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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 6

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Verses 1-21


1 Timothy 6:1

Are servants for servants as are, A.V.; the doctrine for his doctrine, A.V. Servants; literally, slaves. That slaves formed a considerable portion of the first Christian Churches may be inferred from the frequency with which their duties are pressed upon them (see 1 Corinthians 7:21-22; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:11, Colossians 3:22; 1 Peter 2:18 (οἱ οἰκέται); see also 1 Corinthians 1:27-29). It must have been an unspeakable comfort to the poor slave, whose worldly condition was hopeless and often miserable, to secure his place as one of Christ's freemen, with the sure hope of attaining "the glorious liberty of the children of God." Under the yoke; i.e. "the yoke of bondage" (Galatians 5:1). Perhaps the phrase contains a touch of compassion for their state (comp. Acts 15:10). How beautiful is the contrast suggested in Matthew 11:29, Matthew 11:30! Masters (δεσπότας); the proper word in relation to δοῦλος. The doctrine (ἡ διδασκαλία); equivalent to "Christianity," as taught by the apostles and their successors (see the frequent use of the word in the pastoral Epistles, though with different shades of meaning (1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 4:6, 1 Timothy 4:13, 1Ti 4:16; 1 Timothy 5:17; 2 Timothy 3:10; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:10, etc.). Blasphemed (compare the similar passage, Titus 2:5, where ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ answers to ἡ διδασκαλία here). Βλασφημεῖν does not necessarily mean "blaspheme" in its restricted sense, but as often means "to speak evil of," "to defame," and the like. If Christian slaves withheld the honor and respect due to their masters, it would be as sure to bring reproach upon the Christian doctrine as if it taught insubordination and rebellion.

1 Timothy 6:2

Let them serve them the rather for rather do them service, A.V.; that partake of the benefit are believing and beloved for are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit, A.V. They that have believing masters. The direction in the preceding verse applied to all slaves, though chiefly to what, as Alford says, was far the commonest ease, that of those who had unbelieving masters. But now he adds a caution with regard to the Christian slave of a Christian master. There was a danger lest the feeling that slaves and masters are brothers in Christ should unduly interfere with the respect which he owed him as his master. And so St. Paul addresses a word of special advice to such. Let them not despise them. Let not their spiritual equality with their masters lead them to underrate the worldly difference that separates them; or to think slightly of the authority of a master relatively to his slaves. But let them serve them the rather, because they that partake of the benefit are believing and beloved. There is a good deal of obscurity in this sentence, but it may be observed first that the grammatical rendering of the R.V. is clearly right, and that of the A.V. clearly wrong. "They that partake of the benefit" is beyond all doubt the subject, and not the predicate. Then the construction of the two sentences (this and the preceding one) makes it certain that the subject in this sentence (οἱ τῆς εὐεργεσίας ἀντιλαμβανόμενοι) are the same persons as the δέσποται in the preceding sentence, because it is predicated of them both that they are πιστοί, and of both that they are, in convertible terms, ἀγαπητοί and ἀδελφοί.£ And this leads us, with nearly certainty, to the further conclusion that the εὐεργεσία, the beneficium, or "benefit," spoken of is that especial service—that service of love and good will running ahead of necessary duty, which the Christian slave gives to the Christian master; a sense which the very remarkable passage quoted by Alford from Seneca strikingly confirms.£ The only remaining difficulty, then, is the meaning "partake of" ascribed to ἀντιλαμβανόμενοι But this is scarcely a difficulty. It is true that in the only two other passages in the New Testament where this verb occurs, and in its frequent use in the LXX., it has the sense of "helping" (Luke 1:54; Acts 20:35); but there is nothing strange in this. The verb in the middle voice means to "lay hold of," You may lay hold of for the purpose of helping, supporting, clinging to, laying claim to, holding in check, etc. (see Liddell and Scott). Here the masters lay hold of the benefit for the purpose of enjoying it. There is possibly an indication in the word that the masters actively and willingly accept it—they stretch out their hand to take it. There does not seem to be any sense of reciprocity, as some think, in the use of ἀντι. The sense of the whole passage seems to be clearly, "Let not those who have believing masters think slightly of their authority because they are brethren; but let them do them extra service, beyond what they are obliged to do, for the very reason that those whom they will thus benefit are believing and beloved brethren." Teach (δίδασκε). Observe the connection of this word with the ἡ διδασκαλία of 1 Timothy 6:1, 1 Timothy 6:3, and elsewhere.

1 Timothy 6:3

Teacheth for teach, A.V.; a different doctrine for otherwise, A.V.; consenteth for consent, A.V.; sound for wholesome, A.V. Teacheth a different doctrine (ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖ); see above, 1 Timothy 1:3, note. Consenteth (προσέρχεται); very common in the New Testament, in the literal sense of "coming to" or "approaching," but only here in the metaphorical sense of "assenting to." The steps seem to he, first, approaching a subject with the mind with a view of considering it; and then consenting to it—coming over to it. The term προσήλυτος, a convert to Judaism, and the phrase from Irenaeus ('Fragm.,' 2.), quoted by Ellicott, Οὐ τοῖς τῶν Ιουδαίων δόγμασι προσέρχονται, "They do not fall in with, or agree to, the doctrines of the Jews," sufficiently illustrate the usage of the word here. Sound (ὑγιαίνουσι) see 1 Timothy 1:10, note. Godliness (ἐυσεβεία); see 1 Timothy 2:2, note.

1 Timothy 6:4

Puffed up for proud, A.V.; questionings for questions, A.V.; disputes for strifes, A.V. He is puffed up (τετύφωται); see 1 Timothy 3:6, note. Doting (νοσῶν); here only in the New Testament, but found occasionally in the LXX. Applied in classical Greek to the mind and body, "to be in an unsound state." Here it means "having a morbid love of" or "going mad about." In this morbid love of questionings and disputes of words, they lose sight of all wholesome words and all godly doctrine. Questionings (ζητήσεις); see 1 Timothy 1:6, note. It corresponds nearly to our word "controversies." Disputes of words (λογομαχίας); found only here. The verb λογομαχέω is used in 2 Timothy 2:14. Would that the Church had always remembered St. Paul's pithy condemnation of unfruitful controversies about words! Surmisings (ὑπόνοιαι); only here in the -New Testament. In classical Greek it means "suspicion," or any under-thought. The verb ὑπονοέω occurs three times in the Acts—"to deem, think, or suppose." Here the "surmisings" are those uncharitable insinuations in which angry controversialists indulge towards one another.

1 Timothy 6:5

Wranglings for perverse disputings, A.V. and T.R.; corrupted in mind for of corrupt minds, A.V.; bereft for destitute, A.V.; godliness is a way of gain for gain is godliness, A.V. Wranglings (διαπαρατριβαί, R.T.; παραδιατριβαί, T.R.). The R.T. has far the largest weight of authority in its favor (Ellicott). The substantive παρατριβή in Polybius means "provocation," "collision," "friction," and the like. Hence διαπαρατριβή (which is only found here) means "continued wranglings." The substantive διατριβή (English diatribe) means, among other things, a "discussion" or "argument." The addition of πάρα gives the sense of a "perverse discussion," or "disputing." Bereft (ἀπεστερημένων). The difference between the A.V. "destitute" and the R.V. "bereft" is that the latter implies that they once had possession of the truth, but had lost it by their own fault. They had fallen away from the truth, and were twice dead. Godliness is a way of gain. The A.V., that gain is godliness, is clearly wrong, utterly confusing the subject with the predicate, and so destroying the connection between the clause and 1 Timothy 6:6. A way of gain (πορισμός); only here and in 1 Timothy 6:6 in the New Testament. but found in Wis. 13:19; 14:2; Polybius, etc. It signifies "a source of gain," "a means of malting money," or, in one word, "a trade." The same charge is brought against the heretical teachers (Titus 1:11). The cause in the A.V. and T.R., from such withdraw thyself, is not in the R.T.

1 Timothy 6:6

Godliness, etc. The apostle lakes up the sentiment which he had just condemned, and shows that in another sense it is most true. The godly man is rich indeed. For he wants nothing in this world but what God has given him, and has acquired riches which, unlike the riches of this world, he can take away with him (comp. Luke 12:33). The enumeration of his acquired treasures follows, after a parenthetical depreciation of those of the covetous man, in 1 Timothy 6:11. The thought, as so often in St. Paul, is a little intricate, and its flow checked by parenthetical side-thoughts. But it seems to be as follows: "But godliness is, in one sense, a source of great gain, and moreover brings contentment with it—contentment, I say, for since we brought nothing into the world, and can carry nothing out, we have good reason to be content with the necessaries of life, food and raiment. Indeed, those who strive for more, and pant after wealth, bring nothing but trouble upon themselves. For the love of money is the root of all evil, etc. Thou, therefore, O man of God, instead of reaching after worldly riches, procure the true wealth, and become rich in righteousness, godliness, faith," etc. (1 Timothy 6:11). The phrase, Εστι δὲ πορισμὸς μέγας ἡ εὐσεβεία μετὰ αὐταρκείας, should be construed by making the μετα couple πορισμός with αὐταρκείας, so as to express that "godliness" is both "gain" and "contentment"—not as if αὐταρκεία qualified εὐσεβεία—that would have been expressed by the collocation, ἡ μετὰ αὐταρκείας εὐσεβεία. Contentment (αὐταρκεία). The word occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in 2 Corinthians 9:8, where it is rendered, both in the R.V. and the A.V., "sufficiency." The adjective αὐτάρκης, found in Philippians 4:11 (and common in classical Greek), is rendered "content." It means "sufficient in or of itself"—needing no external aid—and is applied to persons, countries, cities, moral qualities, etc. The substantive αὐταρκεία is the condition of the person, or thing, which is αὐτάρκης.

1 Timothy 6:7

The for this, A.V.; for neither can we for and it is certain we can, A.V. and T.R.; anything for nothing, A.V. For neither, etc. The omission of δῆλον in the R.T., though justified by many of the best manuscripts, makes it difficult to construe the sentence, unless, with Buttman, we consider ὅτι as elliptical for δῆλον ὅτι, The R.V. "for neither" seems to imply that the truth, "neither can we carry anything out," is a consequence of the previous truth that "we brought nothing into the world." which is not true. The two truths are parallel, and the sentence would be perfectly clear without either δῆλον or ὅτι.

1 Timothy 6:8

But for and, A.V.; covering for raiment, A.V.; we shall be for let us be, A.V. Food (διατροφάς); here only in the New Testament, but common in the LXX., rare in classical Greek. Covering (σκεπάσματα); also a ἅπαξ λεγόμενον in the New Testament, not found in the LXX., and rare in classical Greek. The kindred words, σκέπη and σκέπας, with their derivatives, are used of the covering or shelter of clothes, or tents, or houses. St. Paul may therefore have used an uncommon word in order to comprise the two necessaries of raiment and house, though Huther thinks this "more than improbable." The use of the word "covering" in the R.V. seems designed to favor this double application. Ellicott thinks the word "probably only refers to clothing." Alford says, "Some take ' covering' of both clothing and dwelling, perhaps rightly." If one knew where St. Paul got the word σκεπάσματα from, one could form a more decided opinion as to his meaning. We shall be therewith content (ἀρκεσθήσομεθα). The proper meaning of ἀρκεῖσθαι followed by a dative is "to be content with" (Luke 3:14; Hebrews 13:5). There is probably a covert hortative force in the use of the future here.

1 Timothy 6:9

Desire to for will, A.V.; a temptation for temptation, A.V.; many for into many, A.V.; such as for which, A.V. A temptation. The reason of the insertion of the article before "temptation" in the R.V. seems to be that, as the three substantives all depend upon the one preposition εἰς, they ought all to be treated alike. But if so, the reasoning is not good, because "temptation" implies a state, not merely a single temptation. The prefixing of the article is therefore improper. It should be "temptation," as in the A.V. and in Matthew 6:13; Matthew 26:41; Luke 22:40, etc. Snare (παγίδα); as 1 Timothy 3:7, note. The concur-pence of the two words περιρασμός and παγίς show that the agency of Satan was in the writer's mind. Several good manuscripts, Fathers, and versions, add the words τοῦ διαβόλου after παγίδα (Huther). Drown (βυθίζουσι); only here and Luke 5:7 in the New Testament. Found also in 2Ma Luke 12:4, and in Polybius—"to sink," transitive. Destruction and perdition (ὔλεθρον καὶ ἀπώλειαν). The two words taken together imply utter ruin and destruction of body and soul. Ὄλεθρος, very common in classical Greek, occurs in 1Co 5:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:9, and is limited in the first passage to the destruction of the body, by the words, τῆς σαρκός. Ἀπωλεία, less common in classical Greek, is of frequent use in the New Testament, and, when applied to persons, seems to be always used (except in Acts 25:16) in the sense of "perdition" (Matthew 7:13; John 17:12; Romans 9:22; Philippians 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; Hebrews 10:39; 2 Peter 3:7; Revelation 17:3, etc.).

1 Timothy 6:10

A root for the root, A.V.; all kinds of for all, A.V.; some reaching after for while some coveted after, A.V.; have been led astray for they have erred, A.V.; have pierced for pierced, A.V. Love of money (φιλαργυρία); only here in the New Testament, but found in the LXX. and in classical Greek. The substantive φιλάργυρος is found in Luke 16:14 and 2 Timothy 3:2. A root. The root is better English. Moreover, the following πάντων τῶν κακῶν (not πόλλων κακῶν) necessitates the giving a definite sense to ῥίζα, though it has not the article; and Alford shows dearly that a word like ῥίζα, especially when placed as here in an emphatic position, does not require it. Alford also quotes a striking passage from Diog. Laert., in which he mentions a saying of the philosopher Diogenes that "the love of money (ἡ φιλαργυρία) is the metropolis, or home, πάντων τῶν κακῶν." Reaching after (ὀρεγόμενοι). It has been justly remarked that the phrase is slightly inaccurate. What some reach after is not "the love of money," but the money itself. To avoid this, Hofmann (quoted by Luther) makes ῥίζα the antecedent to ἦς, and the metaphor to be of a person turning out of his path to grasp a plant which turns out to he not desirable, but a root of bitterness. This is ingenious, but hardly to be accepted as the true interpretation. Pierced themselves through (περιέπειραν); only here in the New Testament, and rare in classical Greek. But the simple verb πείρω, to "pierce through," "transfix," applied 'especially to "spitting" meat, is very common in Homer, who also applies it metaphorically exactly as St. Paul does here, to grief or pain. ̓Οδύνησι πεπαρμένος, "pierced with pain" ('Il.,' 5:399).

1 Timothy 6:11

O man of God. The force of this address is very great. It indicates that the money-lovers just spoken of were not and could not be "men of God," whatever they might profess; and it leads with singular strength to the opposite direction in which Timothy's aspirations should point. The treasures which he must covet as "a man of God" were "righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience meekness." For the phrase, "man of God," see 2 Timothy 3:17 and 2 Peter 1:21. In the Old Testament it always applies to a prophet (Deuteronomy 33:1; Jdg 13:6; 1 Samuel 2:27; 1 Kings 12:22; 2 Kings 1:9; Jeremiah 35:4; and a great many other passages). St. Paul uses the expression with especial reference to Timothy and his holy office, and here, perhaps, in contrast with the τοὺς ἀνθρώπους mentioned in 2 Peter 1:9. Flee these things. Note the sharp contrast between "the men" of the world, who reach after, and the man of God, who avoids, φιλαργυρία. The expression, "these things," is a little loose, but seems to apply to the love of money, and the desire to be rich, with all their attendant "foolish and hurtful lusts." The man of God avoids the perdition and maul fold sorrows of the covetous, by avoiding the covetousness which is their root. Follow after (δίωκε); pursue, in direct contrast with φεύγε, flee from, avoid (see 2 Timothy 2:22). Meekness (πραΰπαθείαν). This rare word, found in Philo, but nowhere in the New Testament, is the reading of the R.T. (instead of the πρᾳότητα of the T.R.) and accepted by almost all critics on the authority of all the older manuscripts. It has no perceptible difference of meaning from πραότης, meekness or gentleness.

1 Timothy 6:12

The faith for faith, A.V.; the life eternal for eternal life, A.V.; wast for art also, A.V. and T.R.; didst confess the good confession for hast professed a good profession, A.V.; in the sight of for before, A.V. Fight the good fight. This is not quite a happy rendering. Ἀγών is the "contest" at the Olympic assembly for any of the prizes, in wrestling, chariot-racing, foot-racing, music, or what not. Ἀγωνίζεσθαι τὸν ἀγῶνα is to "carry on such a contest". The comparison is different from that in 1 Timothy 1:18, ἵνα στρατεύῃ .. τὴν καλὴν στρατείαν," That thou mayest war the good warfare." The faith. There is nothing to determine absolutely whether ἡ πίστις here means faith subjectively or "the faith" objectively, nor does it much matter. The result is the same; but the subjective sense seems the most appropriate. Lay hold, etc.; as the βραβεῖον or prize of the contest (see 1 Corinthians 9:24, 1 Corinthians 9:25). Whereunto thou wast called. So St. Paul continually (Romans 1:1, Romans 1:6, Romans 1:7; Romans 8:28, Rom 8:30; 1 Corinthians 1:29; Ephesians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; and numerous other passages). He seems here to drop the metaphor, as in the following clause. Didst confess the good confession. The connection of this phrase with the call to eternal life, and the allusion to one special occasion on which Timothy "had confessed the good confession" of his faith in Jesus Christ, seems to point clearly to his baptism (see Matthew 10:32; John 9:22; John 12:42; Hebrews 10:23). The phrase, "the good confession," seems to have been technically applied to the baptismal confession of Christ (compare the other Church sayings, 1Ti 1:15; 1 Timothy 3:1; 1Ti 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:11; Titus 3:8). In the sight of many witnesses. The whole congregation of the Church, who were witnesses of his baptism (see the rubric prefixed to the Order of "Ministration of Public Baptism" in the Book of Common Prayer).

1 Timothy 6:13

I charge thee for I give thee charge, A.V.; of for before (in italics), A.V.; the for a, A.V. I charge thee. It has been well observed that the apostle's language increases in solemnity as he approaches the end of the Epistle. This word παραγγέλλω is of frequent use in St. Paul's Epistles (1 Corinthians 7:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:11 : 2Th 3:4, 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 2 Thessalonians 3:10, 2 Thessalonians 3:12; and above, 1 Timothy 3:1-16; 1 Timothy 4:11; 1 Timothy 5:7). In the sight of God, etc. (compare the adjuration in 1 Timothy 5:21). Who quickeneth, etc. The T.R. has ζωοποιοῦντος. The R.T. has ζωογονοῦντος, with no difference of meaning. Both words are used in the LXX. as the rendering of the Pihel and Hiphil of היָתָ. As an epithet of "God," it sets before us the highest creative act of the Almighty as "the Lord, and the Giver of life;" and is equivalent to "the living God" (Matthew 26:63), "the God of the spirits of all flesh" (Numbers 16:22). The existence of "life" is the one thing which baffles the ingenuity of science in its attempts to dispense with a Creator. The good confession refers to our Lord's confession of himself as "the Christ, the Son of God," in Matthew 27:11; Luke 23:1-56. Luke 23:3; John 18:36, John 18:37, which is analogous to the baptismal confession (Acts 8:37 (T.R.); Acts 16:31; Acts 19:4, Acts 19:5). The natural word to have followed μαρτυρεῖν was μαρτυρίαν, as above ὁμολογίαν follows ὡμολόγησας; but St. Paul substitutes the word of cognate meaning, ὁμολογίαν, in order to keep the formula, ἥ καλὴ ὁμολογία.

1 Timothy 6:14

The for this, A.V. without reproach for unrebukable, A.V. The commandment (τὴν ἐντολὴν). The phrase is peculiar, and must have some special meaning. Perhaps, as Bishop Wordsworth expounds it, "the commandment" is that law of faith and duty to which Timothy vowed obedience at his baptism, and is parallel to "the good confession." Some think that the command given in 1 Timothy 6:11, 1 Timothy 6:12 is referred to; and this is the meaning of the A.V. "this." Without spot, without reproach. There is a difference of opinion among commentators, whether these two adjectives (ἄσπιλον ἀνέπιληπτον) belong to the commandment or to the person, i.e. Timothy. The introduction of σέ after τηρῆσαι; the facts that τηρῆσαι τὰς ἐντόλας, without any addition, means "to keep the commandments," and that in the New Testament, ἄσπιλος and ἀνέπιληπτος always are used of persons, not things (Jas 1:27; 1 Peter 1:19; 2 Peter 3:14; 1 Timothy 3:2, 1 Timothy 5:7); and the consideration that the idea of the person being found blameless in, or kept blameless unto, the coming of Christ. is a frequent one in the Epistles (Jude 1:24; 2 Peter 3:14; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Col 1:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:23),—seem to point strongly, if not conclusively, to the adjectives ἄσπιλον and ἀνεπίληπτον here agreeing with σέ, not with ἐντολήν.£ The appearing (τὴν ἐπιφανείαν). The thought of the second advent of the Lord Jesus, always prominent in the mind of St. Paul (1Co 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:8; 1Co 4:5; 1 Corinthians 15:23; Colossians 3:4; 1Th 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-18.!5; 2 Thessalonians 1:9, etc.), seems to have acquired fresh intensity amidst the troubles and dangers of the closing years of his life, both as an object of hope and as a motive of action (2Ti 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:12; 2Ti 4:1, 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13).

1 Timothy 6:15

Its own for his, A.V. This correction seems to be manifestly right. The same phrase is rendered in 1 Timothy 2:6 and Titus 1:3 "in due time," in the A.V.; but in the R.Titus 2:6 is "its own times," and in Titus 1:3 "his own seasons. In Galatians 6:9 καίρῳ ἰδίῳ is also rendered "in due season," in both the A.V. and the R.V. Such a phrase as ἐν καιροῖς ἰδίοις must be taken everywhere in the same sense. It clearly means at the fitting or proper time, and corresponds to the πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου, "the fullness of time," in Galatians 4:4. The two ideas are combined in Luke 1:20 (πληρωθήσονται εἰς τὸν καιρὸν αὐτῶν) and Luke 21:24 (comp. Ephesians 1:10). Shall show (δείξει). Δεικνύειν ἐπιφανείαν, "to show an appearing," is a somewhat unusual phrase, and is more classical than scriptural. The verb and the object are not of cognate sense (as "to display a display," or "to manifest a manifestation"), but the invisible God, God the Father, will, it is said, display the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ. The wonder displayed and manifested to the world is the appearing of Christ in his glory. The Author of that manifestation is God. The blessed; ὁ μακάριος, is only here and in 1 Timothy 1:11 (where see note) applied to God in Scripture. The blessed and only Potentate. The phrase is a remarkable one. Δυνάστης (Potentate), which is only found elsewhere in the New Testament in Luke 1:52 and Acts 8:27, is applied to God here only. It is, however, so applied in 2Ma Acts 3:24; Acts 12:15; Acts 15:23, where we have Πάσης ἐξουσιας δυνάστης Γόν μέγαν τοῦ κόσμου δυνάστην, and Δυνάστα τῶν οὐρανῶν; in all which places, as here, the phrase is used to signify, by way of contrast, the superiority of the power of God over all earthly power. In the first of the above-cited passages the language is singularly like that here used by St. Paul. For it is said that ὁ πάσης ἐξουσίας δυνάστης, "the Prince (or Potentate) of all power made a great apparition," or "appearing" (ἐπιφονείαν μεγάλην ἐποίησεν), for the overthrow of the blasphemer and persecutor Heliodorus. St. Paul must have had this in his mind, and compared the effect of "the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ," in overthrowing the Neros of the earth with the overthrow of Heliodorus. King of kings, and Lord of lords, etc. (compare the slightly different phrase in Roy. Acts 17:14 and Acts 19:16, applied to the Son). So in Psalms 136:2, Psalms 136:3, God is spoken of as "God of gods, and Lord of lords."

1 Timothy 6:16

Light unapproachable for the light which no man can approach unto, A.V.; eternal for everlasting, A.V. Unapproachable (ἀπρόσιτον); only here in the New Testament, but found occasionally in. the later classics, corresponding to the more common ἄβατος. Whom no man hath seen, nor can see and Exodus 33:20-23). The appearance of the "God of Israel" to Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, related in Exodus 34:9-11, was that of the Son in anticipation of the Incarnation. The invisibility of the essential Godhead is also predicated in our Lord's saying, "God is a Spirit" (John 4:24). This whole passage is a magnificent embodiment of the attributes of the living God, supreme blessedness and almighty power, universal dominion, and unchangeable being, inscrutable majesty, radiant holiness, anti glory inaccessible and unapproachable by his creatures, save through the mediation of his only begotten Son.

1 Timothy 6:17

This present for this, A.V.; have their hope set on the uncertainty of for trust in uncertain, A.V.; on God for in the living God, A.V. and T.R. Charge (παράγγελλε); as in 1 Timothy 1:3; 1Ti 4:11; 1 Timothy 5:7; and in 1 Timothy 5:13, and elsewhere frequently. Rich in this present world. Had St. Paul in his mind the parable of Dives and Lazarus (comp. Luke 16:19, Luke 16:25)? That they be not high-minded (μὴ ὑψηλοφρονεῖν); elsewhere only in Romans 11:20. The words compounded with ὑψηλός have mostly a bad sense—"haughtiness," "boastfulness," and the like. The uncertainty (ἀδηλότητι); here only in the New Testament, but used in the same sense in Polybius (see ἄδηλος in 1 Corinthians 14:8; and ἀδήλως in 1 Corinthians 9:6). The A.V., though less literal, expresses the sense much better than the R.V., which is hardly good English. Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; for enjoyment. The gifts are God's. Trust, therefore, in the Giver, not in the gift. The gift is uncertain; the Giver liveth forever. (For the sentiment that God is the Giver of all good, comp. James 1:17; Psalms 104:28; Psalms 145:16, etc.)

1 Timothy 6:18

That they be ready for ready, A.V. Do good (ἀγαθοεργεῖν; here only, for the more common ἀγαθοποιεῖν). That they be rich in good works (1 Timothy 5:10, note); not merely in the perishing riches of this present world—the same sentiment as Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:33 and Luke 12:21. Ready to distribute (εὐμεταδότους); here only in the New Testament, and rarely in later classical Greek. The opposite, "dose-handed," is δυσμετάδοτος The verb μεταδίδωμι means "to give to others a share or portion of what one has" (Luke 3:11; Romans 1:11; Romans 12:8; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 2:8). Willing to communicate (κοινωνίκους); here only in the New Testament, but found in classical Greek in a slightly different sense. "Communicative" is the exact equivalent, though in this wider use it is obsolete. We have the same precept in Hebrews 13:16, "To do good and to communicate forget not." (For κοινωνεῖν in the sense of "giving," see Romans 12:13; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:15; and for κοινωνία in the same sense, see Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 9:13; Hebrews 13:16.)

1 Timothy 6:19

The life which is life indeed for eternal life, A.V. and T.R. Laying up in store (ἀποθησαυρίζοντες); only here in the New Testament, but once in Wis. 3:3, and occasionally in classical Greek. A good foundation (θεμέλιον καλόν). The idea of a foundation is always maintained in the use of θεμέλιος, whether it is used literally or figuratively (Luke 11:48; Ephesians 2:20; Revelation 21:14, etc.). There is, at first sight, a manifest confusion of metaphors in the phrase, "laying up in store a foundation." Bishop Ellicott, following Wiesinger, understands "a wealth of good works as a foundation." Alford sees no difficulty in considering the "foundation" us a treasure. Others have conjectured κειμήλιον, "a stored treasure," for θεμέλιον. Others understand θεμέλιον in the sense of θέμα, a deposit. Others take ἀποθησαυρίζειν in the sense of "acquiring," without reference to its etymology. But this is unlikely, the context being about the use of money, though in part favored by the use of θησαυρίζειν in 2 Peter 3:7. The reader must choose for himself either to adopt one of the above explanations, or to credit St. Paul with an unimportant confusion of metaphors. Anyhow, the doctrine is clear that wealth spent for God and his Church is repaid with interest, and becomes an abiding treasure. Life indeed (τῆς ὄντως ζωῆς); so 1 Timothy 5:3, 1 Timothy 5:5, τὰς ὅντως χήρας ἡ ὄντως χήρα, "widows indeed;" and (John 8:36) ὄντως ἐλεύθεροι, "free indeed," in opposition to the freedom which the Jews claimed as the seed of Abraham.

1 Timothy 6:20

Guard for keep, A.V.; unto thee for to thy trust, A.V.; turning away from for avoiding, A.V.; the profane for profane and vain, A.V.; the knowledge which is falsely for science, falsely, A.V. Guard that which is committed unto thee; τὴν παραθήκην (παρακαταθήκην, T.R.). Guard for keep is hardly an improvement. The meaning of "keep," like that of φυλάττω, is to guard, keep watch over, and, by so doing, to preserve safe and uninjured. This meaning is well brought out in the familiar words of Psalms 121:1-8., "He that keepeth thee will not slumber.... He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord himself is thy Keeper" (so too Psalms 127:1; Genesis 28:15, etc.). Παραθήκη or παρακαταθήκη, occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in 2 Timothy 1:12, 2 Timothy 1:14, where the apostle uses it (in 2 Timothy 1:12) of his own soul, which he has committed to the safe and faithful keeping of the Lord Jesus Christ; but in 2 Timothy 1:14 in the same sense as here. "That good thing which was committed unto thee guard ['keep,' A.V.]." There does not seem to be any difference between παραθήκη and παρακαταθήκη, which both mean "a deposit," and are used indifferently in classical Greek, though the latter is the more common. The precept to Timothy here is to keep diligent and watchful guard over the faith committed to his trust; to preserve it unaltered and uncorrupt, so as to hand it down to his successors exactly the same as he had received it. Oh that the successors of the apostles had always kept this precept (see Ordination of Priests)! Turning away from (ἐκτρεπόμενος); only here in the middle voice, "turning from," "avoiding," with a transitive sense. In the passive voice it means "to turn out of the path," as in 1 Timothy 1:6; 1 Timothy 5:15; 2 Timothy 4:4. The profane babblings (see 1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 2:16); κενοφωνία; only here and 2 Timothy 2:16, "the utterance of empty words," "words of the lips" (2 Kings 18:20). Oppositions (ἀντιθέσεις); here only in the New Testament. It is a term used in logic and in rhetoric by Plato, Aristotle, etc., for "oppositions" and "antitheses," laying one doctrine by the side of another for comparison, or contrast, or refutation. It seems to allude to the particular method used by the heretics to establish their tenets, in opposition to the statements of the Church on particular points—such as the Law, the Resurrection, etc. The knowledge which is falsely so called. There is a very similar intimation of the growth of an empty philosophy, whose teaching was antagonistic to the teaching of Christ in Colossians 2:8, and with which St. Paul contrasts the true γνώσις in Colossians 2:3. This was clearly the germ (called by Bishop Lightfoot "Gnostic Judaism") of what was later more fully developed as the Gnostic heresy, which, of course, derived its name from γνῶσις, knowledge or science, to which they laid claim.

1 Timothy 6:21

You for thee, A.V. and T.R. The R.T. omits Amen. Professing (ἐπαγγελλομένοι) see 1 Timothy 2:10, note. Have erred (ἠστόχησαν); 1 Timothy 1:6, note. Grace be with you. The authorities for σοῦ and ὑμῶν respectively are somewhat evenly balanced. The T.R. σοῦ seems in itself preferable, as throughout St. Paul addresses Timothy personally, and as there are no salutations here, as in 2 Timothy and Titus (see 1 Timothy 1:18; 1Ti 3:14; 1 Timothy 4:6, etc.; 1 Timothy 6:11, 1 Timothy 6:20). This shorter form, ἡ χάρις, is used in the pastoral Epistles (2 Timothy 4:22; Tit 3:1-15 :35)for the fuller and more usual form, Ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Ξριστοῦ (Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 16:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:18, and elsewhere). The short form also occurs in Hebrews 13:25. The words are a gracious, peaceful ending to the Epistle.


Hebrews 13:1, Hebrews 13:2.The doctrine of God.

Slaves, led doubtless by the miseries of their condition to seek the ennobling, comforting privileges of the gospel, formed a considerable portion of the first congregations of disciples (see the names in Romans 16:1-27.; 1 Corinthians 1:27, 1 Corinthians 1:25; Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25; Titus 2:9; Philippians 1:10, Philippians 1:16; 1 Peter 2:18, etc.). Hence so many exhortations addressed specially to them. In nothing, perhaps, does the Divine excellency of the gospel show itself more strikingly than in the adaptation of its precepts to such different classes of society, and in the wise moderation with which it met the social evils of life. The subjects of a Nero are bid to honor the king, the slave is told to count his master worthy of all honor; and the motive for this self-denying moderation is the paramount desire not to bring any reproach upon the gospel of Christ. The world shall not be able to say that Christianity is a breeder of confusion, or that the peaceable order of society is endangered by the fanaticism of the servants of Christ. And yet the manly self-respect of the slave is wonderfully increased by being reminded that he is the servant of Christ; or, again, by the thought of his spiritual freedom as a child of God; or, again, by his brotherhood with his master and partnership with him in the faith and love of the gospel of Christ. He has before him a career as noble and as dignified as his master, though that master were Caesar himself. And while he patiently submits to the peculiar trials of his bodily condition, he is transported into a region where bodily distinctions are of no account—where the petty differences of rich and poor, bond and free, are swallowed up, and melt away, before the common glory of the children of God and the common privileges of Christian fellowship. And yet all the while he maintains the respect and obedience of the slave to the master. Truly the doctrine of God is a wise, an excellent, and a worthy doctrine, and carries with it its own credentials, that it is from God.

1 Timothy 6:3-5

Heterodoxy. It is a great mistake to limit the notion of heterodoxy to the holding of wrong opinions in dogmatic theology. Heterodoxy is teaching anything otherwise than as the Word of God teaches it. Here they are declared to be heterodox who depart from the wholesome teaching of Christ concerning the duties of slaves to their masters, and use language in speaking to slaves which is provocative of strife and envy, of railings and suspicions. Such men, instead of being guided by a disinterested love of truth, are actuated by selfish motives. They seek to curry favor with those whose cause they espouse, and receive in money the reward of their patronage of the cause. And so we may generally discern between the orthodox and- the heterodox by the methods they pursue, and the results they attain. The one seeks to promote peace and contentment by gentle words and by counsels of love and patience, and has his reward in the happiness of those whom he advises. The other flatters, and inflames the passions of those whom he pretends to befriend; plays upon the bad parts of human nature; raises questions which tend to loosen the joints which bind society together; declaims and fumes and agitates, and receives in money or other selfish advantages the price of his mischievous patronage. Disinterested love is the characteristic of orthodox teaching, selfish gain that of the heterodox. Peace and contentment are the fruit of the one, strife and suspicion are the fruit of the other.

1 Timothy 6:6-21

The contrast. There is no more effectual way of bringing out the peculiar beauties and excellences of any system or character than by contrasting with it the opposite system or character. Let us do this in regard to the two characters which are here brought before us, and the uses of money by them respectively.

I. THE MONEY-LOVER. The love of money sits at the helm of his inner man. It is the spring of all his thoughts, desires, and actions. Observe what is his ruling motive, what takes the lead in his plans and schemes of life, and you will find that it is the desire to be rich. To be rich ranks in his estimation before being good or doing good; and personal goodness and benevolence towards others, if they have existed before the entering into the heart of the love of money, gradually fade and die away under its withering influence. As the thistles and rushes, the docks and the plantains, prevail, the good herbage disappears. A hard selfish character, indifferent to the feelings and wants of others, and ready to brush on one side every obstacle which stands in the way of getting, is the common result of the love of money. But in many cases it leads on into impiety and crime, and through them to sorrows and perdition. It was his greed for the wages of unrighteousness which urged Balsam on to his destruction; it was his greed for money that made Judas a thief, a traitor, and a murderer of his Lord. Many an heresiarch has adopted false doctrines and led schisms merely as a means of enriching himself at the expense of his followers; and every day we see crimes of the blackest dye springing from the lust of riches. In other cases the coveted possession of wealth is followed by inordinate pride and contempt of those who are not rich, by a feeling of superiority to all the restraints which bind other men, and by a headlong descent into the vices and self-indulgences to which money paves the way. In a word, then, the lover of money stands before us as at best a selfish man—a man of low and narrow ends; one pandering to his own base desires; one sacrificing to an ignoble and futile purpose all the loftier parts of his own nature; one from whom his fellow-men get no good, and often get much harm; one whose toil and labor at the best end in emptiness, and very often lead him into sorrow and destruction. His progress is a continued debasement of himself, and moral bankruptcy is his end.

II. THE MAN OF GOD IS OF A DIFFERENT MOLD. He views his own nature and his own wants in their true light. He is a man, he is a moral agent, he is a child of God. His hunger and thirst are after the things that are needful for the life and the growth of his immortal soul, his very self. He is a man; he is one of those whom the Lord Jesus is not ashamed to call his brethren, and who has been made partaker of his Divine nature, and therefore, like his Divine Lord, he wishes to live, not for himself, but for his brethren, whom he loves even as Christ loved them and gave himself for them. And so, on the one hand, he lays himself out to enrich himself with those treasures which make a man rich toward God—righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness; and, on the other, he uses his worldly wealth for the comfort of the poor and needy; doing good, distributing freely of his substance for every good work, and admit-ring others to a share of the wealth that God has given him. It is very remarkable, too, how he both degrades and yet elevates wealth. He degrades it by depriving it of all its false value. He does not trust in it, because he knows its uncertainty; he does not desire it, because he knows its dangers; he does not boast of it, because he knows it adds nothing to his real worth. But he elevates it by making it an instrument of doing good to others, and by making it a provocative of love to man and of thankfulness to God; and though it is so fleeting and so uncertain in itself, he forces into it an element of eternity by consecrating it to God, and compelling it to bear witness on his behalf in the great day of judgment that he loved Christ and did good to those whom Christ loves.

To sum up, the money-lover, by putting a false value upon money, makes it a snare and an instrument of hurt to himself and others, and an eternal loss to his own soul; the man of God, by putting the true value upon money, makes it a joyful possession to himself and his brethren, a nourisher of unselfish virtue, and an eternal gain.

1 Timothy 6:11-16.—The man of God.

The character of the man of God is here portrayed with a master's hand. We may go back and contemplate it with a little more exactness. He is covetous, he is eager in the pursuit of good things; but the good things which he covets and pursues are the everlasting possessions of the soul. And what are these? Righteousness—that great quality of God himself; that quality which makes eternal, unchangeable, right the sole and inflexible rule of conduct. Righteousness—that condition of thought and will and purpose which does not fluctuate with the changing opinions and fashions of inconstant men, which does not vary according to the outward influences to which it is subject, which is not overborne by fear, or appetite, or persuasion, or interest; but abides steadfast, unaltered, the same under all circumstances and through all time. And with righteousness, which he has in common with God, he covets godliness, the proper relative condition of the rational creature towards the Creator. Godliness is that reverential, devout attitude towards God which we sometimes call piety, sometimes holiness, sometimes devotion. It comprehends the sentiments of fear, love, and reverence which a good man entertains toward God; and the whole conduct, such as worship, prayer, almsgiving, etc., which springs from those sentiments. And though it cannot be predicated of God that he is εὐσεβής, it is an essential feature of the godly man, who therefore covets it as an integral part of the wealth of the soul. And then, by a natural association with this reverential attitude towards God described by "godliness," there follows faith; the entire reliance of the soul upon God's goodness, and specially on all his promises—those promises which are yea and amen in Christ Jesus; faith which fastens on Jesus Christ as the sum and substance, the head and completeness, of God's good will to man; as the infallible proof, which nothing can detract from, of God's purpose of love to man; as the immovable rock of man's salvation, which may not and cannot be moved forever. And, as by a necessary law, from this faith there flows forth love; love to God and love to man; love which, like righteousness, is an attribute which the man of God has in common with God; love which, in proportion to its pureness and its intensity, assimilates the man of God to God himself, and is therefore the most prized portion of his treasures. Nor must another essential virtue of the man of God be overlooked by him, and that is patience. Just as godliness and faith are qualities in the man of God relatively to God, so is patience a necessary quality relatively to the hindrances and impediments of the evil world in which he lives. The primary idea of ὑπομονή is continuance—"patient continuance," as it is well rendered in the Authorized Version of Romans 2:7. The enmity of the world, the outward and inward temptations to evil, the weariness and tension induced by prolonged resistance, are constantly pressing upon the man of God and counseling cessation from a wearisome and (it is suggested) a fruitless struggle. He has, therefore, need of patience; it is only through faith and patience that he can obtain the promises. He must endure to the end if he would grasp the coveted salvation. Patience must mingle with has faith, patience must mingle with his hope, and patience must mingle with his love. There must be no fainting, no halting, no turning aside, no growing weary in well-doing. Tribulations may come, afflictions may press sore, provocations may be multiplied, and labors may be a heavy burden; but the man of God, with the sure hope of the coming of Christ to cheer and support him, will go steadily forward, will endure, will stand fast, unto the end. And as regards the provocations of men, he will endure them with meekness. Not only will he not turn back from his purpose on account of them, but he will not let his spirit be ruffled by them. He will still be kind to those who are unkind, and gentle with those who are rough. He will render good for evil, and blessing for cursing, if so be he may overcome evil with good, ever setting before him the blessed example of him "who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." Thus fighting the good fight of faith, he lays hold and keeps hold of eternal life, and will be found without spot, unrebukable, in that great and blessed day of the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, "to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen."


1 Timothy 6:1.—The duties of dares to unbelieving masters.

The apostle next proceeds to deal with the distinctions of civil duty, and takes up the case of a very numerous But miserable class which appears to have been largely attracted to the gospel in primitive times.

I. THE HONOR DUE TO PAGAN MASTERS. "Whoever are under the yoke as bondservants, let them reckon their own masters worthy of all honor."

1. The condition of the slaves was one of much hardship. There was practically no limit to the power of the masters over the slaves. They might be gentle and just, or capricious and cruel. The slaves had no remedy at law against harsh treatment, as they had no hope of escape from bondage.

2. Yet their liberty had not been so restricted that they had not the opportunity of hearing the gospel. There were Christian slaves. Their hard life was ameliorated, not merely by the blessed hopes of the gospel, but by the privilege of spiritual equality with their masters which was one of its distinguishing glories.

3. The gospel did not interfere with the duty of obedience which they owed to their masters. They were to give them all honor—not merely outward subjection, but inward respect. Christianity did not undertake to overturn social relations. If it had done so, it would have been revolutionary in the last degree; it would have armed the whole forces of the Roman empire against it; it would itself have been drowned in blood; and it would have led to the merciless slaughter of the slaves themselves. Yet Christianity prepared the way from the very first for the complete abolition of slavery. The fact that with the great Master in heaven "there was no respect of persons," and that "in Jesus Christ there was neither bond nor free, but all were one in Christ," would not justify the slaves in repudiating their present subjection, while it held out the hope of their eventual emancipation. They must not, therefore, abuse their liberty under the gospel.

4. Yet there was a limit to the slave's obedience. He could only obey his master so far as was consistent with the laws of God and his gospel, consenting to suffer rather than outrage his conscience. Cases of this sort might arise, but they would not prejudice the gospel, like a simple revolt against existing relationships.

II. THE REASON FOR THE DUE HONOR GIVEN TO THEIR PAGAN MASTERS. "That the Name of God and his doctrine may not be blasphemed."

1. There would be a serious danger of such a result if slaves were either to withhold due service to their masters or to repudiate all subjection. God and his doctrine would be dishonored in the eyes of their masters, because they would be regarded as sanctioning insubordination. Thus a deep and widespread prejudice would arise to prevent the gospel reaching their pagan masters.

2. It is thus possible for the meanest members of the Church to do honor to God and the gospel. The apostle contemplates their adorning "of the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" (Titus 2:10).

3. The same considerations apply to the case of domestic servants in our own day. The term translated here "slaves" is used with some latitude in the Scripture. It applies sometimes to persons entirely free, as to David in relation to Saul (1 Samuel 19:4), to Christians generally (Romans 6:16; 1 Peter 2:16), to apostles, prophets, and ministers (Galatians 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:24), and to the higher class of dependents

, and encouraged disobedience to parents. The tendency of their teaching would be to sow the seeds of discontent in the minds of the slaves, and its effects would be to plunge them into a contest with society which would have the unhappiest effects.

2. The opposition of this teaching to Divine truth.

(1) It was opposed to "wholesome words," to words without poison or taint of corruption, such as would maintain social relations on a basis of healthy development.

(2) It was opposed to the words of Christ, either directly or through his apostles. He had dropped sayings of a suggestive character which could not but touch the minds of the slave class: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's;" "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth;" "Resist not evil;" "Love your enemies, pray for them which despitefully use you."

(3) It was opposed to the doctrine of godliness. It was a strange thing for teachers in the Church to espouse doctrines opposed to the interests of godliness. The disobedience of slaves would commit them to a course of ungodly dishonoring of God and his gospel.


1. They were "besotted with pride." They were utterly wanting in the humility of spirit which the gospel engenders, but were puffed up with an empty show of knowledge.

2. Yet they were ignorant. "Knowing nothing." They had no true understanding of the social risks involved in their doctrine of emancipation, or of the true method of ameliorating the condition of the slaves.

3. They "doted about questions and disputes about words." They had a diseased appetency for all sorts of profitless discussions turning upon the meanings of words, which had no tendency to promote godliness, but rather altercations and bad feeling of all sorts—"from which cometh envy, strife, evil-speakings, wicked suspicions, incessant quarrels." These controversial collisions sowed the seeds of all sorts of bitter hatred.

4. The moral deficiency of these false teachers. They were "men corrupted in their mind, destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is gain."

(1) They had first corrupted the Word of God, and thus prepared the way for the debasement of their own mind, leading in turn to that pride and ignorance which were their most distinguishing qualities.

(2) They were "deprived of the truth." It was theirs once, but they forfeited this precious treasure by their unfaithfulness and their corruption. It is a dangerous thing to tamper with the truth.

(3) They heard that "godliness was a source of gain." They did not preach contentment to the slaves, or induce them to acquiesce with patience in their hard lot, but rather persuaded them to use religion as a means of worldly betterment. Such counsel would have disorganizing, disintegrating effects upon society. But it was, besides, a degradation of true religion. Godliness was not designed to be a merely lucrative business, or to be followed only so far as it subserved the promotion of worldly interests. Simon Magus and such men as "made merchandise" of the disciples are examples of this class. Such persons would "teach things which they ought not for the sake of base gain" (Titus 1:11).—T.C.

1 Timothy 6:6-8.—The real gain of true godliness.

The apostle, after his manner, expands his idea beyond the immediate occasion that led to it.

I. THE GAIN OF GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT. "But godliness with contentment is great gain."

1. Godliness is a gain in itself, because it has "the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." Godly men come into happy and thriving circumstances, for they are taught to pursue their callings with due industry, foresight, and perseverance.

2. Godliness, allied to contentment, is great gain.

(1) This does not mean that contentment is a condition necessary to the gainful character of godliness, but is rather an effect of godliness and part of its substantial gain. It is a calm and sedate temper of mind about worldly interests. It is God's wisdom and will not to give to all men alike, but the contented mind is not disquieted by this fact.

(2) The godly man is content with what he possesses; submits meekly to God's will, and bears patiently the adverse dispensations of his providence. The godly heart is freed from the thirst for perishing treasures, because it possesses treasures of a higher and more enduring character.

II. THE REASON FOR THIS SENTIMENT. "For we brought nothing into the world, because neither are we able to take anything out of it."

1. We are appointed by God to come naked into the world. We may be born heirs to vast possessions, but they do not become ours till we are actually born. Rich and poor alike bring nothing into the world.

2. This fact is a reason for the statement that we can carry nothing out of the world. It is between birth and death we can hold our wealth. The rich man cannot carry his estates with him into the grave. He will have no need of them in the next life.

3. There could be no contentment if we could take anything with us at death, because in that case the future would be dependent upon the present.

4. The lesson to be learned from these facts is that we ought not eagerly to grasp such essentially earthly and transitory treasures.

III. THE TRUE WISDOM OF CONTENTMENT. "But if we have food and raiment, with these let us be satisfied." These are what Jacob desired, Agur prayed for, and Christ taught his disciples to make the subject of daily supplication. The contented godly have these gifts along with God's blessing. The Lord does not encourage his people to enlarge their desires inordinately.—T.C.

1 Timothy 6:9.The dangers of the eager haste to be rich.

I. THE EAGER PURSUIT OF THE WORLD IS TO BE SHUNNED. "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare."

1. The apostle does not condemn the possession of riches, which have, in reality, no moral character; for they are only evil where they are badly used. Neither does he speak of rich men; for he would not condemn such men as Abraham, Joseph of Arimathsea, Gains, and others; nor such rich men as use their wealth righteously as good stewards of God.

2. He condemns the haste to be rich, not only because wealth is not necessary for a life of godly contentment, but because of its scrim and moral risks.

II. THE DANCERS OF THIS EAGER PURSUIT OF WEALTH. They "fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition."

1. There is a temptation to unjust gain which leads men into the snare of the devil. There is a sacrifice of principle, the abandonment of conscientious scruples, in the hurry to accumulate wealth.

2. The temptation in its turn makes way for many lusts which are "foolish," because they are unreasonable, and exercised upon things that are quite undesirable; and which are "hurtful," because they injure both body and soul, and all a man's best interests.

3. These lusts in turn carry their own retribution. They "drown men in destruction and perdition."

(1) This is more than moral degradation.

(2) It is a wreck of the body accompanied by the ruin of the immortal soul—T.C.

1 Timothy 6:10.—The root of all evil.

"For the love of money is the root of all evil." This almost proverbial saying is intended to support the statement of the previous verse.


1. The assertion is not concerning money, which, as we have seen, is neither good nor bad in itself, but concerning the love of money.

2. It is not asserted that there are not other roots of evil besides covetousness. This thought was not present to the apostle's mind.

3. It is not meant that a covetous man will be entirely destitute of all virtuous feeling.

4. It means that a germ of all evil lies in one with the love of money; that there is no kind of evil to which a man may net be led through an absorbing greed for money. It is really a root-sin, for it leads to care, fear, malice, deceit, oppression, envy, bribery, perjury, contentiousness.

II. UNHAPPY EFFECTS OF THE LOVE OF MONEY. "Which some having coveted after have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

1. It led to apostasy. They made shipwreck of their Christian principles. They surrendered the faith. The good seed of the Word was choked by the deceitfulness of riches, and, like Demas, they forsook the Word, having loved this present world.

2. It involved the Tangs of conscience, to the destruction of their own happiness. They felt the piercings of that inward monitor who forebodes the future destruction.—T.C.

1 Timothy 6:11.Personal admonition addressed to Timothy himself.

The apostle now turns from his warning to those desiring to be rich to the practical exhortation to strive for the true riches.


1. It was the familiar title of the Old Testament prophets, and might appropriately apply to a New Testament evangelist like Timothy.

2. But in the New Testament it has a more general reference, applying as it does to all the faithful in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:17). The name is very expressive. It signifies

(1) a man who belongs to God;

(2) who is dedicated to God;

(3) who finds in God, rather than in riches, his true portion;

(4) who lives for God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

II. THE WARNING ADDRESSED TO TIMOTHY. "Flee these things." It might seem unnecessary to warn so devoted a Christian against the love of riches, with its destructive results; but Timothy was now in an important position in a wealthy city, which contained "rich' men (1 Timothy 6:17), and may have been tempted by gold and ease and popularity to make trivial sacrifices to truth. The holiest heart is not without its inward subtleties of deceit.

III. THE POSITIVE EXHORTATION ADDRESSED TO TIMOTHY. "And follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meek-spiritedness." These virtues group themselves into pairs.

1. Righteousness and godliness; referring to a general conformity to the Law of God in relation to the duties owing respectively to God and man, like the similar expressions—"live righteously and godly"—of Titus 2:12.

(1) Righteousness is

(a) not the "righteousness of God," for that had been already attained by Timothy; but

(b) the doing of justice between man and man, which would be for the honor of religion among men. Any undue regard for riches would cause a swerve from righteousness.

(2) Godliness includes

(a) holiness of heart,

(b) holiness of life, in which lies the true gain for two worlds.

2. Faith and love. These are the two foundation-principles of the gospel.

(1) Faith is at once

(a) the instrument of our justification,

(b) the root-principle of Christian life, and

(c) the continuously sustaining principle of that life.

(2) Love is

(a) the immediate effect of faith, for "faith worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6);

(b) it is the touchstone of true religion and the bond of perfectness;

(c) it is the spring of evangelical obedience, for it is "the fulfilling of the Law" (Romans 13:8);

(d) it is our protection in the battle of life, for it is "the breastplate of love" (1 Thessalonians 5:8).

3. Patience, meek-spiritedness. These represent two principles which ought to operate in power in presence of gainsayers and enemies.—T.C.

1 Timothy 6:12.The good fight and its results.

Instead of the struggle of the covetous for wealth, there ought to be the struggle of the faithful to lay hold on the prize of eternal life.

I. THE CHRISTIAN STRUGGLE. "Fight the good fight of faith."

1. The enemies it, this warfare. The world, the flesh, and the devil; the principalities and powers; the false teachers, with their arts of seduction.

2. The warfare itself. It is "a good fight."

(1) The term suggests that Christian life is not a mystic quietism, but an active effort against evil.

(2) It is a good fight, because

(a) it is in a good cause—for God and truth and salvation;

(b) it is under a good Captain—Jesus Christ, the Captain of our salvation;

(c) it has a good result—"eternal life."

3. The weapons in this warfare. "Faith." It is "the shield of faith" (Ephesians 6:16). This is not a carnal, but a spiritual weapon. Faith represents, indeed, "the whole amour of God," which is mighty for victory. It is faith that secures "the victory that overcometh the world" (1 John 4:4, 1 John 4:5).

II. THE END OF THE CHRISTIAN STRUGGLE. "Lay hold on eternal life."

1. Eternal life is the prize, the crown, to be laid hold of by those who are faithful to death.

2. It is the object of our effectual calling. "To which thou wast called" by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.

3. It is the subject of our public profession. And didst confess the good confession before many witnesses." Evidently either at his baptism, or at his ordination to the ministry, when many witnesses would be present.

4. This eternal life is to be laid hold of.

(1) It is held forth as the prize of the high calling of God, as the recompense of reward.

(2) But the believer is to lay hold of it even now by faith, having a believing interest in it as a possession yet to be acquired in all its glorious fullness.—T.C.

1 Timothy 6:13-16.The solemn charge pressed anew upon Timothy.

As he nears the end of the Epistle, the apostle, with a deeper solemnity of tone, repeats the charge he has given to his young disciple.

I. THE NATURE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHARGE. "I charge thee that thou keep the commandment without spot and without reproach."

1. The commandment is the Christian doctrine in its aspect as a rule of life and discipline.

2. It was to be kept with all purity and faithfulness—"without spot and without reproach" so that it should be unstained by no error of life, or suffer from no reproach of unfaithfulness. He must preach the pure gospel sincerely, and his life must be so circumspect that his ministry should not be blamed by the Church here or by Christ hereafter.

II. THE SOLEMN APPEAL BY WHICH THE CHARGE IS SUSTAINED. "I give thee charge in the sight of God, who keepeth all things alive, and Christ Jesus, who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate." The apostle, having referred to Timothy's earlier confession before many witnesses, reminds him of the more tremendous presence of God himself, and of Christ Jesus.

1. God is represented here as Preserver, in allusion to the dangers of Timothy in the midst of Ephesian enemies.

2. Christ Jesus is referred to as an Example of unshaken courage and fidelity to truth in the presence of death.

III. THE CHARGE IS TO BE KEPT WITHOUT SPOT OR REPROACH TILL CHRIST'S SECOND COMING. "Until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ." He was to be "faithful unto death," yea, even unto the second advent.

1. It is according to apostolic usage to represent the end of Christian work as well as Christian expectation as terminating, not upon death, but upon the second advent. The complete redemption will then be fully realized.

2. It is not to be inferred from these words that the apostle expected the Lord's coming in his own lifetime. The second Thessalonian Epistle, written many years before, dispels such an impression. The words in 1 Timothy 6:15, "in his own times," imply a long succession of cycles or changes.

3. The second advent is to be brought about by God himself. "Which in his own times he shall manifest, who is the blessed and only Potentate, King of kings, and Lord of lords." This picture of the Divine Majesty was designed to encourage Timothy, who might hereafter be summoned to appear before the little kings of earth, by the thought of the immeasurable glory of the Potentate before whose throne all men must stand in the final judgment.

(1) He who is possessed of exhaustless powers and perfections is essentially immortal—"who only hath immortality"—because he is the Source of it in all who partake of it; for out of him all is death.

(2) He has his dwelling in the glory of light ineffable—"dwelling in light unapproachable, whom no man ever saw or can see."

(a) God is light (1 John 1:5). He covereth himself with light as with a garment (Psalms 104:4); and he is the Fountain of light.

(b) God is invisible. This is true, though "the pure in heart shall see God" (Matthew 5:8), and though it be that without holiness "no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). God is invisible

(α) to the eye of sense,

(β) but he will be visible to the believer in the clear intellectual vision of the supernatural state.

4. All praise and honor are to be ascribed to God, "to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen." The doxology is the natural ending of such a solemn charge.—T.C.

1 Timothy 6:17-19.—A word of admonition and encouragement to the rich.

The counsel carries us back to what he had been saying in previous verses.

I. THE RICH ARE WARNED AGAINST A TWOFOLD DANGER. "To those who are rich in this present world give in charge not to be high-minded." It is implied that there were rich men as well as poor slaves in the Church at Ephesus.

1. The danger of high-mindedness. A haughty disposition is often engendered by wealth. The rich may be tempted to look down with contempt on the poor, as if they, forsooth, were the special favorites of Heaven because they had been so highly favored with worldly substance.

2. The danger of trustiest in wealth. "Nor to set their hope upon the uncertainty of riches."

(1) It is a great risk for a rich man to say to gold, "Thou art my hope; and to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence" (Job 31:24),

(2) Our tenure of wealth is very uncertain. It is uncertain

(a) because riches may take to themselves wings and flee away;

(b) because we may be taken away by death from the enjoyment of our possessions;

(c) because riches cannot satisfy the deep hunger of the human heart.

3. The safety of trusting in God. "But upon the living God, who giveth us all things richly for enjoyment."

(1) God is the sole Giver of all we possess.

(2) He giveth to us all richly according to our need.

(3) He giveth it for our enjoyment, so that we may take comfort in his rich provision.

(4) As the living God, he is an unexhaustible Fountain of blessings, so that no uncertainty can ever attach to the supply.


1. "That they do good."

(1) Rich men may do evil to others by fraud or oppression, and evil to themselves by habits of luxury and intemperance.

(2) They are rather to abound in acts of beneficence to all men, and especially to the household of faith, after the example of him who "went about every day doing good" (Acts 10:38).

2. "Rich in good works," as if in opposition to the riches of this world. They are to abound in the doing of them, like Dorcas, who was "full of good works and almsdeeds." Wealth of this sort is the least disappointing both here and hereafter, and has no uncertainty in its results.

3. "Ready to distribute." Willing to give unasked; cheerful in the distribution of their favors; giving without grudging and without delay.

4. "Willing to communicate." As if to recognize, not merely a common humanity, but a common Christianity with the poor. The rich ought to share their possessions with the poor.

III. ENCOURAGEMENTS TO THE DISCHARGE OF THESE DUTIES. "Laying up in store for themselves as a treasure a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold upon the true life."

1. It is possible for rich believers to lay up treasure in heaven. This treasure is a foundation against the time to come.

(1) Not a foundation of merit, for we are only saved by the merits of Christ;

(2) but a foundation in heaven, solid, substantial, and durable—unlike uncertain riches of earth; good in its nature and results—unlike earthly riches, which often are the undoing of men. "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness" (Luke 16:9).

2. Our riches may have an influence on our true life hereafter. "That they may lay hold on the true life."

(1) Not in the way of merit;

(2) but in the way of grace, fro' the very rewards of the future are of grace;

(3) the end of all our effort is the true life, in contrast to the vain, transitory, short-sighted life of earth.—T.C.

1 Timothy 6:20, 1 Timothy 6:21.Concluding exhortation and benediction.

The parting counsel of the apostle goes back upon the substance of all his past counsels. It includes a positive and a negative counsel.

I. A POSITIVE COUNSEL. "O Timothy, keep the deposit" entrusted to thee. This refers to the doctrine of the gospel. It is "the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

1. The doctrine of the gospel is thus not something discovered by man, but delivered to man.

2. It is placed in the hands of Timothy as a trustee, to be kept for the use of others. It is a treasure in earthen vessels, to be jealously guarded against robbers and foes.

3. If it is kept, it will in turn keep us.

II. A NEGATIVE COUNSEL. "Avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called: which some professing erred concerning the faith."

1. The duty of turning away from empty discourses and the ideas of a false knowledge.

(1) Such things were utterly profitless as to spiritual result.

(2) They were antagonistic to the doctrine of godliness; for they represented theories of knowledge put forth by false teachers, which ripened in due time into the bitter Gnosticism of later times. It was a knowledge that falsely arrogated to itself that name, for it was based on ignorance or denial of God's truth.

2. The danger of such teachings.

(1) Some members of the Church were led to profess such doctrines, perhaps because they wore a seductive aspect of asceticism, or pretended to show a shorter cut to heaven.

(2) But they lost their way and "erred concerning the faith." This false teaching undermined the true faith of the gospel.

(3) As the tense implies an event that occurred in the past, these persons were not now in the communion of the Ephesian Church.—T.C.


1 Timothy 6:3.The health of religion.

"Wholesome words." There is no word more representative of the spirit of the gospel than this word "wholesome." It shows us that the gospel means health.

I. THEY ARE WHOLESOME BECAUSE THEY ARE HEALING WORDS. They heal breaches in families; they heal the division between God and the soul; they heal the heart itself. And in the vade-mecum of the Bible we find a cure for all the diseases of the inner man.

II. THEY ARE WHOLESOME WORDS AS CONTRASTED WITH OTHER LITERATURES. With much that is good in the best of authors, there is much that is harmful. All is not wholesome in Dante, or Goethe, or Shakespeare. It requires an infinite mind to inspire words that shall always and ever be wholesome; and it would be difficult to speak of any human literature that is wholesome every way. Some has in it too much romance and sentiment; some has too great a power upon the passions; some feeds the intellect and starves the heart.

III. THESE WORDS ABE WHOLESOME IN EVERY SPHERE. It is not too much to say of the gospel of Jesus Christ that it saves and sanctifies body, soul, and spirit. It has no word of encouragement to the unwashed monk, or to the ascetic who neglects the care of the body. It supplies a true culture to the mind, and feeds and nourishes all the graces of the heart. So it becomes a doctrine according to godliness.—W.M.S.

1 Timothy 6:6.The wealth of religion.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain." We learn from these words—

I. THAT MEN ARE RICH IN WHAT THEY ARE. It is a mistake to think of riches as belonging merely to the estate. We may catalogue the possessions of the outward life, but they are only "things." How many men learn too late that they are not rich in what they have! Godliness is the truest riches, because it is God-likeness; the image which no earthly artist can produce! The highest good conceivable is to be like God.

II. MEN ARE RICH IN WHAT THEY CAN DO WITHOUT. "With contentment." Let us study, not so much what we may secure, as what we are able to enjoy existence without. Men multiply their cares often as they multiply their means; and some men, with competency in a cottage, have not been sorry that they lost a palace. "Contentment is great gain;" it sets the mind free from anxious care; it prevents the straining after false effect; it has more time to enjoy the flowers at its feet, instead of straining to secure the meadows of the far-away estate.

III. MEN MUST LEAVE EVERYTHING; THEY CAN CARRY NOTHING AWAY. That is certain; and yet the word must be read thoughtfully. Nothing save conscience and character and memory. Still the words are true, that we can carry nothing out; for these are not "things," but part of our personality. The body returns to the dust, but the spirit—to the God who gave it. Let this cheek all undue anxiety, and cure our foolish envy as we look around upon all the coveted positions of men. "We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."—W.M.S.


1 Timothy 6:1-10.Slaves and heretics.


1. Toward unbelieving masters. "Let as many as are servants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the Name of God and the doctrine be not blasphemed." Paul had to legislate for a social condition which was, to a considerable extent, different from ours. In the early Christian Churches there were not a few whose social condition was that of slaves. They are pointed to here as being under the yoke as servants. To service there was added the oppressive circumstance of being under the yoke. That is, they were like cattle with the yoke on them—having no rights, any more than cattle, to bestow their labor where they liked, but only where their masters liked. It was a degradation of human beings, for which no apology could be made. Under Christianity the eyes of Christian slaves could not be altogether closed to the flagrant injustice inflicted on them. They would also see that, in this sonship and heirship of glory, they were really exalted above unbelieving masters. It would have been easy, with such materials, to have inflamed their minds against their masters. But Paul, as a wise legislator, understood better the obligations of Christianity. No inflammatory word does he address to them; he tells them, not of rights, but of duties. Their masters, notwithstanding their being identified with injustice, were still their own masters, i.e. men to whom in the providence of God they were subordinated. Let them be counted worthy of all honor, even as he has already said that the presbyters, or ecclesiastical rulers, are to be counted worthy of honor. And we need not wonder at this; for still, at the basis of things, they are the representatives of Divine authority. As such—and who are wholly entitled to be called worthy representatives?—let them be counted worthy of all proper honor. Let them be treated thus, that the Name of God and the doctrine be not blasphemed. There was involved in their conduct the Name of God, i.e. of the true God, as distinguished from the false gods which their masters worshipped. There was also involved the teaching, i.e. what Christianity taught about things. If they were insubordinate, both would be evil spoken of. The heathen masters would think of Christianity as upturning the fundamental relations of things. We are apt to forget how much the Divine honor is involved in our conduct. We should give such a living representation of our religion as will give none occasion to blaspheme.

2. Toward believing masters. "And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but let them serve them the rather, because they that partake of the benefit are believing and beloved." Men might be despotic masters, holders of slaves, and yet be Christians, their conscience not being educated upon that point. It was not said to them that they were to go and liberate their slaves. It was better that they should receive the essence of Christianity without their prejudices being raised on that point; correction on it, from the working of Christian influences, was sure to follow, with a slowness, however, that might leave many unenlightened of that generation of them. It seems to be implied that, though unenlightened, they gave their slaves Christian treatment, i.e. treated them as not under the yoke, in the avoidance of harshness and unreasonable exactions often associated with the yoke. This was rightly to be interpreted as a homage rendered to brotherhood in Christ. But let not slaves be led into a mistaken interpretation of brotherhood. It did not mean that respect was no longer due to their masters. The earthly relation, though not so deep as the new relation in Christ, still stood, as giving form to duty. Let them not despise them, i.e. refuse the respect due to superiors. And, instead of giving them less service, let it be the other way. Give more service, because they that get the benefit of it are of the same faith, and beloved as masters that have learned front Christ the law of kindness. Emphasizing what has been said. "These things teach and exhort." There was to be both direction and enforcement.


1. Standard in relation to which they are heretics. "If any man teacheth a different doctrine, and consenteth not to sound words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness." The other doctrine is that which departs from the standard. This is contained in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Truth, and has the right to rule all minds. There is a healthy vigor in his words, not the sickliness that there was in the words of the heretical teachers. The doctrine contained in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ is that which is according to godliness. There is grounded in our nature, apart from all teachings, a certain religiosity. That is, we are made to have certain states of our soul toward God, such as reverence. As we cherish these states we are pious, godly. What our Lord taught was in accordance with the norm of godliness in our original constitution, and was fitted to effect godliness as a result. The condemnation of the heretics was, that in not consenting to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ they were going away to doctrines which were not fitted to promote piety.

2. Moral characterization.

(1) From the inflatedness of ignorance. "He is puffed up, knowing nothing." It is only in Christ that we have the right point of view. If, therefore, we are not taught by him, we know nothing aright. Those who have true knowledge are humbled under a sense of what they do not know. The heretics who had not even a smattering of true knowledge were puffed up with conceit of the multitude of things which they knew.

(2) From the morbidness of sophistry. "But doting about questionings and disputes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, wranglings of men corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth." Not consenting to sound words, they have diseased action. That in which they show themselves diseased is in busying themselves, not, like Christian inquirers, around realities, but, like the sophists with whom Socrates had to do, around questionings which become disputes of words. This disease of hair-splitting is attended with various evil consequences: envy toward those who evince superior skill, strife with those who will not admit the value of the distinctions, railings where there is not reason, evil surmisings where there is not charity, and frequent and more bitter collisions where the truth, not honestly dealt with, is forcibly taken away.

3. The special obnoxiousness of their teaching.

(1) This was in asserting that godliness was a way of gain. "Supposing that godliness is a way of gain." This was evidently a stratagem on the part of the heretics. Suspected of a worldliness that was unbecoming their religious pretensions, they got over it by taking up the position that godliness was a gainful trade. They appealed to men to be religious for the sake of the worldly gain it would bring to them. It can be seen that the apostle regards the heretical maxim with contempt. It is a maxim from which many act who would not like to admit it in words. They keep up religious appearances, not because they have any love for religion, but because it would be damaging to them to appear irreligious.

(2) Godliness is a way of gain if associated with contentment. "But godliness with contentment is great gain." "Elegantly, and not without ironical correction to a sense that is contrary, he gives a new turn to the same words" (Calvin). Godliness (what we have in relation to God) is great gain; but its gain lies in its producing a contented mind (in relation to ourselves). Where a man is contented it is as though he owned the whole world.

(3) Reasons for contentment. Our natural bareness. "For we brought nothing into the world, for neither can we carry anything out." The same thought is expressed in Job 1:21 and in Ecclesiastes 5:15. Viewed at two points we are absolutely poor. There was a time when earthly good was not ours, and there will come a time when it will cease to be ours. We are not, then, to make an essential of what only pertains to our earthly state. We can do with little. "But having food and covering we shall be therewith content." Something added to our bare natural condition we need while we are in this world, and it will not be wanting; but it does not need to be much. Food and covering, these will suffice for us. We can do with less than we imagine. Shakespeare tells us that

"The poorest man
Is in the poorest thing superfluous,
Demands for nature more than nature claims."

"The wreck of our present day is that no one knows how to live upon little; the great men of antiquity were generally poor. The retrenchment of useless expenditure, the laying aside of what one may call the relatively necessary, is the high-road to Christian disentanglement of heart, just as it was to that of ancient vigor. A great soul in a small house is the idea which has always touched me more than any other" (Lacordaire). The sad result of the opposite state. "But they that desire to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition." By them that desire to be rich we are to understand those who, instead of being contented with what they can enjoy with God's blessing and what they can use for God's glory, make riches their object in life. They fall into a state of mind that is seductive and fettering. And this unnatural craving for possession does not stand alone, but has many affiliated lusts, such as love for display, love for worldly company, love for the pleasures of the table. Of these no rational account can be given, and they are hurtful even to the extent of drowning men in misery, expressed by two very strong words—destruction and perdition. Confirmation of the last reason. Proverbial saying. "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." The proverb is intended to have a certain startling nature. Desire of money is not certainly the only root of evils, but it is conspicuously the root of evils. We need only think of the lies, thefts, oppressions, jealousies, murders, wars, lawsuits, sensuality, prayerlessness, that have been caused by it. The victims. "Which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows." The apostle thinks of the ravages wrought on some he knew. Within the Christian circle, they unlawfully reached after gain. This led to their wandering from the faith, and to their being pierced through, as with a sword, with many sorrows; bitter reflections on the past, disappointment with what they had obtained, apprehensions of the future. These he would point to as beacons, warning off the rock of avarice.—R.F.

1 Timothy 6:11-16.—The Christian gladiator.

The gladiator was one who fought, in the arena, at the amphitheatre of an ancient city, such as the Colosseum at Rome, for the amusement of the public. It made life real and earnest to be compelled to enter the lists, in which the issue was generally victory or death.

"And now
The arena swims around him—he is gone?
Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hailed the wretch who won.
He heard it, but he heeded not—his eyes
Were with his heart, and that was far away;
He recked not of the life he lost or prize,
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay;
There were his young barbarians all at play—
There was their Dacian mother! he, their sire,
Butchered to make a Roman holiday."

I. NEED OF PREPARATION. "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." We know what can be undergone by men of the lowest order, when they put themselves in training for entering the prize-ring. Accustomed to spend the greater part of their time in the public-house, they are found rigorously foregoing their pleasures and entailing upon themselves hard employment. In what these pugilists forego and endure, do they not put to blush many Christians, who cannot be said to forego much, or to give hard service for their religion? There is, we are here taught, what becomes the man of God, i.e. the highest type of man—the man who tries to work out the Divine idea of his life and to come to he God-like in his character. "O man of God, learn from these men of a low order. They flee their wonted pleasures; flee thou," says the apostle in earnest address, "these things," i.e. as appears from the context, those habits of mind which we call worldly, tendencies to sink higher things in the pursuit of worldly ends, money, enjoyment, position for ourselves, and for our children. Christians who may have no taste for what are regarded as coarse pleasures, may yet he worldly in their ideas and habits. Such worldliness is unworthy of the man of God; vulgar, demeaning in him. O man of God, flee thou worldliness, as thou wouldst a wild beast. Flee it, as certain to eat up thy true manliness. It may he said that more havoc has been wrought in the Church by worldliness than by intemperance. And the one is not so easily dealt with as the other. The intemperate man may be laid hold on, and aided out of his intemperance. But the worldly man may be in position in the Church; and who is likely to succeed in aiding him out of his worldliness? And so, while the one may be rescued, the other may continue to he the prey of destructive habits that are growing upon him. The other side of duty refers to the acquiring of good habits of mind that are required for the fight. And as the word for worldly habits is flee, so the word for good habits is pursue. It is implied that worldliness seeks us, and we need to get out of its way, to flee from it as from a wild beast. Good habits, on the other hand, retreat from us; they are apt to evade us, and we need to pursue them with all the keenness with which a ravenous wild beast pursues its prey. It is hard for us to come up to them, and to have them as our enjoyed possession. The good habits, so ill to grasp, which are needed for the fight by the man of God are particularized. First of all he must have righteousness, or the habit of going by rule. And along with this he must have godliness, or the habit of referring to God. Then he must have faith, which covers his defenselessness. Along with this he must have love, which supplies him with fire. He must also have patience, which enables him to hold out to the end. And along with this he must have meekness, which makes his spirit proof against all accumulation of wrong. In the eye of the world, these habits may seem unmanly; but, O man of God, be true to thyself, and pursue them; let them not escape from thee; by God's decree they shall reward thy eager pursuit.

II. NATURE OF THE FIGHT. "Fight the good fight of the faith." He that has the faith of a Christian is necessitated to fight, There is revealed to his faith a God in the heavens, who hates sin, and who also seeks the salvation of souls. In the light of this, which ought to be an increasing light, there is presented an exposure. He comes to see that there are in his flesh tendencies which are against God. He comes also to see that there is in the world, in its opinion and custom, much that is against God. As, then, he would stand by God, he must fight against the flesh and the world—against what would tempt to sin, from within and from without. It is a good fight, being for the cause of God, which is also the cause of man in his establishment in righteousness and love. It is a good fight, being grounded in the victory of Christ and carried on hopefully under his leadership. It is a fight into which the man of God can throw his undivided energies, his warmest enthusiasm. Many a fight which receives the plaudits of men has, in the strict review, only a seeming or superficial goodness. But the fight into which the man of God throws himself can stand the severest tests of goodness. Be it thine, then, O man of God, to fight the good fight of the faith.

III. THE PRICELESS PRIZE. "Lay hold on the life eternal, whereunto thou wast called, and didst confess the good confession in the sight of many witnesses." The prize for which the gladiator fought was not all unsubstantial. It was life. It meant the enjoyment of liberty, return to his rude hut, his young barbarians, and their "Dacian mother." Still that life had in it elements of unsatisfactoriness and decay. It was savage life, below the level of civilized life. Such as it was in its rude delights, it was not beyond accident and death. But the prize for which the Christian gladiator fights, is life eternal. This is not to be confounded with perpetuity of existence, which may be felt to be an intolerable burden. The importance of existence lies in its joyous elements, experience of healthful activity, and of communion with those we love. So the life, which is here presented as the prize, is that kind of existence in which there is a free, unrestrained play of our powers, and in which we have communion with the Father of our spirits and with the spirits of the just. And the life has such a principle in it, such subsistence in the living God, as to be placed above the reach of death, as only to be brought forth into all its joyousness by death. The counsel of the apostle is to lay hold on this priceless prize. O man of God, do not let it escape thee. Stretch forward to it with a feeling of its supreme desirableness. It is worthy of all the strain to which thou canst put thyself. The counsel of the apostle is supported by a reference to a marked period in the past—apparently entrance on the Christian life, or that which was expressive of it to Timothy, viz. his baptism. It was a period in which Divine action and human action met. It was God calling him to life eternal It was at the same time Timothy confessing a good confession—apparently saying that life eternal was his aim. Come persecution, come death, life eternal he would seek to gain. This confession he made in the sight of many witnesses, present on the occasion of his baptism, who could speak to the earnestness of spirit with which he entered on his Christian career. O man of God, fight, remembering thy Divine calling and thy solemn engagements.

IV. THE WITNESSES. "I charge thee in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and of Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed the good confession; that thou keep the commandment, without spot, without reproach." The many witnesses just mentioned call up such a scene as was to be witnessed in the Coliseum. There was an assemblage of eighty-seven thousand people, tier above tier all round. As the gladiator stepped into the arena, he might well be awed by so vast and unwonted a crowd. But this would quickly give way to the feeling of what depended on the way in which he quitted himself. And there would not be absent from his mind the thought of the applause which would reward a victory. O man of God, thou art now in the arena, and there are many onlookers. They are watching how thou art quitting thyself in the fight of the faith—whether thou art realizing the seriousness of thy position, thy splendid opportunity. Their approval is worthy of being considered, worthy of being coveted by thee, and should help to nerve thee to the fight. But there was one pre-eminent personage who was expected to grace a Roman gladiatorial festival, viz. the emperor. As the gladiator entered, his eye would rest on the emperor and his attendants. And he would have a peculiar feeling in being called upon to fight under the eye of the august Caesar, to whom he would look up as to a very god. So, O man of God, there is one great Personage who is looking down on the arena in which thou art, and under whose eye thou art called upon to fight. It is not a Caesar—a man born and upheld and mortal like other men; but it is God, who quickeneth all things—the Substratum of all created existence, the almighty Upholder of men, the almighty Upholder of the universe with all its forms of life. There is another Personage, and yet not another. This is Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate wirelessed the good confession. "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a King then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a King. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness of the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." "In these words we see the majesty and fearless exposure of Jesus. 'I cannot and will not deny that I am a King. It is my office to declare the truth; it is by the influence of truth that I am to reign in the hearts of men, and I cannot shrink from asserting this most important truth, that I have the power and authority of a sovereign at once to rule and to defend my people. Let not this doctrine offend. Every one who is of the truth, who loves the light, and whose mind is open to conviction, heareth and acknowledgeth this and all my doctrines.' These words, spoken at so interesting and trying a period, discover to us the elevation of our Savior in a very striking light. We see his mind unbroken by suffering. We see in him the firmest adherence to the doctrines he had formerly taught. We see in him a conscious dignity, a full conviction of the glory and power with which he was invested. He asserts his royal office, not from ostentation, not amidst a host of flatterers, but in the face of enemies; and when he made this solemn declaration his appearance bore little conformity, indeed, to the splendor of earthly monarchs." There is a difference between the good confession of Timothy and the good confession of Christ indicated in the language. Timothy confessed his good confession, i.e. in the way of saying beforehand what he would do in the trial. Christ witnessed his good confession, i.e. authenticated it by making it in the immediate prospect of death. He went forth from Pilate's judgment-hall and sealed his confession with his blood. He was thus the first and greatest of confessors. It adds much in the way of definiteness, that we can thus think of him. It also adds much in the way of bracing. There is a halo around the great Onlooker from his past. The presence in a battle of the hero of a hundred fights, of a Napoleon or Wellington, is worth some additional battalions. So, O man of God, be braced up to the fight, by the thought that thou art fighting under the eye of thy God, under the eye of thy Savior. And do not think of getting the prize surreptitiously, but only by fair means, keeping to the rules of the contest, what is here called keeping the commandment, so that no little spot is made on it, no little dishonor done to it. For, however little, it means so much taken away from the value of the prize. I charge thee, then, says the apostle, in these great presences keep the commandment.

V. FINAL EVENT. "Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in its own times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power eternal. Amen." The final event of the day, on the occasion of a great gladiatorial show, was the coming forward of Caesar, in circumstances of pomp, to crown, or otherwise reward, the victors. So the final event of time will be the coming forward of our Lord Jesus Christ (as from looking on) to crown the victors in the good fight of the faith. There is reference to the same event in 2 Timothy 4:7, 2 Timothy 4:8. It would be the proudest moment of a man's life when he was called forth to receive the prize from the hand of his emperor. So it will be a moment of greatest satisfaction to the believer when he is called forth (as by the herald proclaiming his name before a great assemblage) to receive the crown from the hand of his Lord. He will not certainly be filled with self-satisfaction. He will feel that he is only a debtor to Christ, and his first impulse will be to cast his crown at the feet of his great Benefactor. This appearing God is to show, i.e. to effect and to bring forth into view. He is to show it in its own times—at present hidden, but clear to the mind of God, and to be shown when his purposes are ripe. He who is to effect the appearing is appropriately adored as the Potentate (the Wielder of power). Not less appropriately is he adored as the blessed or (better) the happy Potentate, i.e. self-happy, having all elements of happiness within himself, no void within his infinite existence to fill up, but not therefore disposed to keep happiness to himself, rather prompted, in his own experience of happiness, to bestow it on others, first in creation and then in redemption. It is the happy Wielder of power that is to bring about an event that is fraught with so much happiness to believers. He shall show it, for he is the only Potentate; none can dispute the name with him. There are Towers under him as there were rulers, with different names, under the emperor; but he is the King of kings and Lord of lords—sovereign Disposer of all human and angelic representatives of power. "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord as the rivers of water: he turns it [however impetuous] whithersoever he will." He shall show it in its own times; for, however distant those times, he shall live to do it, being the only One who hath immortality from himself, essential imperviousness to decay. He shall show it, who is himself inaccessible within a circle of light, and not only never seen by men but necessarily invisible to men, i.e. in the unveiled brightness of his glory. All honor and power eternal, then, be to this God. We may judge of what the appearing is to be that is to be effected by One in whose praise the apostle breaks forth in so lofty a strain. We may conclude that it is to be the grandest display of the honor and power of God. And what a privilege that the humble believer—victor in the battle of life—is to be called forth before an assembled universe, under the presidency of Christ and by the hand of Christ, to be crowned with the life eternal! Let every one add his Amen to the ascription of honor and power to God, as displayed in the appearing of Christ.—R.F.

1 Timothy 6:17-21.Parting words.

I. WARNING TO THE RICH. "Charge them that are rich in this present world, that they be not high-minded, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." The apostle's fear of worldliness in the Church still possesses him. He does not now regard those who wish to be rich, but those who are rich. He at once reminds them of the relative value of their riches, as extending only to this present world. He warns them against the danger of being high-minded, i.e. lifted up above others under a sense of their importance on account of their riches. He warns them also against the kindred danger, which separates, not so much from men as from God, viz. their setting their hope on their riches. "Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answered again, and said unto them, "Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God? The difficulty of the rich is that they are tempted to set their hope on their riches. One reason for their not doing so, is that their hope should not be set on an uncertainty such as riches is. The true Object of our hope is God, who is of a liberal disposition. He giveth us not merely the necessaries of life, but he giveth us richly all things. In his disposition we have a better guarantee for our not wanting, than in clutching to any riches. He giveth us things to enjoy, not to draw us away from our fellow-men, not to draw us away from himself, but to enjoy as his gifts, through which he would tell us of the kindness of his heart.

II. THE RIGHT COURSE FOR THEM. "That they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate." They were to seek to promote the happiness of others. As they were rich, they had it in their power, above others, to do beautiful actions. They were to be free in making distribution of what they had. They were to be ready to admit others to share with them. In a word, they were to counteract worldly habits of mind by cultivating habits of benevolence. There is the duty of giving the Lord the first fruits of our substance, a proportion of our income; there is here inculcated the cultivation of the disposition toward others that is to go along with that.

III. ADVANTAGE OF THE RIGHT COURSE. "Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on the life which is life indeed." What they took from their plenty and gave for others they were not to lose, but were to have it as a treasure laid up for them. "Their estates will not die with them, but they will have joy and comfort of them in the other world, and have cause to bless God for them to all eternity" (Beveridge). The treasure is thought of as a good foundation, by resting on which they would lay hold on the life which was life indeed. The time is coming when this world will be taken away from beneath our feet. What have we sent before us into the next world, so as to keep us from sinking in the new condition of things, to bear us up so that we shall not earn, but receive, from Christ's hand and through Christ's merit, the life indeed? The answer here is—what we have denied ourselves, what we have unselfishly sacrificed for others.


1. What he was to keep. "O Timothy, guard that which is committed unto thee." The deposit is the doctrine delivered to Timothy to preach, as opposed to what follows. "We have an exclamation alike of foreknowledge and of fondness. For he foresaw future errors, which he mourned over beforehand. What does he mean by guarding the deposit? Guard it, says he, on account of thieves, on account of enemies who while men sleep may sow tares amidst the good seed. What is the deposit? It is that which was entrusted to thee, not found by thee; which thou hast received, not invented; a matter, not of genius, but of teaching; not of private usurpation, but of public tradition; a matter brought to thee, not put forth by thee; in which thou oughtest to be, not an enlarger, but a guardian; not an originator, but a disciple; not leading, but following. Keep, saith he, the deposit; preserve intact and inviolate the talent of the catholic faith. What has been entrusted to thee, let the same remain with thee; let that same be handed down by thee. Gold thou hast received, gold return. I should be sorry thou shouldst substitute ought else. I should be sorry that for gold thou shouldst substitute lead, impudently, or brass, fraudulently. I do not want the mere appearance of gold, but its actual reality. Not that there is to be no progress in religion, in Christ's Church. Let there be so by all means, and the greatest progress; but, then, let it be real progress, not a change of faith. Let the intelligence of the whole Church and its individual members increase exceedingly, provided it be only on its own head, the doctrine being still the same."

2. What he was to avoid. "Turning away from the profane babblings and oppositions of the knowledge which is falsely so called; which some professing have erred concerning the faith." The errors are called profane babblings, similarly to the characterization of them in 1 Timothy 1:6 and 1 Timothy 4:7. They are also called oppositions of a falsely named gnosis, i.e. to the true gnosis in the gospel. There were some defections on account of Gnostic tendencies even in the apostle's day; and it was very much the design of this letter to warn his pupil against them.

V. BENEDICTION. "Grace be with you." It seems better to regard the benediction for Timothy alone. He has been so busy in laying down ecclesiastical rules for the direction of Timothy as superintendent, that he has no space left for personal references, but closes abruptly with the briefest form of benediction.—R.F.

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 6". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tpc/1-timothy-6.html. 1897.
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