The Expository Files

Commentary on 1 Timothy 6

1 Timothy 6

Let all who are under the yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine may not be spoken against. And let those who have believers as their masters not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but let them serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles. If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.
(1st Timothy 6:1-10).

1. Many Christians at this point in history were slaves. Perhaps the idea of being free in Christ would make a slave think he was not as responsible to his master. But a slave who becomes a Christian needs to work, and honor his master. He does this to honor the name of God. If a slave has a bad attitude, it would hurt the name of God, and the apostles teaching/ doctrine.

2. If a slave, or any type of employee has a master who is a believer, there should be no disrespect for them because they are brethren. Strange that Paul would have to mention this, but often times Christians might relax around brothers, in a way that is not healthy to the body. When working for brethren, a Christian should strive all the more to do a better job. After all, the person you are helping, or working for, is the one who'll receive the benefits from your work. Timothy is told to preach these principles.

3. Timothy is here instructed on how to handle people who do not advocate the sound words of Christ, and the doctrine conforming to godliness. There are teachings that help people conform to godliness, and it is important that all teaching helps in some way to conform to the doctrine of Christ.

4. If someone is not interested in these things that have to do with the words of Christ, and conforming to godliness. He is conceited, and understands nothing! If the point of your teaching has to do with your own morbid interest, or controversial questions, disputes about words, you don't have a clue what the mission of a preacher is about. With controversial questions, comes pride, and they bring about characteristics that are headed toward destruction. Christian preachers need to be careful about this.

5. There is constant friction about men that wrangle about these words. These men have a depraved mind, and they are deprived of truth. Some people think that godliness is a means of great gain. They are right to an extent, but it is not when you are not satisfied with where you are at, and you feel you need to answer all these questions to be godly.

6. Godliness is a means of GREAT gain, when accompanied with contentment. Contentment is being self-satisfied. When you are at peace with yourself, and you are working on changing your heart instead of being caught up in controversy. This is when godliness is a means of great gain. If godliness is pursued from the wrong angle, the person who is pursuing godliness has missed the point.

7. Contentment should also come from the possessions we have. We don't have anything when we come into this world, we need to understand that we won't take anything out of this world either. Material possessions, and popularity, are not the goal of a Christian preacher.

8. We should be happy, and fulfilled with food and covering.

9. Those who want to get rich fall into the traps and harmful desires. These are materialistic desires. Whether money, things, or even a following. Those lead to destruction, and will ruin a person, whether they know it or not.

10. The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil. When a person loves money, the temptation will lead them to wander away from the faith. Likely to controversial questions. Looking to tickle ears with their interpretations. And they will be pierced through with many a pang, or grief.

But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time-- He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen
(1st Timothy 6:11-16).

11. As a man of God, I need to flee from these things that can so easily trap me. Materialistic things, and pride can trap anyone who is trying to serve God. Paul tells us how to avoid these things. You flee and you pursue. You pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. A Christian needs to pursue these traits.

12. Faith is a fight, a good one, it will not always be easy, but a Christian must persevere, and take hold of the eternal life, for which he was called. When a person makes the good confession, and takes hold of eternal life, he needs to grasp onto it, and never let go.

13. Paul charges Timothy through God, the giver of all life, and through Christ, the one who even in front of Pilate made the good confession that He was truth.

14. to keep the commandments without stain or reproach. Until Christ comes.

15. Christ will come again when the time is proper, Christ is the blessed one, and is the only ruler in the kingdom of God.

16. Immortality is possessed, and achieved only through Christ. He dwells in unapproachable light which no man, or person in the flesh can see.

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge" which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you.
(1st Timothy 6:17-21.)

17. In Closing, Paul tells Timothy to instruct those who are rich in the present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but to focus on God. Sometimes riches can fog the focus of a person, and turn a person into a very materialistic person, but God is the one who supplies everything that we can truly enjoy.

18. Those who are rich need to do good with their wealth. They should be generous, and ready to share, specifically in the Lords work.

19. In doing this, they are storing treasures in heaven, and they are laying a good foundation for their future life, which they will hold to dearly when the race is done.

20. Paul's final admonition to Timothy is a good summation of the letter. Paul wants Timothy to avoid all the things that people falsely call knowledge. A young preacher and an old preacher needs to avoid the traps that knowledge has.

21. Those who have professed these knowledge's have gone astray from the faith. Paul then says grace be with you. A fine wish to all who seek the Lords work.

By Nathan E. Quinn
From Expository Files 8.12; December 2001