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Bible Commentaries

Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

1 Timothy 6

 

 

Verses 1-6

Believers are good workers and good friends

" translation="">1 Timothy 6:1-6

In this lesson, Paul gives some instructions to servants or those who work for others, rebukes false teachers, advises to contentment, and exposes the sin of covetousness.

1 Timothy 6:1. Every believer who works for a living has someone with authority over him. This is called ‘under the yoke.’ It is under the yoke of authority or government or in the service of someone (bought with their money or hired by them). Whether his master is a believer or an unbeliever, kind or unkind, good natured or peevish, the believer is to respect, honor, and obey him, which includes obedience to commands, a good day's work, and respect expressed in word and gesture. If a professed believer is lazy, rebellious, disobedient, disrespectful, or careless in his duties, the unbelieving master will say, ‘Is this his religion? Is this the gospel he preaches? Does his God and his doctrine teach him to rebel against authority and destroy the order that exists between man and man?’ (Ephesians 6:5-6; Colossians 3:22-25.)

1 Timothy 6:2. The name of ‘brother’ may be thought to constitute equality and consequently to take away authority and dominion, but Paul teaches differently. Actually, if a believer serves under or is employed by another believer, he should show even greater respect, more willing obedience, and subject himself to the authority of his brother, making the master's place of authority easier and more pleasant. Let us give thanks for faithful, beloved, and believing masters who are partakers of the grace of God, not using their spiritual relationship as an excuse for taking advantage, but as a reason for better service and more dedicated labor (Philemon 1:15-16).

1 Timothy 6:3. Paul condemns all those who do not agree with and teach the above. Some of these false teachers despised authority and dominion (2 Peter 2:10), even encouraging disobedience to parents, masters, and government. The words of Christ and the doctrines of Christ are in agreement with godliness of heart and life. The gospel is the mystery of godliness, which promotes both internal and external holiness. It leads to faith, love, humility, patience, and all the duties which we owe to our fellow man (2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 2:9-10).

1 Timothy 6:4-5. False teachers are puffed up with pride. The gospel of grace produces a humble spirit (Ephesians 3:8); but the doctrines of men (works and self-righteousness) fill the mind with pride, vanity, and self-esteem.

They really know nothing of spiritual things, of the gospel of Christ, but spend their time in controversy, disputes, and strife over words, laws, foolish and unanswerable questions. Their ministry produces envy and jealousy, quarrels and dissension, insults and slander, and evil suspicions. The true grace of God promotes peace in the home, in the church, between labor and management, and in the neighborhood (2 Timothy 2:22-23; Romans 14:19).

Withdraw yourself from these men who are contentious and quarrelsome, who are always disputing and galling one another, provoking men to strife, envy, and anger. They are destitute of the truth of Christ and have not the Spirit of God. They suppose that religion and Christianity are a source of profit, a money-making business, or a means of personal gain. They serve themselves and their selfish interests, making merchandise of you (2 Peter 2:1-3).

1 Timothy 6:6. By godliness is meant a true knowledge of God's grace in Christ Jesus, which shows itself not only in the internal fruit of the Holy Spirit (such as faith, love, humility, joy, patience) and in outward acts of worship, but also in a peaceful disposition and a gracious conduct toward others. This spirit and position with contentment (his grace is sufficient! His sacrifice is sufficient! His love and presence is sufficient! Christ is all we need!) is great and abundant gain (Matthew 11:28-30). The believer is content with his lot, his place, his duties, and his gifts; for in Christ he has all things! (1 Corinthians 7:20-24.)


Verses 7-11

Godliness with contentment

" translation="">1 Timothy 6:7-11

A person who is born of the Spirit (has a saving interest in the Lord Jesus, is an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ and is rich in faith) has God as his portion, is contented with his lot and thankful for what he has, for in Christ he has all things that are worth having! (Philippians 4:19; Psalms 103:1-5; 2 Corinthians 12:9.)

1 Timothy 6:7. This is a reason why godliness with contentment is great gain. We brought nothing with us into this world but sin, and we shall go out the same way. Earthly possessions and worldly things have no value after death; but to be forgiven of sin and made an heir of Christ is of the greatest value. As soon as a man really learns this, he ceases to be concerned about his flesh and earthly possessions and becomes dedicated to laying hold of eternal life.

1 Timothy 6:8. Having food to eat, clothes to wear and a house to dwell in, we should be content (Philippians 4:11-13; Hebrews 13:5-6). The believer is rich in grace, love, joy and faith, whatever his earthly condition. We realize that the will of God has everything to do with our present state (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

1 Timothy 6:9. Having exhorted believers to be content with what they have and to consider worldly possessions in their proper light (as only fleeting vanities), he now explains how dangerous are the desire and pursuit of these earthly riches. If God has prospered you, use it for his glory, but to set one's heart and mind on attaining worldly place, position, possessions or praise is to be covetous (which is idolatry), to question the will of God, and usually involves the neglect of spiritual exercises and puts one in the company and fellowship of evil men. This is the snare of Satan; it is a trap filled with the foolish and harmful lusts of the world, the flesh and the devil, and will finally totally consume and destroy.

1 Timothy 6:10. ‘For the love of money is the root of all evil.’ If we confine this only to silver and gold, we will miss the apostle's message and meaning (although greed for gold produces fraud, falsehood, cheating, hatred and almost every crime). This immoderate, insatiable desire for earthly treasure and possessions has caused some professors to depart from the fellowship of believers and from the gospel they professed, and they have suffered the terrible consequences.

Love is a heart emotion or condition and denotes a craving, desire or concern of the inward person. So that this love for money, or possessions (which I do not have in God's purpose), or position (which I do not occupy in God's will), or power (which I do not possess) is the root of all evil. This was Satan's sin (Isaiah 14:12-15). Was this not Adam's sin? (Genesis 3:5-6.) Did not the wrath of God fall on Israel in the wilderness because of their murmuring against his providence? We come back to the statement that ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain!’ It is not just contentment, for the rebellious lay-about may be content in his poverty and laziness, but godliness with contentment!

1 Timothy 6:11. ‘Oh, believer, flee pride, covetousness and worldly ambition, which are the root and source of rebellion. Desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow! Covet the best gifts, starting with love! Seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness! Follow after the righteousness of Christ and the honour of the gospel before men. Follow after true godliness in spirit, attitude and motive before God and men. Follow after faith, love, patience and humility! What shall it profit a man if he gain the world and lose his soul? (Matthew 6:24-34.)


Verses 12-21

Lay hold of eternal life

1 Timothy 6:12-21

1Ti_6:12. ‘Fight the good fight of faith.’ We have much more business at hand than to be over-concerned with the things of this world. The life of faith is called a warfare (1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:3-4). Our enemies are Satan (1 Peter 5:8; Luke 22:31), our fleshly nature (Romans 7:23; Galatians 5:17), powers of evil (Ephesians 6:12-13) and false teachers (Matthew 24:11). The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (2 Corinthians 10:3-4), but spiritual (Ephesians 6:13-16). The prize of the high calling of Christ is eternal life. Above all, ‘lay hold upon it’ by believing it, by receiving it, by enjoying it, by cherishing it and by expecting it. We are called unto this divine life not only by the word of the gospel, but by the internal grace and power of the Spirit. Paul commends Timothy for ‘witnessing a good profession’ before the apostles, the people of the church, false teachers and men of the world (Matthew 10:32-39).

1 Timothy 6:13-14. A solemn charge is laid before Timothy, before ministers of the gospel and before every believer to fight thegood fight of faith, to lay hold of eternal life, to observe doctrine and discipline of the church and to preach the gospel of the grace of Christ in sincerity, purity and without compromise.

1. ‘Before God, who quickeneth all things,’ that is, who gives life to all creatures, who quickened us to spiritual life in Christ and who shall quicken the dead at the last day (Acts 17:24-28). Natural men, the world and all therein are nothing; we live unto God.

2. ‘Before Christ Jesus’ who is not only our Lord and Saviour but our example, in that he bore a faithful, plain and open witness to truth even in the face of unparalleled suffering, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8; Philippians 3:8; Acts 20:24). ‘Till the coming of Christ.’ This shows that Paul did not design this charge for Timothy only, but for all believers. We seek not the praise, approval and honour which comes from men, but we preach, walk and live before God.

1 Timothy 6:15. The time of Christ's appearing is unknown to all but God, but it is certain. God will bring it to pass in the time appointed by him. Our Lord Jesus Christ is now, and always has been, the blessed God. He is all-sufficient, the fountain and source of all blessedness, and the only Potentate or Governor of the whole universe. He rules over the armies of heaven and over the kingdoms of men (Daniel 4:34-35). He is King of kings and Lord of lords: he sets up kings and removes them at his pleasure (Proverbs 21:1).

1 Timothy 6:16. ‘Who only hath immortality.’ Angels are immortal and so are the souls of men, but they have their immortality from God. Only God has immortality of himself. ‘Dwelling in that light.’ In this frail and mortal state no man can bear to see the holiness, glory and luster of God (Exodus 33:18-20). Even the heavenly creatures cover their faces before him. We see God in Christ spiritually and savingly, and that imperfectly, but when that glorious day of resurrection comes and the mortality of human nature is removed, we shall see him as he is! (1 John 3:1-2.)

1 Timothy 6:17. ‘Warn them that are well off and blessed with material wealth, influence and possessions not to be proud and lifted up because of their blessings, so as to look down on and despise the poor.’ Riches are prone to produce pride. Rich men are prone to feel self-sufficient and to hold the poor in contempt. Rich men are prone to neglect prayer, become indifferent to the worship and fear of the Lord and to rest in the security of their position and possessions. This is folly. A fool may be rich and a wise man poor, for God in his purpose and providence is the one who gives us all that we have to enjoy and can remove it as easily as he gave it! (1 Samuel 2:6-8; 1 Corinthians 4:7.)

1 Timothy 6:18-19. Much is required of those to whom much is given, which they are accountable! True riches lie in the exercise and the fruits of grace and doing good works. Be ready to distribute and willing to give for the glory of God and the good of others!

Doing good works, sharing with others and being kind to the poor cannot lay a foundation for salvation, life and eternal happiness, for Christ alone is our sure, tried and lasting foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11). But a man's attitude towards others, his attitude towards material and spiritual things and his general conduct in regard to love, generosity, kindness and good works will certainly reveal whether he has Christ as his foundation and whether he has laid hold of eternal life (James 2:14-17; Matthew 25:41-46).

1 Timothy 6:20-21. ‘Keep that which is committed to thy trust,’ which is the gospel (1 Timothy 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:4). Keep it pure and incorrupt, faithfully preach it and be not moved away from the gospel by vain debates and babblings about the law, circumcision, prophecy or new doctrines which ought not to be introduced. The false teachers boast of their scientific knowledge and oppose the scriptures. Avoid them, for some pretending to be masters of science and knowledge have departed from the faith of Christ! (Titus 3:9.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Mahan, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:4". Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hms/1-timothy-6.html. 2013.

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