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 (oiJ oijke>tai – 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

(despo>tav despotas – masters; owners ); the proper word in relation to dou~lov

douloi - slaves. His doctrine (hJ didaskali>a hae 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 oJ lo>gov tou~ Qeou~

ho logos tou Theou – the Word of God  answers to hJ didaskali>a here).

Blasfhmei~n 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.


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 (oiJ th~v eujergesi>av ajntilambano>menoi - hoi taes euergesias

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

de>spotai despotai – masters -  in the preceding sentence, because it is

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

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

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

certainty, to the further conclusion that the eujergesi>a euergesia, 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

ajntilambano>menoi 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 ajnti – 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 (di>daske - didaske). Observe the connection

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



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.  (eJterodidaskalei~ -

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

note. Consent not.  (mh prose>rcetai mae  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 prosh>lutov prosaelutos

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

Oujtoi~v tw~n Ioudai>wn do>gmasi prose>rcontai Outois 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.

 (uJgiai>nousi hugiainousi – sound )  See ch.1:10, note. Godliness

(ejusebei>a eusebeia – 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.



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




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.



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


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

godlinessseems 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.  

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

Doting (nosw~n nosondoting; 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 (zhth>seiv zaetaeseis - questionings); see ch.1:6, note.

It corresponds nearly to our word “controversies.” Strifes of words.  (logomaci>av

 logomachias - disputes of words); found only here. The verb logomace>w

 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.  (uJpo>noiai huponoiai

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

“suspicion,” or any under-thought. The verb uJponoe>w 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.    (diaparatribai diaparatribaiperverse

Disputings;  wranglings  - diaparatribh> (which is only found here) means

“continued wranglings.” The substantive diatribh> (English diatribe) means,

among other things, a “discussion” or “argument.” The addition of pa>ra gives

the sense of a “perverse discussion,” or “disputing.” Destitute. 

(ajpesterhme>nwn apesteraemenondestitute; 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.

 (porismo>v porismos - 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)



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.





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



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


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).


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, Estin de<porismo<v me>gav hJ eujsebei>a meta<

aujtarkei>av - Estin deporismos megas hae eusebeia meta autarkeias  -

But goldliness with contentment is great gain - should be construed by

making the meta (great) couple porismo>v - (a way of gain; capital) with

aujtarkei>av  (contentment) so as to express that godlinessis both “gain”

and contentmentnot as if aujtarkei>a qualified eujsebei>a (godliness)

that would have been expressed by the collocation, hJ meta< aujtarkei>av

eujsebei>a. Contentment (aujtarkei>a). 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 aujta>rkhv

 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 aujtarkei>a (contentment) is the condition of the person, or thing,

which is aujta>rkhv (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


conceivable is TO BE LIKE GOD!



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.



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



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)


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

Food (diatrofa>v diatrophas – food; sustenance); here only in the New

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

(skepa>smata skepasmata – raiment; covering). The kindred words,

ske>ph skepae and ske>pav skepas, 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

skepa>smata from, one could form a more decided opinion as to his meaning.

Let us be therewith content (ajrkesqh>someqa arkesthaesometha – we

shall be sufficed). The proper meaning of ajrkei~sqai - 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.



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



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 eijv 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 (pagi>da pagida – snare; trap); as ch.3:7, note. The

concurrence of the two words perirasmo>v perirasmos – trial; temptation

 and pagi>v pagis – snare -show that the agency of Satan was in the

writer’s mind. Drown (buqi>zousi buthizousi – drown; are swamping;

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

and  perdition (oleqron kai< ajpw>leian olethron kai apoleian

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


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, th~v sarko>v taes sarkos

of the flesh – (I Corinthians 5:5).  jApwlei>a Apoleiahere translated

perdition – means to destroy utterly, less common in classical

Greek, is of frequent use in the New Testament, and, when applied to

persons, seems to be always used (except in Acts 25:16) in the sense

of “perdition” (Matthew 7:13; John 17:12; Romans 9:22; Philippians 3:19;

II Thessalonians 2:3; Hebrews 10:39; II Peter 3:7; Revelation 17:3, etc.).



The Dangers of the Eager Haste to be Rich (v. 9)



“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare.”


Ø      The apostle does not condemn the possession of riches, which

have, in reality, no moral character; for they are only evil where they

are badly used. Neither does he speak of rich men; for he would not

condemn such men as Abraham, Joseph of Arimathsea, Gaius, and

others; nor such rich men as use their wealth righteously as good

stewards of God.


Ø      He condemns the haste to be rich, not only because wealth is not

necessary for a life of godly contentment, but because of its social

and moral risks.



fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful



Ø      There is a temptation to unjust gain which leads men into the

 snare of the devil. There is a sacrifice of principle, the abandonment

of conscientious scruples, in the hurry to accumulate wealth.  (One

should:  “never sacrifice principle for temporary gain.”

This maxim is all over Twitter and Facebook – CY – 2013)


Ø      The temptation in its turn makes way for many lusts which are

foolish,” because they are unreasonable, and exercised upon

things that are quite undesirable; and which are “hurtful,” because

they injure both body and soul, and ARE AGAINST A MAN’S



Ø      These lusts in turn carry their OWN RETRIBUTION.   They



o       This is more than moral degradation.

o       It is A WRECK OF THE BODY accompanied by



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 (filarguri>a philarguria

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

Septuagint  and in classical Greek. The substantive fila>rgurov philarguros

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

rJi>za  rhiza – root.  Of all evil.  pa>ntwn tw~n kakw~n panton ton kakon

of all evil.  Coveted after.    (ojrego>menoi 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 (perie>peiran periepeiran

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

rare in classical Greek. But the simple verb pei>rw peiro -  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. jOdu>nhsi peparme>nov odunaesi peparmenos - “pierced with pain”

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

many sorrows; much pain.



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.




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

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



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.



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 tou<v ajnqrw>pouv - 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, filarguri>a philarguria – 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 (di>wke dioke – 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 (pra`upaqei>an praupatheian meekness).

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

Perceptible difference of meaning from prao>thv  - praotaes - meekness or




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.



“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


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.



“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.

 jAgw>n - agon - is the “contest” at the Olympic assembly for any of the prizes,

in wrestling, chariot-racing, foot-racing, music, or what not.  jAgwni>zesqai to<n

ajgw~na 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,  [Ina strateu>h|... th<n kalh<n stratei>an hina strateuae ton

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

nothing to determine absolutely whether thv pistewvtaes 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 brabei~on brabeion - 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



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



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 paragge>llw 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 zwopoiou~ntov zoopoiountos – who quickeneth;

the one vivifying; to make alive. The R.T. has zwogonou~ntov zoogonountos

to 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

hy;t;. 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 marturhsantov marturaesantos  -

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

above oJmologi>an homologian – confession; avowal -  follows wJmolo>ghsav

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

the word of cognate meaning, oJmologi>an (confession),  in order to keep the

formula, h[ kalh< oJmologi>a 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 (th<n ejntolh<n

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

(a]spilon ajne>pilhpton aspilon anepilaepton – without spot; unrebukeable)

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

se – you - after thrh~sai taeraesai - keep; the facts that thrh~sai ta<v ejnto>lhn

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

and that in the New Testament, a]spilov aspilosunspotted and ajne>pilhptov

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 a]spilon (unspotted)

and  ajnepi>lhpton (unrebukeable) here agreeing with se> (you) not with

ejntolh>n  (commandment).  The appearing (th<n ejpifanei>an taen

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


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.


Ø      First of all he must have RIGHTEOUSNESS  or the habit of



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



Ø      Then he must have FAITH which covers his DEFENSELESSNESS.


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


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



Ø      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;


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


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




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

kai>rw| ijdi>w| - kairo idio - is also rendered “in due season,” in both

versions.  Such a phrase as ejn kairoi~v ijdi>oiv – 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 plh>rwma tou~ cro>nou

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

are combined in Luke 1:20 (plhrwqh>sontai eijv to<n kairo<n aujtw~n

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

and 21:24 (compare Ephesians 1:10). Shall show (dei>xei deixei – shall

be showing ). Deiknu>ein ejpifanei>an Deiknuein 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; oJ maka>riov - ho makarios - blessed (not eujloghto>v eulogaetos

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. Duna>sthv Dunastaes - 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 Pa>shv ejxousiav

duna>sthv - Pasaes exousias dunastaes  - Prince of all power - To>n me>gan tou~

ko>smou duna>sthn –Ton megan tou kosmou dunastaen – the great sovereign

of the world  and Duna>sta twn oujranw~n Dunasta 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 oJ pa>shv ejxousi>av duna>sthv – ho pasaes exousias dunastaes -

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

(ejpifonei>an mega>lhn ejpoi>hsen - 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.  (ajpro>siton

 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



·        supreme blessedness,

·        almighty power,

·        universal dominion,

·        unchangeable being,

·        inscrutable majesty,

·        radiant holiness,

·        glory inaccessible and unapproachable by His creatures,





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


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 eujsebh>v 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 uJpomonh> - 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)


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 (para>ggelle

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 (mh< uJyhlofronei~n mae hupsaelophronein - haughty);

elsewhere only in Romans 11:20. The words compounded with uJyhlo>v

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

boastfulness,” and the like. Uncertain riches.  (ajdhlo>thti adaelotaeti

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

used in the same sense in Polybius (see a]dhlov adaelos – uncertain

sound in I Corinthians 14:8; and ajdh>lwv adaelosuncertainty –

(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 (ajgaqoergei~n agathoergein

laying up in store; treasuring up); here only, for the more common ajgaqopoiei~n

 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

(eujmetado>touv  eumetadotous – liberal; ready to distribute); here only

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

“close-handed,” is dusmeta>dotov dusmetadotos.  The verb metadi>dwmi

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 (koinwni>kouv koinonikous

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 koinwnei~n koinonein in the sense of “giving,” see

Romans 12:13; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:15; and for koinwni>a koinonia

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

(ajpoqhsauri>zontev apothaesaurizonteslaying up in store; treasuring

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

good foundation (qeme>lion kalo>n themelion kalon – ideal foundation).

The idea of a foundation is always maintained in the use of qeme>liov themelios

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 keimh>lion keimaelion - a stored treasure, for qeme>lion

(foundation).  Others understand qeme>lion in the sense of qe>ma thema

a deposit. Others take ajpoqhsauri>zein 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

qhsauri>zein thaesaurizein 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.  (th~v o]ntwv zwh~v taes ontos zoaes  - eternal life; life

indeed; the eonian life); so ch.5:3, 5, ta<v o[ntwv ch>rav hJ o]ntwv ch>ra

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

 and (John 8:36) o]ntwv ejleu>qeroi - 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.



 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.


Ø      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



Ø      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.


FOUNTAIN OF BLESSINGS,  so that no uncertainty

can ever attach to the supply.





Ø      “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.



“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.”


Ø      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


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).


Ø      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


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; th<n paraqh>khn -

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

keep,”  like that of fula>ssw phulasso-  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.).

Paraqh>kh or parakataqh>kh , 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 paraqh>kh and parakataqh>kh

 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.  (ejktrepo>menov ektrepomenos; 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);

kenofwni>a kenophonia – empty sounds; prattlings ; only here and

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

(II Kings 18:20). Oppositions.  (ajntiqe>seiv antitheseiscontrary

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 gnw>siv – 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 gnw~siv,

knowledge or science, to which they laid claim.


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

with thee. Amen.” Professing  (ejpaggellome>noi epaggellomenoi

professing) see ch. 2:10, note. Have erred (hjsto>chsan aestochaesan

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, hJ ca>riv - hae charis – the grace, is used in the pastoral

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

tou~ Kuri>ou hJmw~n jIhsou~ Cristou~ 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.



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