1 Timothy 6
1 Timothy 5:1-6:21-Paul’s Instructions for Developing Christian Relationships in the Church (cont’d)
1 Timothy 6:1-2-Relationships between masters and slaves
Paul instructs slaves to show honor to their masters…so that there will never be any opportunity for someone to criticize God or the Christian faith. He also tells slaves who have Christians as their masters to not try to take advantage of the fact that they are a Christian. But instead, to “serve them all the more.”
6:1-2 The problems of master-slave…The N.T. writers do not question the institution of slavery, but try to mitigate it through improved attitudes of both masters and slaves. In the church, they met on equal terms as members of the fellowship, though there may have been instances when slaves were elders and thus, in the church, were over masters who they served all week.
Ryrie Study Bible, The First Letter of Paul to Timothy, footnote on 6:1-2.
1 Timothy 6:3-5-Relationships with false teachers
Paul speaks of “anyone advocates a different doctrine”. The words “different doctrine” come from the Greek word “heterodidaskaleō”. It is a compound of two words. The second word (didaskaleō) means “teaching, doctrine”. The first part of the word (hetero) means “another of a different kind”. It’s not a teaching that is close or similar to “the doctrine conforming to godliness” (:3). It is a distinctively different doctrine. This refers to teaching that leads away from the central tenants of the faith, the core doctrines, the foundational truths (cf. 3:16). Instead of creating harmony and strengthening fellowship…it tends to engage people in “controversial questions and disputes” that results in “envy, strife, abusive language, suspicions, and constant friction.” Paul says that this is a “morbid interest” (:4).
signifies "to be ill, to be ailing," whether in body or mind; hence, "to be taken with such a morbid interest in a thing as is tantamount to a disease, to dote," 1Ti 6:4 (marg., "sick"). The primary meaning of "dote" is to be foolish (cp. Jer 50:36, the evident meaning of noseo, in this respect, is "to be unsound."
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3552&t=NASB
In other words, it is a sick mind that constantly wants to intentionally bring attention to argumentative exchanges that do nothing but cause dissension and distrust among the members of the church. This man is “conceited and understands nothing” (:4). And in fact, many of these false teachers are not even really concerned about the welfare of the church, but are often in it just for the personal benefits and money (:5; cf. Titus 1:11).
1 Timothy 6:6-19-Relationship with money
1 Timothy 6:6-8-A right perspective of money is productive
When a person practices a godly lifestyle…there is a profit. It is not monetary, but spiritual...it is learning the value of having contentment with what you have…and not being held captive by the incessant desire to possess more and more. This is not a statement against hard work, the desire to be productive, and the expectation to have financial benefits. Many other passages in the Bible support this. In fact, Paul had just warned against not being productive and providing for the needs of the family (5:8). Paul is speaking of the contentment that comes when we have our values in their proper order and do not allow things of secondary value (money, wealth) to become more important than, or control things of, primary value (God, family, character).
1 Timothy 6:9-16-A wrong perspective of money is destructive
Instead, Paul is speaking of “those who want to get rich”, the “love of money”, and “longing for it”, and he warns them to be careful to not allow money to control them because it will lead to “all sorts of evil”. Paul speaks of this “evil” and the destructive affect of such things…”fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction…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” (:9-10). This is a serious consequence and Paul’s warning is meant to cause us to stop and give careful reflection to the amount of influence and control that money (and for that matter all other influences in our life) has over us.
Believers are to "flee" from those things (things that tend to control us and lead us away from “the faith”, :10) and "pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness" (:11). He tells Timothy to fight to keep his life pure from sin. Obviously, Paul is well aware of how tempting and tantalizing material wealth and gain can be. He strongly urges Timothy to keep his focus firmly on the things that he has previously determined as being of ultimate value and to not allow anything else to take precedence over them. Listen to his words…”fight the good fight”…”take hold of the eternal life”…”keep the commandment without stain or reproach”.
1 Timothy 6:17-19-An eternal perspective of money is instructive
Notice that Paul does not condemn people for being wealthy. But, he points out two things. One, he reminds them that ultimately everything belongs to God and He allows us to use it for our good. And two, he warns them to not allow their wealth to control them. He gives instructions on how to maintain this proper perspective towards wealth...
• to not be “conceited” (to think that because they are wealthier than others, that they are better than others);
• to not “fix their hope” on their wealth...but on God (don’t allow their hope, their happiness in life to be determined by material things that can disappear as quickly as they appear…but on God, Who is eternal and never changes);
• to “do good, to be rich in good works” (recognize that God has a purpose for blessing them with wealth…He has entrusted them with material wealth so that they can be of benefit to others)
• to be “generous and ready to share” (have an open hand…don’t be stingy and more worried about holding onto your money than about the welfare of others).
If they do these things, they will recognize the transitory, short-lived nature of the material things that they possess, and they will realize that they can actually use these things in such a way that they will be storing up wealth for eternal life (:19).
1 Timothy 6:20-21-Relationship with responsibility
Paul tells Timothy to "guard what has been entrusted to you"...and to avoid those things that would lead him in a different direction from what Paul had taught him. There were those who claimed to have a unique insight or “knowledge” of spiritual matters that was superior to that of Paul. Evidently, some of the members of the church at Ephesus had gotten into debates with them and had been unable to present a compelling argument. As a result, they had “gone astray from the faith”…meaning that because they had not been able to build a persuasive line of reasoning against this “knowledge” they had become convinced that the faith that Paul had taught was wrong and were no longer followers of Jesus. Paul is not saying that our faith is not logical or that it cannot be rationally defended. But, there is a problem when we try to do so with these people. These people claimed to have a special revelation, a unique knowledge of matters concerning the faith. Therefore, their initial assumptions and presuppositions about matters of the faith established a framework for the debate that did not allow for disagreement. They claimed to have a special understanding of these matters that had been given to them that was superior to anything anyone else might have to say. You simply cannot win that debate. It is been decided before it has ever begun. But some people allow their pride to get the best of them and decide to enter into the debate. When they are unsuccessful…they don’t recognize that the deck was stacked against them, that there is no way to win this argument…instead, they falsely think that the faith that they had held to could not be adequately defended…that it is wrong, incorrect. So, they go “astray from the faith.”
In many ways, one of the main themes of this book is faith…and in particular, “the faith”…meaning the Christian faith and its essential doctrines. Paul begins the letter by speaking of Timothy as, “my true child in the faith” (1:2). It is as if from the very beginning he is stressing the importance of “the faith”, the essential matters of doctrine and truth that he has carefully instilled in the heart and mind of this young pastor over the previous years. Those things that must be believed…in order for someone to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. He then addresses numerous issues in this letter that Timothy needs to be aware of that would lead a person away from “the faith”. He also provides him with insight on how to develop his confidence in “the faith” so that he will remain strong.
Throughout the letter, Paul warns Timothy about things that can lead people away from confidence in “the faith”, such as:
1:4…theoretical issues that can never be satisfactorily answered…leading to skepticism and doubt
nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
1:19…ethical and perhaps moral misbehavior…leading to a conflicted conscience
keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
3:9…failure to have a firm grasp and acceptance of the basic truths of the faith…leading to a feeling of hypocrisy, lack of trust, and unwillingness to be obedient
but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
4:1…legalistic requirements that can never be adequately fulfilled…leading to discouragement and guilt
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,
5:8…failure to live with other people in a manner that is in keeping with the love of Christ…leading to fractured relationships and breakdown in community
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
5:12 (“pledge” is the Greek word “pistis” and is translated in all of these other verses as “faith”)…breaking a pledge (an oath of commitment made to live for the rest of their life as a widow)…that leads to feelings of inadequacy, guilt, failure, and possibly even judgment on the part of others
thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge.
6:10…improper values…leading to involvement in attempts to gain more wealth by means that are unethical and perhaps involvement in activities that are ungodly
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 griefs.
6:21…pride and conceit…leading to false knowledge and beliefs
which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you.
Paul also gives methods that can lead people to confidence in “the faith”…
through careful examination of the truths of “the faith”:
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.
through consistent practice of the truths of “the faith”:
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,
For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.
For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
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.
Prayer: Father, please help me to always keep my motivation for serving You correct. Don't let me look to people, or to money as the reason. And Lord, please protect me from anything that would do damage to my faith in You.