1 Timothy 6. 11 to 16
W. E. Vine, Bath
Verse 11. But thou, O Man, of God, — whilst this mode of address is used here in special application to Timothy, there is nothing technical about it; the word rendered "man" is not aner, which denotes the masculine gender, but anthropos, a generic term, denoting a member of the human race, without reference to sex. It designates one who, having become a new creature in Christ and indwelt by the Spirit of God, is possessed of the privilege of fellowship with God, and whose character is god-like. In the Old Testament it was applied to those who, like the prophets, responded to the operation of the Spirit of God and, walking in fellowship with Him, acted as His messengers in the midst of His people. See 1 Sam. 9. 6; 1 Kings 12. 22; 13. 1, e.g. The term is one which should characterize every believer who is godly in character and conduct.
flee these things; - that is, the love of money, with all its attendant evils. The verb is here used transitively in the sense of putting to flight adverse influences. Cp. 1 Cor. 6. 18; 10. 14; 2 Tim. 2. 22.
and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. - to resist all that is detrimental to the life of the believer is necessary, but not enough. Our energies are to he directed earnestly to tilt pursuit of those qualities which make us Christlike. A threefold wisdom is perhaps discernible in regard to these qualities, righteousness and godliness representing the more general fulfilment of Divine, in junctions, faith and love specifying more particularly the motive powers of the Christian life, patience and meekness being the qualities necessary for meeting human antagonism and adverse circumstances.
Righteousness is mentioned in this Epistle here only. It is the character or quality of being right or just; it here stands for all that God demands "as meeting His requirements. As to godliness, this is the last of the eight occurrences of the word in the Epistle; see at 2. 2; 3. 16; 4. 7, 8 6. 3, 5, 6. For faith and love see at 1. 14. Patience (hupomone) is mentioned here only in 1 Tim.; it lit. means 'abiding under' and denotes endurance under trials of whatever character. The word praupathia, meekness, is found here in the mast authentic mss., and here only in the N.T., in contrast to the usual word prautes or praotes. It signifies a meek disposition.
Verse 12. Fight the good fight of the faith, — i.e., engage in the conflicting which the faith entails. The reference can scarcely be to the contest in the games. The verb was not confined to such a meaning, and it is not so suitable here as that of contending perseveringly against opposition. Conflict against foes is rather the idea.
It is perhaps difficult to decide whether pistis is to be regarded here as "faith" (A.V.), i.e., belief, trust, or "the faith" (R.V.). i.e., what is believed, the sum total of the doctrines of Scripture. The word was used just before in the former sense, but that docs not necessarily form a guide as to its present meaning; the two distinct meanings are together in 1. 19. Moreover the Apostle has just spoken of "the faith" in 6. 10. It seems quite appropriate to regard it so here, as in 3. 9, 13; 4. 1; 4. 9 (R.V.); 5. 8; 6. 21. "The faith" cannot, in any such exhortation, be dissociated from "faith." To fight the fight of the faith demands the exercise of faith. The doctrines of the faith are the objects of Satan's unremitting attacks. The conflict involves our watching unto prayer, the constant use of the Word of God, and a bold confession of the faith. The tense of the verb is the present continuous, indicating a constant struggle.
lay hold on the life eternal, — the tense of the verb is nowthe aorist, marking a definite, decisive act. Some regard the laying hold on eternal life as being virtually the same tiling as lighting the good tight. See, however, verse 19, where the same verb is used apart from the idea of conflict. Certainty the fight of the faith involves the laying hold of eternal lifts, but the latter indicates the practical appropriation of the benefits, privileges and responsibilities attached to the possession of the life.
whereunto thou wast called, — to be called to eternal life is the experience of every believer; he is thereby called "into the fellowship of His (God's) Son Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor. 1. 9), and "unto His eternal glory in Christ" (1 Pet. 5. 10). See also 2 Tim. 1. 9. and cp. Gal. 1. 15. The Apostle's reminder to Timothy doubtless carries with it the thought of the character of the service involved in the life.
and didst confess the good confession in the sight of many witnesses. - this reminder was no doubt intended as a stimulus to the fulfilment of the injunctions given. The help afforded by the Lord in the past in enabling us to be faithful, needs to be kept in mind. The power of God in our past experiences should be an incentive to continued reliance upon Him for further faithfulness in His cause.
The good (kalos, excellent, noble) confession was made both at his baptism and in the testimony which gained for him the approval of the brethren at Lystra and Iconium (Acts 16. 2; 1 Tim. 4. 14). Further, he had not hesitated to associate himself with the cause of the Gospel, to which he was called in association with Paul, cp. 2 Cor. 9. 13.
Verse 13. I charge thee - see at 1. 3, where the same word, parangello, to charge by way of proclaiming, is used; in 5. 21 the
word is diamarturomai, to charge earnestly by way of testifying.
in the sight of God, — see at 5. 21.
who quickeneth all things, — the word zoogoneo, which is found here in the best mss. (some have zoopoieo, to cause or make to live), denotes to preserve alive, as in the R.V. marg., "preserveth all things alive." It is used elsewhere in the N.T. in Luke 17. 33, "shall preserve (it)," and, negatively, in Acts 7. 19, "they might (not) live" (R.V. marg., Greek, "be preserved alive"). The word is used in the Septuagint of Ex. 1. 17, 18, 22, of saving the lives of infants. With the fact here mentioned in verse 13 cp. Acts 17. 25, 28; Job 33. 4, R.V.
This being so, Timothy could well be assured of the protecting care of God amidst the dangers and difficulties at Ephesus. The hardships consequent upon faithful witness are designed to deepen our reliance upon the Lord's unfailing care.
and of Christ Jesus, — for the significance of the order of the titles see Notes on 1. 1.
who before Pontius Pilate witnessed the good confession: — there is a Change from the preposition enöpion, "in the sight of," to epi, "before." This has been regarded as meaning 'in the days of,' 'under' (so the Vulgate and the Apostles' Creed). It seems, however, to mean 'in the presence of,' 'before the face of.' It is used in the letter sense, regarding similar circumstances, in Mark 13. 9; Acts 24. 19, 20; 25. 9; 26. 2; 1 Cor. 6. 1, 6; and this meaning is consistent with the Gospel narratives cone fining Christ's witness before Pilate in the Judgment Hall. The good confession was thus con earning His kingship, the purpose for which He came into the world, His kingdom and its character, Matt. 27, 11; John 18. 36, 37. The reference to this witness leads on to the future testimony which Christ wilt give as mentioned in verses. 15, 16. But the special point now is the encouragement given to Timothy by reason of the example set by his Master before Pilate in view of the terrible Death which would inevitably issue from the confession He was making. Such faithfulness has provided, and should ever provide, an incentive to His servants to face danger and death in the same way, with the higher motive of unswerving fidelity to Christ Himself.
Verse 14. that thou keep the commandment, - not simply the injunctions in verses 11 and 12, but all the obligations of the Gospel and its ministry as conveyed in preceding exhortations in the Epistle; this the succeeding clauses indicate.
without spot, - the word aspilos, unspotted, unstained, is? (a) of a lamb, 1 Pet. 1. 19; (b) metaphorically of the believer in regard to the world, Jas. 1. 27, and of his condition as in the sight of God in view of the dissolution of the present heavens and earth and the introduction of a new universe; and (c) here of the necessity of maintaining the faith, by testimony of lip and life, in freedom from every incongruous element and contaminating influence.
without reproach, - for anepilemotos see on 3. 2.
until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: — the word epiphaneia (Eng. epiphany) denotes a shining forth; it is used in the N.T. (a) of Christ's first. Advent, at His Birth. 2 Tim. 1. 10; (b) here and in 2 Tim. 4. 1, 8, of His coming in the air for His saints fit the Rapture; (c) of His Second Advent, when He cornea with His saints and His angels, at the shining forth, the unveiling, (apokalupsis) of His Parousia with them, 3 Thess. 2. 8; Tit. 2. 13 (cp. Matt. 24, 27). The "appearing" mentioned in the present passage is described in detail in 1 Thess. 4.
Verse. 15. which in Us own limes — or perhaps, as in the margin, in "His" own times, i.e., those appointed by the Lord; the word is kairos, 'seasons' (see at 2. 6), times signalized by certain details and incidents, here, presumably, the seasons in which the facts now about to be mentioned are destined to be made known.
He shall shew, — i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ will demonstrate to the bum an race and to the universe. Thus the passage speaks of a double testimony by Him; one in the past before Pilate, the other in the future, concerning the Person and attributes of God.
who is the blessed and only Potentate, - for makarios, blessed. See at 1. 11. The statement asserts the great truth of the faith, in contrast to the cults and doctrines of paganism, that for Christians there is but One God (cp. 1. 17).
While the word dunastes, potentate (lit. one possessed of dunamis, power), is used of human princes and officials (Luke 1. 52 and Acts 8, 27), its application here to God as the sole Potentate marks Him a as the only One possessed of absolute power and authority, all others being entirely subordinate to Him, as set forth in the ensuing titles.
the King of kings and Lord of lords; — lit., 'King of them that reign as kings, and Lord of them that rule as lords' (R.V, marg.). In Rev. 17. 14 these appellations are applied to Christ, in the reverse order, and in 19. 16 in the same order as here, a fact attesting His Deity. In the Sept. of Dan. 2. 47 Nebuchadnezzar ascribes similar titles to God (cp. Dent. 10. 17; Psa. 138. 2. 3).
As in verse 17, the reminder to Timothy of these facts was perhaps designed to impart courage to him in view of the contingency of his having to share Paul's experiences of standing before earthly potentates. Our realization of the character and power of the God whom we serve will remove from us that fear of man which "bringeth a snare."
Verse 16. who only hath immortality, — athanasia, lit., 'deathlessness,' used here of the nature of God, is applied in 1 Cor. 15. 53, 54, to the glorified body of the believer, the only other passage where it is used in the N.T. It expresses more than deathlessness, it suggests the quality of the life enjoyed, as is made clear from 2 Cor. 5. 4. To God alone belongs immortality essentially, underivatively. He is neither liable to, nor capable of death only through incarnation. The Son of God could become capable of death only through incarnation. The argument that, because God cannot die, and yet Christ died, therefore Christ cannot be God, is utterly invalid. Christ, who was eternally one with the Father in Godhood (see, e. g., Isa. 9. 6; Micah 5. 2), became Man in. order to die (Heb. 10. 5-10), and in doing so did not abandon His Deity. Being both God and Man He both could and did die, and the Gospel records bear irrefutable witness to the supernatural character of His Death.
dwelling in light unapproachable; - inasmuch as God Himself is Light, 1 John 1. 5, light is essentially His dwelling. It ia spoken of as His covering, Psa. 104. 2. "The light dwelleth with Him." Dan. 2. 22. The light of His Presence shone on the Mercy-Seat in the Tabernacle.
Aprositos, "unapproachable," is used here only in the N.T. Unapproachable in the essence of His Being and the rights of Hismajesty, He has through the Death, Resurrection, and Exaltation of His Son, "dedicated for as" "a new and living way" of access into His presence, "the holy place," into which the believer may have "boldness to enter," Heb. 10, 19, 20, R.V.
whom no man (lit., 'no one of men') hath seen, nor can see: - again, God is, in the essence of His being, invisible to the natural eye, Deut. 4. 12; 1 John 4. 12. He is seen by us in Christ alone, who is God revealed, the Father manifested and declared, John 1. 18; 14. 9; 2 Cor. 4. 4; Col. 1. 15; Heb. 1. 3. "Whosoever sinneth (goes on sinning, as a habit or practice) hath not seen Him, neither knoweth Him," 1 John 3. 6. "He that doeth (a practice) evil hath not seen God" (3 John 11). Spiritual vision is granted only to the truly regenerate. And hereafter it is "the pure in heart" who shall see God, Matt. 5, 8. Without "the sanctification" "no man shall see the Lord," Heb. 12. 14, R.V. In seeing the Son we shall see the leather. See also Psa. 17. 15.
to whom be honour and power eternal. Amen. — in the doxology in 1. 17 (where see notes) honour and glory were ascribed to God; kratos signifies might, but is used especially with regard to its manifestation of power. It is sometimes rendered "dominion" and is used elsewhere in doxologies in 1 Pet. 4, 11; 5. 11; Jude 25; Rev. 1. 6; 5. 13.