Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
EXHORTATIONS AS TO
OPPOSITION TO THE
GIVEN TO THE
1. servants--to be taken as predicated thus, "Let as many as are
under the yoke (as) slaves"
The exhortation is natural as there was a danger of Christian slaves
inwardly feeling above their heathen masters.
their own masters--The phrase "their own," is an argument for
submissiveness; it is not strangers, but their own masters whom
they are required to respect.
all honour--all possible and fitting honor; not
merely outward subjection, but that inward honor from which will
flow spontaneously right outward conduct (see on
that the name of God--by which Christians are called.
blasphemed--Heathen masters would say, What kind of a God must be
the God of the Christians, when such are the fruits of His worship
Tit 2:5, 10)?
2. And--rather, "But." The opposition is between those Christian
slaves under the yoke of heathen, and
those that have believing masters (he does not use the phrase
"under the yoke" in the latter case, for service under believers is not
a yoke). Connect the following words thus, "Let them
(the slaves) not, because they
(the masters) are brethren
(and so equals, masters and slaves alike being Christians),
despise them (the masters)."
but rather, &c.--"but all the more (so much the more: with the
greater good will) do them service because they (the masters) are
faithful (that is, believers) and beloved who receive (in the mutual
interchange of relative duties between master and servant; so
the Greek) the benefit" (English Version violates
Greek grammar). This latter clause is parallel to, "because
they are brethren"; which proves that "they" refers to the
masters, not the servants, as TITTMANN takes it, explaining the verb in the common
"who sedulously labor for their (masters') benefit." The very
term "benefit" delicately implies service done with the right
motive, Christian "good will"
If the common sense of the Greek verb be urged, the sense must
be, "Because they (the masters) are faithful and beloved who are
sedulously intent on the benefiting" of their servants. But PORPHYRY [On Abstinence, 1.46] justifies the sense
of the Greek verb given above, which also better accords with
the context; for otherwise, the article "the," will have nothing
in the preceding words to explain it, whereas in my explanation above
"the benefit" will be that of the slaves' service.
These things teach--
3. teach otherwise--than I desire thee to "teach"
The Greek indicative implies, he puts not a merely supposed
case, but one actually existing,
"Every one who teaches otherwise," that is, who teaches
consent not--Greek, "accede not to."
opposed to the false teachers' words, unsound through profitless
science and immorality.
words of our Lord Jesus Christ--Paul's inspired words are not merely
his own, but are also Christ's words.
4. He is proud--literally, "wrapt in smoke"; filled with the fumes
while "knowing nothing," namely, of the doctrine which is according to
though arrogating pre-eminent knowledge
doting about--literally, "sick about"; the opposite of
Truth is not the center about which his investigations
move, but mere word-strifes.
strifes of words--rather than about realities
These stand with them instead of "godliness" and "wholesome words"
evil surmisings--as to those who are of a different party from
5. Perverse disputings--useless disputings. The oldest manuscripts
read, "lasting contests" [WIESINGER]; "incessant collisions"
"Strifes of words" had already been mentioned so that he would not be
likely to repeat the same idea (as in the English Version reading)
corrupt minds--Greek, "of men corrupted (depraved) in mind." The
inmost source of the evil is in the perverted mind
destitute of the truth--
They had had the truth, but through want of moral integrity and of love
of the truth, they were misled by a pretended deeper gnosis (knowledge)
and higher ascetical holiness, of which they made a trade [WIESINGER].
supposing, &c.--The Greek requires, "supposing (regarding the
matter in this point of view) that piety
(so translated for 'godliness')
is a means of gain (that is, a way of advancing one's worldly interests:
a different Greek form, poriswa, expresses
the thing gained, gain)"; not "that gain is godliness," as
from such withdraw thyself--omitted in the oldest manuscripts.
The connection with
favors the omission of these words, which interrupt the connection.
6. But--Though they err in this, there is a sense in which
"piety is" not merely gain, but "great means of gain": not the
gaining which they pursue, and which makes men to be
discontented with their present possessions, and to use religion
as "a cloak of covetousness"
and means of earthly gain, but the present and eternal
gain which piety, whose accompaniment is contentment,
secures to the soul. WIESINGER remarks that Paul
observed in Timothy a tendency to indolence and shrinking from the
conflict, whence he felt
that Timothy needed cautioning against such temptation; compare also
the second Epistle. Not merely contentment is great gain (a
sentiment of the heathen CICERO [Paradox
6], "the greatest and surest riches"), but "piety with contentment";
for piety not only feels no need of what it has not, but also has that
which exalts it above what it has not [WIESINGER].
The Greek for contentment is translated "sufficiency"
But the adjective
"content"; literally, "having a sufficiency in one's self"
independent of others. "The Lord always supplies His people with what
is necessary for them. True happiness lies in piety, but this
sufficiency [supplied by God, with which moreover His people are
content] is thrown into the scale as a kind of overweight"
Isa 33:6, 16;
7. For--confirming the reasonableness of "contentment."
and it is certain--Vulgate and other old versions support this
reading. The oldest manuscripts, however, omit "and it is certain"; then
the translation will be, "We brought nothing into the world (to teach us
to remember) that neither can we carry anything out"
Therefore, we should have no gain-seeking anxiety, the breeder of
8. And--Greek, "But." In contrast to the greedy gain-seekers
having--so long as we have food. (The Greek expresses
"food sufficient in each case for our continually recurring wants"
[ALFORD]). It is implied that we, as believers,
shall have this
raiment--Greek, "covering"; according to some including a
roof to cover us, that is, a dwelling, as well as clothing.
let us be therewith content--literally, "we shall be sufficiently
provided"; "we shall be sufficed" [ALFORD].
9. will be rich--have more than "food and raiment."
Greek, "wish to be rich"; not merely are willing,
but are resolved, and earnestly desire to have riches at any
(Pr 28:20, 22).
This wishing (not the riches themselves) is fatal to
Rich men are not told to cast away their riches, but not to "trust" in
them, and to "do good" with them
(1Ti 6:17, 18;
fall into temptation--not merely "are exposed to temptation," but
actually "fall into" it. The falling into it is what we are to
pray against, "Lead us not into temptation"
such a one is already in a sinful state, even before any overt act of
sin. The Greek for "temptation" and "gain" contains a play on
snare--a further step downwards
He falls into "the snare of the devil."
hurtful--to those who fall into the snare. Compare
"deceitful lusts" which deceive to one's deadly hurt.
lusts--With the one evil lust ("wish to be rich") many others
join themselves: the one is the "root of all evils"
which--Greek, "whatever (lusts)."
drown--an awful descending climax from "fall into"; this is the last
step in the terrible descent
destruction . . . perdition--destruction in general (temporal or
eternal), and perdition in particular, namely, that of body and soul
10. the love of money--not the money itself, but the love of
it--the wishing to be rich
--"is a root (ELLICOTT and MIDDLETON: not as English Version, 'the
root') of all evils." (So the Greek plural). The
wealthiest may be rich not in a bad sense; the poorest may covet to be
Love of money is not the sole root of evils, but it is a leading
"root of bitterness"
for "it destroys faith, the root of all that is good"
[BENGEL]; its offshoots are "temptation, a snare,
lusts, destruction, perdition."
coveted after--lusted after.
erred from--literally, "have been made to err from the faith"
(1Ti 1:19; 4:1).
with . . . sorrows--"pains": "thorns" of the parable
which choke the word of "faith." "The prosperity of fools destroys
BENGEL and WIESINGER make
them the gnawings of conscience, producing remorse for wealth badly
acquired; the harbingers of the future "perdition"
11. But thou--in contrast to the "some"
man of God--who hast God as thy true riches
Applying primarily to Timothy as a minister (compare
just as the term was used of Moses
Elijah, and Elisha; but, as the exhortation is as to duties
incumbent also on all Christians, the term applies secondarily
to him (so
as a Christian man born of God
no longer a man of the world raised above earthly things;
therefore, God's property, not his own, bought with a price, and so
having parted with all right in himself: Christ's work is to be
his great work: he is to be Christ's living representative.
flee these things--namely, "the love of money" with its evil results
(1Ti 6:9, 10).
follow after righteousness--
godliness--"piety." Righteousness is more in relation to
our fellow man; piety ("godliness") to God"; faith is the
root of both (see on
love--by which "faith worketh."
patience--enduring perseverance amidst trials.
meekness--The oldest manuscripts read, "meek-spiritedness," namely,
towards the opponents of the Gospel.
12. Fight the good fight--BIRKS thinks this
Epistle was written from Corinth, where contests in the national games
recurred at stated seasons, which will account for the allusion here as
Contrast "strifes of words"
The "good profession" is connected with the good fight
lay hold on eternal life--the crown, or garland, the prize of
victory, laid hold of by the winner in the "good fight"
(2Ti 4:7, 8;
"Fight (literally, 'strive') with such striving earnestness as
to lay hold on the prize, eternal life."
also--not in the oldest manuscripts.
professed a good profession--Greek, "didst confess
THE good confession," namely, the
Christian confession (as the Greek word is the same in this
verse as that for "confession" in
probably the profession here is the confession that Christ's
kingdom is the kingdom of the truth,
Joh 18:36, 37),
at thy being set apart to thy ministerial function (whether in general,
or as overseer at Ephesus): the same occasion as is referred to in
1Ti 1:18; 4:14;
before many witnesses--who would testify against thee if thou shouldest
fall away [BENGEL].
13. quickeneth all things--that is, "maketh alive." But the oldest
manuscripts read, "preserveth alive"; as the same Greek means in
He urges Timothy to faithfulness here by the present manifestation of
God's power in preserving all things, as in
by the future manifestation of God's power at the appearing of Christ.
The assurance that "eternal life,"
will be the result of "fighting the good fight," rests on the fulness
and power of Him who is the God of all life, present and to come.
witnessed--It was the Lord's part to witness, Timothy's
part to confess (or "profess,"
"the good confession" [BENGEL]. The
confession was His testimony that He was King, and His kingdom that of
the truth (see on
Christ, in attesting, or bearing witness to this truth, attested the
truth of the whole of Christianity. Timothy's profession, or
confession, included therefore the whole of the Christian
14. keep this commandment--Greek, "the commandment," that is, the
Gospel rule of life
2Pe 2:21; 3:2).
without spot, unrebukeable--agreeing with "thou." Keep the commandment
and so be without spot," &c. "Pure"
until the appearing of . . . Christ--His coming in
Believers then used in their practice to set before themselves the day
of Christ as near at hand; we, the hour of death
[BENGEL]. The fact has in all ages of the Church
been certain, the time as uncertain to Paul, as it is to us; hence,
he says, "in HIS times": the Church's true
attitude is that of continual expectation of her Lord's return
Php 1:6, 10).
15. in his times--Greek, "His own [fitting] times"
The plural implies successive stages in the manifestation of the
kingdom of God, each having its own appropriate time, the regulating
principle and knowledge of which rests with the Father
he shall show--"display": an expression appropriate in reference
to His "APPEARING," which is stronger than His
"coming," and implies its visibility; "manifest": make
"He" is the Father
blessed--in Himself: so about to be the source of blessing to
His people at Christ appearing, whence flows their "blessed hope"
King of kings--elsewhere applied also to Jesus
(Re 1:5; 17:14; 19:16).
16. Who only hath immortality--in His own essence, not merely at
the will of another, as all other immortal beings
Quæst. ad Orthod., 61]. As He hath immortality, so
will He give it to us who believe; to be out of Him is death. It is
mere heathen philosophy that attributes to the soul indestructibility
in itself, which is to be attributed solely to God's gift. As He hath
life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in
The term used in the New Testament for "immortal," which does not
occur, is "incorruptible." "Immortality" is found in
1Co 15:53, 54.
dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto--After
life comes mention of light, as in
That light is unapproachable to creatures, except in so
far as they are admitted by Him, and as He goes forth to them
[BENGEL]. It is unapproachable on account
of its exceeding brightness [THEOPHYLACT]. If one
cannot gaze steadfastly at the sun, which is but a small part of
creation, by reason of its exceeding heat and power, how much less can
mortal man gaze at the inexpressible glory of God [THEOPHYLACT, To Autolycus]
no man hath seen--
Perhaps even in the perfect state no creature shall fully see God.
Still the saints shall, in some sense, have the blessedness of
seeing Him, which is denied to mere man
17. Resuming the subject from above,
1Ti 6:5, 10.
The immortality of God, alone rich in glory, and of His people through
Him, is opposed to the lust of money (compare
From speaking of the desire to be rich, he here passes to those
who are rich: (1) What ought to be their disposition; (2) What
use they ought to make of their riches, and, (3) The consequences of
their so using them.
rich in this world--contrasted with the riches of the future kingdom
to be the portion of believers at Christ's "appearing,"
high-minded--often the character of the rich (see
trust--Greek, "to have their trust resting."
in . . . in--rather, "upon . . . upon," as the oldest manuscripts.
uncertain riches--rather as Greek, "the
uncertainty of riches." They who rest their trust on riches,
rest trust on uncertainty itself
Now they belong to one person, now to another, and that which has many
masters is possessed by none [THEODORET].
living God--The best manuscripts and versions omit "living." He who
trusts in riches transfers to them the duty he owes to God [CALVIN].
who giveth--Greek, "affordeth."
all things richly--temporal and eternal, for the body and for the soul.
In order to be truly rich, seek to be blessed of, and in, God
to enjoy--Greek, "for enjoyment." Not that the heart may
cleave to them as its idol and trust
Enjoyment consists in giving, not in holding fast.
Non-employment should be far removed, as from man, so from his
(Jas 5:2, 3)
18. do good--like God Himself
TITTMANN translates, "to do," or "act well"; as
the Greek for "to be beneficent" is a distinct word,
rich in good works--so "rich in faith," which produces good works
Contrasted with "rich in this world,"
Literally, it is "rich in honorable (right) works." Greek,
"kalois," "ergois," are works good or right in
themselves: "agathois," good to another.
ready to distribute--free givers [ALFORD]; the heart not cleaving to
possessions, but ready to impart to others.
willing to communicate--ready contributors
[ALFORD]: liberal in
admitting others to share our goods in common with ourselves
19. Laying up in store--"therefrom (that is, by this means
[ALFORD]; but BENGEL makes
the Greek "apo" mean laying apart against a future
time), laying up for themselves as a treasure"
(Mt 6:19, 20).
This is a treasure which we act wisely in laying up in store,
whereas the wisest thing we can do with earthly treasures is "to
distribute" them and give others a share of them
good foundation--(See on
The sure reversion of the future heavenly inheritance: earthly riches
scattered in faith lay up in store a sure increase of
heavenly riches. We gather by scattering
(Pr 11:24; 13:7;
that . . . eternal life--The oldest manuscripts and
versions read, "that which is really life," its joys being solid
The life that now is cannot be called so, its goods being
unsubstantial, and itself a vapor
"In order that ('with their feet so to speak on this foundation'
[DE WETTE]) they may lay hold
on that which is life indeed."
20, 21. Recapitulatory conclusion: the main aim of the whole Epistle
being here summarily stated.
O Timothy--a personal appeal, marking at once his affection for
Timothy, and his prescience of the coming heresies.
keep--from spiritual thieves, and from enemies who will, while men
sleep, sow tares amidst the good seed sown by the Son of man.
that which is committed to thy trust--Greek, "the deposit"
2Ti 1:12, 14; 2:2).
"The true" or "sound doctrine" to be taught, as opposed
to "the science falsely so called," which leads to
"error concerning the faith"
"It is not thine: it is another's property with which thou hast been
entrusted: Diminish it not at all" [CHRYSOSTOM].
"That which was entrusted to thee, not found by thee; which thou hast
received, not invented; a matter not of genius, but of teaching; not of
private usurpation, but of public tradition; a matter brought to thee,
not put forth by thee, in which thou oughtest to be not an enlarger,
but a guardian; not an originator, but a disciple; not leading, but
following. 'Keep,' saith he, 'the deposit,'; preserve intact and
inviolate the talent of the catholic faith. What has been entrusted to
thee, let that same remain with thee; let that same be handed down by
thee. Gold thou hast received, gold return. I should be sorry thou
shouldest substitute aught else. I should be sorry that for gold thou
shouldest substitute lead impudently, or brass fraudulently. I do not
want the mere appearance of gold, but its actual reality. Not that
there is to be no progress in religion in Christ's Church. Let there be
so by all means, and the greatest progress; but then let it be real
progress, not a change of the faith. Let the intelligence of the whole
Church and its individual members increase exceedingly, provided it be
only in its own kind, the doctrine being still the same. Let the
religion of the soul resemble the growth of the body,which, though it
develops its several parts in the progress of years, yet remains the
same as it was essentially" [VINCENTIUS LIRINENSIS, A.D. 434].
avoiding--"turning away from" (compare
Even as they have "turned away from the truth"
(1Ti 1:6; 5:15;
vain--Greek, "empty": mere "strifes of words,"
producing no moral fruit.
oppositions--dialectic antithesis of the false teachers
[ALFORD]. WIESINGER, not so
probably, "oppositions to the sound doctrine." I think it likely germs
existed already of the heresy of dualistic oppositions, namely, between
the good and evil principle, afterwards fully developed in Gnosticism.
Contrast Paul's just antithesis
(1Ti 3:16; 6:5, 6;
science falsely so called--where there is not faith, there is not
knowledge [CHRYSOSTOM]. There was true "knowledge," a special gift of
the Spirit, which was abused by some
(1Co 8:1; 12:8; 14:6).
This gift was soon counterfeited by false teachers arrogating to
themselves pre-eminently the gift
(Col 2:8, 18, 23).
Hence arose the creeds of the Church, called symbols, that is,
in Greek, "watchwords," or a test whereby the orthodox might
distinguish one another in opposition to the heretical. Perhaps here,
and 2Ti 1:13, 14,
imply the existence of some such brief formula of doctrine then
existing in the Church; if so, we see a good reason for its not being
written in Scripture, which is designed not to give dogmatic
formularies, but to be the fountain whence all such formularies are to
be drawn according to the exigencies of the several churches and ages.
Probably thus a portion of the so-called apostle's creed may have had
their sanction, and been preserved solely by tradition on this account.
"The creed, handed down from the apostles, is not written on paper and
with ink, but on fleshy tables of the heart"
JEROME [Against John of Jerusalem, 9].
Thus, in the creed, contrary to the "oppositions" (the germs of which
probably existed in the Church in Paul's latter days) whereby the aeons
were set off in pairs, God is stated to be "the Father
Almighty," or all-governing "maker of heaven and earth" [BISHOP HINDS].
21. Which some professing--namely, professing these
oppositions of science falsely so called.
--literally, "missed the mark"
(2Ti 3:7, 8).
True sagacity is inseparable from faith.
Grace--Greek, "the grace," namely, of God, for which we
Christians look, and in which we stand [ALFORD].
be with thee--He restricts the salutation to Timothy, as the
Epistle was not to be read in public [BENGEL]. But
the oldest manuscripts read, "be with you"; and the "thee" may be a
transcriber's alteration to harmonize with
Amen--omitted in the oldest manuscripts.