the soul with the divine by a rigid asceticism, or a spiritual ecstasy; the other knit Christian growth with the ties of household and social life. The one gave an esoteric knowledge for the few initiated; the other a religion of duty for all men. We cannot read this Epistle, and that to the Colossians, without clearly seeing the seed-vessels of all, which ripened in Marcion and Valentinus.—W.]

1 Timothy 6:21. Which some professing, &c. The worst peril of a Christian man is surely in losing the straight road of the gospel and straying into the byway. It had been so with many so-called wise, whose hapless end should be a warning to Timothy. Which some professing, ἥν τιενς ἐπαγγελλόμενοι; quam nonnulli profitentes, quite as in 1 Timothy 2:10. They professedly sought salvation in their knowledge, and in this very way have erred concerning the faith, ἠστόχησαν (comp. 2 Timothy 2:18). Bengel: “Veram sagacitatem, quæ fidei est, amiserunt, non capientes quid sit credendum et quid sit credere” (comp. 2 Timothy 3:7-8).—Grace be with thee. Amen. Μετὰ σοῦ; according to A. F. G., ὑμῶν should be read, in which case the church would be included, so far as it had any knowledge of the Epistle. As, however, it is addressed specially to Timothy, no more salutations are added. In the Second Epistle it is otherwise, since it was, in a measure, the farewell of the Apostle to the church, and to life.


1. The illustration, drawn from the ancient athletic contests, sketches most strikingly the character, the calling, the dangers, and high hopes of the Christian life. It is not strange that it has been a favorite figure of believers in all times, as well as of Paul. But it sets before us likewise the object of the minister of the gospel, who is called to be a witness of the Lord. His life is a combat, but a combat which assures him, if he be faithful to the end, of the heavenly crown.

2. The remembrance of the solemn profession made by the Christian on entering the church, must indeed inspire in him a true and steadfast zeal. We also, as well as Timothy, have, in our union with Christ and His Body, confessed before many witnesses—ministry, teachers, friends, the whole visible and invisible Church—nay, before the Lord and His angels. This confession is, then, more than an outward show; it is to be confirmed by our life. Next to the thought of the Lord’s coming (Matthew 10:32-33), this of our good confession has the strongest influence on our fidelity. (Compare the view of the nature and importance of confirmation, by Nitzsch, “Pract. Theol.,” vol. ii., p. 436).

3. Shallow and unsatisfying as the rationalistic view is of our Lord’s suffering and death, as only the confirmation of His teaching and the bestowal of a high example, yet it would be as one-sided if we forget that He was the first, noblest witness of the truth. It is to be noted, that martyrs and witnesses (μάρτυρες) are the same word.

4. The doctrine of the invisible being of God, rightly understood, is a needful safeguard against all anthropomorphism and anthropopathism (comp. Exodus 33:18; Exodus 33:23). Whatever in this truth of the unseen Jehovah was hard for Israel, is done away for us Christians, who have seen the Father in the Son (comp. John 1:18; John 14:9).

5. The name here ascribed to God—King of kings and Lord of lords—is the same given (Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16) to the glorified Saviour; a clear proof of the divinity of the Son.

6. Christianity does not forbid the use of riches, and assigns no other limits to the lawful enjoyments of life than what reason and conscience approve. But it warns the rich of his special perils, and strives to make earthly wealth the means of growth in the heavenly. The story of the rich young man (Matthew 19:16-21) is a weighty illustration of St. Paul’s precept.

7. The relation of πίστις to γνῶσις has been always an essential question. The credo quia absurdum and the quæro intelligere, ut credam, are alike one-sided. The true position is given in the credo, ut intelligam. Man must rise through faith to knowledge, and again pass through knowledge to a growing faith. The true connection is nobly pointed out by St. John (1 John 5:13): “These things have I written unto you that believe in the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe in the name of the Son of God.” Irrational as it is to scorn knowledge in the name of faith, it is as fruitless to recognize nothing as the object of πίστις, which has not been first reached by γνῶσις. The credo, quamquam absurdum, finally, is truer than the non credo, quia absurdum. The γνῶσις may develop the truths of faith, but can in no way take the place of faith.

[St. Augustin: Reason should not submit, unless it decides for itself that there are occasions when it ought to submit. Its very submission is then reasonable.

Pascal, Penseés: Nothing is so rational, as the disavowal of reason in what is of faith. And nothing is so contrary to reason, as the disavowal of reason in what is not of faith. Both extremes are alike dangerous: the exclusion of reason, and the admission of reason alone.—W.]

9. “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 semet ipsa una quæque 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 ac sæculorum gradibus intelligentia, scientia, sapientia, sed in suo dumtaxat genere, in eodem scilicet dogmati, eodem sensu eademque sententia. Imitetur animarum religio rationem corporum, quæ licet annorum processu numeros suos evolvant et explicant, eadem tamen quæ erant, permanent;” Vincent. Lirin., Commonitorium, chap. 28.


The minister of the gospel a man of God: (1) His inferiority to, (2) his equality with, (3) his rank above the prophets of the Old Covenant—Not enough to escape error; we must also excel in godliness.

1 Timothy 6:12 (specially fitted for confirmation): The combat of the Christian life: (1) The life of the Christian a fight; (2) a good fight; (3) a fight of faith; (4) a fight whose prize is life eternal; (5) a fight inspired by the remembrance of our good confession.—Jesus before Pilate, the archetype of a confessor of the truth.—How the thought of the Lord’s advent should fill us with steadfastness.—Although the time of Christ’s coming be wisely hid from us, yet it is exactly fixed in the counsels of God.—God, who only hath immortality: (1) The sublimity; (2) the comfort of this truth.—Dangers, duties, blessings of wealth.—The illusion of worldly, and the sure hope of heavenly riches.—How may wealth be a hindrance, how a help to eternal life?—The wealth of God: (1) He gives all things; (2) He gives richly; (3) He gives for us to enjoy.—The unity of faith and knowledge in Christianity.—The true and false illumination.—Christian faith also true wisdom (comp. Luke 10:21).

Starke: Anton: There is much to endure in the office of the Christian teacher, but eternity lies beyond. If we look thither, we shall not weary of the combat (1 Peter 5:4; 2 Corinthians 4:14; 2 Corinthians 4:16).—Hedinger: Knowing and professing [Erkennen u. bekennen] should not be separated (Romans 10:9.).—Anton: There is no higher comfort than in looking to Christ. Nothing can befall us in the work of the ministry which has not a response from Christ (Hebrews 12:2).—It is a well-tried Christian habit, to strengthen ourselves through the sufferings of Christ—As God is King of kings and Lord of lords, we must never obey the kings and lords of this world when they claim what is against God’s law (Acts 5:29).—Cramer: God hath still as much to give as He hath given. The earth is His, and all that therein is (Psalms 24:1).—Starke: God gives many wealth, that He may try partly their gratitude to Him, partly their kindness to the needy (Exodus 16:4)—He who helps the poor, gives God his money on interest, and gains more than he lays out (Proverbs 19:17).—The gospel is a wealth entrusted us by God; therefore must we care, like all who hold trust funds, not to lose this treasure (Revelation 3:10-11).—Osiander: The highest science is, to know, to simply believe, and freely obey God’s word (Luke 8:16).

Heubner: The remembrance of past battles strengthens for the new.—We should never fall behind ourselves.—The sottishness of the proud is trust in wealth.—Good works are a heavenly capital, yielding an overflowing profit.—The notes of the true knowledge (see James 3:17).

Von Gerlach: “Whoso builds on the changeable, must needs be lost; whoso builds on the immortal, changeless God, lives in His life, His wealth, and shall share His eternity.”

Lisco: The Christian life (1) strives after perfection (1 Timothy 6:11); (2) fights against sin (1 Timothy 6:12); (4) endures till the life of glory (1 Timothy 6:13-14).—Counsel: (1) for the worldly rich; (2) the mentally rich, who overvalue knowledge.—Nitzsch (1 Timothy 6:12; 1 Timothy 6:15): How right and needful that we make a good confession to the best of Confessors (Sermon V., p. 138).—Beck: The high calling of the man of God: (1) To what; (2) for what.—Fischer: The characteristics of the Christian life.


1 Timothy 6:11; 1 Timothy 6:11.—[Lachmann omits the article before Θεοῦ; so also the Sinaiticus. In the same verse, πραϋπαθίαν is to be preferred to the common reading, πραότητα.—E. H.]

1 Timothy 6:12; 1 Timothy 6:12.—καὶ after εἰς ἣν omitted by the modem authorities; see Tischendorf. [Not in the Sinaiticus.—E. H.]

1 Timothy 6:13; 1 Timothy 6:13.—[Tischendorf and Lachmann, after A. D. G., read ζωογονοῦντος. Sinaiticus has, like the Recepta, ζωοποιοῦντος. Etymologically, of course, the words differ, but there is not much difference in the sense in this place.—E. H.]

1 Timothy 6:16; 1 Timothy 6:16.—[I suggest the following translation of 1 Timothy 6:15-16 : Which in his own times the blessed and sole sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, (who) is dwelling in light inaccessible, whom no man (or, none amongst men) hath seen, or can see, shall shew. To whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.—E. H.]

1 Timothy 6:17; 1 Timothy 6:17.—Instead of the usual ἐν τῷ νῦν αἰῶνι, the Sinaiticus has καιρῷ.

1 Timothy 6:17; 1 Timothy 6:17.—This adjective is wanting in A. G., and others, and is omitted by Tischendorf. In D., and in the Sinaiticus, the article is wanting. [The Sinaiticus has ἐπί θεῷ; Lachmann, ἐπὶ τῷ Θεῷ. Tischendorf retains ἐν.—E. H.]

1 Timothy 6:19; 1 Timothy 6:19.—Instead of αἰωνίου, we should read, with A. D.1 E. F. G., the Sinaiticus, and others, ὅντως. So Griesbach, in this place.

1 Timothy 6:21; 1 Timothy 6:21.—Probably spurious.

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 6". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/1-timothy-6.html. 1857-84.
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