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1 Timothy Chapter Six


1 Timothy 6

The apostle then goes equally into detail with regard to servants, that is, slaves. They were to respect their masters, in order that the doctrine of the Lord should not be blasphemed. When the masters were believers, there was naturally more familiarity, for they were one in Christ, and thence the danger (for the flesh is crafty) that the servants might not treat their masters with the respect due to them. The apostle guards against this abuse of christian love, and of the just intimacy and confidence which ought to exist between brethren; but which, on the contrary, was a motive for the servant to render all honour to his master, by treating him with more love and with the same respect.

It was necessary that the apostle should be firm. All other instruction-all refusal to receive the wholesome words of christian doctrine, the words of Christ and the doctrine which is according to practical godliness-proceeded from the flesh, from human pride in those who wished to take advantage of godliness, and make it a means of gain. From such persons Timothy was to turn away. Godliness was indeed gain, if they were contented with what they had; and the Christian, who does not belong to this world, if he has food and raiment, ought to be content therewith. He brought nothing into this world, and will certainly carry nothing out of it. And the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil. Seduced by this covetousness, some had wandered away from christian faith and had pierced their hearts with sorrow. The desire to be rich was the path of snares and temptation, of foolish and hurtful lusts. Timothy was to flee these things, as a man of God. This is always the thought here: he was in the world on the part of God; he represented Him for his part in the work. He was therefore to follow after other things than earthly riches-the character of a man of God-righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness: these were the things which, in man, presented God to the world and glorified Him.

Meanwhile there was conflict: he must fight the good fight of faith. If any one represents God in the world, there must be warfare, because the enemy is there. The energy of faith was also necessary, in order to lay hold of eternal life in the midst of the seduction and difficulties which the " things that are seen " presented. God, moreover, had called Timothy to this, and he had made a good confession before many witnesses.

Finally, the apostle charges him most solemnly in the presence of God, the Source of life for all things and of Christ Jesus who had Himself borne witness without wavering before the powers of this world, placing him under the responsibility of keeping the commandment without spot, unrebukable until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It will be noticed here that, as Paul had not spoken in the epistle of the privileges of the assembly, but of its responsibility, so neither does he here speak of its being caught up but of its manifestation, when the fruits of faithfulness (or of failure in it) will be gathered, and every one be in his place in the visible glory according to his work. All are like Christ, all enter into His joy; but to sit at His right and left hand in His kingdom is the portion of those for whom it is prepared by His Father, who bestows it according to the work which He has granted each to perform, giving him power to accomplish it, although in grace He reckons it as our own.

Christ Himself is here viewed as the faithful man (ver. 13), whom God will manifest in glory before all creatures at the time ordained in His counsels.

All here is responsibility before the world, or glory as the result of that responsibility. The supreme, invisible God is maintained in His majesty; and He presents the Lord Jesus Christ in the creation as its centre, and repository of His glory---He who dwells in light inaccessible, whom, in His divine essence, man has not seen and cannot see.

This character of the epistle is very remarkable. Nowhere else is the inaccessible majesty of God, as God, thus presented. His character is often the subject of instruction and manifestation. Here He alone has essential immortality. He dwells in inaccessible light. He is ever invisible to the eyes of men. He alone has power. He has dominion over all who reign. It is God in the abstraction of His essence, in the proper immutability of His being, in the rights of His majesty, veiled to all men.

Now Christ will be the centre of the visible glory. Having part in the divine glory before the world was, He displays, in the human nature in which He took part, this glory, which is rendered visible in Him, causing His own to participate in His joy and in all that He has in this character; but here, He is manifested by God, and in order that all should acknowledge Him. [1] And it is our responsibility, faithfulness to which will be manifested in that day, which is here set before us. However small may be our share of responsibility, it is of such a God as this that we are the representatives on earth. Such is the God before whom we are to walk, and whose majesty we are to respect immediately in our conduct, and also in our relations to all that He has made.

The apostle concludes his exhortation to Timothy by engaging him to warn the rich not to rest on the uncertainty of riches, but on the living God who gives us richly all things to enjoy. It is still the supreme and Creator-God who is before our eyes. Moreover, they were to be rich in good works, and ready to give; to be rich in those dispositions which would be of value, which would lay up a store (this is but a figure) against the time to come; and to lay hold of that which really is life. The apostle repeats his urgent exhortation to Timothy to keep that which had been committed to him, to avoid profane and vain babblings, holding fast the sound and sanctifying truth, and to have nothing to do with oppositions of human science, which pretended to penetrate into divine things as though they were subject to its knowledge. This was the origin of the fall of many with regard to christian faith.

I do not doubt that, in the manner in which the apostle here sets God before us, he refers to the foolish imaginations to which, under the influence of the enemy, men were abandoning themselves. Thus he speaks of these with relation to the majesty of His Being as the one only God in whom is all fullness, and with regard to the sobriety of practical morality, which keeps the heart under the influence of that truth, and apart from the false and vain speculations in which the pride of man indulged itself. He maintained souls by the majesty of the only God in the practical sobriety in which peace dwells.

Soon will the veil be drawn aside by the appearing of Jesus, whom the Almighty God will display to the world.


[1] In Revelation 19 He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Here He who is so manifests Him. So in Daniel 7. The Son of man is brought to the Ancient of days, but in the same chapter the Ancient of days comes.

── John DarbySynopsis of 1 Timothy


1 Timothy 6

Chapter Contents

The duty of Christians towards believing, as well as other masters. (1-5) The advantage of godliness with contentment. (6-10) A solemn charge to Timothy to be faithful. (11-16) The apostle repeats his warning to the rich, and closes with a blessing. (17-21)

Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:1-5

(Read 1 Timothy 6:1-5)

Christians were not to suppose that religious knowledge, or Christian privileges, gave them any right to despise heathen masters, or to disobey lawful commands, or to expose their faults to others. And such as enjoyed the privilege of living with believing masters, were not to withhold due respect and reverence, because they were equal in respect to religious privileges, but were to serve with double diligence and cheerfulness, because of their faith in Christ, and as partakers of his free salvation. We are not to consent to any words as wholesome, except the words of our Lord Jesus Christ; to these we must give unfeigned consent. Commonly those are most proud who know least; for they do not know themselves. Hence come envy, strife, railings, evil-surmisings, disputes that are all subtlety, and of no solidity, between men of corrupt and carnal minds, ignorant of the truth and its sanctifying power, and seeking their worldly advantage.

Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:6-10

(Read 1 Timothy 6:6-10)

Those that make a trade of Christianity to serve their turn for this world, will be disappointed; but those who mind it as their calling, will find it has the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come. He that is godly, is sure to be happy in another world; and if contented with his condition in this world, he has enough; and all truly godly people are content. When brought into the greatest straits, we cannot be poorer than when we came into this world; a shroud, a coffin, and a grave, are all that the richest man in the world can have from all his wealth. If nature should be content with a little, grace should be content with less. The necessaries of life bound a true Christian's desires, and with these he will endeavour to be content. We see here the evil of covetousness. It is not said, they that are rich, but they will be rich; who place their happiness in wealth, and are eager and determined in the pursuit. Those that are such, give to Satan the opportunity of tempting them, leading them to use dishonest means, and other bad practices, to add to their gains. Also, leading into so many employments, and such a hurry of business, as leave no time or inclination for spiritual religion; leading to connexions that draw into sin and folly. What sins will not men be drawn into by the love of money! People may have money, and yet not love it; but if they love it, this will push them on to all evil. Every sort of wickedness and vice, in one way or another, grows from the love of money. We cannot look around without perceiving many proofs of this, especially in a day of outward prosperity, great expenses, and loose profession.

Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:11-16

(Read 1 Timothy 6:11-16)

It ill becomes any men, but especially men of God, to set their hearts upon the things of this world; men of God should be taken up with the things of God. There must be a conflict with corruption, and temptations, and the powers of darkness. Eternal life is the crown proposed for our encouragement. We are called to lay hold thereon. To the rich must especially be pointed out their dangers and duties, as to the proper use of wealth. But who can give such a charge, that is not himself above the love of things that wealth can buy? The appearing of Christ is certain, but it is not for us to know the time. Mortal eyes cannot bear the brightness of the Divine glory. None can approach him except as he is made known unto sinners in and by Christ. The Godhead is here adored without distinction of Persons, as all these things are properly spoken, whether of the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost. God is revealed to us, only in and through the human nature of Christ, as the only begotten Son of the Father.

Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:17-21

(Read 1 Timothy 6:17-21)

Being rich in this world is wholly different from being rich towards God. Nothing is more uncertain than worldly wealth. Those who are rich, must see that God gives them their riches; and he only can give to enjoy them richly; for many have riches, but enjoy them poorly, not having a heart to use them. What is the best estate worth, more than as it gives opportunity of doing the more good? Showing faith in Christ by fruits of love, let us lay hold on eternal life, when the self-indulgent, covetous, and ungodly around, lift up their eyes in torment. That learning which opposes the truth of the gospel, is not true science, or real knowledge, or it would approve the gospel, and consent to it. Those who advance reason above faith, are in danger of leaving faith. Grace includes all that is good, and grace is an earnest, a beginning of glory; wherever God gives grace, he will give glory.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 1 Timothy


1 Timothy 6

Verse 1

[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.

Let servants under the yoke — Of heathen masters. Account them worthy of all honour - All the honour due from a servant to a master.

Lest the name of God and his doctrine be blasphemed — As it surely will, if they do otherwise.

Verse 2

[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.

Let them not despise them — Pay them the less honour or obedience.

Because they are brethren — And in that respect on a level with them. They that live in a religious community know the danger of this; and that greater grace is requisite to bear with the faults of a brother, than of an infidel, or man of the world.

But rather do them service — Serve them so much the more diligently. Because they are joint partakers of the great benefit - Salvation.

These things — Paul, the aged, gives young Timotheus a charge to dwell upon practical holiness. Less experienced teachers are apt to neglect the superstructure, whilst they lay the foundation; but of so great importance did St. Paul see it to enforce obedience to Christ, as well as to preach faith in his blood, that, after strongly urging the life of faith on professors, he even adds another charge for the strict observance of it.

Verse 3

[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;

If any teach otherwise — Than strict practical holiness in all Its branches.

And consent not to sound words — Literally, healthful words; words that have no taint of falsehood, or tendency to encourage sin.

And the doctrine which is after godliness — Exquisitely contrived to answer all the ends, and secure every interest, of real piety.

Verse 4

[4] He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

He is puffed up — Which is the cause of his not consenting to the doctrine which is after inward, practical religion. By this mark we may know them.

Knowing nothing — As he ought to know.

Sick of questions — Doatinglyy fond of dispute; an evil, but common, disease; especially where practice is forgotten. Such, indeed, contend earnestly for singular phrases, and favourite points of their own. Everything else, however, like the preaching of Christ and his apostles, is all "law," and "bondage," and "carnal reasoning." Strifes of words - Merely verbal controversies.

Whereof cometh envy — Of the gifts and success of others.

Contention — For the pre-eminence. Such disputants seldom like the prosperity of others, or to be less esteemed themselves.

Evil surmisings — It not being their way to think well of those that differ from themselves in opinion.

Verse 5

[5] Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

Supposing that gain is godliness — Thinking the best religion is the getting of money: a far more common case than is usually supposed.

Verse 6

[6] But godliness with contentment is great gain.

But godliness with content — The inseparable companion of true, vital religion.

Is great gain — Brings unspeakable profit in time, as well as eternity.

Verse 7

[7] For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

Neither can we carry anything out — To what purpose, then, do we heap together so many things? O, give me one thing,-a safe and ready passage to my own country!

Verse 8

[8] And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Covering — That is, raiment and an house to cover us. This is all that a Christian needs, and all that his religion allows him to desire.

Verse 9

[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.

They that desire to be rich — To have more than these; for then they would be so far rich; and the very desire banishes content, and exposes them to ruin.

Fall-plunge — A sad gradation! Into temptation - Miserable food for the soul! And a snare - Or trap. Dreadful "covering!" And into many foolish and hurtful desires - Which are sown and fed by having more than we need. Then farewell all hope of content! What then remains, but destruction for the body, and perdition for the soul?

Verse 10

[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.

Love of money — Commonly called "prudent care" of what a man has.

Is the root — The parent of all manner of evils.

Which some coveting have erred — Literally, missed the mark. They aimed not at faith, but at something else.

And pierced themselves with many sorrows — From a guilty conscience, tormenting passions, desires contrary to reason, religion, and one another. How cruel are worldly men to themselves!

Verse 11

[11] But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

But thou, O man of God — Whatever all the world else do. A man of God is either a prophet, a messenger of God, or a man devoted to God; a man of another world.

Flee — As from a serpent, instead of coveting these things. Follow after righteousness - The whole image of God; though sometimes this word is used, not in the general, but in the particular, acceptation, meaning only that single branch of it which is termed justice. Faith - Which is also taken here in the general and full sense; namely, a divine, supernatural sight of God, chiefly in respect of his mercy in Christ. This faith is the foundation of righteousness, the support of godliness, the root of every grace of the Spirit.

Love — This St. Paul intermixes with everything that is good: he, as it were, penetrates whatever he treats of with love, the glorious spring of all inward and outward holiness.

Verse 12

[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.

Fight the good fight of faith — Not about words.

Lay hold on eternal life — Just before thee.

Thou hast confessed the good confession — Perhaps at his baptism: so likewise, 1 Timothy 6:13; but with a remarkable variation of the expression.

Thou hast confessed the good confession before many witnesses — To which they all assented. He witnessed the good confession; but Pilate did not assent to it.

Verse 13

[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;

I charge thee before God, who quickeneth all things — Who hath quickened thee, and will quicken thee at the great day.

Verse 15

[15] Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;

Which — Appearing.

In his own times — The power, the knowledge, and the revelation of which, remain in his eternal mind.

Verse 16

[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.

Who only hath underived, independent immortality.

Dwelling in light unapproachable — To the highest angel.

Whom no man hath seen, or can see — With bodily eyes. Yet "we shall see him as he is."

Verse 17

[17] Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

What follows seems to be a kind of a postscript.

Charge the rich in this world — Rich in such beggarly riches as this world affords.

Not to be highminded — O who regards this! Not to think better of themselves for their money, or anything it can purchase.

Neither to trust in uncertain riches — Which they may lose in an hour; either for happiness or defence.

But in the living God — All the rest is dead clay.

Who giveth us — As it were holding them out to us in his hand.

All things — Which we have.

Richly — Freely, abundantly.

To enjoy — As his gift, in him and for him. When we use them thus, we do indeed enjoy all things. Where else is there any notice taken of the rich, in all the apostolic writings, save to denounce woes and vengeance upon them?

Verse 18

[18] That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

To do good — To make this their daily employ, that they may be rich - May abound in all good works. Ready to distribute - Singly to particular persons.

Willing to communicate — To join in all public works of charity.

Verse 19

[19] Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Treasuring up for themselves a good foundation — Of an abundant reward, by the free mercy of God.

That they may lay hold on eternal life — This cannot be done by alms-deeds; yet they "come up for a memorial before God," Acts 10:4. And the lack even of this may be the cause why God will withhold grace and salvation from us.

Verse 20

[20] O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

Keep that which is committed to thy trust — The charge I have given thee, 1 Timothy 1:18.

Avoid profane empty babblings — How weary of controversy was this acute disputant! And knowledge falsely so called - Most of the ancient heretics were great pretenders to knowledge.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on 1 Timothy


Chapter 6. Instructions to Ministers

Have Food and Clothing
Be Contented

I. Servants Respect Masters

  1. Worthy of Respect
  2. Not to Show Less Respect
  3. Serve Even Better

II. Flee from False Teachers

  1. Interest in Controversies
  2. Financial Gain by Godliness
  3. Proper Pursuit

III. Take Hold of Eternal Life

  1. Make Good Confession
  2. Rich in Good Deeds
  3. Guard What Is Entrusted

── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament

Chapter Six General Review
1) To note the warnings about being obsessed with disputes and
   arguments over words, wranglings of men, etc.
2) To appreciate the counsel given to those who desire to be rich, and
   to those who are rich
3) To consider what the man of God is expected to flee and to pursue
This final chapter begins with instructions concerning servants and 
their duties toward their masters, especially toward those masters who 
believe (1-2).  A description then follows of those who might teach 
otherwise and not consent to the wholesome words of our Lord and His 
doctrine which is according to godliness (3-5).  Mentioning the value 
of godliness when accompanied by contentment, Paul warns of the need 
to be content with food and clothing, and the danger facing those who 
desire to be rich (6-10).
Timothy is then charged to flee such things and to pursue things
becoming a man of God.  He is encouraged to fight the good fight of
faith, and to lay hold on eternal life.  He is then solemnly urged by
Paul to keep the commandment without spot and blameless until our 
Lord's appearing, whom Paul describes in the most amazing terms 
The epistle ends with instructions for Christians who are rich in this 
world, and with an impassioned plea for Timothy to guard what was 
committed to his trust, avoiding profane and vain babbling over false 
doctrine which has led others away from the faith (17-21).
      1. As worthy of all honor (1a)
      2. So that God and His doctrine might not be blasphemed (1b)
      1. Not to be despised because they are brethren (2a)
      2. But to serve them, remembering that those who are benefited 
         are believers and beloved (2b)
      1. Anyone who does not consent to the wholesome words of our 
         Lord, and to the doctrine according to godliness (3)
      2. He is proud, knowing nothing (4a)
      3. He is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words (4b)
         a. From which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions
         b. From which come useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds
            and destitute of the truth (5a)
      4. Who supposes that godliness is a means of gain (5b)
      1. Godliness with contentment is great gain (6)
         a. For we brought nothing into this world (7a)
         b. And it is certain we can carry nothing out (7b)
      2. Thus we should be content with food and clothing (8)
      1. Those who desire to be rich fall...
         a. Into temptation and a snare (9a)
         b. Into many foolish and harmful lusts (9b)
         ...which drown men in destruction and perdition (9c)
      2. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (10a)
         a. For which some have strayed from the faith in their 
            greediness (10b)
         b. And have pierced themselves with many sorrows (10c)
      1. Flee the things described before, such as the desire to be
         rich (11a)
      2. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love patience, 
         gentleness (11b)
      3. Fight the good fight of faith (12a)
      4. Lay hold on eternal life (12b)
         a. To which you were called (12c)
         b. To which you have confessed the good confession in the
            presence of many (12d)
   B. A SOLEMN CHARGE (13-16)
      1. Urged by Paul in the sight of...
         a. God, who gives life to all things (13a)
         b. Jesus Christ, who witnessed the good confession before
            Pontius Pilate (13b)
      2. To keep the commandment without spot, blameless until the 
         Lord's appearing (14)
         a. Which He will manifest in His own time (15a)
         b. Who is then described as:
            1) The blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and 
               Lord of lords (15b)
            2) He who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable
               light, whom no man has seen or can see (16a)
         c. To whom be honor and everlasting power (16b)
      1. Not to be haughty, nor trust in uncertain riches (17a)
      2. But to trust in the living God, who gives us richly all things
         to enjoy (17b)
      1. To do good, to be rich in good works, ready to give, willing 
         to share (18)
      2. Storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to
         come, that they may lay hold on eternal life (19)
      1. To guard what was committed to his trust (20a)
      2. To avoid the profane and vain babbling and contradictions of
         what is falsely called knowledge (20b)
      3. For by professing such, some have strayed concerning the faith
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Instructions concerning servants (1-2)
   - Instructions concerning teachers motivated by greed (3-10)
   - Instructions concerning the man of God himself (11-16)
   - Instructions concerning the rich (17-19)
   - Concluding charge to Timothy (20-21)
2) How were servants to consider their masters?  Why? (1)
   - As worthy of all honor
   - That the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed
3) What were the servants who had believing masters cautioned against
   doing? (2)
   - Despising them because they are brethren
4) How is one described who does not consent to the words of our Lord,
   and to the doctrine which is according to godliness? (3-4)
   - Proud, knowing nothing, obsessed with disputes and arguments over
5) What is of great gain? (6)
   - Godliness with contentment
6) With what should we be content? (8)
   - Having food and clothing
7) What happens to those who desire to be rich? (9)
   - They fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and
     harmful lusts
8) What is a root of all kinds of evil? (10)
   - The love of money
9) What have some done in their greediness? (10)
   - Strayed from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many
10) What is the man of God to pursue? (11)
   - Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness
11) What is the man of God to fight, and to lay hold of? (12)
   - He is to fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal
12) What did Paul urge Timothy to do? (13-14)
   - To keep the commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord's
13) How does Paul describe our Lord Jesus Christ? (15-16)
   - The blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of 
   - Who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light
14) What was Timothy to command the rich? (17-19)
   - Not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the
     living God
   - To do good, to be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to
   - To store up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come,
     that they may lay hold on eternal life
15) What was Timothy to avoid?  Why? (20-21)
   - Profane and vain babbling and contradictions of what is falsely
     called knowledge
   - By professing such things, some have strayed concerning the faith
16) What was Paul's final benediction to Timothy in this letter? (21)
   - Grace be with you


--《Executable Outlines


Instructions to ministers

Have food and clothing

Be contented


I.  Servants respect masters

1.    Worthy of respect

2.    Not to show less respect

3.    Serve even better

II.Flee from false teachers

1.    Interest in controversies

2.    Financial gain by godliness

3.    Proper pursuit

III.       Take hold of eternal life

1.    Make good confession

2.    Rich in good deeds

3.    Guard what is entrusted

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament