I Timothy 6

 

 

1 “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters

worthy of all honor, that the name of God and His doctrine be not

blasphemed.”  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 I  Corinthians 7:21-22; 12:13;

Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:11, 22; I Peter 2:18 (οἱ οἰκέται – hoi oiketai

the servants; the domestics); see also I 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 (compare Acts

15:10). How beautiful is the contrast suggested in Matthew 11:29-30! Masters

(δεσπόταςdespotas – masters; owners ); the proper word in relation to δοῦλος

douloi - slaves. His doctrine (διδασκαλίαhae didaskalia – doctrine;

teaching); 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 (ch.1:10; 4:6, 13, 16; 5:17; II Timothy 3:10; 4:3; Titus 1:9; 2:10).

Blasphemed (compare the similar passage, Titus 2:5, where λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ  

ho logos tou Theou – the Word of God  answers to διδασκαλία here).

Βλασφημεῖν blasphaemein  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.

 

 

 

                        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

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(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 slaves 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

blasphemed.”

 

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

pagan masters.

 

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.

 

2 “And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them,

because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they

are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach

and exhort.” They that have believing masters. The direction in the preceding

verse applied to all slaves, though chiefly to what was far the commonest case,

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 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 (compare II Peter 2:10). But rather do them

service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit.

There is a good deal of obscurity in this sentence, but it may be observed first

that the grammatical rendering of the Revised Version “but let them serve

them the rather, because they that partake of the benefit are

believing and beloved” is clearly right, and that of the Authorized Version

(stated above) is 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 - hoi taes euergesias

 antilambanomenoi – partakers of the benefit) are the same persons as the

δέσποται despotai – masters -  in the preceding sentence, because it is

predicated of them both that they are πιστοί pistoi – believing; believers –

and of  both that they are, in convertible terms, ἀγαπητοί agapaetoi - beloved

and ἀδελφοί  adelphoi – brothers; brethren.  And this leads us, with nearly

certainty, to the further conclusion that the εὐεργεσίαeuergesia, 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. 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 Septuagint, 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. 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 – anti – anti – used to promote contrast. 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 - didaske). Observe the connection

of this word with the διδασκαλία (doctrine; teaching) of vs. 1, 3, and

elsewhere.

 

 

 

                                    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 Christian Masters (v. 2)

 

This relationship would be less common than the other.

 

·         THE RESPECT DUE TO CHRISTIAN MASTERS. “And they that

have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are

brethren, but the rather serve them.” The duty is presented in a twofold

form.

 

Ø      Negatively. “Let them not despise them.” The false teachers might tell

the slaves that their servitude was inconsistent with Christian liberty. The

slaves might thus, especially in the case of Christian masters, regard them

as fully their equals on the ground of the common brotherhood of

believers, and refuse them the respect due to their position.

 

Ø      Positively. But the rather serve them.” The best way of effecting a

partial improvement of their condition was by rendering a service all the

more faithful, because it was rendered to a brother in Christ. Servants must

never under any circumstances be disrespectful.

 

·         THE REASONS FOR THIS COMMAND. They are twofold.

 

Ø      Because their masters are brethren. The slaves ought, therefore, to

treat them with Christian respect and generosity, knowing that such a

service is showing kindness to “brethren.”

 

Ø      Because those who were to receive the benefitof their hearty and

willing service were faithful and beloved.” This thought ought to dignify

as well as ameliorate the position of the slave. Such masters were willing to

receive such service.

 

·         THE NECESSITY OF ENFORCING THESE DUTIES. “These

things teach and exhort.”

 

Ø      It was necessary for the comfort of the slave himself as well as for the

interests of the master.

 

Ø      It was necessary for the credit and honor of the gospel, which would be

gravely compromised by restiveness or insubordination on the part of

the great subject class.

 

Ø      The gospel is not vulgarized by such counsel. It rather dignifies human

life in its meanest respects by infusing into it a new beauty and a new

                        generosity of feeling.

 

3 “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words,

even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which

is according to godliness;” Teach otherwise.  (ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖ -

 heterodidaskalei  - teacheth a different doctrine); see ch.1:3,

note. Consent not.  (μὴ προσέρχεταιmae  proserchetai – not

consenting; coming to an agreement ); 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 be , first,

approaching a subject with the mind with a view of considering it; and then

consenting to it — coming over to it. The term προσήλυτοςprosaelutos

proselyte; , a convert to Judaism, and the phrase from Irenaeus (‘Fragm.,’ 2.),

Οὐ τοῖς τῶν Ιουδαίων δόγμασι προσέρχονταιOutois ton Ioudaion

dogmasi proserchontai, “They do not fall in with, or agree to, the doctrines

of the Jews,” sufficiently illustrate the usage of the word here. Wholesome.

 (ὑγιαίνουσιhugiainousi – sound )  See ch.1:10, note. Godliness

(ἐυσεβείαeusebeia – devoutness; godliness); see ch.2:2, note.

 

 

 

The Health of Religion (v. 3)

 

“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.

 

  • 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

(go with me) of the Bible we find A CURE FOR ALL THE

DISEASES OF THE INNER MAN!

 

  • 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.

 

  • THESE WORDS ABE WHOLESOME IN EVERY SPHERE. It is

not too much to say of THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST THAT

IT SAVES THE 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.  (The idea of “Cleanliness is next to

godliness” seems to have originated with Francis Bacon [1605] and

reinforced by John Wesley a couple of centuries later in a couple of

his sermons [1791] – CY – 2013)

 

4 “He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of

words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,”  He is proud.  

(τετύφωται tetuphotai - he is puffed up; he is conceited); see ch.3:6, note.

Doting (νοσῶνnosondoting; to be foolish; to be unsound); here only in the

New Testament, but found occasionally in the Septuagitn. Applied in classical Greek

to the mind and body, “to be ailing; 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. Questions (ζητήσειςzaetaeseis - questionings); see ch.1:6, note.

It corresponds nearly to our word “controversies.” Strifes of words.  (λογομαχίας

 logomachias - disputes of words); found only here. The verb λογομαχέω

 logomacheo – to be engaging in controversy -  is used in II Timothy 2:14.

Would that the Church had always remembered Paul’s pithy condemnation of

unfruitful controversies about words! Surmisings.  (ὑπόνοιαιhuponoiai

suspicions); only here in the -New Testament. In classical Greek it means

“suspicion,” or any under-thought. The verb ὑπονοέω huponoeo  - to deem,

 think, or suppose -  occurs three times in the Acts —Here the surmisings are

those uncharitable insinuations in which angry controversialists indulge

towards one another.

 

5 “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the

truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

Perverse disputings.    (διαπαρατριβαί diaparatribaiperverse

Disputings;  wranglings  - παρατριβή (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.” Destitute. 

(ἀπεστερημένωνapesteraemenondestitute; having been deprived;

bereft). The difference between the Authorized Version’s “destitute” and the

Revised Version’s  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. 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 v. 6. Godliness is a way of gain.

 (πορισμόςporismos - a way of gain); only here and in v. 6 in the New

Testament.  It signifies “a source of gain,” “a means of making money,” or,

in one word, “a trade.” The same charge is brought against the heretical teachers

(Titus 1:11).

 

 

 

            A Warning against Those Who Oppose Wholesome Teaching (vs. 3-5)

 

  • THE OPPOSITION TO APOSTOLIC TEACHING- ON THE DUTIES

OF SLAVES. “If any one teacheth other doctrine, and does not assent to

sound words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the

doctrine which is according to godliness.”

 

Ø      The nature of this false teaching. It points, as the word signifies, to

“a different doctrine” from that of the apostle. There were false teachers

In Ephesus who, from a pretended interest in the class of Christian slaves,

taught them that the gospel was a political charter of emancipation; for the

yoke of Christ was designed to break every other yoke. They must have

been of the class referred to elsewhere who “despised government”

(II Peter 2:10;  Jude 1:8), 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.

 

Ø      The opposition of this teaching to Divine truth.

 

o       It was opposed to “wholesome words,” to words without

poison or taint of corruption, such as would maintain social

relations on a healthy basis.

 

o       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.”

 

o       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.

 

  • THE MORAL AND INTELLECTUAL CHARACTER OF THESE

FALSE TEACHERS.

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      The moral deficiency of these false teachers. They were “men

corrupted in their mind, destitute of the truth, who suppose that

gain is goldiness.”

 

o       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.

 

o       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.

 

o       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 DISORGAINIZING AND DISINTERGRATING

EFFECTS UPON SOCIETY (This is what is happening in

the hounding of true religion by secular America today! – CY –

2013)      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 sub-served the promotion

of worldly interests.  Simon Magus (Acts 8:18-24) and such

men as “made merchandise” of the disciples (II Peter 2:3) are

examples of this class. Such persons would “teach things which

they ought not for the sake of base gain” (Titus 1:11).

 

 

                                       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 μέγαςεὐσεβεία 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

godlinessis both “gain” and contentmentnot as if αὐταρκεία (contentment)

qualified εὐσεβεία (godliness) that would have been expressed by the collocation,

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).

 

 

 

The Wealth of Religion (v. 6)

 

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” We learn from these words:

 

  • 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!

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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!   (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Let this check 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 THAT WE CAN

CARRY NOTHING OUT!

 

7 “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can

carry nothing out.”  (When a teenager, my pastor, Howard Prather, said

“Plain words are easily understood.”  - I am not including any other

comments on this verse, hoping that I and that the reader, will let this truth

sink in.  Very somber words indeed!  Much more to me as I am in my 70th

year THROUGH GOD’S MERCY!   - CY – 2013; 76th - 2019)

 

8 “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

Food (διατροφάςdiatrophas – food; sustenance); here only in the New

Testament, but common in the Septuagint, rare in classical Greek. Raiment.

(σκεπάσματαskepasmata – raiment; covering) . The kindred words,

σκέπη skepae and σκέπαςskepas, with their derivatives, are used of the

covering or shelter of clothes, or tents, or houses. Paul may therefore have used

an uncommon word in order to comprise the two necessaries of raiment and

house. The use of the word “covering” in the Revised Version seems designed

to favor this double application. If one knew where Paul got the word

σκεπάσματα from, one could form a more decided opinion as to his meaning.

Let us be therewith content (ἀρκεσθήσομεθαarkesthaesometha – we

shall be sufficed). The proper meaning of ἀρκεῖσθαι - arkeisthai - 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.

 

 

 

The Real Gain of True Godliness (vs. 6-8)

 

The apostle, after his manner, expands his idea beyond the immediate occasion that

led to it.

 

  • THE GAIN OF GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT. “But

godliness with contentment is great gain.”

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      Godliness, allied to contentment, is great gain.

 

o       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.

 

o       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.

 

  • THE REASON FOR THIS SENTIMENT. “For we brought nothing

into the world, because neither are we able to take anything out of it.”

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      The lesson to be learned from these facts is that we ought not

 eagerly to grasp such essentially earthly and transitory treasures.

 

  • 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 (Matthew 6:11).  The contented godly have these gifts

along with GOD’S BLESSING.  God told Abram, “I am thy shield

and thy exceeding great reward”   (Genesis 15:1).  The Lord does not

encourage His people to enlarge their desires inordinately.

 

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 (παγίδαpagida – snare; trap); as ch.3:7, note. The

concurrence of the two words περιρασμόςperirasmos – trial; temptation

 and παγίςpagis – snare -show that the agency of Satan was in the

writer’s mind. Drown (βυθίζουσιbuthizousi – drown; are swamping;

submerging); only here and Luke 5:7  (sink) in the New Testament. 

Destruction and  perdition (ὄλεθρον καὶ ἀπώλειανolethron kai apoleian

extermination and destruction). The two words taken together imply UTTER

RUIN AND DESTRUCTION OF BODY AND SOUL!    Ὄλεθρος

Olethrosdestruction -  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 σαρκόςtaes sarkos

of the flesh – (I Corinthians 5:5).  ἈπωλείαApoleiahere 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)

 

  • THE EAGER PURSUIT OF THE WORLD IS TO BE SHUNNED.

“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.

 

  • 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.

 

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

BEST INTERESTS!  

 

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!

 

10 “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some

coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves

through with many sorrows.” Love of money (φιλαργυρίαphilarguria

love of or fondness for money); only here in the New Testament, but found in the

Septuagint  and in classical Greek. The substantive φιλάργυρος philarguros

covetous; fond of money is found in Luke 16:14 and II Timothy 3:2. The root.

ῤίζαrhiza – root.  Of all evil.  πάντων τῶν κακῶν.panton ton kakon

of all evil.  Alford quotes a striking passage from Diog. Laert., in which he mentions

a saying of the philosopher Diogenes that "the love of money (φιλαργυρία) is the

metropolis, or home, πάντων τῶν κακῶν (of all evil).  Coveted after.    (ὀρεγόμενοι

oregomenoicraving after; reaching after). 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.  Pierced themselves through (περιέπειρανperiepeiran

pierced themselves through; probed); only here in the New Testament, and

rare in classical Greek. But the simple verb πείρωpeiro -  to “pierce through,”

“transfix,” applied ‘especially to “spitting” meat (to put on a spit), is very common

in Homer, who also applies it metaphorically exactly as Paul does here, to grief

or pain. Ὀδύνησι πεπαρμένοςodunaesi peparmenos - “pierced with pain”

(‘Iliad.,’ 5:399).   Many sorrows.   Odu>naiv pollaiv odunais pollais

many sorrows; much pain.

 

 

                       

                                                Slaves and Heretics (vs. 1-10)

 

·         DUTIES OF CHRISTIAN SLAVES.

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      Emphasizing what has been said. “These things teach and exhort.” There

was to be both direction and enforcement.

 

·         HERETICS.

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      Moral characterization.

 

o        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.

 

o        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.

 

Ø      The special obnoxiousness of their teaching.

 

o        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.

 

o        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.

 

o        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. (My Dad used to say that all he expected

in this world was all he could eat up and all he could wear out!  CY –

2019)  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:

 

o        love for display,

o        love for worldly company,

o        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:

 

o        wandering from the faith,

o        being pierced through, as with a sword, with many sorrows;

o        bitter reflections on the past,

o        disappointment with what they had obtained, and

o        apprehensions of the future.

 

These he would point to as beacons, warning off the rock of avarice.

 

 

 

The Root of All Evil (v. 10)

 

“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.

 

  • THE LOVE OF MONEY AS A ROOT OF EVIL.

 

Ø      The assertion is not concerning money, which, as we have

seen, is neither good nor bad in itself, but concerning

THE LOVE OF MONEY.

 

Ø      It is not asserted that there are not other roots of evil besides

covetousness. This thought was not present to the apostle’s mind.

 

Ø      It is not meant that a covetous man will be entirely destitute of all

virtuous feeling.

 

Ø      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 not be led through

 an absorbing greed for money. It is really a root-sin, for it leads to:

 

o       care,

o       fear,

o       malice,

o       deceit,

o       oppression,

o       envy,

o       bribery,

o       perjury, and

o       contentiousness.

 

·         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.”

 

Ø      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.  (II Timothy 4:10)

 

It involved the pangs of conscience, to THE DESTRUCTION OF

THEIR OWN HAPPINESS!   They felt the piercings of that inward

monitor who forebodes the future destruction.

 

11 “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after

righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” 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 II Timothy 3:17 and II Peter 1:21. In the Old

Testament it always applies to a prophet (Deuteronomy 33:1; Judges 13:6; I Samuel

2:27; I Kings 12:22; II Kings 1:9; Jeremiah 35:4; and a great many other passages).

Paul uses the expression with especial reference to Timothy and his holy office, and

here, perhaps, in contrast with the τοὺς ἀνθρώπους - tous anthropous – the

humans; men - mentioned in v. 9.  Flee these things. Note the sharp contrast

between “the men” of the world, who reach after, and the man of God,

who avoids, φιλαργυρίαphilarguria – the love of money . 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 manifold sorrows

of the covetous, by avoiding the covetousness which is their root. Follow

after (δίωκεdioke – follow after; be you chasing; pursuing); pursue, in

direct contrast with feu>ge pheuge - flee from, avoid; be you fleeing  (see

II Timothy 2:22). Meekness (πρα'υπαθείανpraupatheian meekness).

This rare word, found in Philo, but nowhere else in the New Testament, has no

Perceptible difference of meaning from πραότης - praotaes - meekness or

 gentleness.

 

 

Personal Admonition Addressed to Timothy (v. 11)

 

The apostle now turns from his warning to those desiring to be rich to the

practical exhortation to strive for the true riches.

 

  • THE TITLE BY WHICH TIMOTHY IS ADDRESSED.

“O man of God.”

 

Ø      It was the familiar title of the Old Testament prophets, and might

appropriately apply to a New Testament evangelist like Timothy.

 

Ø      But in the New Testament it has a more general reference, applying

as it does to all the faithful in Christ Jesus (II Timothy 3:17). The

name is very expressive. It signifies:

 

o       a man who belongs to God;

o       who is dedicated to God;

o       who FINDS IN GOD rather than in riches, HIS

TRUE PORTION.

o       who lives for God’s glory (I Corinthians 10:31).

 

·         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 (v. 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.

 

  • THE POSITIVE EXHORTATION ADDRESSED TO TIMOTHY.

“And follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience,

meek-spiritedness.”  These virtues group themselves into pairs.

 

Ø      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”

(Titus 2:12).

 

o       Righteousness is:

 

§         not the “righteousness of God,” for that had been already

attained by Timothy; but

§         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.

 

o       Godliness includes:

 

§         holiness of heart,

§         holiness of life, in which lies the true gain for two worlds.

 

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

 

o       Faith is at once:

 

§         the instrument of our justification,

§         the root-principle of Christian life, and

§         the continuously sustaining principle of that life.

 

o       Love is:

 

§         the immediate effect of faith, for “faith worketh by love”

(Galatians 5:6);

§         it is the touchstone of true religion and the bond of perfectness;

(Colossians 3:14)

§         it is the spring of evangelical obedience, for it is “the fulfilling

 of the Law” (Romans 13:8);

§         it is our protection in the battle of life, for it is “the breastplate

….of love” (I Thessalonians 5:8).

 

Ø      Patience, meek-spiritedness. These represent two principles which

ought to operate in power in presence of gainsayers and enemies.

 

12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto

thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before

many witnesses.”  Fight the good fight. This is not quite a happy rendering.

 Ἀγών - agon - 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

agonizesthai ton agona is to “carry on such a contest” (compare II Timothy 4:7

“I have fought a good fight”). The comparison is different from that in

ch.1:18,  Ἵνα στρατεύῃ... τὴν καλὴν στρατείαν," hina strateuae ... ton

kalaen strateian  - that thou mayest war the good warfare. Of faith.  There is

nothing to determine absolutely whether τῆς πίστεως , taes pisteos -  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 βραβεῖονbrabeion - prize of the contest (see

I Corinthians 9:24-25). Whereunto thou art also called. So Paul

continually (Romans 1:1, 6-7; 8:28, 30; Ephesians 4:1;  I Thessalonians 2:12;

and numerous other passages). He seems here to drop the metaphor, as in

the following clause.  Hast professed a good profession.   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; 12:42; Hebrews 10:23). The phrase, “the good profession,”

seems to have been technically applied to the baptismal confession of

Christ (compare the other Church sayings, ch.1:15; 3:1; 4:9; II Timothy 2:11;

Titus 3:8).  Before many witnesses. The whole congregation of the Church,

who were witnesses of his baptism.

 

 

 

The Good Fight and Its Results (v. 12)

 

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!

 

  • THE CHRISTIAN STRUGGLE. “Fight the good fight of faith.”

 

Ø      The enemies in this warfare. The world, the flesh, and the devil;

the principalities and powers; the false teachers, with their arts of

seduction.

 

Ø      The warfare itself. It is “a good fight.”

 

o       The term suggests that Christian life is not a mystic quietism, but an

active effort against evil.

o       It is a good fight, because:

 

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

§         it is under a good Captain — Jesus Christ, the Captain

of our salvation;

§         it has a good result — “eternal life.”

 

o       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 armor of God,” which is mighty for

victory.  It is faith that secures “the victory that overcometh the

 world” (I John 5:4-5).

 

  • THE END OF THE CHRISTIAN STRUGGLE. “Lay hold on eternal

life.”

 

Ø      Eternal life is the prize, the crown, to be laid hold of by those who

are faithful to death.

 

Ø      It is the object of our effectual calling. “To which thou wast called”

by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      This eternal life is to be laid hold of.

 

o       It is held forth as the prize of the high calling of God, as the

recompense of reward.

o       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.

 

13 “I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things,

and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a

good confession;”  I give thee charge. It has been well observed that

the apostle’s language increases in solemnity as he approaches the end of

the Epistle. This word παραγγέλλω paraggello – I am charging - is of

frequent use in Paul’s Epistles (I Corinthians 7:10; I Thessalonians 4:11:

II  Thessalonians 3:4, 6, 10, 12; and above, ch. 1:3; 4:11; 5:7). In the sight of

God, etc. (compare the adjuration in ch.5:21). Who quickeneth, etc.

The Textus Receptus has ζωοποιοῦντοςzoopoiountos – who quickeneth;

the one vivifying; to make alive. The Received Text has ζωογονοῦντος

zoogonountosto endue with life; produce alive; preserve alive, with no difference

of meaning.  Both words are used in the Septuagint as the rendering of the Pihel and

Hiphil of תָיָה. 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

THE CREATOR.   A good confession refers to our Lord’s confession of Himself

as the Christ, the Son of God,” in Matthew 27:11; Luke 23:3; John 18:36-37,

which is analogous to the baptismal confession (Acts 8:37 (Textus Receptus); 16:31;

19:4-5). The natural word to have followed μαρτυρεῖν marturein -

the one witnessing - was μαρτυρίαν marturon – witness(es) - as

above ὁμολογίαν homologian – confession; avowal -  follows ὡμολόγησας

 homologaesas – you have professed; you avow – in v. 12, but Paul substitutes

the word of cognate meaning, ὁμολογίαν, (confession),  in order to keep the

formula, καλὴ ὁμολογία. hae kalae homologia – a good confession;

an ideal avowal.

 

14 “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until

the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:” This commandment (τὴν ἐντολὴν

taen entolaen – the commandment; the precept). The phrase is peculiar, and must

have some special meaning. Perhaps,  “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 vs.11-12 is referred to; and

this is the meaning of the Authorized Version, “this.”  Without spot, unrebukeable.

There is a difference of opinion among commentators, whether these two adjectives

(ἄσπιλον ἀνέπιληπτονaspilon anepilaepton – without spot; unrebukeable)

belong to the commandment or to the person i.e. Timothy. The introduction of σέ

seyou - after τηρῆσαιtaeraesai - keep; the facts that τηρῆσαι τὰς ἐντόλας

 taeraesai tas entolaen, without any addition, means “to keep the commandment,”

and that in the New Testament, ἄσπιλος aspilosunspotted and ἀνέπιληπτος

anepilaeptos irreproachable; blameless; unrebukeable - always are used of

persons, not things (James 1:27; I Peter 1:19; II Peter 3:14; here, ch.3:2, 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; II Peter 3:14; I Corinthians 1:8; Colossians 1:22; I Thessalonians 3:13; 5:23),

seem to point strongly, if not conclusively, to the adjectives ἄσπιλος (unspotted)

and  ἀνέπιληπτος (unrebukeable) here agreeing with σέ (you) not with

ἐντολήν (commandment).  The appearing (τὴν ἐπιφανείανtaen

epiphaneian – the appearing; the epiphany; the advent).  The thought of

THE SECOND ADVENT OF THE LORD JESUS always prominent in the

mind of Paul (I Corinthians 1:7-8; 4:5; 15:23; Colossians 3:4; I Thessalonians

3:13; 4:15; II Thessalonians 1:9-10), 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.   (II Timothy

1:10; 2:12; 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13).

 

 

 

The Christian Gladiator (vs. 11-14)

 

The gladiator was one who fought, in the arena, at the amphitheater 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.”

                                               

(Lord Byron)

 

  • 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 outdone 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 be

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 be 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 be 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 be 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.

 

4.      First of all he must have RIGHTEOUSNESS  or the habit of

GOING BY RULE

 

5.      Along with this he must have GODLINESS,  or the habit of

REFERRING TO GOD.

 

6.      Then he must have FAITH which covers his DEFENSELESSNESS.

 

7.      Next, he must have love, which supplies him with FIRE!

 

8.      He must also have patience, which enables him to HOLD OUT

TO THE END!.

 

9.      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.

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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 preeminent

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 Caesara 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 witnessed 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.”  (John 18:37).  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.

 

  • 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 II Timothy 4:7-8. 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

powers under Him as there were rulers, with different names, under the emperor;

but HE IS KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDSsovereign

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.” (Proverbs 21:1).  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 HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST!

 

15 “Which in His times He shall show, who is the blessed and only

Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;”  Its own for His. This correction

seems to be manifestly right. The same phrase is rendered in ch.2:6 and Titus 1:3

“in due time,” in the Authorized Version; but in the Revised Version 2:6 is

“its own times,” and in Titus 1:3 “His own seasons.”   In Galatians 6:9

καίρῳ ἰδίῳ - kairo idio - is also rendered “in due season,” in both

versions.  Such a phrase as ἐν καιροῖς ἰδίοις – en kairois idios  (in due

season) must be taken everywhere in the same sense. It clearly means at the

fitting or proper time, and corresponds to the πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου

plaeroma tou chronou - the fullness of time -  in Galatians 4:4. The two ideas

are combined in Luke 1:20 (πληρωθήσονται εἰς τὸν καιρὸν αὐτῶν

plaerthaesontai eis ton kairon auton – shall be fulfilled in their season)

and 21:24 (compare Ephesians 1:10). Shall show (δείξειdeixei – shall

be showing ).  Δεικνύειν ἐπιφανείανDeiknuein epiphaneian - 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; μακάριος - ho makarios - blessed (not εὐλογητόςeulogaetos

blessed as in Mark 14:61), is only here and in ch.1:11 (where see note) applied to

God in Scripture. The blessed and only Potentate. The phrase is a remarkable

one. ΔυνάστηςDunastaes - 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 II Maccabees 3:24; 12:15; 15:23, where we have Πάσης

ἐξουσιας δυνάστης Pasaes exousias dunastaes  - Prince of all power - Tόν μέγαν

τοῦ κόσμου δυνάστην, –Ton megan tou kosmou dunastaen – the great sovereign

of the world  and Δυνάστα τὧ῀ν οὐρανῶνDunasta ton ouranon – Lord of

heaven; 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 Paul. For it is

said that πάσης ἐξουσίας δυνάστης – ho pasaes exousias dunastaes -

the Prince (or Potentate) of all power  made a great apparition,” or “appearing”

(ἐπιφονείαν μεγάλην ἐποίησεν - epiphoneian megalaen epoiaesen -

caused a great apparition), for the overthrow of the blasphemer and persecutor

Heliodorus. 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 (compare II Thessalonians 1:7-10). King of

kings, and Lord of lords, etc. (compare the slightly different phrase in

Revelation 17:14 and 19:16, applied to the Son). So in Psalm 136:2, 3, God

is spoken of as “God of gods, and Lord of lords.”

 

16 “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can

approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be

honor and power everlasting. Amen.”  Unapproachable.  (ἀπρόσιτον

 aprositon - inaccessible); only here in the New Testament, but found occasionally

in.the later classics. Whom no man hath seen, nor can see.   Compare ch.1:17

(where see note) 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.  (I would like to note that in the late 1960’s, our pastor, Bro.

Marion Duncan, preached a series of  sermons on “The Pre-manifestations

of the Incarnation of Christ” – this being close to half a century ago –

I still remember the ideas – Bro. Duncan fulfilling a part of Scripture – “He

being dead yet speaketh.”  - Hebrews 11:4 – CY – 2013).  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,

·         almighty power,

·         universal dominion,

·         unchangeable being,

·         inscrutable majesty,

·         radiant holiness,

·         glory inaccessible and unapproachable by His creatures,

 

save through THE MEDIATION OF HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON!

 

 

The Man of God (vs. 11-16)

 

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 ὐσεβής eusebaesgodly -  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 ὑπομονῇ - hupomonaepatience - 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 welldoing.

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”  (I Peter 2:23).

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.” (v. 16)

 

 

            The Solemn Charge Pressed Anew upon Timothy (vs. 13-16)

 

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.

 

·         THE NATURE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHARGE. “I

charge thee… that thou keep the commandment without spot and without

reproach.”

 

Ø      The commandment is the Christian doctrine in its aspect as a rule of

life and discipline.

 

Ø      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.

 

·         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.

 

Ø      God is represented here as Preserver, in allusion to the dangers of

Timothy in the midst of Ephesian enemies.

 

Ø      Christ Jesus is referred to as an Example of unshaken courage and

fidelity to truth in the presence of death.

 

·         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.

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      It is not to be inferred from these words that the apostle expected the

Lords coming in his own lifetime. The second Thessalonian Epistle,

written many years before, dispels such an impression. The words in

v. 15, “in His own times,” imply a long succession of cycles or changes.

 

Ø      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.” (ibid.)  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!

 

o        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 APART FROM HIM,  

ALL IS  DEATH!

 

o        He has His dwelling in the glory of light ineffable“dwelling in light

unapproachable, whom no man ever saw or can see.”

 

§         God is light (I John 1:5). He covereth Himself with light as

with a garment (Psalm 104:2); and He is the Fountain of light.

 

§         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

 

ü      to the eye of sense,

ü      but He will be visible to the believer in the clear

intellectual vision of the supernatural state.

 

Ø      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.

 

17 “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not

highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God,

who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” Charge (παράγγελλε

paraggelle – be you charging); as in ch.1:3; 4:11; 5:7; and in v. 13, and

elsewhere frequently. Rich in this world. Had Paul in his mind the parable

of Dives and Lazarus (compare Luke 6:19, 25)? That they be not

 high-minded (μὴ ὑψηλοφρονεῖνmae hupsaelophronein - haughty);

elsewhere only in Romans 11:20. The words compounded with ὑψηλός

 hupsaelos – high; lofty -  have mostly a bad sense — “haughtiness,”

“boastfulness,” and the like. Uncertain riches.  (ἀδηλότητιadaelotaeti

uncertainty; dubiousness); here only in the New Testament, but

used in the same sense in Polybius (see ἄδηλος adaelos – uncertain

sound in I Corinthians 14:8; and ἀδήλωςadaelosuncertainty –

(Ibid. ch.9:26). The Authorized Version, though less literal, expresses the

sense much better than the Revised Version, 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 FOR EVER!   (For the sentiment that

God is the Giver of all good, compare James 1:17; Psalm 104:28; 145:16)

 

18 “That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to

distribute, willing to communicate;”  Do good (ἀγαθοεργεῖνagathoergein

laying up in store; treasuring up); here only, for the more common ἀγαθοποιεῖν

 agathopoiein – to do good; well doing). That they be rich in good works  

(ch.5:10, note); not merely in the perishing riches of this present world — the same

sentiment as Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:21,33. Ready to distribute

(εὐμεταδότους  eumetadotous – liberal; ready to distribute); here only

in the New Testament, and rarely in later classical Greek. The opposite,

“close-handed,” is δυσμετάδοτοςdusmetadotos.  The verb μεταδίδωμι

metadidomi – let him impart; let him be sharing - means “to give to others a

share or portion of what one has” (Luke 3:11; Romans 1:11; 12:8; Ephesians 4:28;

I Thessalonians 2:8). Willing to communicate (κοινωνίκουςkoinonikous

communioners; contributors); 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 κοινωνεῖνkoinonein in the sense of “giving,” see

Romans 12:13; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:15; and for κοινωνίαkoinonia

fellowship; communion; sharing in common  in the same sense, see Romans

15:26; II Corinthians 9:13; Hebrews 13:16.)

 

19 “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the

time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  Laying up in store

(ἀποθησαυρίζοντεςapothaesaurizonteslaying up in store; treasuring

up); only here in the New Testament and occasionally in classical Greek. A

good foundation (θεμέλιον καλόν themelion kalon – ideal foundation).

The idea of a foundation is always maintained in the use of θεμέλιοςthemelios

foundation, whether it is used literally or figuratively (Luke 11:50; Ephesians 2:20;

Revelation 21:14). 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” as a treasure. Others have

conjectured κειμήλιονkeimaelion - a stored treasure, for θεμέλιον

(foundation).  Others understand θεμέλιον in the sense of θέμαthema

a deposit. Others take ἀποθησαυρίζειν apothaesaurizein 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

θησαυρίζεινthaesaurizein kept in store in II Peter 3:7. The

reader must choose for himself either to adopt one of the above

explanations, or to credit 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.

Eternal Life.  (τῆς ὄντως ζωῆς taes ontos zoaes  - eternal life; life

indeed; the eonian life); so ch.5:3, 5, τὰς ὅντως χήραςὄντως χήρα

 tas ontos chaeras hae ontos chaera – now she that is a widow indeed -

 and (John 8:36) ὄντως ἐλεύθεροι - ontos eleutheroi - free indeed, in

pposition to the freedom which the Jews claimed as the seed of Abraham.

 

 

A Word of Admonition and Encouragement to the Rich (vs. 17-19)

 

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

 

  • 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.

 

10.  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.

 

11.  The danger of trusting  in wealth. “Nor to set their hope upon

the uncertainty of riches.”

 

o       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),

o       Our tenure of wealth is very uncertain. It is uncertain:

 

§         because riches may take to themselves wings and flee

away; (Proverbs 23:5);

§         because we may be taken away by death from the enjoyment

of our possessions;

§         because riches cannot satisfy the deep hunger of the

human heart.

 

o       The safety of trusting in God. “But upon the living God,

 who giveth us all things richly for enjoyment.”

 

§         GOD IS THE SOLE GIVER of all we possess.

§         He giveth to us all richly according to our need.

§         He giveth it for our enjoyment, so that we may take

comfort in his rich provision.

As the living God, HE IS AN INEXHAUSTIBLE

FOUNTAIN OF BLESSINGS,  so that no uncertainty

can ever attach to the supply.

 

  • THE RICH ARE ENCOURAGED TO MAKE A RIGHT USE OF

THEIR WEALTH.

 

12.  “That they do good.”

 

o       Rich men may do evil to others by fraud or oppression, and evil to

themselves by habits of luxury and intemperance.

o       They are rather to abound in acts of beneficence to all men,

and especially to the household of faith (Galatians 6:10), after

the example of Him whowent about every day doing good”

(Acts 10:38).

o       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  (Acts 9:36).  Wealth

of this sort is the least disappointing both here and hereafter, and

has no uncertainty in its results.

o       “Ready to distribute.” Willing to give unasked; cheerful in the

distribution of their favors; giving without grudging and without

delay.

o       “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.

 

  • 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.”

 

13.  It is possible for rich believers to lay up treasure in heaven. This

treasure is a foundation against the time to come.  (Matthew 6:19-21)

 

o       Not a foundation of merit, for we are only saved by THE MERITS

OF JESUS CHRIST!

o       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).

 

14.  Our riches may have an influence on our true life hereafter.

“That they may lay hold on THE TRUE LIFE!”

 

o       Not in the way of merit;

but in the way of grace, for the very rewards of the future

ARE IF GRACE!

o       the end of all our effort is THE TRUE LIFE, in contrast

 to the vain, transitory, short-sighted life of earth.

 

20 “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding

profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so

called:” Keep that which is committed unto thee; τὴν παραθήκην -

taen parathaekaen – the trust committed to you; a deposit..  The meaning of

keep,”  like that of φυλάττωphulasso-  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 Psalm 121., “He that keepeth thee will not

 slumber.... He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord Himself is thy Keeper” (so too Psalm 127:1; Genesis 28:15, etc.).

Παραθήκη or παρακαταθήκη, occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only

In II Timothy 1:12, 14, where the apostle uses it (in v. 12) of his own soul,

which he has committed to the safe and faithful keeping of the Lord Jesus

Christ; but in v. 14 in the same sense as here. “That good thing which

was committed unto thee guard [‘keep,’ Authorized Version].” There does

not seem to be any difference between παραθήκη and παρακαταθήκη

 parakatathaekae 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!   Avoiding.  (ἐκτρεπόμενοςektrepomenos; 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 ch.1:6; 5:15;

II Timothy 4:4.  Profane and vain babblings.  (see ch.4:7; II Timothy 2:16);

κενοφωνίαkenophonia – empty sounds; prattlings ; only here and

II Timothy 2:16, “the utterance of empty words,” “words of the lips”

(II Kings 18:20). Oppositions.  (ἀντιθέσειςantitheseiscontrary

positions); 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. Science falsely

so called.  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 Paul contrasts

the true γνώσις – gnosis – knowledge in v. 3. This was clearly the germ

of “Gnostic Judaism”of what was later more fully developed as

the Gnostic heresy, which, of course, derived its name from γνώσις,

knowledge or science, to which they laid claim.

 

21 “Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be

with thee. Amen.” Professing  (ἐπαγγελλομένοιepaggellomenoi

professing) see ch. 2:10, note. Have erred (ἠστόχησανaestochaesan

have erred; they swerve; they deviate); ch.1:6, note. Grace be with you.

Throughout the epistle Paul addresses Timothy personally, and as there are no

salutations here, as in II Timothy and Titus (see ch.1:18; 3:14; 4:6; 6:11, 20).

This shorter form, χάρις - hae charis – the grace, is used in the pastoral

Epistles (II Timothy 4:22; Titus 3:15)for the fuller and more usual form,

χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Ξριστοῦ hae charis tou Kuriou haemon

 Iaesou Christouthe grace of the Lord Jesus Christ  (Romans 16:20;

I Corinthians 16:23; II Thessalonians 3:28, and elsewhere). The short form

also occurs in Hebrews 13:25. The words are a gracious, peaceful ending

to the Epistle.

 

 

 

                                    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

perdition.

 

15.  It was his greed for the wages of unrighteousness which urged

            Baalam on to his destruction; (II Peter 2:15)

16.  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 admiting

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!

 

 

 

                                                Parting Words (vs. 17-21)

 

·         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?  (Mark 10:23-24)  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 to enjoy. (v. 17)  In His disposition we have a better guarantee

for our not wanting (Remember, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” –

Psalm 23:1 – CY  - 2019), than in clutching to any riches. He giveth us things

to enjoy,

 

Ø      not to draw us away from our fellow-men,

Ø      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.

 

·         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.

 

·         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.  (“Cast thy bread upon the waters:  for thou shalt find it after

many days.”  Ecclesiastes 11:1)   “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 (Jesus said “...lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where

neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through

and steal.” Matthew 6:20) 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.

 

·         CONCLUDING EARNEST ADDRESS TO TIMOTHY.

 

Ø      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?

 

o       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 universal 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 should substitute

ought else. I should be sorry that for gold thou should 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 STILL BEING THE SAME!

 

Ø      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 chps. 1:6

and 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.

 

·         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.

 

 

                        Concluding Exhortation and Benediction (vs. 20-21)

 

The parting counsel of the apostle goes back upon the substance of all his past

counsels. It includes a positive and a negative counsel.

 

·         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).

 

Ø      The doctrine of the gospel is thus not something discovered by man, but

delivered to man.

 

Ø      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.  (II Corinthians 4:7)

 

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

 

·         A NEGATIVE COUNSEL. “Avoiding profane and vain babblings, and

oppositions of knowledge falsely so called: which some professing erred

concerning the faith.”

 

Ø      The duty of turning away from empty discourses and the ideas of a

      false knowledge.

 

o       Such things were utterly profitless as to spiritual result.

o       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.

 

Ø      The danger of such teachings.

 

o        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 short cut to heaven.

o        But they lost their way and “erred concerning the faith.” This false

teaching undermined the true faith of the gospel.

o        As the tense implies an event that occurred in the past, these persons

were not now in the communion of the Ephesian Church.  

 

 

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