I Timothy 6:6-19
July 7, 2019
WE endeavored, this morning, to prove the profitableness of godliness as
to the life which now is, and to discriminate as to what the promise of this
life really is. We tried to prove that “the promise” of the life that now is, its
real and highest beauty and excellence, consists in peace of mind, peace
with God, contentment, and happiness of spirit; and while we pointed out
that godliness did not ensure wealth, or health, or even a good name — for
all these even to godly men might not be granted — yet we showed that
the great end of our being, that for which we live and were created, that
which will best make it worth while to have existed, shall certainly be ours
if we are godly. We did not think it an unimportant matter to expound the
bearing of true religion upon this present state, but I trust we did not
exaggerate that view so as to keep those in countenance who dream that
this world is the main consideration, and that the wisest man is he who
makes it the be-all and the end-all of his existence.
Beloved friends, there is another life beyond this fleeting existence. This
fact was dimly guessed by heathens: This puzzle was solved when
JESUS CHRIST WHO ABOLISHED DEATH AND BROUGHT
LIFE AND IMMORTALITY TO LIGHT THROUGH THE GOSPEL!
The Doctrine of God (vs. 1-2)
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.; Corinthians 1:27-28; Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25; Titus 2:9;
Philemon 1:10, 16; I 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 IS FROM GOD!
The Duties of Slaves to Unbelieving Masters (v. 1)
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.
· THE HONOR DUE TO PAGAN MASTERS. “Whoever are under the
yoke as bondservants, let them reckon their own masters worthy of all
Ø 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.
Ø 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
Ø 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
degree; it would have armed the whole forces of the
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” (Romans 2:11), and that “in Jesus Christ there was neither bond
nor free, but all were one in Christ” (Galatians 3:28), 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.
Ø 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.
· THE REASON FOR THE DUE HONOR GIVEN TO THEIR
PAGAN MASTERS. “That the Name of God and his doctrine may not be
Ø 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
Ø It is thus possible for the lowliest 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).
Ø 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:
o to persons entirely free, as to David in relation to Saul (I Samuel 19:4),
o to Christians generally (Romans 6:16; I Peter 2:16),
o to apostles, prophets, and ministers (Galatians 1:10; II Timothy 2:24), and
o to the higher class of dependents (Matthew 18:23; 21:34).
Thus the term implies a relation of dependence without legal compulsion.
Christian servants must yield a willing and cheerful service that they may
thus honor the gospel.
Heterodoxy (vs. 3-5)
It is a great mistake to limit the notion of heterodoxy (deviation from accepted or
orthodox standards or beliefs – and there are a lot of these in our society – CY –
2019) ) 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.
6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Godliness, etc. The apostle
takes 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 (compare Matthew 6:19-21;
Luke 12:33). The enumeration of his acquired treasures follows, after a parenthetical
depreciation of those of the covetous man, in v. 11. The thought, as so often in
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.
(v. 11). The phrase, Eστι δὲ πορισμὸς μέγας ἡ εὐσεβεία μετὰ αὐταρκείας, - Estin
de porismos megas hae eusebeia meta autarkeias - But goldliness with contentment
is great gain - should be construed by making the μετὰ (great) couple πορισμὸς –
(a way of gain; capital) with αὐταρκείας (contentment) so as to express that
“godliness” is both “gain” and “contentment” — not as if αὐταρκεία (contentment)
qualified εὐσεβεία (godliness) that would have been expressed by the collocation,
ἡ μετὰ αὐταρκείας εὐσεβεία. Contentment (αὐταρκεία). The word occurs elsewhere
in the New Testament only in II Corinthians 9:8, where it is rendered, both in the
Revised Version and the Authorized Version, “sufficiency.” The adjective αὐτάρκης –
Autarkaes – 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 (contentment) is the condition of the person, or thing,
which is αὐτάρκης (content).
9 “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into
many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and
perdition.” Temptation. The Revised Version inserts the article “a” before
“temptation” because it seems to be that, as the three substantives all depend
upon the one preposition εἰς – eis - into, 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 Authorized Version and in Matthew 6:13; 26:41; Luke
22:40, etc. Snare (παγίδα – pagida – snare; trap); as ch.3:7, note. The
concurrence of the two words περιρασμός – perirasmos – trial; temptation
and παγίς – pagis – snare -show that the agency of Satan was in the
writer’s mind. Drown (βυθίζουσι – buthizousi – drown; are swamping;
submerging); only here and Luke 5:7 (sink) in the New Testament.
Destruction and perdition (ὄλεθρον καὶ ἀπώλειαν – olethron kai apoleian –
extermination and destruction). The two words taken together imply UTTER
RUIN AND DESTRUCTION OF BODY AND SOUL! Ὄλεθρος –
Olethros – destruction - very common in classical Greek, occurs in I Corinthians
5:5; I Thessalonians 5:3; II Thessalonians 1:9, and is limited in the first passage to
the destruction of the body, by the words, τῆς σαρκός – taes sarkos –
of the flesh – (I Corinthians 5:5). Ἀπωλεία – Apoleia – here translated
perdition – means to destroy utterly, 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;
II Thessalonians 2:3; Hebrews 10:39; II Peter 3:7; Revelation 17:3, etc.).
The Dangers of the Eager Haste to be Rich (v. 9)
“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare.”
Ø 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, Gaius, and
others; nor such rich men as use their wealth righteously as good
stewards of God.
Ø He condemns the haste to be rich, not only because wealth is not
necessary for a life of godly contentment, but because of its social
and moral risks.
“fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful
lusts, which DROWN MEN in DESTRUCTION and PERDITION.
Ø 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. (One
should: “never sacrifice principle for temporary gain.” –
This maxim is all over Twitter and Facebook – CY – 2013)
Ø 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 ARE AGAINST A MAN’S
Ø These lusts in turn carry their OWN RETRIBUTION. They
DROWN MEN in DESTRUCTION and PERDITION.
o This is more than moral degradation.
o It is A WRECK OF THE BODY accompanied by
THE RUIN OF THE IMMORTAL SOUL!
The Contrast (vs. 6-21)
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.
· 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. (Christ sums it up when he
says “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew
6:21 – CY – 2019) 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. (Does this explain why you
are not a Christiian? Is this why you do not come to church? CY – 2019)
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
Ø It was his greed for the wages of unrighteousness which urged
Baalam on to his destruction; (II Peter 2:15)
Ø it was his greed for money that made Judas a thief, a traitor, and
a murderer of his Lord.
Many an heresiarch (the founder of a heresy or the leader of a heretical sect)
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!
· 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 admitting
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! 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!
ἀπόλλυμὶ - apollumi - a strengthened form of ollumi, signifies “to destroy utterly”;
in middle voice, “to perish.” The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being,
but of well-being. This is clear from its use, as, e.g., of the marring of wine skins,
Luke 5:37; of lost sheep, i.e., lost to the shepherd, metaphorical of spiritual
destitution, Luke 15:4, 6, etc.; the lost son, 15:24; of the perishing of food,
John 6:27; of gold, I Peter 1:7. So of persons, Matthew 2:13, “destroy”; 8:25,
“perish”; 22:7; 27:20; of the loss of well-being in the case of the unsaved hereafter,
Matthew 10:28; Luke 13:3, 5; John 3:16 (v. 15 in some manuscripts); 10:28; 17:12;
Romans 2:12; I Corinthians 15:18; II Corinthians 2:15, “are perishing”; 4:3;
II Thessalonians 2:10; James 4:12; II Peter 3:9. Compare ἀπώλεια below.
See DIE, LOSE, MARRED, PERISH.
ἀπώλεια – apoleia akin to ἀπόλλυμὶ above, and likewise indicating “loss of
well-being, not of being,” is used:
· of things, signifying their waste, or ruin;
Ø of ointment, Matthew 26:8; Mark 14:4;
Ø of money, Acts 8:20 (“perish”);
· of persons, signifying their spiritual and eternal perdition, Matthew 7:13;
John 17:12; II Thessalonians 2:3, where “son of perdition” signifies the
proper destiny of the person mentioned; metaphorically of men persistent
in evil, Romans 9:22, where “fitted” is in the middle voice, indicating that
the vessels of wrath fitted themselves for “destruction”,
Ø of the adversaries of the Lord’s people, Philippians. 1:28 (“perdition”);
Ø of professing Christians, really enemies of the cross of Christ,
Philippians 3:19 (Revised Version, “perdition”);
Ø of those who are subjects of foolish and hurtful lusts, v. 9 here
(for the preceding word “destruction” see ὄλεθρος below);
Ø of professing Hebrew adherents who shrink back into unbelief,
Ø of false teachers, II Peter 2:1, 3;
Ø of ungodly men, ibid. ch. 3:7;
Ø of those who wrest the Scriptures, ibid. v. 16;
of the Beast, the final head of the revived
Revelation 17:8, 11;
· of impersonal subjects, as heresies, II Peter 2:1, where “destructive heresies”
(Revised Version; King James Version, “damnable”) is, literally “heresies
of destruction” (margin, “sects of perdition”); in ibid. v. 2 the most authentic
manuscripts. have ἀσελγείαις – aselgeiais – lascivious instead of ἀπώλειας.
See PERDITION, PERNICIOUS, WASTE.
ὄλεθρος – olethros - ruin, destruction - akin to ὀλοθρεύω (see below) always
translated “destruction,” is used:
· in I Corinthians 5:5, of the effect upon the physical condition of an erring
believer for the purpose of his spiritual profit;
· in I Thessalonians 5:3 and II Thessalonians 1:9, of the effect of the divine
judgments upon men at the ushering in of the Day of the Lord and the
revelation of the Lord Jesus;
· in v. 9 here, of the consequences of the indulgence of the flesh, referring
to physical “ruin” and possibly that of the whole being, the following word
(see No. 1) stressing THE FINAL, ETERNAL, and IRREVOKABLE
CHARACTER OF THE RUIN!
ὀλοθρεύω – olothreuo - to destroy - especially in the sense of slaying, is found
in Hebrews 11:28, where the Revised Version translates the present participle with
the article by the noun “destroyer.” ὁ ὀλοθρεύων – ho olothreuon – the destroyer.
See ὀλοθρεύτής below.
ὀλοθρεύτής – olothreutes - akin to ὀλοθρεύω - a destroyer – (see above) is found in
I Corinthians 10:10. Note: Compare Ἀπολλύων – Apollyon - in Revelation 9:11,
the present participle of ἀπόλλυμὶ, used as a proper noun.
Two personal points to be made:
(1) Concerning your physical body, how often have you ever looked in
an anatomy book or a doctor’s descriptions of maladies or diseases,
to learn something to help for well-being of a current condition?
Then is not your soul that important? important enough to look
into God’s Word for help, or better still, Look to Jesus Christ for
(2) Whenever a form of the Greek word for perishing or destruction - ἀπόλλυμὶ -
apollumi - which signifies “to destroy utterly”; in middle voice, “to perish.”
The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of well-being,
DOES IT NOT BOTHER YOU THAT A WORD USED TO DESCRIBE
YOUR CONDITION, IS A MONIKER ALSO OF SATAN THAT YOU
CAN/WILL SHARE THROUGHOUT ETERNITY WITH HIM, WHETHER
IN NAME ONLY OR IN REALITY????????????????????
DO YOU EVER PLAN TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT? IF NOT TODAY?