1 Timothy 6
I. He treats of the duty of servants,
1 Timothy 6:1,2.
II. Of false teachers,
1 Timothy 6:3-5.
III. Of godliness and covetousness,
1 Timothy 6:6-10.
IV. What Timothy was to flee, and what to follow,
1 Timothy 6:11,12.
V. A solemn charge,
1 Timothy 6:13-16.
VI. A charge for the rich,
1 Timothy 6:17-19.
And lastly, a charge to Timothy,
1 Timothy 6:20,21.
|The Duty of Servants.
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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.
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.
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;
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and
strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of
the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw
I. Here is the duty of servants. The apostle had spoken before of
church-relations, here of our family-relations. Servants are here said
to be under the yoke, which denotes both subjection and labour;
they are yoked to work, not to be idle. If Christianity finds servants
under the yoke, it continues them under it; for the gospel does not
cancel the obligations any lie under either by the law of nature or by
mutual consent. They must respect their masters, count them worthy
of all honour (because they are their masters), of all the respect,
observance, compliance, and obedience, that are justly expected from
servants to their masters. Not that they were to think that of them
which they were not; but as their masters they must count them worthy
of all that honour which was fit for them to receive, that the name
of God be not blasphemed. If servants that embraced the Christian
religion should grow insolent and disobedient to their masters, the
doctrine of Christ would be reflected on for their sakes, as if it had
made men worse livers than they had been before they received the
gospel. Observe, If the professors of religion misbehave themselves,
the name of God and his doctrine are in danger of being
blasphemed by those who seek occasion to speak evil of that worthy
name by which we are called. And this is a good reason why we
should all conduct ourselves well, that we may prevent the occasion
which many seek, and will be very apt to lay hold of, to speak ill of
religion for our sakes. Or suppose the master were a Christian, and a
believer, and the servant a believer too, would not this excuse him,
because in Christ there is neither bond nor free? No, by no
means, for Jesus Christ did not come to dissolve the bond of civil
relation, but to strengthen it: Those that have believing masters,
let them not despise them because they are brethren; for this
brotherhood relates only to spiritual privileges, not to any outward
dignity or advantage (those misunderstood and abuse their religion who
make it a pretence for denying the duties that they owe to their
relations); nay, rather do them service, because they are faithful
and beloved. They must think themselves the more obliged to serve
them because the faith and love that bespeak men Christians oblige them
to do good; and that is all wherein their service consists. Observe, It
is a great encouragement to us in doing our duty to our relations if we
have reason to think they are faithful and beloved, and partakers of
the benefit, that is, of the benefit of Christianity. Again,
Believing masters and servants are brethren, and partakers of the
benefit; for in Christ Jesus there is neither bond nor free, for you
are all one in Christ Jesus,
Timothy is appointed to teach and exhort these things. Ministers
must preach not only the general duties of all, but the duties of
II. Paul here warns Timothy to withdraw from those who corrupted the
doctrine of Christ, and made it the subject off strife, debate, and
controversy: If any man teach otherwise
(1 Timothy 6:3-5),
do not preach practically, do not teach and exhort that which is for
the promoting of serious godliness--if he will not consent to wholesome
words, words that have a direct tendency to heal the soul--if he will
not consent to these, even the words of our Lord Jesus
Christ. Observe, We are not required to consent to any words as
wholesome words except the words of our Lord Jesus Christ; but to those
we must give our unfeigned assent and consent, and to the doctrine
which is according to godliness. Observe, The doctrine of our Lord
Jesus is a doctrine according to godliness; it has a direct tendency to
make people godly. But he that does not consent to the words of Christ
(1 Timothy 6:4)
and contentious, ignorant, and does a great deal of mischief to the
church, knowing nothing. Observe, Commonly those are most proud who
know least; for with all their knowledge they do not know
themselves.--But doting about questions. Those who fall off from
the plain practical doctrines of Christianity fall in with
controversies, which eat out the life and power of religion; they dote
about questions and strifes of words, which do a great deal of
mischief in the church, are the occasion of envy, strife, railings,
evil surmisings. When men are not content with the words of the
Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is according to godliness,
but will frame notions of their own and impose them, and that too in
their own words, which man's wisdom teaches, and not in the words which
the Holy Ghost teaches
(1 Corinthians 2:13),
they sow the seeds of all mischief in the church. Hence come
perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds
(1 Timothy 6:5),
disputes that are all subtlety, and no solidity. Observe, Men of
corrupt minds are destitute of the truth. The reason why men's
minds are corrupt is because they do not stick to the truth as it is
in Jesus: supposing that gain is godliness, making religion truckle
to their secular interest. From such as these Timothy is warned to
withdraw himself. We observe,
1. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ are wholesome words, they are the
fittest to prevent or heal the church's wounds, as well as to heal a
wounded conscience; for Christ has the tongue of the learned, to speak
a word in season to him that is weary,
The words of Christ are the best to prevent ruptures in the church; for
none who profess faith in him will dispute the aptness or authority of
his words who is their Lord and teacher, and it has never gone well
with the church since the words of men have claimed a regard equal to
his words, and in some cases a much greater.
2. Whoever teaches otherwise, and does not consent to these wholesome
words, he is proud, knowing nothing; for pride and ignorance commonly
3. Paul sets a brand only on those who consent not to the words of our
Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is according to godliness;
they are proud, knowing nothing: other words more wholesome he knew
4. We learn the sad effects of doting about questions and strifes of
words; of such doting about questions comes envy, strife, evil
surmisings, and perverse disputings; when men leave the wholesome words
of our Lord Jesus Christ, they will never agree in other words, either
of their own or other men's invention, but will perpetually wrangle and
quarrel about them; and this will produce envy, when they see the words
of others preferred to those they have adopted for their own; and this
will be attended with jealousies and suspicions of one another, called
here evil surmisings; then they will proceed to perverse
5. Such persons as are given to perverse disputings appear to be men of
corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth; especially such as act in
this manner for the sake of gain, which is all their godliness,
supposing gain to be godliness, contrary to the apostle's judgment, who
reckoned godliness great gain.
6. Good ministers and Christians will withdraw themselves from such.
"Come out from among them, my people, and be ye separate," says the
Lord: from such withdraw thyself.
|Excellence of Contentment; Evil of Covetousness.
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6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain
we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
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.
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.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after
righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
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.
From the mention of the abuse which some put upon religion, making it
to serve their secular advantages, the apostle,
I. Takes occasion to show the excellency of contentment and the evil of
1. The excellency of contentment,
1 Timothy 6:6-8.
Some account Christianity an advantageous profession for this world. In
the sense they mean this is false; yet it is undoubtedly true that,
though Christianity is the worst trade, it is the best calling in the
world. Those that make a trade of it, merely to serve their turn for
this world, will be disappointed, and find it a sorry trade; but those
that mind it as their calling, and make a business of it, will find it
a gainful calling, for it has the promise of the life that now is, as
well as of that which is to come.
(1.) The truth he lays down is that godliness with contentment is
great gain. Some read it, godliness with a competency; that
is, if a man have but a little in this world, yet, if he have but
enough to carry him through it, he needs desire no more, his godliness
with that will be his great gain. For a little which a righteous man
has is better than the riches of many wicked,
We read it, godliness with contentment; godliness is itself
great gain, it is profitable to all things; and, wherever there is true
godliness, there will be contentment; but those have arrived at the
highest pitch of contentment with their godliness are certainly the
easiest happiest people in this world. Godliness with
contentment, that is, Christian contentment (content must come from
principles of godliness) is great gain; it is all the wealth in the
world. He that is godly is sure to be happy in another world; and if
withal he do by contentment accommodate himself to his condition in
this world he has enough. Here we have,
[1.] A Christian's gain; it is godliness with contentment, this is the
true way to gain, yea, it is gain itself.
[2.] A Christian's gain is great: it is not like the little gain of
worldlings, who are so fond of a little worldly advantage.
[3.] Godliness is ever accompanied with contentment in a great or less
degree; all truly godly people have learned with Paul, in whatever
state they are, to be therewith content,
They are content with what God allots for them, well knowing that this
is best for them. Let us all then endeavour after godliness with
(2.) The reason he gives for it is, For we brought nothing with us
into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out,
1 Timothy 6:7.
This is a reason why we should be content with a little.
[1.] Because we can challenge nothing as a debt that is due to us, for
we came naked into the world. Whatever we have had since, we are
obliged to the providence of God for it; but he that gave may take what
and when he pleases. We had our beings, our bodies, our lives (which
are more than meat, and which are more than raiment), when we came into
the world, though we came naked, and brought nothing with us; may we
not then be content while our beings and lives are continued to us,
though we have not every thing we would have? We brought nothing with
us into this world, and yet God provided for us, care was taken of us,
we have been fed all our lives long unto this day; and therefore, when
we are reduced to the greatest straits, we cannot be poorer than when
we came into this world, and yet then we were provided for; therefore
let us trust in God for the remaining part of our pilgrimage.
[2.] We shall carry nothing with us out of this world. A shroud, a
coffin, and a grave, are all that the richest man in the world can have
from his thousands. Therefore why should we covet much? Why should we
not be content with a little, because, how much soever we have, we must
leave it behind us?
(3.) Hence he infers, having food and raiment, let us be therewith
1 Timothy 6:8.
Food and a covering, including habitation as well as raiment.
Observe, If God give us the necessary supports of life, we ought to be
content therewith, though we have not the ornaments and delights of it.
If nature should be content with a little, grace should be content with
less; though we have not dainty food, though we have not costly
raiment, if we have but food and raiment convenient for us we ought to
be content. This was Agur's prayer: Give me neither poverty nor
riches; feed me with food convenient for me,
Here we see,
[1.] The folly of placing our happiness in these things, when we did
not bring any thing into this world with us, and we can carry nothing
out. What will worldlings do when death shall strip them of their
happiness and portion, and they must take an everlasting farewell of
all these things, on which they have so much doted? They may say with
poor Micah, You have taken away my gods; and what have I more?
[2.] The necessaries of life are the hounds of a true Christian's
desire, and with these he will endeavour to be content; his desires are
not insatiable; no, a little, a few comforts of this life, will serve
him, and these may hope to enjoy: Having food and raiment.
2. The evil of covetousness. Those that will be rich (that set
their hearts upon the wealth of this world, and are resolved right or
wrong, they will have it), fall into temptation and a snare,
1 Timothy 6:9.
It is not said, those that are rich, but those that will be rich, that
is, that place their happiness in worldly wealth, that covet it
inordinately, and are eager and violent in the pursuit of it. Those
that are such fall into temptation and a snare, unavoidably;
for, when the devil sees which way their lusts carry them, he will soon
bait his hook accordingly. He knew how fond Achan would be of a wedge
of gold, and therefore laid that before him. They fall into many
foolish and hurtful lusts. Observe,
(1.) The apostle supposes that,
[1.] Some will be rich; that is, they are resolved upon it, nothing
short of a great abundance will satisfy.
[2.] Such will not be safe nor innocent, for they will be in danger of
ruining themselves for ever; they fall into temptation, and a snare,
[3.] Worldly lusts are foolish and hurtful, for they drown men in
destruction and perdition.
[4.] It is good for us to consider the mischievousness of worldly
fleshly lusts. They are foolish, and therefore we should be ashamed of
them, hurtful, and therefore we should be afraid of them, especially
considering to what degree they are hurtful, for they drown men in
destruction and perdition.
(2.) The apostle affirms that the love of money is the root of all
1 Timothy 6:10.
What sins will not men be drawn to by the love of money? Particularly
this was at the bottom of the apostasy of many from the faith of
Christ; while they coveted money, they erred from the faith,
they quitted their Christianity, and pierced themselves through with
many sorrows. Observe,
[1.] What is the root of all evil; the love of money: people may have
money, and yet not love it; but, if they love it inordinately, it will
push them on to all evil.
[2.] Covetous persons will quit the faith, if that be the way to get
money: Which while some coveted after, they have erred from the
faith. Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world,
2 Timothy 4:10.
For the world was dearer to him than Christianity. Observe, Those that
err from the faith pierce themselves with many sorrows; those that
depart from God do but treasure up sorrows for themselves.
II. Hence he takes occasion to caution Timothy, and to counsel him to
keep in the way of God and his duty, and particularly to fulfil the
trust reposed in him as a minister. He addresses himself to him as a
man of God. Ministers are men of God, and ought to conduct
themselves accordingly in every thing; they are men employed for God,
devoted to his honour more immediately. The prophets under the Old
Testament were called men of God.
1. He charges Timothy to take heed of the love of money, which had been
so pernicious to many: Flee these things. 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.
2. To arm him against the love of the world, he directs him to follow
that which is good. Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith,
love, patience, meekness: righteousness in his conversation towards
men, godliness towards God, faith and love as living principles, to
support him and carry him on in the practice both of righteousness and
godliness. Those that follow after righteousness and godliness, from a
principle of faith and love, have need to put on patience and
meekness--patience to bear both the rebukes of Providence and the
reproaches of men, and meekness wherewith to instruct gainsayers and
pass by the affronts and injuries that are done us. Observe, It is not
enough that men of God flee these things, but they must follow after
what is directly contrary thereto. Further, What excellent persons men
of God are who follow after righteousness! They are the excellent of
the earth, and, being acceptable to God, they should be approved of
3. He exhorts him to do the part of a soldier: Fight the good fight
of faith. Note, Those who will get to heaven must fight their way
thither. There must be a conflict with corruption and temptations, and
the opposition of the powers of darkness. Observe, It is a good fight,
it is a good cause, and it will have a good issue. It is the fight of
faith; we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare
are not carnal,
2 Corinthians 10:3,4.
He exhorts him to lay hold on eternal life. Observe,
(1.) Eternal life is the crown proposed to us, for our encouragement to
war, and to fight the good fight of faith, the good warfare.
(2.) This we must lay hold on, as those that are afraid of coming short
of it and losing it. Lay hold, and take heed of losing your hold.
Hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown,
(3.) We are called to the fight, and to lay hold on eternal life.
(4.) The profession Timothy and all faithful ministers make before many
witnesses is a good profession; for they profess and engage to fight
the good fight of faith, and to lay hold on eternal life; their calling
and their own profession oblige them to this.
|The Apostle's Solemn Charge; Caution to Rich.
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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;
14 That thou keep this commandment without spot,
unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
15 Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and
only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
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.
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;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to
distribute, willing to communicate;
19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against
the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust,
avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science
falsely so called:
21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace
be with thee. Amen.
The apostle here charges Timothy to keep this commandment (that
is, the whole work of his ministry, all the trust reposed in him, all
the service expected from him) without spot, unrebukable; he
must conduct himself so in his ministry that he might not lay himself
open to any blame nor incur any blemish. What are the motives to move
him to this?
I. He gives him a solemn charge: I give thee charge in the sight of
God that thou do this. He charges him as he will answer it at the
great day to that God whose eyes are upon us all, who sees what we are
and what we do:--God, who quickens all things, who has life in
himself and is the fountain of life. This should quicken us to the
service of God that we serve a God who quickens all things. He charges
him before Christ Jesus, to whom in a peculiar manner he stood related
as a minister of his gospel: Who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a
good confession. Observe, Christ died not only as a sacrifice, but
as a martyr; and he witnessed a good confession when he was arraigned
before Pilate, saying
My kingdom is not of this world: I am come to bear witness unto the
truth. That good confession of his before Pilate, My kingdom is
not of this world, should be effectual to draw off all his
followers, both ministers and people, from the love of this world.
II. He reminds him of the confession that he himself had made: Thou
hast professed a good profession before many witnesses
(1 Timothy 6:12),
namely, when he was ordained by the laying on of the hands of the
presbytery. The obligation of that was still upon him, and he must live
up to that, and be quickened by that, to do the work of his
III. He reminds him of Christ's second coming: "Keep this
commandment-until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; keep it
as long as thou live, till Christ come at death to give thee a
discharge. Keep it with an eye to his second coming, when we must all
give an account of the talents we have been entrusted with,"
Observe, The Lord Jesus Christ will appear, and it will be a glorious
appearing, not like his first appearing in the days of his humiliation.
Ministers should have an eye to this appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ
in all their ministrations, and, till his appearing, they are to keep
this commandment without spot, unrebukable. Mentioning the appearing of
Christ, as one that loved it, Paul loves to speak of it, and loves to
speak of him who shall then appear. The appearing of Christ is certain
(he shall show it), but it is not for us to know the time and
season of it, which the Father has kept in his own power: let this
suffice us, that in time he will show it, in the time that he thinks
fit for it. Observe,
1. Concerning Christ and God the Father the apostle here speaks great
(1.) That God is the only Potentate; the powers of earthly princes are
all derived from him, and depend upon him. The powers that exist are
ordained of God,
He is the only Potentate that is absolute and sovereign, and perfectly
(2.) He is the blessed and the only Potentate, infinitely happy, and
nothing can in the least impair his happiness.
(3.) He is King of kings, and Lord of lords. All the kings of the earth
derive their power from him; he gave them their crowns, they hold them
under him, and he has a sovereign dominion over them. This is Christ's
upon his vesture and his thigh; for he has a name higher than
the kings of the earth.
(4.) He only has immortality. He only is immortal in himself, and has
immortality as he is the fountain of it, for the immortality of angels
and spirits derived from him.
(5.) He dwells in inaccessible light, light which no man can
approach unto: no man can get to heaven but those whom he is
pleased to bring thither, and admit into his kingdom.
(6.) He is invisible: Whom no man hath seen, nor can see. It is
impossible that mortal eyes should bear the brightness of the divine
glory. No man can see God and live.
2. Having mentioned these glorious attributes, he concludes with a
doxology: To him be honour and power everlasting. Amen. God
having all power and honour to himself, it is our duty to ascribe all
power and honour to him.
(1.) What an evil is sin, when committed against such a God, the
blessed and only Potentate! The evil of it rises in proportion to the
dignity of him against whom it is committed.
(2.) Great is his condescension, to take notice of such mean and vile
creatures as we are. What are we then, that the blessed God, the King
of kings and Lord of lords, should seek after us?
(3.) Blessed are those who are admitted to dwell with this great and
blessed Potentate. Happy are thy men (says the queen of Sheba
to king Solomon), happy are these thy servants, who stand
continually before thee,
1 Kings 10:8.
Much more happy are those who are allowed to stand before the King of
(4.) Let us love, adore, and praise, the great God; for who shall
not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? For thou only art
IV. The apostle adds, by way of postscript, a lesson for rich people,
1 Timothy 6:17-19.
1. Timothy must charge those that are rich to beware of the
temptations, and improve the opportunities, of their prosperous estate.
(1.) He must caution them to take heed of pride. This is a sin that
easily besets rich people, upon whom the world smiles. Charge them
that they be not high-minded, or think of themselves above what
is meet, or be puffed up with their wealth.
(2.) He must caution them against vain confidence in their wealth.
Charge them that they trust not in uncertain riches. Nothing is
more uncertain than the wealth of this world; many have had much of it
one day and been stripped of all the next. Riches make themselves
wings, and fly away as an eagle, &c.,
(3.) He must charge them to trust in God, the living God, to
make him their hope, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.
Those who are rich must see God giving them their riches, and giving
them to enjoy them richly; for many have riches, but enjoy them poorly,
not having a heart to use them.
(4.) He must charge them to do good with what they have (for what is
the best estate worth, any more than as it gives a man an opportunity
of doing so much the more good?): That they be rich in good
works. Those are truly rich who are rich in good works. That they
be ready to distribute, willing to communicate: not only to do
it, but to do it willingly, for God loves a cheerful giver.
(5.) He must charge them to think of another world, and prepare for
that which is to come by works of charity: Laying up in store a good
foundation against the time to come, that they may take hold on
2. Hence we may observe,
(1.) Ministers must not be afraid of the rich; be they ever so rich,
they must speak to them, and charge them.
(2.) They must caution them against pride, and vain confidence in their
riches: That they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain
riches. Stir them up to works of piety and charity: That they do
(3.) This is the way for the rich to lay up in store for themselves for
the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life; in the way of
well-doing we are to seek for glory, honour, and immortality, and
eternal life will be the end of all,
(4.) Here is a lesson for ministers in the charge given to Timothy:
Keep that which is committed to thy trust. Every minister is a
trustee, and it is a treasure committed to his trust, which he has to
keep. The truths of God, the ordinances of God, keep these, avoiding
profane and vain babblings; not affecting human eloquence, which
the apostle calls vain babbling, or human learning, which often opposes
the truths of God, but keep close to the written word, for that is
committed to our trust. Some who have been very proud of their
learning, their science, which is falsely so called, have by
that been debauched in their principles and been drawn away from the
faith of Christ, which is a good reason why we should keep to the plain
word of the gospel, and resolve to live and die by that. Observe,
[1.] Ministers cannot be too earnestly exhorted to keep what is
committed to their trust, because it is a great trust lodged with them:
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust! as if he
had said, "I cannot conclude without charging thee again; whatever thou
doest, be sure to keep this trust, for it is too great a trust to be
[2.] Ministers are to avoid babblings, if they would keep what is
committed to them, because they are vain and profane.
[3.] That science that opposes the truth of the gospel is falsely so
called; it is not true science, for if it were it would approve of the
gospel and consent to it.
[4.] Those who are so fond of such science are in great danger of
erring concerning the faith; those who are for advancing reason above
faith are in danger of leaving faith.
V. Our apostle concludes with a solemn prayer and benediction: Grace
be with thee. Amen. Observe, this is a short, yet comprehensive
prayer for our friends, for grace comprehends in it all that is good,
and grace is an earnest, yea, a beginning, of glory; for, wherever God
gives grace, he will give glory, and will not withhold any good thing
from him who walketh uprightly. Grace be with you all. Amen.