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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

1 Timothy 6

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 6

1 Timothy 6:1. The reading δούλου (F G) is to be regarded as a correction; so, too, with the reading δουλείας (73, Sahid.).—1 Timothy 6:2. In א the words ὅτι ἀδελφοί εἰσιν are omitted, probably through an oversight. Instead of the curious εὐεργεσίας here, F G, gr. 46, and some other cursives have the reading εὐσεβείας; 45 has ἐργασίας.—1 Timothy 6:3. Instead of προσέρχεται (Rec. with the support of nearly all MSS.; Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. 7), א has the reading προσέχεται (in Latin: acquiescit), which Tisch. 8 adopted. This form occurs nowhere else in the N. T.—1 Timothy 6:4. Tisch. 7 read ἔρεις, after D F G L, etc.; Tisch. 8, on the contrary, ἔρις (Rec. with the support of A K א, etc.; so, too, Lachm. Buttm.). It can hardly be decided which is the original reading; the meaning is substantially the same in either case; possibly the singular was changed into the plural on account of the other plurals.—1 Timothy 6:5 . Instead of the Rec. παραδιατριβαί, Griesb. rightly adopted διαπαρατριβαί, on the weightiest authority: A D F G א, al., 10, 17, 23, etc., Clem. Basil. Chrys. etc. In one MS. διαπαραδιατριβαί is found; others have διατριβαί; others, παρατριβαί; and one διʼ παρατριβαί, which Reiche approves.

The words ἀφίστασο ἀπὸ τῶν τοιούτων are, according to A D*F G א 17, 67** 93, al., Copt. Sahid. Aeth. Vulg. It., probably to be considered an addition not genuine, although they are found in K L, nearly all cursives, and the Fathers, Ambros. Pel. Chrys. etc.; Griesb. marked them as very much to be suspected; Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. omitted them; Reiche, on the other hand, defended them as genuine.—1 Timothy 6:7. δῆλον] is wanting in several of the weightiest authorities, in particular A F G א 17, Copt. Sahid. Aeth. etc., on which account it was also struck out by Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. 8. But as it is almost indispensable for the sense, its omission may perhaps be only an oversight, unless ὅτι, as Buttm. p. 308, thinks, be elliptical for δῆλον ὅτι.—1 Timothy 6:8. Instead of διατροφάς, D F G and several cursives have the common singular form διατροφήν; and instead of ἀρκεσθησόμεθα, there is found in 30, 117, 219, al., Vulg. Chrys. etc., the form ἀρκεσθησώμεθα; see on this, Winer, p. 72 [E. T. p. 89].—1 Timothy 6:9. After παγίδα, D* F G, several cursives, Fathers, and versions have τοῦ διαβόλου, which, however, is to be regarded as an insertion from 1 Timothy 3:7.—1 Timothy 6:11. Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. 8, omitted the article τοῦ before θεοῦ; it is wanting in A א 17.

In א the word εὐσέβειαν is wanting.

πρᾳότητα] This reading stands only in later MSS.; A F G א 71, Ignat. Petr. Alex. Ephr. Hesych. have πραϋπάθειαν, which is therefore rightly adopted by Scholz, Lachm. Buttm. Tisch.—1 Timothy 6:12. εἰς ἥν] The Rec. is εἰς ἣν καί. The καί was rightly omitted by Griesb., on the authority of all uncials, many cursives, Syr. Arr. Copt, etc., Chrys. Theodor. etc.—1 Timothy 6:13. The σοι after παραγγέλλω (Rec. supported by the most important authorities, Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. 7) was omitted by Tisch. 8, on the authority of F G 17, etc.; so, too, with the article τοῦ before θεοῦ, after א, though it stands in nearly all authorities. Instead of ζωοποιοῦντος (Rec. K L א, al.), A D F G 17, etc., Ath. Cyr. etc. have ζωογονοῦντος, which deserves preference as the more unusual word. Lachm. Buttm. and Tisch. adopted it into the text; Reiche, on the other hand, defends the Rec., especially on the ground that Paul uses the word ζωοποιεῖν continually of the futura hominum mortuorum ad vitam restitutio, quacum rerum universarum instauratio conjuncta erit.—1 Timothy 6:17. ἐν τῷ νῦν αἰῶνι] is changed in D E, Syr. Copt. Sahid. Vulg. etc. into τοῦ νῦν αἰῶνος. For αἰῶνι, א has καιρῷ; and for ὑψηλοφρονεῖν, ὑψηλὰ φρονεῖν, which Tisch. 8 adopted.

ἐν τῷ θεῷ] For the preposition ἐν (Rec. D*** K L, Tisch. 7, Reiche), A D* F G א, several cursives, etc., have ἐπί (Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. 8). This reading seems, however, to have arisen from a correction in order to make this clause symmetrical with the one previous. The article τῷ (Rec. A D*** E K L, etc.; Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. 7) is wanting in D* F G א, al. (Tisch. 8).

τῷ ζῷντι] omitted by Lachm. and Tisch., after A G 17, 23, 47, al., many versions, is to be regarded as not genuine. It may have been inserted from a recollection of 1 Timothy 4:10.

πάντα πλουσίως] adopted by Griesb. Scholz, Tisch. for πλουσίως πάντα, after D E 17, 44, 46, al., Syr. Arr. Copt. Vulg. etc., Basil. Chrys. Theodoret, etc. Lachm. and Buttm. read, on the authority of A 17, 37, 57, al., τὰ πάντα πλουσίως, which might deserve preference as the more difficult reading.—1 Timothy 6:19. The Rec. αἰωνίου is manifestly a correction of the original ὄντως (in A D* E F G א 17, 23, 31, 57, al., Syr. utr. Erp. Copt, etc., Constitut. Clem. Orig. Basil, etc.), which Griesb. rightly received into the text.—1 Timothy 6:20. παραθήκην] rightly adopted by Griesb. for παρακαταθήκην, on the authority of A D E F G א 31, 37, 44, al., Sahid. Syr. Clem. Ignat. al.; comp. 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:14. The reading καινοφωνίας (for κενοφ.), in F G 73, It. Vulg. (profanas vocum novitates) and the Latin Fathers, is an oversight arising from the similarity of αι and ε in sound.—1 Timothy 6:21 χάρις μετὰ σοῦ] For σοῦ, Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. 8, after A F G 17, al., adopted μεθʼ ὑμῶν, perhaps a correction from 2 Timothy 4:22 and Titus 3:15. Tisch. 7 had the Rec. σοῦ, after D E K L, most cursives, several versions, etc.

The Rec. ἀμήν at the end (after D** K L) is to be regarded as not genuine, on the authority of A D* F G א, etc.


Verse 1-2

1 Timothy 6:1-2. Precept regarding the conduct of Christian slaves.

ὅσοι εἰσὶν ὑπὸ ζυγὸν δοῦλοι] δοῦλοι is added to explain εἰσὶν ὑπὸ ζ. Paul does not say simply ὅσοι εἰσὶν δοῦλοι, because he wishes to mark the oppressive circumstances of the condition of a slave. ζυγός is not used elsewhere in the N. T. of the yoke of slavery (in Herodotus: δούλιον ζυγόν). The expression is not to be limited to those slaves who were oppressed more than usual by their masters, as Heydenreich thinks, quoting 1 Peter 2:18. It is clear from the clause ἵνα κ. τ. λ., as well as from the contrast in 1 Timothy 6:2, that Paul is thinking here of the slaves who had heathen masters.

τοὺς ἰδίους δεσπότας] ἰδίους is so far emphatic, that it directs attention to the circumstance of the personal relation more than would be done by the usual pronoun.

πάσης τιμῆς (i.e. of all honour which is due to them as masters) ἀξίους ἡγείσθωιν (f. ἀξιοῦν, 1 Timothy 5:17); comp. the exhortations in Titus 2:9; Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Peter 2:18.

In confirmation, Paul adds ἵνα μὴ τὸ ὄνομα κ. τ. λ.; comp. Titus 2:10. The meaning is correctly given by Chrysostom: ἄπιστος ἂν μὲν ἴδῃ τοὺς δούλους διὰ τὴν πίστιν αὐθάδως προφερομένους, βλασφημήσει πολλάκις ὡς στάσιν ἐμποιοῦν τὸ δόγμα· ὅταν δὲ ἴδῃ πειθομένους, μᾶλλον πεισθήσεται, μᾶλλον προσέξει τοῖς λεγομένοις.

τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ θεοῦ] comp. Romans 2:24.

διδασκαλία] the gospel, as the doctrine prevailing among Christians.—1 Timothy 6:2. οἱ δὲ πιστοῦς ἔχοντες δεσπότας] The adversative δέ shows that the apostle is here speaking of other slaves than in 1 Timothy 6:1, viz., as he himself says, of those whose masters are πιστοί, not keeping their slaves as ὑπὸ ζυγόν, but treating them kindly and gently because of their πίστις. This last point is, indeed, not formally expressed here, but it is presupposed in μὴ καταφρονείτωσαν.

πιστούς is either to be joined with δεσπότας as an adjective, or to be taken as a substantive, δεσπότας defining it more precisely: “who have believers as masters.” The order of the words might give the preference to the latter view.

μὴ καταφρονείτωσαν] καταφρονεῖν denotes here conduct towards masters in which the honour due to them is not given.

ὅτι ἀδελφοί εἰσιν] These words are not the ground of the previous exhortation; they are the ground on which the δοῦλοι might be led to think their masters of little worth; not the slaves, but the masters, form the subject (de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, and others).

ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον δουλευέτωσαν] μᾶλλον, equivalent to “all the more.”

ὅτι πιστοί εἰσι καὶ ἀγαπητοί, οἱ κ. τ. λ.] With ἀγαπητοί we must supply θεοῦ (Romans 1:7; comp. Romans 11:28): “beloved of God;” this is supported by the close connection with πιστοί.

The subject is formed not by the slaves (Wetstein: intelligo non de dominis, sed de servis, qui dant operam, ut dominis beneficiant et bene de iis mereantur), still less by both slaves and masters (Matthies), but by the masters only. The only possible construction is this, that οἱἀντιλαμβανόμενοι forms the subject, πιστοὶἀγαπητοί the predicate; for the article shows that the words οἱ τῆς κ. τ. λ. do not give a more precise definition of what precedes. Most recent expositors (de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Plitt, also hitherto in this commentary) understand by εὐεργεσία the kindness which the slaves show to their masters by faithful service, and explain ἀντιλαμβάνεσθαι as equivalent to “receive, accept;” but this explanation cannot be justified by usage.(198) In the N. T. the word occurs only in Luke 1:54 and Acts 20:35, in the sense of “accept of some one.” This sense it has also in classic Greek, when it refers to persons; in reference to things, it means: “carry on something eagerly,” also: “make oneself master of a thing.” Hofmann accordingly is not incorrect in translating: “devote themselves to kindness, making it their business.” If we keep strictly to this meaning, as indeed we must, then the words οἱ τ. εὐεργ. ἀντιλαμβανόμενοι apply to the Christian masters in regard to their conduct towards their slaves, so that the meaning of the exhortation is: “Serve (your masters) all the more, that they, devoting themselves to kindness towards you, are believers and beloved (of God).” So rightly Theophylact: οἱ τῆς εὐεργεσίας ἀντιλαμβανόμενοι, τουτέστι: οἱ δεσπόται οἱ φροντίζοντες τοῦ εὐεργετεῖν τοὺς δούλους; so, too, Chrysostom, Grotius, Wegscheider, Leo, and others. De Wette, against this explanation, maintains that “it makes the predicate ‘believing, somewhat superfluous, because the masters, being kindly towards their slaves, are already showing their Christian faith in action.” He is wrong; for, on the one hand, εὐεργεσία towards slaves might be true even of heathen; and, on the other, Paul wishes to insist on the Christian belief of the masters as a motive for careful and faithful service. Hofmann is wrong in thinking that καὶἀντιλαμβ. does not depend on ὅτι, but forms an independent clause in this sense, that the slaves who serve their masters willingly in distributing their alms, are beloved (viz. by their fellow-Christians). This view is opposed not only by the καί (for to what previous sentence is it to be attached?), but also by this, that whereas the ἀντιλαμβανόμενοι are the slaves, τῶν δεσπότων is arbitrarily supplied with εὐεργεσίας.

The apostle concludes the exhortations given in regard to the slaves with the words: ταῦτα δίδασκε καὶ παρακάλει, which Lachm. Buttm. and Tisch. wrongly refer to what follows; comp. 1 Timothy 4:11, 1 Timothy 5:7; the right construction is given by de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, and others.


Verses 3-5

1 Timothy 6:3-5. Description of the heretics.

εἴ τις ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖ] On ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν, comp. 1 Timothy 1:3; εἴ τις often occurs in the epistle for ὅστις or the like; comp. 1 Timothy 3:5, 1 Timothy 5:8; the thought is given in its most comprehensive form.

καὶ μὴ προσέρχεται κ. τ. λ.] defines ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν more exactly, characterizing it as opposed to the pure doctrine of the gospel, as a preaching therefore of heresy (not merely “of a doctrine which has not the quality of being pious” (!), Hofmann).

προσέρχεσθαι is used of mental agreement, and is equivalent to “agree with” (de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee); comp. Philo, de Gigantt. p. 289: μηδενὶ προσέρχεσθαι γνώμῃ τῶν εἰρημένων. On ὑγιαίνουσι λόγοις, comp. 1 Timothy 1:10. Hofmann arbitrarily explains the word by: “devote oneself to a thing; employ one’s pains on it.” If προσέχεται is the correct reading, then it is to be explained: “and does not hold fast by sound words.” The genitive τοῦ κυρίου ἡμ. . χρ. gives the source from which the λόγοι proceed. καὶ τῇ κατʼ εὐσέβειαν διδασκαλίᾳ] an epexegetic addition to what preceded. The expression is not, with Leo and Wiesinger, to be explained by: doctrina ad pietatem ducens; κατά rather expresses the relation of correspondence, suitability (van Oosterzee). By εὐσέβεια is meant Christian piety.—1 Timothy 6:4. τετύφωται] comp. 1 Timothy 3:6.(199) With this word begins the apodosis, which Wegscheider, Mack, and others find expressed only in ἀφίστασο ἀπὸ τ. τοιούτων, which words we can hardly consider genuine. μηδὲν ἐπιστάμενος (comp. 1 Timothy 1:7), the participle is not to be resolved into “although;” all the more that τετύφωται conveys a suggestion of dumbness. Their knowledge, on which they, presume, is limited to fables, and does not penetrate into the truth.

ἀλλὰ νοσῶν περὶ ζητήσεις καὶ λογομαχίας] νοσῶν, in contrast with ὑγιαίνουσι λόγοις in 1 Timothy 6:3.

περὶ ζητήσεις κ. τ. λ. gives the sickness of which he is ill (comp. Plato, Phaedr. p. 288: νοσῶν περὶ λόγων ἀκοήν; Winer, p. 379 [E. T. p. 506]). Luther, not clear: “diseased in questions;” Stier, correct: “diseased with.”

On ζητήσεις, comp. 1 Timothy 1:4; the addition of λογομαχίαι denotes more exactly the nature of the ζητήσεις. Calvin: λογομαχίας nominat contentiosas disputationes de verbis magis, quam de rebus, vel (ut vulgo loquuntur) sine materia aut subjecto. The word (occurring only in later Greek) is ἅπ. λεγ., the verb λογομαχεῖν, 2 Timothy 2:14.

Hitherto he has described the “condition of soul among the ἑτεροδιδασκαλοῦντες” (Wiesinger); the consequences of their ζητ. and λογομ., particularly the destructive tendencies, are given in what follows: ἐξ ὧν γίνεται κ. τ. λ.] φθόνος, ἔρις,(200) βλασφη΄ίαι, form a climax. βλασφη΄ίαι and ὑπόνοιαι πονηραί are wrongly understood by Chrysostom of conduct towards God. On the latter expression, equivalent to “wicked suspicion” (Luther), see Wisd. 3:24; the word is ἅπ. λεγ. in the N. T. Hofmann wishes to separate πονηραί from ὑπόνοιαι, and to connect it with the next word, “because ὑπονοεῖν in itself means suspecting evil.” But, on the one hand, ὑπονοεῖν has often the simple meaning “conjecture” (e.g. Acts 13:25; also in classic Greek); and, on the other hand, “the suspicion of something evil,” and “the evil, wicked suspicion,” are by no means identical things.—1 Timothy 6:5. διαπαρατριβαί] This word and παραδιατριβαί (according to the usual reading) are not equivalent, as Heydenreich thinks; see Winer, p. 96 [E. T. p. 126]. The distinction between παρατριβή and διατριβή is to be maintained. διατριβή means, in regard to time: “its consumption, pastime, occupation;” with the prefix παρα there is added the idea of idle, useless, so that παραδιατριβή denotes the useless occupation of time. The word παρατριβή (only in later Greek) means: “wrangling, dispute;” δια serves to intensify the meaning, hence διαπαρατριβή is equivalent to “continuous or violent wraingling” (de Wette). Luther translated it: “scholastic disputes.” As the idea of strife has been given already by ἔρις, we might be inclined to consider the Rec. to be the original reading, were the evidence for it not too weak. The same may be said of the reading διατριβαί, which Hofmann, without sufficient ground, maintains to be “what was originally written.” At any rate, the idea “continual wrangling” is not so identical with that of “strife” ( ἔρις) as to prevent them from being used together.(201) Reiche paraphrases the reading διʼ παρατριβαί as equivalent to per quae, nempe vitia morbosque animi vs 4, exoriuntur rixae et certamina, etc.; but διʼ is not equivalent to per quae, and the previous ἐξ ὧν is against this construction.

διεφθαρ΄ένων ἀνθρώπων τὸν νοῦν] Regarding this accus., see Winer, p. 205 [E. T. p. 287]; comp. 2 Timothy 3:8 (Xenophon, De Exped. Cyri, iv. 259: διεφθαρμένοι τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς): “whose understanding is destroyed.”

καὶ ἀπεστερημένων τῆς ἀληθείας] “who have been robbed of the truth.” This and the previous participial clauses indicate that formerly the heretics had their understanding sound, and were in possession of the truth, but that they had lost both these jewels, according to 1 Timothy 4:1, by the influence of demons. It should never have been denied that they who are thus described were actual heretics.

The next clause adds another peculiar characteristic, which proves the διεφθαρμένων κ. τ. λ.: νομιζόντων πορισμὸν εἶναι τὴν εὐσέβειαν] πορισμός (only here and at 1 Timothy 6:6; comp. Sirach 13:19; Sirach 14:2) is equivalent to “means of gain,” i.e. a business bringing gain; Luther: “trade.”

Wegscheider wrongly explains εὐσέβεια as equivalent to κατʼ εὐσέβειαν διδασκαλία. The idea is to be kept in its proper meaning; although that which the heretics made to appear εὐσέβεια was not εὐσέβεια, but only the appearance of it (2 Timothy 3:5 : ΄όρφωσιν εὐσεβείας), by means of which they sought to make earthly gain (Titus 1:11).

As to the construction, it seems most natural to make the substantive at the beginning of the verse dependent on ἐξ ὧν γίνεται,, 1 Timothy 6:4, along with the substantives before it. Hofmann, on the contrary, thinks it curious, “that besides the bad things already mentioned, there should also be named those with whom they occur;” and he wishes rather to regard πονηραὶ διατριβαί (which he reads) as in apposition to ζητήσεις καὶ λογο΄αχίας, just as in James 3:8, where the nominative stands in apposition to the previous accusative as a kind of exclamation. This construction is possible, but it is by no means necessary, and from the structure of the sentence not even probable.

The last remark furnishes the apostle with an opportunity for a digression on Christian contentment.(202)


Verse 6

1 Timothy 6:6. ἔστι δὲ κ. τ. λ.] Calvin: eleganter et non sine ironica correctione in contrarium sensum eadem verba retorquet. The meaning is: piety is certainly a πορισμός, but in another and higher sense than the heretics suppose; ἔστι is opposed to νομιζόντων (1 Timothy 6:5), Wiesinger.

πορισμὸς μέγας κ. τ. λ.] πορισμός has here the same meaning as before; Luther wrongly says: “it is, however, a great gain, one that is blessed,” etc.

εὐσέβεια μετὰ αὐταρκείας] “Piety when united with contentment,” which certainly belongs of necessity to true piety. The gain of which the apostle is here thinking is not the heavenly, eternal blessings (Theodoret: τὴν γὰρ αἰώνιον ἡμῖν πορίζει ζωήν; Calvin, Heydenreich, Matthies, and others), but the gain to which we are directed in the next verses, 7–10. Several expositors hold the gain to be the αὐταρκεία itself (so Chrysostom, Bengel: nam affert αὐταρκείαν; de Wette, and others(203)); but this reference is not indicated in the added words: μετὰ αὐταρκείας. On αὐτάρκεια, comp. Philippians 4:11 : ἐγὼ ἔμαθον ἐν οἷς εἰμι αὐτάρκης εἶναι.


Verse 7

1 Timothy 6:7 begins the confirmation of the principle that godliness with contentment is a great πορισμός. The apostle here places two clauses together, each of which contains a well-known and undoubted truth: “We brought nothing into the world,” and “We can take nothing out of it.” (The same two thoughts are found elsewhere in collocation; so Job 1:21; Ecclesiastes 5:14; also in the profane writers, e.g. Seneca, Ep. 102: non licet plus efferre, quam intuleris. For the second thought, comp. Job 27:19; Psalms 49:12.) The question is only, in what relation do they stand to one another? According to the common view, the first thought serves to confirm the second: “As we brought nothing in, it is manifest that we will take nothing out.” Against this, Hofmann maintains that the second thought is in no way a consequence of the first. He therefore takes δῆλον ὅτι as an adverbial: “clearly,” standing at the end of the sentence, but belonging to both clauses; and he explains: “Clearly we have brought nothing in, and can also take nothing out.” He is certainly right that the first does not strictly prove the second; but then the apostle did not intend that it should; he simply placed the two sentences together, the second corresponding to the first in such a way as to be confirmed by it in popular opinion. Hence it is not right to connect—contrary to the order of the words

δῆλον ὅτι with the first sentence. As to the lack of δῆλον before ὅτι (see the critical remarks), de Wette observes: “that in popular logic the consequence is often quoted with ὅτι as the reason, e.g. Homer, Il. xvi. 35, Od. xxii. 36.” This, however, is not to the point here; in the two passages quoted, ὅτι, simply denotes the logical ground of knowledge.


Verse 8

1 Timothy 6:8. ἔχοντες δέ] De Wette thinks that for δέ we should have had οὖν. This is certainly right; still the bearing of this verse on the previous one would have been different from what it is now. The apostle used δέ because he had in mind the contrast to those striving after earthly gain.

διατροφὰς καὶ σκεπάσματα] The same collocation in Sextus Empiricus, Book ix. 1; the two expressions only occur here in the N. T. ( διατροφή, 1 Maccabees 6:49). σκέπασμα, the covering, hence both clothing and dwelling. Here it is to be taken in the former sense; de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, and others include both senses in it; but it is more than improbable that one word should be used to denote two different objects. Chrysostom: τοιαῦτα ἀμφιέννυσθαι, σκεπάσαι μόνον ἡμᾶς ὀφείλει καὶ περιστεῖλαι τὴν γύμνωσιν. In food and clothing the necessary wants of life are also elsewhere summed up; comp. Matthew 6:25; James 2:15; Genesis 28:20.

τούτοις ἀρκεσθησόμεθα] “we will be content with them.” Hofmann’s explanation is wrong: “so will we have enough of them.” The passive ἀρκεῖσθαι occurs as a personal verb only in the sense of “be content with;” comp. Luke 3:14; Hebrews 13:5; 3 John 1:10; 2 Maccabees 5:16; 4 Maccabees 6:22; so, too, continually in profane writers; comp, Pape, s.v.

The future is here taken imperatively by several expositors. It is well known that the imperative is often expressed by the future, but there is no passage which exactly corresponds with this (comp. Buttmann, p. 221). It is better, therefore, to take the future here in the sense of sure expectation (so de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Plitt; comp. Winer, p. 296 [E. T. p. 396]).


Verse 9

1 Timothy 6:9. οἱ δὲ βουλόμενοι πλουτεῖν] δέ expresses opposition to what immediately preceded. πλουτεῖν is properly not “become rich,” but “be rich.”

ἐμπίπτουσιν (cf. 1 Timothy 3:7) εἰς πειρασμὸν καὶ παγίδα] De Wette explains it inaccurately: “to whom enticing opportunities present themselves for unrighteous gain.” In ἐμπίπτειν is contained the indication of the power which the πειρασμός (“the temptation to enrich oneself unrighteously”) exercises over them.

By παγίδα the πειρασμός is defined to be a power fettering and taking prisoner.

καὶ ἐπιθυμίας πολλὰς ἀνοήτους καὶ βλαβεράς] This is the consequence immediately connected with what precedes: by falling into πειρασμός, they fall into many foolish and hurtful lusts, i.e. these lusts are not only excited in them, but gain power over them. Thus the seductive power of the πειρασμός can be recognised in the ἐπιθυμίαις. These are also ἀνόητοι, because instead of the gain which was expected to come from satisfying them, they bring hurt only.

αἵτινες (explanatory: “such as”) βυθίζουσι εἰς ὄλεθρον καὶ ἀπώλειαν] βυθίζειν; in the literal sense at Luke 5:7; 2 Maccabees 12:4.

Destruction is likewise the deep into which they are plunged by their desires. The expression is strengthened by bringing together the two synonymous ideas. There is no ground for van Oosterzee’s conjecture that ὄλεθρος denotes the destruction of the body, ἀπώλεια the destruction of the soul. De Wette incorrectly explains the words of “moral ruin,” against which Wiesinger justly observes: “they are in that already.” ὄλεθρος stands here as in 1 Thessalonians 5:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 ( ὄλεθρος αἰώνιος); ἀπώλεια, as in Philippians 1:28 (opp. σωτηρία), Philippians 3:19, and other passages.

There is no good ground (with Olshausen in Wiesinger) for understanding ὄλεθρος exclusively of temporal destruction.


Verse 10

1 Timothy 6:10 gives a reason for the thought in 1 Timothy 6:9.

ῥίζα γὰρ πάντων τῶν κακῶν ἐστὶν φιλαργυρία] It is to be observed that Paul does not mean to say, whence all κακά whatever proceed, but what proceeds from φιλαργυρία. Hence there is no article with ῥίζα. Hence, too, de Wette’s correcting remark, that ambition, too, may entirely destroy man, does not affect the author of the epistle.

By τὰ κακά may be understood both physical and moral evils (wickedness); here the latter idea is uppermost (otherwise in Polycarp, Ephesians 4 : ἀρχὴ πάντων χαλεπῶν φιλαργυρία). φιλαργυρία only here in the N. T. (Jeremiah 8:10, LXX.).

ἧς τινὲς ὀρεγόμενοι] ὀρέγεσθαι does not mean deditum esse, but it is to be acknowledged that the manner of connection is not exact, since φιλαργυρία, as de Wette rightly says, is itself an ὄρεξις. Hofmann’s interpretation is artificial. He makes ὀρέγεσθαι denote here “the grasping of a man after something out of his way,” and “the thing after which he reaches sideways is said to be the plant which afterwards proves to be to him a root of all evils,” so that ἧς does not refer to φιλαργυρία, but to ῥίζα πάντων τῶν κακῶν.

ἀπεπλανήθησαν ἀπὸ τῆς πίστεως] The reason of this is the inner connection between faith and blessedness. The denial of the one necessarily implies the denial of the other. The aorist passive has a neuter sense; Luther rightly: “have gone astray from the faith.” The compound only here and at Mark 13:22; the ἀπό added serves to intensify the meaning.

καὶ ἑαυτοὺς περιέπειραν ὀδύναις πολλαῖς] περιπείρειν ἅπ. λεγ. “pierce through,” not “sting all round, wound in every part” (Matthies). The ὄδυναι πολλαί, here regarded as a sword with which they have pierced themselves through, are not the outward pains which they have drawn on themselves by avarice, but the stings of conscience (“the precursors of the future ἀπώλεια,” Wiesinger) which they have prepared for themselves by apostasy from the faith. To this his own experience the apostle here directs attention, that he may thereby present more vividly the destructiveness of the φιλαργυρία.


Verse 11

1 Timothy 6:11. The apostle again turns to Timothy, exhorting him to a faithful fulfilment of his Christian and evangelical vocation.

σὺ δε] opposed to τινές, 1 Timothy 6:10 ἄνθρωπε [ τοῦ] θεοῦ] The expression may be taken in a more general or a more special sense; so, too, in 2 Peter 1:21. It does not, however, follow “that Paul thus names Timothy here because of his evangelic office;” the exhortations following rather show that the apostle was thinking of Timothy’s position as a Christian; comp. 2 Timothy 3:17.

ταῦτα φεῦγε] ταῦτα refers to the φιλαργυρία and that which is connected with it (de Wette, Wiesinger, and others); not to everything that has been said in 1 Timothy 6:3-10, because “1 Timothy 6:17 ff. show that the author is keeping in view the subject of riches,” de Wette. φεύγειν vitare; comp. 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Corinthians 6:18. Hofmann wrongly deduces from this exhortation that Timothy had some inclination to φιλαργυρία; one might as well deduce from the next exhortation that Timothy had no inclination to δικαιοσύνη κ. τ. λ. It is to be observed that it is not said φεῦγε ἀπό or ἐκ τούτων; comp., besides, the passages quoted.

δίωκε δὲ τὴν δικαιοσύνην] διώκειν here as in Deuteronomy 16:20, LXX.; Romans 12:13, and other passages of the N. T. (neque exteris scriptoribus infrequens est haec hujus verbi notio; see Xenophon, Cyropaedia, viii. 1. 39; Thucydides, ii. 63; Leo). Paul names six Christian virtues which Timothy is to cultivate, the six being arranged in pairs. The two most general in meaning are placed first: δικαιοσύνην (righteousness) and εὐσέβειαν (comp. Titus 2:12). Then follow πίστιν (not “faithfulness or conscientiousness,” but “faith”) and ἀγάπην as the ground principle of the Christian life. Last come ὑπομόνην and πραϋπάθειαν ( ἅπ. λεγ., Philo, de Abrah. p. 379), which denote the Christian conduct proper in regard to the hostility of the world against the gospel, the former being opposed to submission, the latter to exasperation.


Verse 12

1 Timothy 6:12. ἀγωνίζου τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα τῆς πίστεως] Here, as in 1 Timothy 1:18 ( τὴν καλὴν στρατείαν), we must not overlook the definite article. The struggle to which Timothy is summoned is the struggle (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:25) of the faith appointed to Christians; on this comp. 2 Timothy 4:7

ἐπιλαβοῦ τῆς αἰωνίου ζωῆς] ἐπιλαμβάνειν (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:24 and Philippians 3:12, where the apostle uses the expressions λαμβάνειν and καταλαμβάνειν) denotes the actual grasping, αἰώνιος ζωή being regarded as the βραβεῖον; not, however, according to Winer’s remark (p. 293 [E. T. p. 392]), “as result of the struggle, but as object of the striving.” It is not improbable that Paul is here speaking figuratively. It is different, however, with the next words: εἰς ἣν ἐκλήθης, by which eternal life is pointed out as the goal of Timothy’s vocation; comp. 1 Peter 5:10.

καὶ ὡμολόγησας τὴν καλὴν ὁμολογίαν] Heinrichs incorrectly takes καί for καὶ γάρ: “for thou hast also.” Commonly this clause is made to depend still on εἰς ἥν (Leo: εἰς ἥν pertinet non solum ad ἐκλήθης, sed etiam ad ὡμολόγησας). De Wette, on the contrary (Wiesinger and van Oosterzee agree with him), rightly regards it as simply co-ordinate with εἰς ἣν ἐκλήθης. So, too, Hofmann: “the relative clause, as is not seldom the case in Greek, passes into a clause independent of the relative.” Still the two clauses must be taken as standing in close connection; Timothy’s καλὴ ὁμολογία is the answer which he gave to the κλῆσις proclaimed to him (so, too, Hofmann).

τὴν καλὴν ὁμολογίαν] In this phrase, too, expositors have not observed the definite article. Paul does not say that Timothy confessed a confession good “in its contents and in the enthusiasm of its utterance,” de Wette; but that he confessed the good confession, i.e. the definite confession of Christ to which the disciples of the Lord are appointed. Hence it is quite wrong to think of ὁμολογία as a vow or the like; that contradicts the constant usage of the N. T.; comp. 2 Corinthians 9:13; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 3:4; Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 10:23.

Paul is clearly referring here to a definite fact in Timothy’s life, but what it was he does not say. Chrysostom says: ἀναμιμνήσκει τῆς κατηχήσεως αὐτόν, and thinks therefore of the confession of Timothy at his baptism. Others, on account of 1 Timothy 6:13, understand it of a confession which Timothy had confessed during a persecution. According to most, Paul is here thinking of the same act as that to which 1 Timothy 4:14 refers. Since in this whole section, 1 Timothy 6:11-16, there is nothing to direct the attention to Timothy’s official position, and since the ὁμολογία is closely joined with the ἐκλήθης, the view first given is to be considered the right one (Hofmann).


Verse 13-14

1 Timothy 6:13-14. παραγγέλλω σοι] Matthies regards τὴν καλὴν ὁμολογίαν as the subject belonging to this; but against this construction there is both the meaning of the verb and the τηρῆσαί σε following.(204) Leo justly says: quo magis ad finem vergit epistola, eo gravior existit apostoli oratio. To give his exhortation greater force, Paul adds to παραγγέλλω (comp. 1 Timothy 1:3) the words of adjuration: ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ κ. τ. λ.

τοῦ ζωογονοῦντος τὰ πάντα] ζωογονεῖν in the classic usage, equivalent to “bring forth alive, make alive,” serves in the LXX. for translating the Piel and Hiphil of הָיָה in the double signification: “maintain in life,” Exodus 1:17; Judges 8:19, and other passages; and “make alive,” 1 Samuel 2:6 (comp. 2 Kings 5:7). In the N. T. it occurs here and at Luke 17:33, Acts 7:19, in the sense of “maintain in life.” When connected with τὰ πάντα, ζωογ. is not to be understood specially of the resurrection (de Wette, van Oosterzee), but either “of God’s might that upholds everything” (Wiesinger, Hofmann), or, still better, of “His power that quickens everything” (Plitt), in the same sense as it is said of God in Nehemiah 9:6 : σὺ ζωοποιεῖς τὰ πάντα. God is therefore mentioned here as the source of life for the universe ( τὰ πάντα), there being a special reference to 1 Timothy 6:12 : ἐπιλαβοῦ τῆς αἰωνίου ζωῆς.

καὶ χρ. ἰησ. τοῦ ΄αρτυρήσαντος ἐπὶ ποντίου πιλάτου τὴν καλὴν ὁ΄ολογίαν] τὴν κ. ὁ΄ολογίαν is not dependent on παραγγέλλω (Matthies: “I make known to thee … the good confession”), but on ΄αρτυρήσαντος. It is open to question, however, whether the καλὴ ὁ΄ολογία is the confession of the Christian which Timothy too has made (Wiesinger, Plitt, Hofmann), or the confession which Christ made (Leo, van Oosterzee). In the former case, ΄αρτυρεῖν is much the same as “testify, i.e. confirm, declare for truth;” in the latter it is kindred in meaning with ὁμολογεῖν. Wiesinger asserts that μαρτυρεῖν never has the latter meaning, but unjustly; because in John 5:32 we have μαρτυρίαν μαρτυρεῖν, and in John 3:11 we have οἴδαμεν λαλοῦμεν καὶ ἑωράκαμεν μαρτυροῦμεν (1 John 1:2; Revelation 1:2). On the contrary, there is no passage to be found where μαρτυρεῖν with the accus. means so much as “confirm the truth of an utterance by a testimony in regard to it.”(205) The first view, therefore, is to be rejected as contrary to usage. Besides, the confession made by Jesus, and Timothy’s confession mentioned in 1 Timothy 6:12, are not in contents different from one another. De Wette thinks that ΄αρτυρεῖν “is used here in the well-known ecclesiastical signification, consequently that Christ is represented as the first martyr,” and that the meaning is: “Christ confirmed the confession of the truth by His suffering and death.” This is not only against the usage of the N. T., but fails also by generalizing in an arbitrary way the idea of καλὴ ὁ΄ολογία.

If κ. ὁ΄ολ. is the confession which Christ witnessed of Himself, ἐπὶ ποντ. πιλ. cannot mean: “under Pontius Pilate” (de Wette), but only: “before Pontius Pilate.” ἐπί stands here as in Matthew 28:14, Acts 25:9; Acts 26:2, and other passages.

As the words added with τοῦ θεοῦ point back to τὴς αἰων. ζωῆς, so do those added here with χρ. ἰησ. point back to καὶ ὡ΄ολόγησας κ. τ. λ.

τηρῆσαί σε τὴν ἐντολὴν ἄσπιλον, ἀνεπίληπτον] These words, depending on παραγγέλλω), give the purpose of Paul’s exhortation to Timothy. τηρεῖν, joined with ἐντολή in many passages of the N. T., means “keep, observe,” as in chap. 1 Timothy 5:22 (de Wette and most expositors; Wiesinger differs).

τὴν ἐντολήν is not a single moral or official law given specially to Timothy; it is synonymous with παραγγελία in 1 Timothy 1:5 (so, too, Hofmann), pointing out the law of the gospel as the divine standard, according to which the Christian has to regulate his life.(206)

ἄσπιλον and ἀνεπίληπτον must, from their position, be referred to ἐντολήν (with de Wette, van Oosterzee, Plitt, Hofmann, and others), and not to σε, as Leo, Matthies, Wiesinger, and most suppose.(207) Expositors take ἄσπιλον and ἀνεπίληπτον as two co-ordinate adjectives, so that for the sense καί has to be supplied between them (so hitherto in this commentary). This, however, is against usage; καί is dropped only when more than two attributes are reckoned, comp. e.g. 1 Timothy 3:2 ff., or when the one adjective forms one idea with the substantive, so that the other adjective defines the compound idea more precisely (comp. e.g. 1 Corinthians 10:4; see Winer, pp. 488 f. [E. T. p. 659]). It is more correct, therefore, to connect ἄσπιλον closely with ἐντολή, and to take ἀνεπίληπτον in such a way that it declares how Timothy is to keep this ἐντολὴ ἄσπιλος: he is to keep the commandment which is in itself spotless, and to keep it so as to expose it to no blame.

΄έχρι τῆς ἐπιφανείας τ. κνρίου ἡ΄. ἰησ. χρ]. ἐπιφάνεια is the second coming of Christ. The word occurs outside of the Pastoral Epistles only in 2 Thessalonians 2:17 (2 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13; in 2 Timothy 1:10, it is used to denote Christ’s first coming in the flesh). For the second coming we usually have ἀποκάλυψις (1 Corinthians 1:7) or παρουσία. The word ἐπιφάνεια brings into prominence the element of visibility in the παρουσία; comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:8 (Wiesinger). Chrysostom’s explanation is wrong: ΄έχρι τῆς σῆς τελευτῆς.

Bengel: fideles in praxi sua proponebant sibi diem Christi, ut appropinquantem, nos solemus nobis horam mortis proponere.


Verse 15-16

1 Timothy 6:15-16. The apostle concludes with a doxology, which is attached to the previous words by means of the relative clause ἣνδείξει κ. τ. λ.

ἣν καιροῖς ἰδίοις δείξει] On καιροῖς ἰδ., comp. 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 1:3; also Galatians 6:9.

δείξει] Bengel: ostendi dicitur, quod jam ante erat, Acts 3:20. The verb does not mean “effect;” nor is it, with Heydenreich, to be translated: “which He will show in its majesty, will cause to follow and present in visible glory,” but simply: “which He will make visible, cause to appear.” The expression is used by the apostle in reference to Christ’s present hiddenness. The hope of the near return of Christ did not lead the apostle to fix arbitrarily the hour when that would take place.

Instead of the simple θεός, there follows, as subject to δείξει, a series of designations for God, by which Paul represents God as the blessed, the only potentate, the immortal, the invisible—in one word, the absolute (comp. with this 1 Timothy 1:17). This he does not simply for the purpose “of giving to his words a more solemn conclusion” (de Wette), but to satisfy the inward impulse of naming the chief features of the idea of God as rooted in the Christian consciousness—specially in opposition to the fictions of the heretics (according to Wiesinger, “in antithetic reference to the striving after earthly riches, rebuked in the preceding verses”).

μακάριος] comp. 1 Timothy 1:11; μακάριος is to be taken as an adjective, as is clear from the omission of the article before μόνος.

καὶ μόνος δυνάσγης] To God alone as the Almighty is the predicate δυνάστης due in the absolute sense; hence the addition of μόνος. The supreme power contained in δυνάστης (comp. 2 Maccabees 12:15; 3 Maccabees 5:51) is made still more prominent by the next words: βασιλεὺς τῶν βασιλευόντων κ. τ. λ.; comp. 1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 17:14; Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalms 136:3.—1 Timothy 6:16. μόνος ἔχων ἀθανασίαν] comp. 1 Timothy 1:17. ἀθανασία is synonymous with ἀφθαρσία, 1 Corinthians 15:53; Justin Martyr (Quaest. et Respons. ad Orthod. 61): μόνος ἔχων τὴν ἀθανασίαν λέγεται θεός, ὅτι οὐκ ἐκ θελήματος ἄλλου ταύτην ἔχει, καθάπερ οἱ λοιποὶ πάντες ἀθάνατοι, ἀλλʼ ἐκ τῆς οἰκείας οὐσίας.

φῶς οἰκῶν ἀπρόσιτον] This idea that God, who is Himself called light (1 John 1:5), dwells in light, is found nowhere else in the N. T.; but we may compare with it Psalms 104:2; Ezekiel 1:26 ff. Chrysostom remarks on this: οὐκοῦν καὶ τόπῳ ἐμπεριείληπται; ἄπαγε· οὐχ ἵνα τοῦτο νοήσωμεν, ἀλλʼ ἵνα τὸ ἀκατάληπτον τῆς θείας φύσεως παραστήση, φῶς αὐτὸν οἰκεῖν εἶπεν ἀπρόσιτον, οὕτω θεολογήσας, ὡς ἦν αὐτῷ δυνατόν.

The verb οἰκεῖν is found only here in the N. T. with an accusative; the construction is often found in the classics, also 2 Maccabees 5:17; 2 Maccabees 6:2.

ἀπρόσιτος is ἅπ. λεγ. in Holy Scripture. This participial clause does not serve as a reason for the one previous (Hofmann: “by dwelling in light unapproachable”), but adds to it a new definition of the divine nature.

To the idea that God is surrounded by an unapproachable majesty of light, there is attached the corresponding thought: ὃν εἶδεν οὐδεὶς ἀνθρώπων, οὐδὲ ἰδεῖν δύναται; on which comp. John 1:18; 1 John 4:12; Matthew 11:27. The following two sentences may serve as explanation: Theophilus (ad Autol. p. 71): τὸ εἶδος τοῦ θεοῦμὴ δυνάμενον ὀφθαλμοῖς σαρκίνοις ὁραθῆναι; and Dionysius Areop. (De Divin. Nom. ch. i. p. 376, I. ed. Corder): πάσαις διανοίαις ἀδιανόητόν ἐστι τὸ ὑπὲρ διάνοιαν ἕν.(208)

τιμὴ καὶ κράτος αἰώνιον] comp. 1 Timothy 1:17.


Verse 17

1 Timothy 6:17. The apostle might have stopped at 1 Timothy 6:16; but, glancing back to 1 Timothy 6:9 ff., he adds another injunction in regard to the rich.(209)

τοῖς πλουσίοις ἐν τῷ νῦν αἰῶνι] Chrysostom: εἰσὶ γὰρ καὶ ἄλλοι πλούσιοι ἐν τῷ ΄έλλοντι. Still we cannot press the contrast so far as to make the earthly riches necessarily exclude the heavenly (wealth in God, Luke 12:21).

παράγγελλε ΄ὴ ὑψηλοφρονεῖν] ὑψηλοφρονεῖν only here and at Romans 11:20 (Romans 12:16 : τὰ ὑψηλὰ φρονεῖν): “exalt themselves haughtily over others because of their possessions.”

΄ηδὲ ἠλπικέναι ἐπὶ πλούτον ἀδηλότητι] ἀδηλότης ( ἅπ. λεγ.), from ἄδηλος, which is equivalent to “not manifest, hidden,” is properly “hiddenness,” then “uncertainty.” The word indicates that it is uncertain whether or not riches continue to him who possesses them (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:26 : ἀδήλως). Instead of the substantive, we might have had the adjective: ἐπὶ τῷ πλούτῳ τᾷ ἀδήλῳ (Luther: “on uncertain riches”); still the form of expression here makes the idea of uncertainty more prominent (see Winer, p. 221 [E. T. p. 296]), and that is all the more appropriate here that it points out more forcibly the folly of the hope. Hofmann explains ἀδηλότης unsuitably by “hiddenness,” in the sense of “the rich man having put his riches safely away,” as if riches would be put safely away by being hidden.

ἀλλʼ ἐν τῷ θεῷ] The construction of ἑλπίζειν with ἐν is in the N. T. the more uncommon one, but comp. Ephesians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 15:19.

The truth that all hope must rest on God is confirmed by adding the words: τῷ παρέχοντι ἡ΄ῖν τὰ πάντα (i.e. all that we possess) πλουσίως εἰς ἀπόλαυσιν] εἰς ἀπόλαυσιν (comp. 1 Timothy 4:3 : εἰς ΄ετάληψιν) is not added by way of opposition to a wrong abstinence, but in opposition to the ὑψηλοφρονεῖν and ἠλπικέναι ἐπὶ πλούτῳ. The apostle means to say that God does not give us earthly blessings that we may possess them and be proud over them, but that we may enjoy them,—according to His will,—and therefore use them rightly.


Verse 18

1 Timothy 6:18. The negative ideas of the previous verse are followed by four positive, joined two and two.

ἀγαθοεργεῖν, πλουτεῖν ἐν ἔργοις καλοῖς] These ideas are synonymous, the second, however, being stronger than the first. It is not probable that we are to think only of the practice of benevolence; that is brought out in the next two expressions. On ἀγαθοεργεῖν, comp. Acts 14:17, where, however, the Rec. has ἀγαθοπιῶν; the word ἀγαθοποιεῖν in Numbers 10:32, LXX.; 1 Maccabees 11:33.

πλουτεῖν ἐν ἐργ. ἀγ. hints at τοῖς πλουσίοις ἐν τ. νῦν αἰῶνι (Wiesinger).

εὐμεταδότους εἶναι, κοινωνικούς] The two expressions occur only here in the N. T.: μεταδίδωμι is, however, used specially of giving to the poor in Luke 3:11; Romans 12:8; Ephesians 4:28. Some expositors wrongly find in κοινωνικούς an express contrast to ὑψηλοφρονεῖν; Chrysostom: = ὁμιλητικοί, προσηνεῖς. It stands here like κοινωνεῖν, Galatians 6:6; κοινωνία (joined with εὐποιΐα), Hebrews 13:16.


Verse 19

1 Timothy 6:19. ἀποθησαυρίζοντας ἑαυτοῖς θεμέλιον καλόν] The participle tells what the rich desire by the conduct already mentioned; it is not to be exchanged with the infinitive. ἀποθησ. and θεμέλιον are not exactly suitable to one another. This, however, is not to be corrected by conjecturing (with Clericus) κειμήλιον or (with Lamb, Bos) θέμα λίαν καλόν, nor by explaining θεμέλιον as equivalent to θέμα (Tobit 4:9; Leo: “and gather for themselves a good fund for the future”), nor even by taking ἀποθησ. as absolute and θεμέλιον as in apposition. Wolf: ita … ut divites thesauros sibi ipsis colligere jubeantur, qui sint fundamento alicui olim inservituri; Luther: “gather treasures, to themselves a good ground for the future.”

ἀποθησαυρίζειν] “lay something aside for the purpose of preserving, and therefore collect.” It is unnecessary to give the word here the more general signification of “acquire.” The apostle’s thought is, that the rich, by giving away their θησαυρούς in sympathetic love, are gathering for themselves a treasure, and are also laying a good foundation on which their future salvation is built.

εἰς τὸ μέλλον is not to be connected with καλόν, but with the verb: “for the future.”

ἵνα ἐπιλάβωνται τῆς ὄντως ζωῆς] ἵνα does not express the consequence, “so that,” but the purpose, “in order that.” ἐπιλάβωνται, comp. 1 Timothy 6:12; de Wette, rightly: “in order that they (at the same time planting their feet on this basis) may seize;” τῆς ὄντως ζωῆς, comp. 1 Timothy 5:3.


Verse 20-21

1 Timothy 6:20-21. Final exhortation and benediction to Timothy. The apostle begins fervently and impressively with: τιμόθεε (Matthies).

τὴν παραθήκην φύλαξον] comp. 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:14; παραθήκη is a “possession entrusted;” Paul does not say what kind of possession. Even in these parallel passages a more precise definition is not given, except that at 1 Timothy 6:12 he denotes by μου that it is entrusted to him, and in 1 Timothy 6:14 adds the adjective καλήν. In any case there is meant by it here a gift entrusted to Timothy by God, which gift he is to preserve ( φύλαξον) from every hurt. As the apostle puts its preservation ( φυλάσσειν) in close connection with the ἐκτρέπεσθαι of the heretics, we may understand by it either Timothy’s διακονία (de Wette, Otto), or the gospel, “sound doctrine” (Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Hofmann).

As the chief purpose of the epistle is to instruct Timothy regarding his conduct in the ministry committed to him, it seems right to understand by παραθήκη a possession entrusted, not to all Christians, but to Timothy in particular. Thus—in spite of the absence of σου—the first view deserves the preference, all the more that in the other passages quoted this meaning of the word is the most suitable. The next word, ἐκτρεπόμενος, shows that Timothy would injure his office by entering upon the βέβηλοι κενοφωνίαι. Plitt arbitrarily takes παραθήκη as equivalent to “eternal life.”

ἐκτρεπόμενος τὰς βεβήλους κενοφωνίας] ἐκτρέπεσθαι, properly: “turn away from anything;” then with the accusative (as in 2 Timothy 3:5 : ἀποτρέπεσθαι): “avoid,” synonymous with παραιτεῖσθαι.

κενοφωνία] synonymous with ματαιολογία, 1 Timothy 1:6; comp. 2 Timothy 2:16 : “empty talk without anything in it.”

This talk is still more precisely defined by the next words: καὶ ἀντιθέσεις τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως] It is to be observed that ἀντιθέσεις is closely connected with the previous κενοφωνίας, the article τάς belonging to both words and the genitive τῆς ψευδ. γνώσεως referring to both alike. Hence ἀντιθέσεις must here express some thought corresponding with κενοφωνίας. It is not therefore advisable to understand by it in general terms “the statutes of the heretics against the gospel” (Matthies, Wiesinger), or “the controversial theses of the heretics directed against the gospel” (so before in this commentary(210)); it is much more correct to understand it of the theses which the heretics sought to maintain against one another (Hofmann). Thus understood, the word corresponds to λογομαχίαι in 1 Timothy 6:4. It is possible that these had the character of dialectic proofs (Conybeare and Howson, quoted in van Oosterzee), but the word itself does not show this. Baur’s assertion is purely arbitrary, that the contrariae oppositiones are here meant which Marcion exerted himself to establish between the law and the gospel.

τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως] The expression is easily explained by the fact that the heretics boasted of possessing a knowledge, a φιλοσοφία (Colossians 2:8), in which there was a more perfect science of divine things than that presented by the gospel.

Paul was also acquainted with a γνῶσις, which, however, was rooted in faith, and was effected by the πνεῦμα χριστοῦ. But the γνῶσις of the heretics did not deserve this name, and hence Paul called it ψευδώνυμος (occurring only here in the N. T.); on which Chrysostom aptly remarks: ὅταν γὰρ πίστις μὴ εἶ, γνῶσις οὐκ ἔστιν. Baur, without just ground, seeks to draw from the use of this word a proof for his hypothesis that the epistle was composed at the date of the heresy of Marcion.—1 Timothy 6:21. ἥν τινες ἐπαγγελλόμενοι] ἐπαγγέλλεσθαι stands here in the same sense as in 1 Timothy 2:10; Luther inexactly: “which some allege.”

τερὶ τὴν πίστιν ἠστόχησαν] The same construction in 2 Timothy 2:18; with the genitive, 1 Timothy 1:6. The ἐπαγγέλλεσθαι τὴν ψευδ. γν. includes (comp. 1 Timothy 1:6) the ἀστοχεῖν περὶ τ. πίστιν, “erring in regard to the faith.” This Wiesinger wrongly denies, with the remark that “the apostle did not consider the mere occupation with such things to be apostasy, but only a possible occasion for apostasy.(211) ἐπαγγ. manifestly denotes more than merely being occupied with a thing. By τινες here, as in 1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 1:6 (1 Timothy 6:3), we must understand the heretics.


Verse 21

1 Timothy 6:21. The benediction, as in the other Pauline Epistles. If ὑμῶν is the right reading, we can only infer from it that Paul intends the benediction for the whole church, not that he addresses the epistle to the whole church along with Timothy.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-timothy-6.html. 1832.

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