1 Timothy Chapter 6
1 Tim. 6:1 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.
1 Tim. 6:2 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.
What is the difference between verses 1 and 2? Verse 1 pertained to Christian servants who had unbelieving masters, and verse 2 applied to Christian servants who were underneath believing masters. In both cases, the masters were to be counted worthy of all honor, and if the master was a believer, a double importance was attached to Paul’s advice.
Incidentally, unless freed, these servants, including their children, were bound for life to their master.
If the brotherhood were left to their own feelings and judgment on the subject, the normal thinking, or expectation, would be that the master should free the servant. However, Paul’s wholesome counsel was to the contrary. The Christian was not to seek to be free except under legitimate circumstances. In other words, he was not to feel that being a servant was a form of slavery and injustice. To show disrespect would dishonor the cause of Christianity, for the unbelieving master would blame the religion. Today, generally speaking, Christians feel that the social gospel is of greater importance, and the gospel of explicit instructions is of lesser importance. “Just do what you think is best” is the attitude.
“Let ... servants ... count their own masters worthy of all honour.” To follow this principle means to abide by the circumstances of the age in which one is living. In Romans 13:7, Paul said, “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Even though some individuals are not worthy of their title, the Christian is to give deference to the office, being respectful and submissive—except in matters of conscience.
The circumstance of verse 2, where both servant and master are consecrated, is more difficult. On the one hand, a servant should not try to embarrass or shame his Christian master into granting him freedom, using reasoning such as, “If you are a real Christian, you should not hold me in bondage but should give me liberty.” On the other hand, the laws of the land can be used to the advantage of the servant, where possible.
Servants were not to despise their believing masters “because they [the masters] are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit.” Thus another reason for a consecrated master and a consecrated servant to be especially careful is that they were both called of God.
Paul told Timothy, “These things teach [even if they are hard instructions] and exhort [use a little authority].” Paul knew that Timothy would be regarded as too severe, as not loving, but these instructions were the mind of the Lord.
Slavery does not exist in our country today, but where it occurs in other nations, Paul’s advice still applies. For us, his advice can be adapted to the employer-employee relationship. At any rate, the Christian should not get distracted by a social gospel.
To join such causes and dwell on such themes would be disruptive, contentious, and divisive. To the contrary, wholesome words encourage the pursuit of the gospel and obedience to the words and instructions of Jesus and the apostles. Human reasoning and emotionalism are not to be put in the forefront. One should first go to the Word to see if what one is advocating is according “to the law and to the testimony” (Isa. 8:20). If not, there is no light in that individual, even if he is recognized as being a light-bearer by others.
The Christian employee has to be careful not to bring blame on the truth. For example, to habitually take extra coffee breaks or long lunches to witness to the truth would be using company time and defrauding the employer by interrupting the general flow of business.
1 Tim. 6:3 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;
1 Tim. 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
Those who teach otherwise are “proud, knowing nothing,” even though they appear noble, magnanimous, and humble. They may even have an encyclopedic mind on certain subjects, but the subjects they dwell on should be wholesome. For example, endless genealogies are to be avoided. The word “endless” implies that the topic is a habit of thought, not just a one-time discussion. As an illustration, chronology, whether true or misunderstood, is not a wholesome theme when discussed day after day after day.
On one occasion, which was an exception to the general rule, Paul wrote a special letter to Philemon, a Christian master, requesting him to free a Christian slave, but that circumstance was not incongruous to his advice here because the servant was rendering a higher form of service to Paul. Since the slave had been invaluable to Paul, he asked Philemon to grant the liberty of a leave of absence so that the service could continue. Other servants used the same reasoning, “If I am free, I will be able to serve better,” but they were talkers, not actual doers.
“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus made several statements in harmony with the principle of verses 1 and 2. What are some of them?
“For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always” (Matt. 26:11). In the present age, these inequalities exist.
“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21).
There is another way of reasoning too, for Jesus’ statements, made prior to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, were not as explicit as Paul’s on certain subjects. In every situation, the Christian is to look to Jesus first. The very fact that Jesus was silent—that he did not say, “Servants, break your yokes”—indicates Christians have to tread softly and carefully in this area. Some right in Caesar’s household and Herod’s court became believers. The lesson is that the Christian can serve the Lord where he is—in the situation in which he is called (1 Cor. 7:20).
When Jesus called his apostles, he was training teachers. Except for specific individuals, he did not ask his disciples to leave their businesses and walk all around with him, for some of them had obligations, including marital responsibilities. It is true that he said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.... And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me,” but his purpose was to show the principle that we should not let external relationships jeopardize our relationship of following him (Matt. 10:37,38). Jesus demonstrated these truths in some literal cases in order to underscore the principle involved; namely, we are to respect father, mother, etc., but we are to love him more. Little by little, we are to imbibe the principles that Jesus enunciated in his earthly ministry. His life, ministry, and words inculcated wholesome principles that we are to emulate.
“If any man teach otherwise, ... he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings.” There could be a discussion on this subject, but the answer is simple and firm. After Paul died, it was logical for other Christians to question Timothy on what the apostle taught. Timothy would have replied, “I would be glad to answer your question, for Paul explicitly wrote and told me the advice I will now give you.” Accordingly, Paul wrote in advance, “Teach and exhort these things” (verse 2). With this letter of authority from Paul, Timothy could speak with strength on the various subjects.
With regard to doctrinal strife, we have to do a lot of soul searching to make sure that the motive is truly to contend for the faith and not to show preeminence in debate above another person or to manifest a loving, magnanimous attitude so that others will like us. A subtle vainglory can enter our teaching, personal words, and conduct if we are not careful. Of course it is proper to dispute on wholesome topics, on matters of fundamental value and worth, but all should be done to the glory of God. Even though a question can be important along certain lines, it is sometimes wiser to refrain from debate unless the issue is fundamental.
Also, Paul wrote in his second epistle, “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.... But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes” (2 Tim. 2:14,23).
1 Tim. 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
Continuing the thoughts of verses 3 and 4 about disputings, Paul used strong language, calling them “perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness.” He likened the disputings to having a carnal (instead of a spiritual) attitude.
In verses 4 and 5, Paul put the nouns in the plural—questions, strifes of words, railings, evil surmisings, and perverse disputings—showing that he was talking about other matters that were damaging to the truth, in addition to the servant-master relationship. Not only were exponents of such teachings carnal-minded and “destitute of the truth,” but they imagined that their desire for “gain” in winning an argument was godliness. If one’s main goal was to contend for and win the argument, he might think he had gained godliness, whereas the opposite was true. Generally speaking, piety is calm, peaceable, and easy to be entreated, not raucous or disputatious. The time to dispute is the exception, not the general rule.
Notice how Paul concluded verse 5: “From such withdraw thyself.” He was saying to avoid close fellowship with such individuals. If Timothy withdrew himself, certainly those whom he advised were to do likewise if they wanted to obey the wholesome words and counsel of the Master through the Apostle Paul. The lesson for us is that there is a time when we should set an example by our behavior. By condoning and empathizing with a wrong situation, we become culpable to a certain extent.
Just winning an argument in itself is not necessarily gain. Sometimes every dispute is viewed as a part of defending the truth, but much depends on what is being discussed. The importance of the subject matter has to be weighed. With important, fundamental doctrines, we should contend for the faith, and certainly we can help to clarify an issue in connection with Christian service, but we should not argue for the sake of an argument. Contending for the faith is not trying to impose our line of thinking on others. Instead we should try to answer questions that are posed. We should not attempt to make everyone toe the line as we see it, in essence making a credo of faith above what is taught in Scripture and establishing a list of criteria, doctrinal and otherwise, for being a proper Christian. We can be strong on a lot of points, but we should not judge another Christian on whether or not he accepts those points. For example, prophetic understandings are all important, but they should not be the basis of our fellowship in Christ and our relationship as new creatures. Rather, they are developments of understanding of the Lord’s Word. All truths are important and do have a bearing on our lives, so we have to consider each case as it comes to us. Certainly we can have reasonings as to why we believe a particular doctrine or teaching, for a Christian is to be armed with understanding and be able to give a reason for his faith and beliefs, as well as the details of that faith.
Q: How would one withdraw himself from those who are argumentative or from those who are disputatious and quarrelsome by nature?
A: Such an atmosphere is not conducive to spirituality and godliness. Therefore, when someone manifests a disputatious spirit or disposition, it may be better to seek fellowship elsewhere than to remain in an atmosphere of continual suspicion, rivalry, and evil surmisings.
If a physical separation is embarrassing or difficult, we could at least frown or shake our head in dissent. Just as we may nod our head or indicate approval with our face in certain situations, so we can indicate disapproval and thus not be counted in with the general thinking of something that is not conducive to godliness or wholesome words.
Q: Should we still shake the party’s hand and be congenial?
A: We should show reserve as a form of rebuke, and others should be able to see this reserve.
Teachers, who are influential in these matters, incur the greater responsibility because they are the exponents of these disputings. Those who are in their fellowship through marriage or other circumstances and thus are hearing the disputings may not be quite as responsible, but they should withdraw as best they can in their situation. To duel back and forth with the Word of God is a wrong spirit.
1 Tim. 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Of course verse 6 is profitable when isolated and considered separately, but the context in which the statement was made is interesting, namely, the withdrawal from a situation that is perverse and not conducive to spirituality. There are times when we have to show disapproval, and to do so correctly—that is, to know what God likes and what He frowns on—we have to be familiar with His Word. To be able to discern between good and evil is a mark of maturity (Heb. 5:14). The bottom line of success is to make our calling and election sure. Few find the narrow way, and even fewer end up as part of the Bride class.
Verse 6 applies to the servant-master relationship, as well as to other situations, for one is to be content in his circumstance as long as it does not violate conscience. Stated another way, one who is engaged in menial or lowly service should be content with his circumstance because he can serve the Lord equally well whether he is a servant or a master. To realize this contentment keeps one from a fretful spirit in an employment situation or other circumstance of life. “Great gain” is being relieved of anxieties along these lines, for the cares of this life can be a snare.
Q: Instead of “contentment,” the Diaglott has “competency”—“But piety with a competency is great gain.” What is the signification of that translation?
A: “Maturity” is indicated. “Godliness with maturity is great gain.” Such individuals are competent and skilled. Not only can they give a reason for their faith, but they know the Lord’s thinking on these matters. A Christian should pursue the quest for Godlikeness. The more intense the hunger and the desire of one’s heart in this direction, the more competent he becomes. In contrast, those who are carnal-minded win the argument but lose the crown.
If given a wrong twist, the reasoning of verse 6 can be counterproductive. For instance, some will say, “Jesus is mine, and I am quite satisfied.” They are satisfied with what they have already attained and do not want to progress in understanding. That type of contentment is not “great gain.” We should not reach a point where we feel very comfortable with our sphere of development, for we are pilgrims and strangers journeying toward the goal of the heavenly Promised Land.
Thus there are two extremes: (1) being disputatious and argumentative and (2) having a false love that permits no serious disputing and study on deep subjects. Those who go to the latter extreme tend to ignore subjects like prophecy and chronology because they regard them as conjectural and disruptive, saying that everyone has his own view.
1 Tim. 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
Certainly verse 7 is tied in to some extent with verse 6. Godliness with contentment being great gain can be considered in a twofold manner. The preceding verses emphasize wholesome doctrine, but there is also a relationship to practical living. As already shown, the winning of arguments is not to be considered great gain, but we can apply this principle to other areas as well—to the winning, or accumulation, of money, wealth, goods, fame, property, popularity, knowledge, and power. To gain such things in the present evil world, one must compromise, so we should not join the crowd, get too involved in business, pursue unnecessary education, etc. Our main goal is Christ, the hope of our calling.
The teaching that if one is a good Christian, he will prosper is wrong. The Apostle James reproved the practice of always giving the best seat to a rich person who came into the ecclesia or congregation.
In fact, if a poorer person was already sitting in that seat, he was asked to move to the back of the room. Thus not only was honor shown to the wealthy, but they were being given more and more honor. This wrong practice, which occurred even in apostolic days, has occurred throughout the history of the Church. A natural inclination, which must be fought, is to regard with more respect one who comes into the truth having a position of honor, academic degrees, and/or a title. In God’s sight, a person without worldly honors may be far more noble.
From another standpoint, if we understand the matter correctly, Paul could see that a Nicolaitan spirit would develop more and more after his decease (Rev. 2:6,15). Teachers who were hard-liners in certain areas were being rewarded with great numbers of fellowship and increasing honor, distinction, and recognition, so that not too long afterwards the doctrine of Papacy developed. The seeds of Papacy started when prominent elders in cities such as Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem received honor in proportion as they championed certain wrong doctrines. Probably many of those doctrines were seemingly correct. For example, the elders could champion the doctrine of freedom for slaves. Many brethren wanted to work for and support those elders because the doctrines would benefit them personally. The suggestion is that such elders were getting followers and money. For that reason, Paul said, “Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you” (1 Cor. 4:8).
1 Tim. 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
The thought of godliness with contentment is brought up again in verse 8. Having food and clothing, we are to be content as regards the natural man, but we should not be content with our spiritual development. To win the spiritual race requires time, effort, thought, and energy.
Christians should not aspire to positions of leadership and affluence in the world or in a worldly church, a church that has a carnal attitude. We are to be content with our daily bread and the necessities of life and not aspire for further gain, influence, power, and wealth. Those who have earthly mortgages (dependents) and responsibilities are to provide things decent, needful, and honest in the sight of men (2 Cor. 8:21).
1 Tim. 6:9 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.
Christians should acquire the fruits of the Holy Spirit, not worldly gain. The acquisition of a Christlike character, and not a position in the affairs of either the world or the Church, should be sought. It is permissible for a brother to aspire to the office of a bishop or elder, but he should realize that the office incurs great responsibility. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19). If a more important commandment is broken and taught to others, the individual will not even get into the Kingdom of heaven. The Lord is watching to see how carefully we consider doctrine and how much studying we do. Being imperfect, all elders will make mistakes, but the Lord appreciates those who prayerfully, carefully, and earnestly try to understand His Word and then try to speak from that standpoint. Those who are careless in speaking from the platform about what the Scriptures teach and its principles and manufacture ideas and theories not originating in the Word will pay a penalty. If breaking and teaching the least of God’s commandments brings one down to the bottom of the ladder in the Little Flock, then breaking and teaching anything more important will eliminate one from the Little Flock—the Bride of Christ.
Paul was saying that those who championed the practice of disputings, railings, doting about certain questions, etc., might be rapidly advanced to a condition of honor in the Church, for they would be considered stalwarts of the truth. However, the question should be asked, What truth are they stalwarts of? It takes a lifetime to know how to rightly divide some truths lest we be misguided.
“But they that will be rich fall into ... many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil.” The desire to be rich and influential is not just a matter of not making one’s calling and election sure, for it may result in Second Death. Paul said plainly that those who are immersed in the pursuit of wealth and influence will drown in “destruction and perdition.” In other words, they will not even be part of the Great Multitude class.
1 Tim. 6:10 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.
1 Tim. 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
We can empathize with the fact that a lot of pressure is brought to bear on those in the truth who are wealthy. Some brethren have considerable means, and we should esteem those who are faithful in trying to concentrate their thinking and energies on helping to forward the truth.
Since it is hard for people of means to gain the Kingdom, we should appreciate such individuals who spend time, effort, energy, and money in connection with the truth. All of the consecrated have to make decisions in life, but usually those who have a lot of money become more absorbed in business and income. Knowing the many temptations that they encounter through the uniqueness of their position, we should appreciate their efforts and not judge them too harshly as long as we see them going in the right direction. Of the consecrated who are wealthy, more will end up in Second Death, proportionately speaking. Therefore, we should be sympathetic if we see that they are trying to do the right thing.
The Diaglott indicates that it is the hunger for riches rather than the attainment. The love of money, and not necessarily its acquisition, is the root of much evil. Such individuals are seduced from the truth so that they go into destruction and perdition. “Which while some coveted after, they have erred [been seduced—KJV margin] from the faith.” One can be poor yet fall into this snare by aspiring to be rich.
How could some be seduced from the truth? They might think, “If I make more money, I will be able to do more for the truth.” However, that is not what happens. In getting immersed in worldly ideas and the acquisition of riches, the person wants more and more and more—until he dies in his worldly pursuits.
Those who are retrieved from the pursuit of riches have “pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The pathway back from such a condition is thorny and difficult. For example, a family that is accustomed to high living may resist. To buck the stream may also involve employees. Taking a radical stand usually causes others to suffer as well. Thus it is very hard to go against the current, but Paul’s advice is, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” These qualities are far more valuable, for striving for wealth and influence can lead to death and oblivion, whereas all kinds of meaningful prizes and blessings await the faithful Christian. The blessings, which lay up treasures in heaven, include “righteousness, godliness [Godlikeness], faith, love, patience, [and] meekness.” Being with Jesus is the true riches.
Paul said to withdraw ourselves from a group atmosphere of contentions and disputings. In addition, we are to flee from the love of money because the gain of material things is such a seductive type of attraction. Even the person who is very consecrated initially can be seduced.
1 Tim. 6:12 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.
While this epistle is of benefit to all Christians, when it was originally written toward the end of the Apostle Paul’s life, it was directed to Timothy for his instruction. With the words “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,” Paul was saying that the promises of the future are far more important than gain down here. He also pointed out that Timothy was to profess “a good profession before many witnesses” and compared it to Jesus’ “good confession” before Pontius Pilate.
Why did Paul call attention to Timothy’s profession before many witnesses? What bearing does that profession have on fighting the good fight of faith? Many Christians are influenced by “leaders” in the faith—that is, by those they recognize as being especially led of the Lord—and they look to those leaders for instruction and help. If the leaders should falter, it would have some bearing on brethren underneath their influence. For several years, Timothy had been an example to many, not only when he was with Paul but also when Paul left him behind to help various ecclesias in their walk and with instruction. Therefore, it was appropriate for Paul to admonish Timothy to continue the good fight and to keep up the good work, for many were aware of his words and deeds. Not only did Timothy have a responsibility with regard to his own personal walk, but he influenced the walk of others by his behavior. Thus Paul was saying, “On behalf of yourself and on behalf of others, keep up the good fight of faith.”
Timothy was solemnly charged with the responsibility to fight the good fight of faith and be an example of the believer to the believer. Paul thus faithfully discharged his responsibility. Of course when he and Timothy were together, Paul, as an apostle, had more responsibility and took a more aggressive or leading role, but now, with his departure only a few years off, he was encouraging Timothy as well as charging him with this responsibility.
1 Tim. 6:13 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;
In verse 12, Paul told Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith, [and] lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou ... hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” If we combine verses 12-14, Paul was instructing Timothy as follows: “You should realize that you have a responsibility of faithfulness because of your past profession, and now you should witness a good confession such as Jesus did before Pontius Pilate. Keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul was telling Timothy to be like Jesus, who was faithful to the end of his course.
But in what sense did Jesus witness “a good confession” to Pilate? By using this illustration, Paul fully realized Timothy’s role in the Church. He was not that well liked by the brethren at large, for he did not have the personality or background they desired. However, Paul both liked and appreciated Timothy, whom he felt had all the qualities that were necessary. Paul was telling Timothy to think of Jesus in the situation before Pilate. He fearlessly professed to be a King when all of the others said his claim was false. Through the chief priests, the nation brought Jesus before Pilate for trial and execution, so everything seemed to give the lie to Jesus. If he truly was a King, as he professed to be, would he have allowed himself to submit to such an experience where he would be tried, humiliated, and crucified? Wouldn’t he have had enough spunk to get up and defend himself instead of being negative, not answering the charges, and meekly submitting? He told Pilate privately, “My Kingdom is not of this world. Otherwise, my servants would fight. My Kingdom is spiritual, and my followers are spiritual.” Outwardly, however, it appeared that the ground was cut underneath Jesus. All of his statements about being the Son of God and the King of Israel seemed to be false, and his basis for making such assertions appeared weak. He had no friends, no supporters—he was alone—yet he had to take a stand before the nation of Israel, the priests, and Pilate. From this weak base and being all alone, he took a strong stand and did not waver because of his faith. Jesus said to Pilate, “You could not have any power at all except it were given to you from above.” He mentioned, “To this end was I born.” He had a purpose and fulfilled it, and he did not waver. Even though he meekly submitted and did not try to answer the false charges, he was positive in his inner convictions.
Timothy was not well received by the brethren because of his personality and humble disposition. The Greeks liked showmanship, oratory, and education, as well as composure and dignity. Evidently, Timothy did not have that type of disposition. Paul was saying to Timothy, “Just as Jesus meekly submitted to all the abuses against his person, so you should do the same and unwaveringly do the work that I set out in the Church.” Paul was summing up all of his advice in this epistle: “Do not worry about what others are saying about you. Avoid myths that are not based on God’s Word. Others delight in such things, but do not enter into the wranglings and misunderstandings. Follow godliness, righteousness, and truth, and defend the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Be positive and do not waver!”
Now we understand why Paul told Timothy to witness a good confession as Jesus did before Pilate. Paul slanted the illustration to Timothy in a very personalized way.
1 Tim. 6:14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1 Tim. 6:15 Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
1 Tim. 6:16 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.
To “keep this commandment without spot”—to be blameless—is the hard part. Timothy was to keep the commandment without spot or rebuke until the appearing or Epiphaniah) of the Lord Jesus Christ, who will show that God is “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings,” the only One who has immortality. In God’s due time, Jesus will demonstrate who is the only Potentate. The glory and honor will be given to God, “who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see.” To Almighty God “be honour and power everlasting.” Amen!
What are some reasons why verse 16 refers to God?
1. The title “the King of kings” applies to the Heavenly Father, whereas Jesus is “[a] King of kings” (Rev. 17:14; 19:16). God is “the King of kings, and Lord of lords” in the highest sense.
2. God dwells “in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen [at any time], nor can see” (compare John 1:18). Verse 16 suggests not a new condition of dwelling in that light but One whose home is that light. God Himself is the Father of the light that no man can approach unto, and He has been dwelling there for eternity. Only God has the capability and the prerogative of transmitting immortality to any other being. While immortality is given to Jesus and the Church, they cannot, in turn, give immortality to anyone else. God alone has that role; He is the Author of life, particularly of immortality.
Q: Are divine nature and immortality the same?
A: No, not necessarily. When Adam was created, he was perfect and had human nature, but he did not possess immortality. God could have given Adam immortality, but instead He intentionally made Adam’s life conditional, saying, “You have life, but never eat of this tree, for in the day that you disobey and eat of the fruit, dying thou shalt die.” Immortal life is not conditional but is a possession once one has it. The angels and God have spirit nature—“God is a Spirit” (John 4:24
Q: In verse 16, is the clause “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto” a reference to the Shekinah light in the Tabernacle?
A: Yes, the clause can be considered that way. The picture of the cherubim with the Shekinah light can be viewed from two perspectives. With regard to God’s four attributes, the light represents Wisdom, the two cherubim are Love and Power, and the lid (or Mercy Seat) of the Ark of the Covenant is the “propitiation” (Greek hilasmos), or Justice (1 John 2:2). Below God is the Mercy Seat, which represents Christ Jesus. Just as Justice is reflected in God’s sending His Son to pay the penalty for man’s sin, so from one perspective, the cover of the rectangular box, the propitiatory lid, represents Jesus as the Head, and the box underneath pictures the Church.
Q: Does the term “Father of lights” in James 1:17 pertain to the “light which no man can approach unto”?
A: Yes, because “Father” means “Life-giver”; hence God is the “Life-giver of lights,” the source of all light.
1 Tim. 6:17 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;
1 Tim. 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
1 Tim. 6:19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Mat 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
In other words, everything should be done with regard to making one’s own calling and election sure or to helping others do the same. If one has riches, those goods should be distributed for the benefit of the Church and not for self-aggrandizement.
Those who were rich were to lay up heavenly treasures and to distribute their earthly treasures, not holding on to them with miserliness. They were not to seek to acquire more and more and to build themselves up higher and higher. Rather, everything should be sacrificed in connection with the development of the spiritual priesthood. Those who had little of this world’s goods read these admonitions from the standpoint that although they were poor according to the flesh, they could become rich in spiritual things.
Intellect, knowledge, wealth, power, reputation, etc., do not mean anything unless they are harnessed by obedience to God’s instruction. Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
To “communicate” means to be ready to hear and fellowship with others.
Earlier Paul said that the love of money, being the root of much evil, was causing some to drown (verses 9 and 10). Evidently, there was a struggle in the Church for attainment politically and in the eyes of the brethren. The acquisition of a lot of goods and riches was regarded as God’s favor. As Jews under the Law, they had been taught that material prosperity was an evidence of faithfulness, but it was wrong to apply this philosophy to the Christian walk, for some were reigning before the due time. When Timothy went about giving the proper instruction, he met opposition along these lines. The thought that temporal prosperity indicated God’s favor was quite pervasive at the time Paul wrote this epistle, which was roughly AD 64. Quite a change had taken place in the Church in 30 years, and that attitude had to be counteracted, for some tended to look on trials and poverty as disfavor from God.
1 Tim. 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
1 Tim. 6:21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
Earlier Paul admonished Timothy to avoid “profane and old wives’ fables” (1 Tim. 4:7). Now he said to avoid “profane [worldly, nonspiritual] and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.” Those who professed either of these “erred concerning the faith.” The “oppositions of science falsely so called” refer to a disturbing doctrine that came into the early Church about this time, when Paul was phasing out. Subsequently, the Apostle John had to deal with and refute this doctrine. Timothy’s ministry took place more or less between the ministries of Paul and John. After Peter and Paul died, Jude and John were the only apostles left, with John being last apostle on the scene.
The word translated “science” is the Greek gnosis, meaning “knowledge.” That belief, called Gnosticism, made a halo out of knowledge. Wisdom and knowledge were especially revered and idolized by the Greeks.
Paul ended his first letter to Timothy like a prayer with the word “Amen.”