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
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
DISEASES OF THE INNER MAN!
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
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  and
reinforced by John Wesley a couple of centuries later in a couple of
his sermons  – 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 – noson – doting; 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 – diaparatribai – perverse
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 – apesteraemenon – destitute; 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
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
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
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
have DISORGAINIZING AND DISINTERGRATING
EFFECTS UPON SOCIETY (This is what is happening in
the hounding of true religion by secular
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 “godliness” is both “gain”
and “contentment” — not 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:
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!
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
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)
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.
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.
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
RUIN AND DESTRUCTION OF BODY AND SOUL! ]Oleqrov –
Olethros – destruction - very common in classical Greek, occurs in I Corinthians
5:5; I Thessalonians 5:3; II Thessalonians 1:9, and is limited in the first passage to
the destruction of the body, by the words, th~v sarko>v – taes sarkos –
of the flesh – (I Corinthians 5:5). jApwlei>a – Apoleia – here translated
perdition – means to destroy utterly, less common in classical
Greek, is of frequent use in the New Testament, and, when applied to
persons, seems to be always used (except in Acts 25:16) in the sense
of “perdition” (Matthew 7:13; John 17:12; Romans 9:22; Philippians 3:19;
II Thessalonians 2:3; Hebrews 10:39; II Peter 3:7; Revelation 17:3, etc.).
The Dangers of the Eager Haste to be Rich (v. 9)
“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare.”
Ø The apostle does not condemn the possession of riches, which
have, in reality, no moral character; for they are only evil where they
are badly used. Neither does he speak of rich men; for he would not
condemn such men as Abraham, Joseph of Arimathsea, Gaius, and
others; nor such rich men as use their wealth righteously as good
stewards of God.
Ø He condemns the haste to be rich, not only because wealth is not
necessary for a life of godly contentment, but because of its social
and moral risks.
“fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful
lusts, which DROWN MEN in DESTRUCTION and PERDITION.
Ø There is a temptation to unjust gain which leads men into the
snare of the devil. There is a sacrifice of principle, the abandonment
of conscientious scruples, in the hurry to accumulate wealth. (One
should: “never sacrifice principle for temporary gain.” –
This maxim is all over Twitter and Facebook – CY – 2013)
Ø The temptation in its turn makes way for many lusts which are
“foolish,” because they are unreasonable, and exercised upon
things that are quite undesirable; and which are “hurtful,” because
they injure both body and soul, and ARE AGAINST A MAN’S
Ø These lusts in turn carry their OWN RETRIBUTION. They
DROWN MEN in DESTRUCTION and PERDITION.
o This is more than moral degradation.
o It is A WRECK OF THE BODY accompanied by
THE RUIN OF THE IMMORTAL SOUL!
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 – oregomenoi – craving 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
“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
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
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 perjury, and
· 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 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
“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”
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”
§ it is the touchstone of true religion and the bond of perfectness;
§ 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 pistewv – 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 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!
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).
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
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 – aspilos – unspotted 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
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
public. It made life real and earnest to be compelled to enter the lists, in
which the issue was generally VICTORY or DEATH.
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,
his rude hut by the
There were his young barbarians all at play —
There was their Dacian mother! he, their sire,
Butchered to make a Roman holiday.”
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
GOING BY RULE
Ø Along with this he must have GODLINESS, or the habit of
REFERRING TO GOD.
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
TO THE END!.
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.
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.
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.
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 Caesar — a man born
and upheld and mortal like other men; BUT IT IS GOD who quickeneth all
things — the Substratum of all created existence, the almighty Upholder of
men, the almighty Upholder of the universe with all its forms of life. There
is another Personage, and yet not another. This is Christ Jesus, who before
Pontius Pilate 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
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.
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 LORDS — sovereign
Disposer of all human and angelic representatives of power. “The king’s heart is
in the hand of the Lord as the rivers of water: he turns it [however impetuous]
whithersoever he will.” (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
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
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 eujsebh>v – eusebaes – godly - 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> - hupomonae – patience - 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 – adaelos – uncertainty –
(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 – apothaesaurizontes – laying 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
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
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.
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 who “went about every day doing good”
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
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”
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
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; 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
He that keepeth
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 – antitheseis – contrary
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 Christou – the 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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