1 TIMOTHY CHAPTER 6
1 Timothy 6:1,2 The duty of servants.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 Those who teach not according to the apostle’s doctrine
are to be avoided, as corrupters of Christianity.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 The gain of godliness with content.
1 Timothy 6:9,10 The evil of covetousness.
1 Timothy 6:11-16 What Timothy is to flee, and what to follow and perform.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 A charge to the rich not to be proud and confident in
their riches, but to be beneficent and liberal.
1 Timothy 6:20,21 Timothy is enjoined to adhere to the true faith, and
to shun profane and vain controversies.
Let as many servants as are under the yoke; under the yoke of servitude, not being manumised, or made free.
Count their own masters worthy of all honour; abundant honour: let Christian servants give their masters, instead of less, double the honour which pagan servants do. That the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed; for the credit of the gospel, and for the honour of God; that none may say that religion teacheth servants any disobedience, or breaketh the bands of civil relations: but on the contrary, that it obligeth professors to a more faithful and full discharge of such duties, servants to be the best of servants, &c.
Some Christians were servants to Jews or pagans, who both came under the gospel notion of believers; as to these the apostle had given directions in 1 Timothy 6:1. Others served masters and mistresses that were Christians. The apostle, not ignorant of Satan’s devices, foresaw that the former would be under a temptation to neglect and despise their masters or mistresses, because they were idolaters, or of a false religion, enemies to the gospel; and the latter under a temptation not to be so diligent and serviceable as they should be, because their governors in a spiritual sense were their equals, their brethren and sisters. The apostle here declares, that the rules of the gospel neither allow the one nor the other: as to the former he had spoken; nor, saith he, let those that have masters or mistresses that are Christians
despise them, by which he means, not be equally obedient or serviceable to them, because there is a spiritual equality or relation between them.
But rather do them service, looking upon this as a further obligation upon them.
Because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit; because they are believers, such as love our common Lord, and are beloved of him, and such as all good Christians ought to love, being partakers of the gift of God, Christ Jesus, and the great benefit of redemption through his blood.
These things teach and exhort; and he willeth Timothy to teach the Christians at Ephesus, that this was the will of God, and accordingly to call upon them for an obedience to it.
If any man teach otherwise; if there be any person who either more publicly or more privately shall take upon him to instruct people otherwise.
And consent not to wholesome words: what he means by wholesome words his next words show; they are called wholesome because they tend to prevent the sickness of sin, or to cure the soul of its spiritual distempers.
Even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; words either spoken by Christ, or from Christ, or tending to his honour and glory, or to the promoting of piety and godliness, or which are according to the rule of godliness.
He is proud; tetufwtai, he is swelled or blown up, i.e. with pride swelling in opinion and conceit of himself, he is a fanatic.
Knowing nothing solidly and truly,
but doting about questions and strifes of words; is brain sick about questions of no use, but to make a contention about words.
Whereof cometh envy; when he once comes to perceive that others are wiser than he.
Strife; for an ignorant person, if proud, can never yield that another knows more than he doth.
Railings are commonly the revenges of ignorant sciolists, that would be thought something and are nothing; when they perceive they are outdone by others, then they rail.
Evil surmisings, uponoiai when they can in truth say no evil of others, they will uncharitably surmise and suspect evil of them.
Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth; paradiatribai, mutual tearings, and gallings of or interferings with one another. The word is applied to horses knocking one foot against another. The word without the preposition para signifies school conflicts by disputations; the preposition added makes it to signify, in an evil sense, disputations of sophisters, not candid for the finding out of truth, but perverse and litigious merely for masteries; which he saith proceeds from men corrupted as to their understanding and judgment.
Supposing that gain is godliness; all whose religion is gain of riches or reputation.
From such withdraw thyself; with such men have nothing to do, avoid them in thy private converse, and cast them out of the church if their faults be public scandals, and they be contumacious.
Godliness, the exercise of a true faith in Christ, conjoined with a holy life, is a good revenue of itself, having in it autarkeiav, a self-sufficiency. He doth not here suppose that godliness can be separated from a contented frame of spirit with that lot which God hath chosen for us, for that cannot be; but as being always attended with a contentation of mind, in which alone lieth true riches, for such men never want enough.
A good man, Solomon saith, is satisfied from himself, Proverbs 14:14; for which reason alone godliness is porismov megav, a great annual revenue.
This agreeth with Job 1:21, and with experience, and is a potent argument against immoderate desires of having much of this world’s goods, or using extravagant actions to obtain them; for when we have got all we can, we have got but a viaticum, something to serve us in our journey, which we must leave when we die, and whether to a wise man or a fool none knoweth, Ecclesiastes 2:19.
If therefore God gives us any thing more than is necessary for us, let us take it thankfully, and use it for God’s glory; but if we have no more than is just necessary for us, let us not repine, or murmur, but be content, without murmuring against God, or using any undue means, out of an inordinate desire to get more.
But; or, for.
They that will be rich; they who, out of a covetous and immoderate desire of being rich in this world’s goods, will use any arts, and do any unlawful thing, without any just regard to the law of God.
Fall into temptation and a snare; fall into many temptations and snares, are exposed to impetuous inclinations and motions to that which is evil, and may and will be snares to their souls.
And into many foolish and hurtful lusts; kindling in them many foolish and pernicious desires, contrary to the law of God.
Which drown men in destruction and perdition; have a direct tendency to the eternal ruin of their souls, not to be prevented but by the force and powerful grace of God.
For the love of money is the root of all evil; money itself is not evil, but the immoderate love of it, whether discerned in an over eager desire after it, or an excessive delight in it, is the cause of much evil, both of sin and punishment.
Which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith; which money while some too greedily thirsted after, (for though the article be feminine and cannot grammatically agree with arguoion, which is neuter, yet that doth agree with it as to the sense, being understood in filorguria, with which the subjunctive article grammatically agreeth),
they have erred, or been seduced, from the faith, that is, the doctrine of the gospel, or profession of Christianity.
And pierced themselves through with many sorrows; and exposed themselves to a great many sorrows, which have pierccd their very souls, such as cares, troubles for the loss of their estates, &c.
O man of God; that is, O thou minister of God, whose service is not the service of the world. It is a compellation borrowed from the Old Testament, where we find it often applied to such whose work was to reveal the Divine will, 2 Kings 1:9 4:40,42. By giving Timothy this compellation, he mindeth him how much he was concerned to contemn the world.
Flee these things; flee this eager pursuit of riches.
And follow after righteousness; and follow after justice, or the business of a righteous life, in thy conversation with men.
Godliness; piety toward God.
Faith; the exercise and life of faith.
Love; love to God and thy neighbour.
Patience; a quiet bearing of injuries.
Meekness; a gentleness of spirit, opposed to all rash anger.
The fight of faith is our encountering that opposition which we meet with from the world, the flesh, or the devil, for a strenuous defending the doctrine of faith, or making it good by a life suitable to the rule of faith. This is called a
good fight, either in opposition to the bad fights of the men of the world in maintenance of their lusts, or the ludicrous fights usual in their public games, or of the intrinsic nobleness and exercise of it, or the good event or issue of it; and Timothy is bid to fight it, by a metaphor either drawn from soldiers, or such as excrcise themselves in their games.
Lay hold on eternal life; by eternal life is meant a right and title to it, which he calls to him to lay hold on, as is thought, by a metaphor from those that were exercised in their games, and did what they could first to lay hold of the prize proposed to conquerors.
Whereunto thou art also called; to which eternal life, or rather to which good fight, thou art called, both by the internal call of God’s Spirit, and by thy more external call to the ministry.
And hast professed a good profession before many witnesses; and to which thou hast obliged thyself by covenant or promise, made either in thy baptism, or when thou wert set apart to thy ministry, or of which thou hast given a pledge, by thy profession and practice, in the sight of the Christians in Ephesus.
The apostle’s care of the church showeth itself in these severe charges laid upon Timothy; though one whom he knew to be a faithful minister, he chargeth him, calling God to witness that he had fulfilled his part in laying this charge upon him. The name he here giveth unto God may possibly have a particular reference to the state of the gospel at that time, the doctrine and profession of which had many enemies, and so it is made use of here to comfort and encourage Timothy. God is called he
who quickeneth the dead, Romans 4:17; here, he
who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; he proposeth the example of Christ to Timothy, as being the Head of those that witness a good confession.
The charge is, that he faithfully perform all the duties belonging to him as a Christian and a minister, commissioned from God, in the whole course of his life, that he may not be liable to a just accusation for the neglect of any part of his office. This is enforced by the consideration of the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ, that is, in the day of judgment, as the following words make evident. Yet the apostle seems to speak of it, as if Timothy should continue in his ministry till that appearance. But it is manifest by his cautionlug the Thessalonians against that false conceit, 2 Thessalonians 2:2,3, that the apostle knew the contrary; for he assures them that that day should not come till many great things enumerated by him should be accomplished. The meaning therefore of the words
until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the same with our Saviour’s command to the angel of the church of Smyrna: Be thou faithful unto death, Revelation 2:10: for the whole flux of time from the death of any person till the day of judgment makes no alteration in his life; and consequently, whoever is faithful unto the death is so till the appearing of Christ. And there is no motive more powerful to a zealous and faithful discharge of our duty, no excitation more rousing from the security and carelessness of the flesh, than the serious believing consideration of the glorious reward to be dispersed by our Saviour to his faithful servants in that day, and the dreadful condemnation that shall pass upon those who have been careless and negligent in the sacred ministry.
Which in his times he shall show; on Which Christ coming the second time, God in his time, his proper seasons, (so it is in the Greek), will show. Or: Which appearing of our Lord Jesus God in his time will show; for some Greek copies read the article in the feminine termination, to distinguish the order of the Trinity’s working; as the first coming of Christ is made to be from the Father’s sending, so is also the second coming.
Who is the blessed and only Potentate: God is said to be the only Potentate, because he only hath power in and from himself, by him kings reign; and he is called the blessed Potentate, because he is the fountain of all felicity and happiness.
The King of kings, and Lord of lords; that is, the most mighty King and Lord, to whom all other princes are subjects, all other lords are vassals, Revelation 17:14 19:16. These terms seem here to be applied to the Father, though they agree also to the Son and the Spirit. They are applied to Christ, Revelation 17:14 19:16.
Who only hath immortality; of himself; our souls and angels are immortal from the gift of God: or immortality signifies here the same with eternity, or immutability.
Dwelling in the light; continually encompassed with a glory that is unspeakable, 1 John 1:5.
Which no man can approach unto; to which no man can in this life come nigh.
Whom no man hath seen; nor did Moses, or Stephen, or any other, ever see his glory so as to comprehend it, or in the full perfection of it.
Nor can see; nor can the sons of men see him with their bodily eyes, or so as to comprehend him in his perfection, though some have with their bodily eyes seen his back parts and appearances, and with their souls have, through his grace, been enabled spiritually to behold him.
To whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen: to which immortal, glorious, invisible God belongs, and let there for ever be given, honour and power.
Charge them that are rich in this world: those that are rich in grace, and the good things of another life, need not this charge; but there are divers at Ephesus who have great estates in goods, or houses, or lands, and but poor in gracious habits, charge them.
That they be not highminded; that their riches do not lift them up into a high conceit or opinion of themselves, which worldly riches often do.
Nor trust in uncertain riches; and that they repose no confidence in them, making them their strong city, Proverbs 10:15, as if they could secure them from evil, or make them happy.
But in the living God; but let them repose their trust in God, who hath life in himself, giveth life unto all other things, and liveth for ever.
Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; and is he who gives us all we have, though it be bought with our penny.
That they do good; that is, to others, as they have opportunity.
That they be rich in good works; be plentiful in alms-deeds, or more generally in all good works of piety or charity.
Ready to distribute; that they be not backward to distribute that of which God hath made them stewards, to those that want.
Willing to communicate; but give freely and without grudging, according to their Master’s order, as becometh those who are but stewards as to the riches which they have.
Riches in themselves are but for the present, but there is a use may be made of them for the time to come, if we employ them for the better enabling us to do what God hath commanded us to do, Matthew 6:20 Luke 12:33: those acts of obedience to the command of God for the use of our estates, though they can merit nothing, (for what proportion can there be between a few shillings and eternal life?) yet will be a good bottom for us to hope for the time to come.
That they may lay hold on eternal life; that God will give us an eternal happiness, not as a reward of debt, but of free grace.
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust; either the doctrine of the gospel, which ministers ought to keep pure, and without mixture, or the ministerial office; be true and faithful in the discharge of it, preaching Christ and the doctrine of Christ.
Avoiding profane and vain babblings; avoid all impertinent discoursings under the notion of preaching, which in thy discharge of that work are the best of them but profane babblings.
And oppositions of science falsely so called; avoid also all idle speculations, and disputations, no way serving to the end of preaching, and falsely called science.
Which some professing have erred concerning the faith; which kind of science, some pretending and boasting of, studying to show themselves learned and subtle men, they have been led into errors in Christianity, apostatizing from the doctrine of faith.
Grace be with thee; viz. the grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, mentioned 2 Timothy 1:2.
(The first to Timothy was written from Laodicea, which is the chiefest city of Phrygia Pacatiana.)
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Timothy 6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
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