1Timothy 6 - Outline of 1Timothy (Book Notes menu page)
V. Practical Concerns of a Good Minister 5:1- 6:21
4. Counsel to Servants and Masters, 6:1,2
5. Separation from Promoters of Error and Division, 6:3-10
6. Pursuit of Godliness, 6:11-19
7. Faithfulness to one's Commission, 6:20,21
1. Let as many servants as are under the yoke
count their own masters worthy of all honour,
that the name of God and [his] doctrine be not blasphemed.
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.
...servants {GK=doulos, bondslaves}... under the yoke {ie., bound in servitude}... count their own masters worthy of... honor...
At the time this letter was written, there were more slaves than free men in the Roman empire. Slavery was accepted by society, as essential to the economy of that day. Therefore, the early church did not seek to overthrow the practice of slavery. But as the Gospel was proclaimed to all, many slaves and also slaveholders came to faith in Christ. Therefore, Timothy was to teach all believers (regardless of their station in life) to live in a way that was consistent with 'the doctrine which is according to godliness' (v.3; 1Cor 7:20-24).
     Slaves under the total control of a harsh 'master' {GK=despotes} could become bitter, and be tempted to take shortcuts in their work. But a Christian slave was to do the best possible job for the master. Eph 6:5-8; Titus 2:9,10
     Where both slave and master were believers, they were also joined together in their mutual love for the Lord (Col 3:11,12). Therefore, the believing slave could more gladly serve, knowing that his 'benefit' {GK=euergesia, lit., good work} was rendered to a 'brother.'
     In our society, slavery is no longer practised. However, the same principles apply to the employee-employer relationship. Col 3:22-25
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;
4 He is proud, knowing nothing,
but doting about questions and strifes of words,
whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth,
supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
...These things teach and exhort (v.2d). If any man teach otherwise... -
What teachings... what words of the Lord Jesus Christ... did Paul have in mind?
     If he was referring to the practical application of the Gospel to daily life (as discussed in v.1-2 and ch. 5), Jesus certainly spoke to these issues in the Sermon on the Mount, and elsewhere. (For example, see what He said about servanthood, in Luk 22:27; Mat 20:27,28; Luk 22:25-27.)
     However, it seems more likely that Paul is referring to everything that has been discussed in his letter, thus far, including the Gospel of God's Grace (ch.1), the Priority of Prayer (ch.2), the appointment of godly church leaders (ch.3), the avoidance of distractions which distort and hinder God's purpose for the church (ch.4), and the application of sound doctrine to practical matters (ch. 5 - 6:2). (See the Outline.)
...if any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome {ie., sound, healthy} words...-
Paul began his letter by instructing Timothy to "charge some that they teach no other doctrine" (1Tim 1:3,4). In the middle of his letter, he warned Timothy concerning apostates and their satanically sly hypocrisy (4:1,2). Such men speak shamelessly in contradiction to the Word of God, which was proclaimed by Christ and the apostles.
Here (v.4,5), the apostle uncovers the heart of a false teacher, to reveal the soil from which error springs up.
  • he is proud {GK=tuphoo, lit., wrapped up in smoke, conceited, puffed up with pride}...
    The same word is used in 1Tim 3:6.
  • knowing {GK=epistamai, perceiving, understanding} nothing...
    They may know what the Bible says, but they cannot understand what it means. They are familiar with the words, but blind to the message (1Tim 1:7). They are unable to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2Tim 2:15,16).
  • doting {GK=noseo, lit., sick, ill} about questions and 'strifes of words' {GK=logomachia, word disputes}...
    Without understanding, he is sick to make sense of his confusion, but is caught in a feverish spiral of conflicting reasonings (1Tim 1:4; 2Tim 2:23; Titus 3:9). The Savior is able to cure their disease, but they will not come to Him.
    Instead, the contagion grows within and spreads from them, in the form of...
    • envy...- Envy is displeasure at observing another person's advantage.
      For envy the rulers delivered Jesus to death (Mat 27:18). Envy and hatred are closely related. Both are natural to the unregenerate heart (Titus 3:3; Jam 4:5).
    • strife...- ie., quarrels, contentions. 1Cor 1:11; Titus 3:9
    • railings {GK=blasphemia, defaming and injurious speech}...-
      This is character assassination. Note the close relationship of 'false witness' to 'blasphemy,' in Mat 15:19. This word is also translated 'evil speaking' (Eph 4:31) and 'railing accusation' (Jude 1:9). Here is a source of false accusations against godly elders (1Tim 5:19).
    • evil surmisings {ie., malicious suspicions}
    • perverse disputings {GK=diaparatribe, incessant wrangling}
Such men are characterized by...
...from such withdraw thyself.-
The servant of God is to separate himself from those who teach contrary to God's Word. v.3-5; Rom 16:17,18; 2The 3:6; 2Tim 3:5
6. But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into [this] world,
[and it is] certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
In contrast to ungodly false teachers, true servants of God do not covet worldly wealth.
Psa 37:16; Prov 15:16; Mat 6:31-33; Php 4:11-13; Heb 13:5
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.
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.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things;
and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
...they that will be {ie., 'that will to be,' that desire to be} rich fall into temptation and a snare...
The desire for riches is like bait in a trap, enticing men through injurious cravings, to plunge them into earthly ruin and eternal loss.
...for the love of money is the {lit., 'a'} root of all {ie., every} evil...
Money is amoral. It is not the root of evil. But the love of money is a root of evil. There are many other roots, such as the love of alcohol, or the love of pornography, or the love of self... from which every kind of evil can grow. Onto the root of a single fruit tree, many branches can be grafted, causing it to bear plums, nectarines and peaches. Root stock, from any of those varieties, will support the others. The love of money is a root that bears terrible fruit.
...which while some coveted after, they have erred {ie., been seduced} from the faith,
and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
In their exchange of 'the faith' for temporal gain, they purchased to themselves eternal loss which will forever torture their souls with consuming grief. Mat 16:26
But thou, O man of God, flee these things, and follow {ie., pursue}...- (v.11; see 2Tim 2:19-21)
In both the OT and NT, the title 'man of God' is applied to a man who stands for God in a time of spiritual decline. Such a man will separate himself widely from the ways of the ungodly and the roots of evil (described in v.3-10), to pursue the ways of God, and the fruit of His Spirit (Gal 5:22,23) including...
  • righteousness (purity of heart and life, before God and man, 1Tim 4:12; Titus 2:11-14)
  • godliness (devotion to God and His purposes, v.6)
  • faith (unshakeable confidence in God and His Word, 1Tim 3:9)
  • love (GK=agape; for God who first loved us, and then for all whom He loves, 1Joh 4:19-21)
  • patience (ie., endurance in toil and through trials, Heb 11:27)
  • meekness (the opposite of pride and self-promotion, Mat 11:29)
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.
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;
14 That thou keep [this] commandment without spot
{ie., stain}, unrebukeable,
until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
15 Which in his times he shall shew,
[who is] the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, 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] honour and power everlasting. Amen.
Fight {GK=agonizomai} the good fight {GK=agon} of 'the' faith {the original includes the definite article}...
The English words 'agonize' and 'agony' are rooted in these Greek words for 'fight.' The man of God is to be intensely focused, like an athlete straining for the prize (1Cor 9:25 where 'agonizomai' is translated 'striveth'), and as a laborer striving to complete his assigned task ('agonizomai' is 'striving' in Col 1:29; 'labour' in 1Tim 4:10). A good soldier of Jesus Christ will endure toil and hardship for His Lord (1Tim 1:18; 2Tim 2:3,4).
     Timothy benefited from the example of Paul's good 'fight,' as he approached the finish line (2Tim 4:7; 'agon' is rendered as 'race' in Heb 12:1).
...lay hold on eternal life...
Eternal life is not a prize to be won by our own effort. In fact, every true believer presently possesses eternal life (Joh 3:14-16,36; 5:24). Paul is not speaking of obtaining eternal life, but rather of living presently in its reality (Col 3:1-4). This is what Paul calls 'attaining unto' or 'apprehending' the resurrection life which is hidden in Christ (Php 3:10-14). The goal, the high calling, is to fully know the Lord Jesus Christ, whom to know is life eternal (Joh 17:3).
...whereunto thou art called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses...
Having received eternal life in Christ, and having been given the privilege to serve Him in ministry, Timothy is strongly urged to fulfill the calling on his life.
...I give thee charge {ie., I enjoin you with an urgent message} before God... and Christ Jesus.
  • God the Father and the Son, would hold the young minister accountable.
    Timothy was to remain faithful to the truth, just as Jesus had been faithful unto death, before Pilate (Joh 18:36,37).
  • God the Father and the Son, would enable him to fulfill his ministry.
    The God who 'quickens' {makes alive} all things and who raised Jesus from the dead, would also quicken Timothy to serve Him, both in the present age and in His Presence eternally (Rom 8:11).
       Apart from this quickening, it would be impossible to "keep this commandment without spot {ie., stain}, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ."
...keep the commandment... until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ... in his times...-
In the present 'times of the Gentiles' those who confess Christ will suffer tribulation (Joh 15:18-21). But 'His times' are coming, when He will be revealed as the only Potentate {GK=dunastes, power, authority}, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
     In vs.15-16, Paul breaks into a hymn of worship, to which all believers will answer 'Amen.' (cf. 1Tim 1:17)
     This Glorious Person, is coming again for His own (Titus 2:13,14). His faithful witnesses can take heart, for their troubles are temporary. When the All Powerful One returns, all enemies will be put down. But His people will be with Him, who alone has immortality {GK=athanasia, lit., deathlessness}. They will rejoice in eternal fellowship with the One who dwells in Light, where no evil can enter (1Joh 1:3-5; Joh 1:4).
17 Charge them that are rich in this world {ie., age},
that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches,
but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works,
ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come,
that they may lay hold on eternal life.
...them that are rich in this world...-
While the love of money is a root of every kind of evil (v.10), God has blessed some believers with material wealth. Timothy was to give wealthy believers a strong message of warning and instruction.
  • that they be not highminded {GK=tuphoo, proud, conceited} -
    ie., thinking themselves to be superior to others, because of their business ability or net-worth. Proud men easily fall into spiritual error and into the snare of covetousness (v.4,9).
  • nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God... -
    The One who gave them wealth can also take it away. Psa 62:10; Jer 9:23,24; Luk 12:15-21
  • that they do good... rich in good works...
    ...ready to distribute {ie., to give}... to communicate {GK=koinonikos, to share in common}...
    Luk 6:35; 14:12-14; Acts 2:44,45; 2Cor 9:6-15; Heb 13:16; 1Joh 3:17
  • laying up... against the time to come...
    Mat 6:19-21; Gal 6:8-9; Luk 16:9,13; 1Pet 1:4
  • that they may lay hold on eternal life.-
    ie., that they, who have received eternal life by faith in Christ, may reach for and attain unto His purpose for giving them spiritual life and physical riches, during the fleeting days of this earthly life. See note at v.12 (above). Php 3:14
20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust,
avoiding profane [and] vain babblings,
and oppositions of science falsely so called:
21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.
Grace [be] with thee. Amen.
O Timothy...
Yearning that his son in the faith would faithfully follow in his footsteps,
  • the apostle condenses his entire letter into a few lines of closing admonition. v.20,21a
    Timothy is again warned...
    • of his calling and of his responsibility to be faithful to God and His Word.
      (1Tim 1:11,18; 3:14,15; 4:10-16; 6:12-14)
    • of the seductive nature of empty human reasonings, and of 'knowledge' devoid of the Truth.
      (1:3-7; 4:1-2,7; 6:3-5)
      Paul was probably referring to Gnostic errors, with the phrase "science {GK=gnosis, knowledge} falsely so called {GK=pseudonumos, falsely named}." In our day, the teaching of unproven theory as though it was scientific fact, has undermined the faith of many (eg., the theory of evolution, various psychological theories, etc.).
    • of others who had wandered from the faith which they had previously confessed.
      (1:19,20; 4:1; 6:10,11)
  • the apostle commits his son to the Grace of God,
    by which he himself was saved from sin, commissioned to proclaim the Gospel, and equipped for that ministry (1:11-14).
"Grace be with thee. Amen."
Paul closes most of his epistles with a similar salutation (eg., "The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." Php 4:23) But here, 'thee' is singular. Paul's heart focuses on one needy man, in a continuous prayer for his son in the faith. cp. 2Tim 2:1; 4:22

This concludes the study in 1Timothy.
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