Exhortations as to Distinctions of Civil Rank;
the Duty of Slaves, in Opposition to the False Teachings of
Gain-seekers; Timothy's Pursuit Is to Be
Godliness, Which Is an Everlasting
Possession: Solemn Adjuration to Do So
against Christ's Coming; Charge to Be
Given to the Rich. Concluding
1. servants—to be taken as predicated
thus, "Let as many as are under the yoke (as) slaves" (Tit 2:9). The exhortation is natural as there
was a danger of Christian slaves inwardly feeling above their heathen
their own masters—The phrase "their
own," is an argument for submissiveness; it is not strangers,
but their own masters whom they are required to respect.
all honour—all possible and
fitting honor; not merely outward subjection, but that inward
honor from which will flow spontaneously right outward conduct
(see on Eph 5:22).
that the name of God—by which
Christians are called.
blasphemed—Heathen masters would say,
What kind of a God must be the God of the Christians, when such are the
fruits of His worship (Ro 2:24; Tit 2:5, 10)?
2. And—rather, "But." The opposition is
between those Christian slaves under the yoke of heathen, and
those that have believing masters (he does not use the phrase
"under the yoke" in the latter case, for service under believers is not
a yoke). Connect the following words thus, "Let them (the
slaves) not, because they (the masters) are brethren (and so
equals, masters and slaves alike being Christians), despise them
but rather, &c.—"but all the more
(so much the more: with the greater good will) do them service because
they (the masters) are faithful (that is, believers) and beloved who
receive (in the mutual interchange of relative duties between
master and servant; so the Greek) the benefit" (English
Version violates Greek grammar). This latter clause is
parallel to, "because they are brethren"; which proves that "they"
refers to the masters, not the servants, as Tittmann takes it, explaining the verb in the common
sense (Lu 1:54; Ac 20:35), "who sedulously labor for their
(masters') benefit." The very term "benefit" delicately implies service
done with the right motive, Christian "good will" (Eph 6:7). If the common sense of the
Greek verb be urged, the sense must be, "Because they (the
masters) are faithful and beloved who are sedulously intent on the
benefiting" of their servants. But Porphyry [On Abstinence, 1.46] justifies the
sense of the Greek verb given above, which also better accords
with the context; for otherwise, the article "the," will have
nothing in the preceding words to explain it, whereas in my explanation
above "the benefit" will be that of the slaves'
These things teach—(1Ti 4:11; Tit
3. teach otherwise—than I desire thee to
6:2). The Greek
indicative implies, he puts not a merely supposed case, but one
actually existing, 1Ti 1:3,
"Every one who teaches otherwise," that is, who teaches
consent not—Greek, "accede not
wholesome—"sound" (1Ti 1:10): opposed to the false teachers' words,
unsound through profitless science and immorality.
words of our Lord Jesus Christ—Paul's
inspired words are not merely his own, but are also Christ's
4. He is proud—literally, "wrapt in
smoke"; filled with the fumes of self-conceit (1Ti 3:6) while "knowing nothing," namely, of the
doctrine which is according to godliness (1Ti 6:3), though arrogating pre-eminent
knowledge (1Ti 1:7).
doting about—literally, "sick
about"; the opposite of "wholesome" (1Ti 6:3). Truth is not the center
about which his investigations move, but mere
strifes of words—rather than about
realities (2Ti 2:14).
These stand with them instead of "godliness" and "wholesome words"
(1Ti 6:3; 1Ti 1:4; Tit 3:9).
evil surmisings—as to those who are of
a different party from themselves.
5. Perverse disputings—useless
disputings. The oldest manuscripts read, "lasting contests" [Wiesinger]; "incessant collisions" [Alford]. "Strifes of words" had already been
mentioned so that he would not be likely to repeat the same idea (as in
the English Version reading) again.
corrupt minds—Greek, "of men
corrupted (depraved) in mind." The inmost source of the evil is in the
perverted mind (1Ti 6:4; 2Ti 3:8; Tit 1:15).
destitute of the truth—(Tit 1:14). They had had the truth, but through
want of moral integrity and of love of the truth, they were misled by a
pretended deeper gnosis (knowledge) and higher ascetical holiness, of
which they made a trade [Wiesinger].
supposing, &c.—The Greek
requires, "supposing (regarding the matter in this point of view) that
piety (so translated for 'godliness') is a means of gain (that is, a
way of advancing one's worldly interests: a different Greek
form, poriswa, expresses the thing gained, gain)"; not
"that gain is godliness," as English Version.
from such withdraw thyself—omitted in
the oldest manuscripts. The connection with 1Ti 6:6 favors the omission of these words,
which interrupt the connection.
6. But—Though they err in this, there is
a sense in which "piety is" not merely gain, but "great means of
gain": not the gaining which they pursue, and which makes men to
be discontented with their present possessions, and to use
religion as "a cloak of covetousness" (1Th 2:5) and means of earthly gain, but
the present and eternal gain which piety, whose
accompaniment is contentment, secures to the soul. Wiesinger remarks that Paul observed in Timothy a
tendency to indolence and shrinking from the conflict, whence he felt
6:11) that Timothy needed
cautioning against such temptation; compare also the second Epistle.
Not merely contentment is great gain (a sentiment of the heathen
Cicero [Paradox 6], "the greatest
and surest riches"), but "piety with contentment"; for piety not only
feels no need of what it has not, but also has that which exalts it
above what it has not [Wiesinger]. The
Greek for contentment is translated "sufficiency" (2Co 9:8). But the adjective (Php 4:11) "content"; literally, "having a
sufficiency in one's self" independent of others. "The Lord
always supplies His people with what is necessary for them. True
happiness lies in piety, but this sufficiency [supplied by God,
with which moreover His people are content] is thrown into the
scale as a kind of overweight" [Calvin]
(1Ki 17:1-16; Ps 37:19; Isa 33:6, 16; Jer
7. For—confirming the reasonableness of
and it is certain—Vulgate and
other old versions support this reading. The oldest manuscripts,
however, omit "and it is certain"; then the translation will be, "We
brought nothing into the world (to teach us to remember) that neither
can we carry anything out" (Job 1:21; Ec 5:15). Therefore, we should have no
gain-seeking anxiety, the breeder of discontent (Mt 6:25).
8. And—Greek, "But." In contrast
to the greedy gain-seekers (1Ti 6:5).
having—so long as we have food. (The
Greek expresses "food sufficient in each case for our
continually recurring wants" [Alford]).
It is implied that we, as believers, shall have this (Isa 23:16).
according to some including a roof to cover us, that is, a
dwelling, as well as clothing.
let us be therewith content—literally,
"we shall be sufficiently provided"; "we shall be sufficed" [Alford].
9. will be rich—have more than
"food and raiment." Greek, "wish to be rich"; not
merely are willing, but are resolved, and earnestly
desire to have riches at any cost (Pr 28:20, 22). This wishing (not the
riches themselves) is fatal to "contentment" (1Ti 6:6). Rich men are not told to cast away
their riches, but not to "trust" in them, and to "do good" with them
(1Ti 6:17, 18; Ps 62:10).
fall into temptation—not merely "are
exposed to temptation," but actually "fall into" it. The
falling into it is what we are to pray against, "Lead us not
into temptation" (Jas 1:14);
such a one is already in a sinful state, even before any overt act of
sin. The Greek for "temptation" and "gain" contains a play on
snare—a further step downwards (1Ti 3:7). He falls into "the snare of the
hurtful—to those who fall into the
snare. Compare Eph 4:22,
"deceitful lusts" which deceive to one's deadly hurt.
lusts—With the one evil lust
("wish to be rich") many others join themselves: the one is the
"root of all evils" (1Ti 6:10).
drown—an awful descending climax from
"fall into"; this is the last step in the terrible descent (Jas 1:15); translated "sink," Lu 5:7.
perdition—destruction in general (temporal or
eternal), and perdition in particular, namely, that of body and
soul in hell.
10. the love of money—not the money
itself, but the love of it—the wishing to be rich
6:9)—"is a root
(Ellicott and Middleton: not as English Version,
'the root') of all evils." (So the Greek plural).
The wealthiest may be rich not in a bad sense; the poorest may covet to
be so (Ps
62:10). Love of money
is not the sole root of evils, but it is a leading "root of bitterness"
12:15), for "it destroys
faith, the root of all that is good" [Bengel]; its offshoots are "temptation, a snare,
lusts, destruction, perdition."
coveted after—lusted after.
erred from—literally, "have been made
to err from the faith" (1Ti 1:19; 4:1).
with … sorrows—"pains": "thorns"
of the parable (Mt 13:22)
which choke the word of "faith." "The prosperity of fools destroys
1:32). Bengel and Wiesinger
make them the gnawings of conscience, producing remorse for wealth
badly acquired; the harbingers of the future "perdition" (1Ti 6:9).
11. But thou—in contrast to the "some"
man of God—who hast God as thy true
riches (Ge 15:1; Ps 16:5; La 3:24). Applying primarily to Timothy as a
minister (compare 2Pe 1:21),
just as the term was used of Moses (De 33:1), Samuel (1Sa 9:6), Elijah, and Elisha; but, as the
exhortation is as to duties incumbent also on all Christians,
the term applies secondarily to him (so 2Ti 3:17) as a Christian man born of God
(Jas 1:18; 1Jo 5:1), no longer a man of the world
raised above earthly things; therefore, God's property, not his own,
bought with a price, and so having parted with all right in himself:
Christ's work is to be his great work: he is to be Christ's
flee these things—namely, "the love of
money" with its evil results (1Ti 6:9, 10).
follow after righteousness—(2Ti 2:22).
Righteousness is more in relation to our fellow man;
piety ("godliness") to God"; faith is the root of both
(see on Tit 2:12).
love—by which "faith worketh."
meekness—The oldest manuscripts read,
"meek-spiritedness," namely, towards the opponents of the Gospel.
12. Fight the good fight—Birks thinks this Epistle was written from Corinth,
where contests in the national games recurred at stated seasons, which
will account for the allusion here as in 1Co 9:24-26. Contrast "strifes of words" (1Ti 6:4). Compare 1Ti 1:18; 2Ti
4:7. The "good profession" is
connected with the good fight (Ps 60:4).
lay hold on eternal life—the crown, or
garland, the prize of victory, laid hold of by the winner in the "good
fight" (2Ti 4:7, 8; Php 3:12-14). "Fight (literally, 'strive')
with such striving earnestness as to lay hold on the prize,
also—not in the oldest
professed a good
profession—Greek, "didst confess THE good confession," namely, the
Christian confession (as the Greek word is the same in this
verse as that for "confession" in 1Ti 6:13, probably the profession here is
the confession that Christ's kingdom is the kingdom of the
truth, Joh 18:36, 37), at thy being set apart to thy
ministerial function (whether in general, or as overseer at Ephesus):
the same occasion as is referred to in 1Ti 1:18; 4:14; 2Ti 1:4.
before many witnesses—who would
testify against thee if thou shouldest fall away [Bengel].
13. quickeneth all things—that is,
"maketh alive." But the oldest manuscripts read, "preserveth alive"; as
the same Greek means in Ac 7:19; compare Ne 9:6. He urges Timothy to faithfulness here
by the present manifestation of God's power in preserving all things,
as in 1Ti
6:14, by the future
manifestation of God's power at the appearing of Christ. The assurance
that "eternal life," 1Ti 6:12,
will be the result of "fighting the good fight," rests on the fulness
and power of Him who is the God of all life, present and to come.
witnessed—It was the Lord's part to
witness, Timothy's part to confess (or "profess," 1Ti 6:12) "the good confession"
[Bengel]. The confession was His
testimony that He was King, and His kingdom that of the truth
(see on 1Ti 6:12; 1Ti 6:15; Mt 27:11). Christ, in attesting, or bearing
witness to this truth, attested the truth of the whole of Christianity.
Timothy's profession, or confession, included therefore
the whole of the Christian truth.
14. keep this commandment—Greek,
"the commandment," that is, the Gospel rule of life (1Ti 1:5; Joh 13:34; 2Pe 2:21; 3:2).
without spot, unrebukeable—agreeing
with "thou." Keep the commandment and so be without spot," &c.
"Pure" (1Ti 5:22; Eph 5:27; Jas 1:27; 2Pe 3:14).
until the appearing of …
Christ—His coming in person (2Th 2:8; Tit
2:13). Believers then used in
their practice to set before themselves the day of Christ as near at
hand; we, the hour of death [Bengel].
The fact has in all ages of the Church been certain, the time as
uncertain to Paul, as it is to us; hence, 1Ti 6:15, he says, "in His times": the Church's true attitude is that of
continual expectation of her Lord's return (1Co 1:8; Php
15. in his times—Greek, "His
own [fitting] times" (Ac 1:7). The
plural implies successive stages in the manifestation of the kingdom of
God, each having its own appropriate time, the regulating principle and
knowledge of which rests with the Father (1Ti 2:6; 2Ti 1:9; Tit 1:3; Heb 1:1).
he shall show—"display": an expression
appropriate in reference to His "APPEARING," which is stronger than His "coming," and
implies its visibility; "manifest": make visible (compare
Ac 3:20): "He" is the Father (1Ti 6:16).
blessed—in Himself: so about to be the
source of blessing to His people at Christ appearing, whence
flows their "blessed hope" (1Ti 1:11; Tit 2:13).
only—(Joh 17:3; Ro 16:27; Re
King of kings—elsewhere applied also
to Jesus (Re 1:5; 17:14; 19:16).
16. Who only hath immortality—in His own
essence, not merely at the will of another, as all other immortal
beings [Justin Martyr, Quæst. ad
Orthod., 61]. As He hath immortality, so will He give it to
us who believe; to be out of Him is death. It is mere heathen
philosophy that attributes to the soul indestructibility in itself,
which is to be attributed solely to God's gift. As He hath life in
Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself
5:26). The term used in the
New Testament for "immortal," which does not occur, is "incorruptible."
"Immortality" is found in 1Co 15:53, 54.
dwelling in the light which no man can approach
unto—After life comes mention of light, as in
Joh 1:4. That light is
unapproachable to creatures, except in so far as they are
admitted by Him, and as He goes forth to them [Bengel]. It is unapproachable on account of
its exceeding brightness [Theophylact].
If one cannot gaze steadfastly at the sun, which is but a small part of
creation, by reason of its exceeding heat and power, how much less can
mortal man gaze at the inexpressible glory of God [Theophylact, To Autolycus] (Ps 104:2; 1Jo
no man hath seen—(Ex 23:20; Joh 1:18; Col 1:15; Heb 11:27; 1Jo 4:12). Perhaps even in the perfect
state no creature shall fully see God. Still the saints shall, in some
sense, have the blessedness of seeing Him, which is denied to
mere man (Mt 5:8; 1Co 13:12; 1Jo 3:2; Re
17. Resuming the subject from above, 1Ti 6:5,
10. The immortality of God,
alone rich in glory, and of His people through Him, is opposed to the
lust of money (compare 1Ti 6:14-16). From speaking of the desire to
be rich, he here passes to those who are rich: (1) What ought to
be their disposition; (2) What use they ought to make of their riches,
and, (3) The consequences of their so using them.
rich in this world—contrasted with the
riches of the future kingdom to be the portion of believers at Christ's
"appearing," 1Ti 6:14.
high-minded—often the character of the
rich (see Ro 12:16).
trust—Greek, "to have their
in … in—rather, "upon …
upon," as the oldest manuscripts.
uncertain riches—rather as
Greek, "the uncertainty of riches." They who rest their
trust on riches, rest trust on uncertainty itself (Pr 23:5). Now they belong to one person, now to
another, and that which has many masters is possessed by none [Theodoret].
living God—The best manuscripts and
versions omit "living." He who trusts in riches transfers to them the
duty he owes to God [Calvin].
all things richly—temporal and
eternal, for the body and for the soul. In order to be truly rich, seek
to be blessed of, and in, God (Pr 10:22; 2Pe 1:3).
to enjoy—Greek, "for
enjoyment." Not that the heart may cleave to them as its idol and
trust (1Ti 4:3).
Enjoyment consists in giving, not in holding fast.
Non-employment should be far removed, as from man, so from his
resources (Jas 5:2, 3)
18. do good—like God Himself (Ps
119:68; Ac 14:17) and Christ
10:38). Tittmann translates, "to do," or "act well"; as the
Greek for "to be beneficent" is a distinct word,
rich in good works—so "rich in faith,"
which produces good works (Jas 2:5).
Contrasted with "rich in this world," 1Ti 6:17. Literally, it is "rich in honorable
(right) works." Greek, "kalois," "ergois," are
works good or right in themselves: "agathois," good to
ready to distribute—free givers [Alford]; the heart not cleaving to
possessions, but ready to impart to others.
willing to communicate—ready
contributors [Alford]: liberal in
admitting others to share our goods in common with ourselves
6:6; Heb 13:16).
19. Laying up in store—"therefrom (that
is, by this means [Alford]; but Bengel makes the Greek "apo"
mean laying apart against a future time), laying up for
themselves as a treasure" [Alford]
20). This is a treasure which
we act wisely in laying up in store, whereas the wisest thing we
can do with earthly treasures is "to distribute" them and give others a
share of them (1Ti 6:18).
good foundation—(See on 1Ti 3:13; Lu 6:48; 1Co 3:11). The sure reversion of the future
heavenly inheritance: earthly riches scattered in faith lay up
in store a sure increase of heavenly riches. We gather by
scattering (Pr 11:24; 13:7; Lu 16:9).
that … eternal life—The oldest
manuscripts and versions read, "that which is really life," its
joys being solid and enduring (Ps 16:11). The life that now is cannot be called
so, its goods being unsubstantial, and itself a vapor (Jas 4:14). "In order that ('with their feet so to
speak on this foundation' [De Wette])
they may lay hold on that which is life indeed."
20, 21. Recapitulatory conclusion: the main
aim of the whole Epistle being here summarily stated.
O Timothy—a personal appeal, marking
at once his affection for Timothy, and his prescience of the coming
keep—from spiritual thieves, and from
enemies who will, while men sleep, sow tares amidst the good seed sown
by the Son of man.
that which is committed to thy
trust—Greek, "the deposit" (1Ti
1:18; 2Ti 1:12, 14; 2:2).
"The true" or "sound doctrine" to be taught, as opposed
to "the science falsely so called," which leads to
"error concerning the faith" (1Ti 6:21). "It is not thine: it is another's
property with which thou hast been entrusted: Diminish it not at all"
[Chrysostom]. "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 that same remain
with thee; let that same be handed down by thee. Gold thou hast
received, gold return. I should be sorry thou shouldest substitute
aught else. I should be sorry that for gold thou shouldest 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 the faith. Let the intelligence of the whole Church and its
individual members increase exceedingly, provided it be only in its own
kind, the doctrine being still the same. Let the religion of the soul
resemble the growth of the body, which, though it develops its several
parts in the progress of years, yet remains the same as it was
essentially" [Vincentius Lirinensis,
avoiding—"turning away from" (compare
2Ti 3:4). Even as they have "turned away
from the truth" (1Ti 1:6; 5:15; 2Ti 4:4).
profane—(1Ti 4:7; 2Ti
vain—Greek, "empty": mere
"strifes of words," 1Ti 6:4,
producing no moral fruit.
oppositions—dialectic antithesis of
the false teachers [Alford]. Wiesinger, not so probably, "oppositions to
the sound doctrine." I think it likely germs existed already of the
heresy of dualistic oppositions, namely, between the good and evil
principle, afterwards fully developed in Gnosticism. Contrast Paul's
just antithesis (1Ti 3:16; 6:5, 6; 2Ti 2:15-23).
science falsely so called—where there
is not faith, there is not knowledge [Chrysostom]. There was true "knowledge," a special
gift of the Spirit, which was abused by some (1Co 8:1; 12:8;
14:6). This gift was soon
counterfeited by false teachers arrogating to themselves pre-eminently
the gift (Col 2:8, 18, 23). Hence arose the creeds of the Church,
called symbols, that is, in Greek, "watchwords," or a
test whereby the orthodox might distinguish one another in opposition
to the heretical. Perhaps here, 1Ti 6:20, and 2Ti 1:13,
14, imply the existence of
some such brief formula of doctrine then existing in the Church; if so,
we see a good reason for its not being written in Scripture, which is
designed not to give dogmatic formularies, but to be the fountain
whence all such formularies are to be drawn according to the exigencies
of the several churches and ages. Probably thus a portion of the
so-called apostle's creed may have had their sanction, and been
preserved solely by tradition on this account. "The creed, handed down
from the apostles, is not written on paper and with ink, but on fleshy
tables of the heart" Jerome [Against
John of Jerusalem, 9]. Thus, in the creed, contrary to the
"oppositions" (the germs of which probably existed in the Church in
Paul's latter days) whereby the aeons were set off in pairs, God
is stated to be "the Father Almighty," or all-governing "maker
of heaven and earth" [Bishop Hinds].
21. Which some professing—namely,
professing these oppositions of science falsely so called.
erred—(See on 1Ti
1:6; 1Ti 2:11)—literally, "missed the
3:7, 8). True sagacity is
inseparable from faith.
grace," namely, of God, for which we Christians look, and in which we
be with thee—He restricts the
salutation to Timothy, as the Epistle was not to be read in public
[Bengel]. But the oldest manuscripts
read, "be with you"; and the "thee" may be a transcriber's alteration
to harmonize with 2Ti 4:22; Tit 3:15.
Amen—omitted in the oldest