1 Timothy 6, Commentary

Tod Kennedy 2013-2015

Chapter Titles for 1 Timothy

  1. Paul’s philosophy of ministry
  2. Pray for leaders; godly women
  3. Overseers, deacons, and conduct in the church
  4. Departure from the faith; train for godliness
  5. Respectfully challenge; widows; elders
  6. Slaves and masters, godliness, money

Chapter 6, Slaves and masters, godliness, money

Slavery was part of the Roman world. Believing slaves had a responsibility and a testimony to their unbelieving and believing masters (1 Timothy 6:1-2). Paul then warns against those who reject sound teaching from Jesus and also his own teaching that bring about godliness (1 Timothy 6:3-5). Paul continues by saying that godliness yields greater gain than money, the love of which brings much evil (1 Timothy 6:6-10). Paul then reminds Timothy to stay away from greed, and instead fight the fight of faith, hold to eternal life, and keep the commandment until the Lord Jesus Christ comes back at the time God the Father chooses (1 Timothy 6:11-16). Paul continues with more instructions about money. It is not to be the hope in life, but simply supplied by God to some for enjoyment and good works (1 Timothy 6:17-19). Paul concludes by leaving Timothy with two challenges: guard what God has entrusted to him, and to stay out of useless arguments (1 Timothy 6:20-21).

Outline

  1. 1 Timothy 6.1-2. Believing slaves had a responsibility and a testimony to their unbelieving and believing masters
  2. 1 Timothy 6.3-5. Paul then warns against those who reject sound teaching from Jesus and his own teaching that agrees with godliness.
  3. 1 Timothy 6.6-10. Paul continues by saying that godliness combined with contentment brings greater profit than money. The obsessive love of money brings much evil.
  4. 1 Timothy 6.11-16. Paul then reminds Timothy to stay away from greed, and instead fight the fight of faith, hold to eternal life, and keep the commandment until the Lord Jesus Christ comes back at the time God the Father chooses.
  5. 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Paul continues with more instructions about money. It is not to be the hope in life, but simply supplied by God to some for enjoyment and good works.
  6. 1 Timothy 6.20-21. Paul concludes by leaving Timothy with two challenges: guard what God has entrusted to him, and to stay out of useless arguments.

Select Biblical Doctrines

Slavery 1, different doctrine 3, sound doctrine 3, godliness 3,5,6, contentment 6, money and greed 9-10, wandered from the faith 10, self induced misery 10, fight of faith 12, eternal life 12, application of God’s word 14, Jesus Christ’s second coming 14, God’s nature 15-16, fixing hope on God 17, God provides for us 17, good works 18, giving 18, rewards 19, guard the trust 20, avoid useless arguing 20, spiritual regression 21, grace greetings 21.

Exposition

  1. 1 Timothy 6.1-2. Believing slaves had a responsibility and a testimony to their unbelieving and believing masters.
    1. Slaves, δουλος. A slave, not a servant. In Paul’s world slavary was a large part of life. But a slave could be freed. Paul uses this as the background for believers spiritual freedom from sin and the law. Though the context of 1 Timothy 6 is physical slavery to another. Before the first century most slaves were acquired as prisoners of war. After that most slaves were by birth. Another way to gain slaves was when babies were put out to die (birth control) and slave traders would gather them and sell them as slaves. Slavery meant the complete loss of rights—marriage, family, business, offices held, and so on. Punishment could be severe: branding, shackling, cutting off a limb, beating, wearing metal collars. But slaves could gain freedom by the both slave and owner appearing before a judge and paying a freedom tax.
    2. On spiritual slavery which illustrates for us the freedom believers have, Deissmann wrote "But between the Greek usage and the practice of the early Church there stands St. Paul, who made the ancient custom the basis of one of his profoundest contemplations about the Christ.

"What was this custom? Among the various ways in which the manumission of a slave could take place by ancient law we find the solemn rite of fictitious purchase of the slave by some divinity. The owner comes with the slave to the temple, sells him there to the god, and receives the purchase money from the temple treasury, the slave having previously paid it in there out of his savings. The slave is now the property of the god; not, however, a slave of the temple, but a protégé of the god. Against all the world, especially his former master, he is a completely free man; at the utmost a few pious obligations to his old master are imposed upon him.

"The rite takes place before witnesses; a record is taken, and often perpetuated on stone." (Deissmann, Adolf, and Lionel Richard Mortimer Strachan. (page 322 print) Light from the Ancient East the New Testament Illustrated by Recently Discovered Texts of the Graeco-Roman World. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1910. Print. See print edition page 318-330). Gustav Adolf Deissmann (7 November 1866 – 5 April 1937) was a German Protestant theologian, best known for his leading work on the Greek language used in the New Testament, which he showed was the koine, or commonly used tongue of the Hellenistic world of that time. Deissmann was professor of theology at the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg (1897–1908), and then at the Friedrich Wilhelms University of Berlin (1908–1935). He was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and held eight honorary doctorates from 6 different countries. Wikipedia.

    1. It is estimated that one third of the population of the large cities was slaves. Comic drama pictured slaves as back talking and mocking their masters. Paul challenges that idea and says that Christian slaves should respect their masters, not back talk or mock them.
    2. Regard them with honor ἡγέομαι hegeomai pres midd impv, to think, consider, regard; probably a customary present for what is to regularly happen (see GGBB, 521 or the idea).
      1. Honor refers to esteem, think reverently about them.
      2. The reason: so that God and teaching (biblical doctrine) will not be spoken against (blasphemed, βλασφημέω blasphemeo pres pass subjunctive with `ινα of purpose; be spoken of in a disrespectful way, slandered).
      3. We do not want to dishonor God or the Bible by being disrespectful to our masters.
      4. Paul also instructs the slaves to not take advantage of masters who are believers. They might have this tendency. We probably expect special privileges from fellow believers. But, instead serve more faithfully and do a better job because they are believers.
      5. Paul instructed slaves (Col 3:22-25; Eph 6:5–9; 1 Cor 7.20-24; Titus 2.9-10; Philemon 10-17). Peter also instructed slaves (1 Peter 2.18-21). See article “Household Codes,” DLNT). Paul’s attitude toward slavery is similar to his attitude toward family hierarchy and civil authority (see 1 Tim 2:1–2; Rom 13:1–7; Eph 5:22–33; compare 1 Pet 2:13–17). Wherever possible, Paul urges acceptance of authority and submission to social expectations, often as a means of maintaining a positive witness to outsiders (see 1 Tim 6:1). However, while he taught respectful acceptance of the status quo for women and slaves, he also subtly pushed against that status quo, urging Christian husbands to love their wives and masters to treat their slaves well (Eph 5:25; 6:9; see note on Eph 5:25 in FSB)." Mangum, Douglas, and E. Tod Twist. 1 Timothy. Ed. Douglas Mangum and Derek R. Brown. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013. Print. Lexham Bible Guide.
  1. 1 Timothy 6.3-5. Paul then warns against those who reject sound teaching from Jesus and his own teaching that agrees with godliness.
    1. 1 Timothy 6.3, the warning. See 1 Timothy 1.3. Different doctrine (`ετεροδιδασκαλεω heterodidaskalew, pres act indic) refers to the known words of Jesus and apostolic teaching—sound words conforming to godliness which Jesus taught and what Paul has written to Timothy in this letter and taught Timothy in person. Teaches a different doctrine 1. than what Jesus Christ taught, 2. than what Paul taught. For false teaching see 1 Timothy 6.5, Acts 19.23-41, 1 Tim 1.3-7, 1 Tim 4.1-5. His teaching agreed with godliness. Paul has said a lot about godliness (ευσεβεια, eusebeia). Godliness is behavior reflecting biblical beliefs in one’s thought, speech, and acts. Paul uses godliness in 1 Timothy 2.2; 3.16; 4.7; 4.8; 6.3; 6.5; 6.6; 6.11; 5.4 (verb). Also in 2 Timothy 3.5, Titus 1.1. Review the doctrine of godliness.
    2. 1 Timothy 6.4ab. Paul lists what these people who advocate different doctrines are like: conceited-puffed up, understands nothing, sick or morbid searching about controversial questions and disputes about words.
    3. 1 Timothy 6.4c-5. He then lists the fruit of these activities—mental sins, verbal sins, and conflicts among themselves. False doctrine and the promoting of false doctrine produces trouble in the church. They are bickerers and characterized by corrupt minds and they are deprived or defrauded of the truth. Because they promote false doctrine, because they reject the teachings of the Lord and of Paul they defraud themselves of true doctrine. These follow the idea that godliness is the way to make a profit.
  2. 1 Timothy 6.6-10. Paul continues by saying that godliness combined with contentment brings greater profit than money. The obsessive love money of brings all kinds of evil.
    1. 1 Tim 6.6-8. Godliness makes good profits for you as long as you are content with what you have. Hebrews 13.5-7 says that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us. If he is always with us we can be content with what we have. Do not get trapped by the love for money. We started with no money and we will leave anything we accumulate behind when we die. Food and clothes are the necessities for life. Paul and most of the believers at that time understood this.
    2. 1 Timothy 6.9-10. He is warning against greed—the craving of wealth, not money itself. See Job 1.21, Ecclesiastes 5.15, Philippians 4.11, Proverbs 30.8, 1 Timothy 3.3. A very dangerous result of greed is wandering from the faith and self induced grief. Any craving greater than the love for God will inevitably lead people astray from the Christian life. Remember that this is warning about the desire for wealth, not the possession of wealth. See Luke 16.14. Also Judas Iscariot (John 12.1-6; Luke 22.1-6; Acts 1.15-19) and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5.1-11). Even the Greek writers agreed that the love of money is bad. We are sufficient in Christ for everything for Christian service (2 Corinthians 3.5-6). God’s supernatural sufficiency makes each believer equal to God’s task (3.5-6). 3:5, adequacy, Gk `ικανοτες hikanotes means sufficiency, able. 3:6, Adequate, Gk `ικανοω hikanow means sufficient, competent. See 2 Corinthians 3 publication.
  3. 1 Timothy 6.11-16. Paul then reminds Timothy to stay away from greed, and instead fight the fight of faith, hold to eternal life, and keep the commandment until the Lord Jesus Christ comes back at the time God the Father chooses. Summary To do: 1. stay away from the love for money and the lifestyle that goes with that love for money. 2. Pursue a godly lifestyle and character. 3. Keep the word of God and instructions taught you. 4. Stay true to God and the Bible as long as you live.
    1. 1 Timothy 6.11. These are Christian virtues. Paul commands Timothy to flee or shun the loved of money and the evil that it can bring into one’s life (see 1 Tim 6.9-10), and to pursue other traits that are good and beneficial. Stay away from certain things and pursue or become attached to other traits. These instructions apply to anyone in Christian service.
      1. Flee (φεύγω pheugo, pres act imperative, 2nd singular) the love of money and the things that go with the love of money. Timothy is to stay away from these things. This is to be an ongoing process in his life.
      2. Pursue is διώκω dioko, pres act imperative 2nd singular. Here the word means to pursue, run after. An ongoing process in his life.
      3. Righteousness δικαιοσυνη
      4. Godliness εὐσέβεια,
      5. Faith πιστις Here to actively believe God and his promises.
      6. Love αγαπη
      7. Endurance `υπομονη. To bear up under all sorts of adversity.
      8. Humility πραυπαθια gentleness in spirit

Parallel Instructions for Timothy

(Mangum, Douglas, and E. Tod Twist. 1 Timothy. Ed. Douglas Mangum and Derek R. Brown. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013. Print. Lexham Bible Guide.)

Pursue Personal Holiness

1 Tim 4:7b; 6:11

Fight the Good Fight

1 Tim 1:18b; 6:12a

Fulfill Your Ministry Calling

1 Tim 4:14; 6:12b

Be Above Reproach

1 Tim 4:12; 5:21; 6:13–14

Guard the Deposit

1 Tim 6:20a; 2 Tim 1:14

Avoid Myths and Empty Talk

1 Tim 1:3–4; 4:7a; 6:20b–21a; 2 Tim 2:16

    1. 1 Timothy 6.12. Stay strong in your Christian ministry. After the character attributes that Paul stresses to Timothy, he now stresses some actions. Note the imperative verbs.
      1. Fight ἀγωνίζομαι agonizomai to fight struggle, engage in a contest (see 1 Cor 9.25; 1 Tim 4.10; 2 Tim 4.7; Col 1.29; 4.12). The Christian life is a struggle against the world, flesh, devil. Pres middle imper 2 sing for the ongoing process.
      2. Take hold ἐπιλαμβάνομαι epilambanomai, to grasp, take hold of for oneself (see Luke 20.26; Acts 9.27), aorist midd imperative 2nd sing for the action as a whole unit. Grasp eternal life. Paul says to make eternal life something that you daily own and hold onto because it directs and motivates his life.
      3. Timothy had openly let people know that he had eternal life.
    2. 1 Timothy 6.13-14. Keep your witness clear and godly.
      1. 1 Timothy 6.13. Christ Jesus maintained his testimony when brought in front of Pilate (John 18.5,6,8,28-40; 19.10-12). Paul appeals to Timothy before God the Father and before Jesus Christ. The Father gives life to all things. God is the source of life. He created all creatures and gave life to each (doctrine of origins).
      2. 1 Timothy 6.14a. Keep the commandment most likely refers to the entire body of God’s word delivered to us like 1 Tim 1.5; 4.7. Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will come back to earth.
      3. 1 Timothy 6.14b-15a. The Bible says over and over again that Jesus Christ will return to earth. Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will come back to earth.
      • Appearing ἐπιφάνεια epiphaneia appearing, appearance. Confirms that Paul believed that Jesus was going to come back. Scripture confirms that Jesus will return to earth: 2 Thes 2.8 appear to rule; 1 Tim 6.14 appear rapture; 2 Tim 1.10 appear incarnation; 2 Tim 4.1 appear rule, 2 Tim 4.8 appear rapture; Titus 2.13 appear rapture (all NT uses of επιφανεια).
      • Scripture teaching Jesus Christ will return. 1 Col 1:8 (day of our Lord Jesus Christ); Phil. 1:6 (until the day of Christ Jesus), Phil 1.10 (for the day of Christ); 1 Thes 3:13 (at the appearing of our Lord Jesus with all his saints); 1 Thes 5:23 (at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ); 2 Th. 2:1 (with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ); 2 Tim 4:1 (and by his coming); Tit 2:13 (and the appearing of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ); Heb. 9:28 (Christ…will appear a second time for salvation); 1 Pet 1:7 (at the revelation of Jesus Christ); 1 John 3:2 (when he appears we shall be like him); Rev 1:7 (he is coming with the clouds and every eye shall see him).
    3. 1 Timothy 6.15. Jesus Christ is coming back and the Father will make Jesus’ return known. Δείκνυμι deiknumi future active indicative. Show, make known, point out, explain, prove. The idea is God the Father will make Jesus known at his appearing. The timing is left to God. Timothy should leave it there. We should leave it there. This refers to Jesus coming for his church, the rapture of the church. Paul may have believed that Jesus would return before Timothy died.
    4. 1 Timothy 6.15b-16. Paul describes the wonder of God’s nature. Note what is said about God the Father. Timothy lists ten ascriptions of God. See 1 Timothy 1.17, Psalm 104.2, John 1.18. Ephesus was a center for the worship of Artemis and emperor worship. Paul says God is the only God.
  1. 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Paul continues with more instructions about money. It is not to be the hope in life, but simply supplied by God to some for enjoyment and good works. Good works, contentment, and enjoyment of wealth. See the doctrine of money.
    1. The rich:
      1. not be arrogant about wealth;
      2. not to focus on their wealth because it is uncertain;
      3. focus on God who supplies all things to enjoy and the rich can enjoy their wealth;
      4. rich in good works;
      5. generous;
      6. rich can store up future rewards by their use of their wealth.
  2. 1 Timothy 6.20-21. Paul concludes by leaving Timothy with two challenges: guard what God has entrusted to him, and to stay out of useless arguments. Shun non reverent and non relevant babble. See 2 Tim 1.14.
    1. Guard the ministry and doctrine given to him.
    2. Do not waste time on arguing for the sake of arguing. Teach, explain, convince others. Some Christians have a tendency to chase after every worthless speculation instead of discussing and learning from the Scripture.
  3. Principles from 1 Timothy 6.
    1. A full war on slavery in Paul’s day would have undermined the thrust of his ministry in the Greek- Roman world. The object was to honor masters, to honor slaves, and bring honor to the ministry. In Ephesians 6 Paul said that masters were to be good, slaves were to be good, and good results were gained for the gospel (1 Timothy 6.1-2).
    2. People who promote doctrine contrary to that which Paul and Jesus taught are simply conceited, without understanding, and trouble makers (1 Timothy 6.3-5).
    3. Godliness brings contentment, which is what we all really want (1 Timothy 6.6).
    4. The obsession with money will damage our Christian life and bring much grief (1 Timothy 6.9-10).
    5. Instead of falling prey to the obsession with money and the grief it brings we are to pursue godly lifestyle and virtues, keep God’s word, be true to God and the Bible, and maintain a good witness even in the face of opposition as long as we live (1 Timothy 6.11-14).
    6. Jesus Christ is coming back in God’s time (1 Timothy 6.14-15).
    7. God the Father is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, perfectly holy, and to be honored (1 Timothy 6.15-16).
    8. Wealthy believers can enjoy their wealth. To be wealthy is good, not bad. They should not be obsessed with wealth, but instead enjoy it and use it for good, and also gain reward from God (1 Timothy 6.17-19).
    9. Each person in the ministry like Timothy should guard what God has entrusted to him, stay out of useless arguments, and shun non-reverent and non-relevant babble (1 Tim 6.20-21).