the book of
Rénald Leroux Jr.
A Doctrinal and Devotional Commentary on the book of 1st Timothy.
© Copyright 2018 by Rénald Leroux Jr.
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One can use this commentary for personal use and for teaching as long as one does not change the text and gives credits to its author Rénald Leroux Jr.
The entire text of First Timothy is taken from the Lexham English Bible (LEB).
All 229 verses taken OUTSIDE of the text of First Timothy are from the NKJV. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Adam Clark Commentary (On Line)
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible (On Line)
Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (On Line)
Complete Word Study N-T by Spiros Zodhiates Editor (AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A.)
Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible (On Line)
Expository Dictionary of N-T Words by W.E. Vine (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.)
Expository notes of Dr. Thomas Constable (On Line)
Interlinear Hebrew/Greek English Bible by Jay Green (Associated Pub. and authors, Lafayette, Indiana, U.S.A.)
John Gill’s exposition of the whole Bible (On Line)
Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Bible (On Line)
New Testament Word Studies by J.A. Bengel (Kregel Pub. Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A.)
Strong’s exhaustive concordance of the Bible (Abingdon Pub., Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.)
Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible (On Line)
Word Studies in the N-T by Marvin R. Vincent (Eerdmans Pub., Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A.)
Word Study Concordance (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.A.)
Word study New Testament (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.A.)
Table of contents
To the Book of First Timothy
All three letters that form the ‘Pastoral Letters’ have Paul as their writer in their introduction. The early Church Fathers believed that 1st Timothy originated from Paul. Irenaeus, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Tertullian also spoke of them.
During Paul’s last missionary trip, Paul told Timothy to stay in Ephesus while he went to Macedonia (Eph. 1:3). Paul was delayed (Eph. 3:14,15) and wrote his first letter to Timothy.
Paul calls Timothy to refute false teachings and also to supervise the growth of the church by appointing Elders and Deacons. There was also a major problem that was arising concerning gnostic heresies, corrupt Judaism and false asceticism. He calls Timothy to stand up and protect the truth.
It seems that this letter was written shortly after Paul’s first imprisonment which would bring us to around A.D. 63.
First Timothy 1:1,2
02 – Greetings
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 to Timothy, my true child in the faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
As with all his letters, Paul begins by giving his name. It is odd that in our modern letters we write our name at the very end instead of the beginning. When a person read an epistle, he knew from the very beginning who it came from. Paul calls himself ‘an apostle of Jesus Christ’. The word ‘apostle’ (APOSTOLOS) means: a delegate, an ambassador or he that is sent. In the various greetings of his epistles, Paul describes himself seven times as an ‘apostle’ (APOSTOLOS) (1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy), three times as a bondservant (DOULOS) (Romans, Philippians, Titus), once as a prisoner (DESMIOS) (Philemon) and twice with only his name without any descriptive attached to it (1 & 2 Thessalonians). In the same greetings Paul mentions God the Father eleven times (all epistles except Romans and Philemon). One can wonder why the Holy Spirit is never mentioned! In First Timothy, Paul describes himself as being an ambassador of Christ, someone that is sent to represent him. This reminds me that not only Paul but ALL true disciples of Christ are also his ambassadors:
2 Corinthians 5
19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.
Paul now describes where the authority of his apostleship rests:
(v.1) …according to the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
His apostleship is not found in man but in God himself for no man, whatever his human title may be, can give such a title to someone. This was a ‘command’ (EPITAGE) which means: an injunction, a decree. This was God’s decision and God’s alone. Paul was chosen by God to do his bidding. We can read the words of God himself when this happened:
15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
16 "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."
17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Believers may hope to be able to do such or such a thing for the Lord but it is God who decides who will do what! This ‘command’ came from ‘God our Savior’. The word ‘savior’ (SOTER) means: a deliverer, a savior. It is the Lord God who saves and no one else!
11 I, even I, am the LORD, And besides Me there is no savior.
This is yet another proof that Jesus is deity, the great ‘I AM’, for he is also called the Savior in the New Testament (Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31; Eph. 5:23; Phil. 3:20; 2 Tim. 1:10; Titus 1:4). It seems that this command also came from ‘Christ Jesus our hope’. The word ‘hope’ (ELPIS) means: to anticipate, usually with pleasure. The hope that is given to all disciples is found in Jesus. It is a snare to believe that our hope is found in what the world can give us, for all things, will pass away. If we call ourselves true disciples of Christ may we recall that only our beloved Savior holds our hope in this life and the life to come.
2 to Timothy, my true child in the faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Timothy is called ‘my true child in the faith’. Titus is the only other co-worker to receive this calling from Paul (Titus 1:4). If you read this verse you will see that Paul also wishes ‘grace, mercy, and peace’ upon him. The word ‘true’ (GNESIOS) means: legitimate and genuine. Naturally he was not Paul’s child in the flesh for his mother was Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5) and his father was a Greek non-believer who is not named but is mentioned twice (Acts 16:1,3). Timothy was Paul’s true spiritual child. He had been with him since his young adulthood (Acts 16:3), and would follow him in his ministry, until the very end of Paul’s life. I believe that he is called ‘my true child in the faith’ simply because Paul molded him to become a man of God and a minister in the faith. There are three things which Paul desires Timothy to receive.
The first is ‘grace’ (CHARIS) which means: graciousness of manner or act. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor. In his life and ministry Timothy needed the favor of the Lord God to be upon him. May I remind you that for all God’s children, his ‘grace’ is desperately needed. There is nothing that we can accomplish, receive, or even be, without the grace of God (Ps. 106:4).
The second, is ‘mercy’ (ELEOS) which means: a human or divine active compassion. Timothy needed the Lord to look upon him with tender mercy. How we all need to have God’s mercy and compassion fall upon us. We fail over and over again. We are often weak because of our flesh. We are fragile and our frame is delicate. We can all say as the Psalmist:
15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
16 Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me! Give Your strength to Your servant, And save the son of Your maidservant.
17 Show me a sign for good, That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, Because You, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.
The third, is ‘peace’ (EIRENE) which means: to join together, peace, prosperity and rest. When Timothy was weary and troubled, he needed God’s rest. When he was overworked and tired, because of the ministry, he needed heavenly peace. When his spiritual enemies threw their fiery darts at him to discourage him, he needed peace that only God can bring him. But where does grace, mercy and peace come from?
(v.2) …from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Again, we can see by this verse that Jesus is deity. For grace, mercy and peace is from ‘God the Father’. Notice that Paul calls God ‘Father’ (PATER) which means: a father, a parent. There is a very personal relationship that the true believer has with God. God is no longer only the creator and sustainer who is far away and is unreachable but has become ‘a father’, close and caring. Because of his great love for his children (Rom. 5:8) God sustains them with his grace, mercy and peace. We also see that there is someone else who provides also and that is ‘Christ Jesus our Lord’. Jesus is called both ‘Christ’ and ‘Lord’. Jesus is the Christ, which means anointed. He is the Father’s anointed priest, king and prophet! He is the Redeemer, the Savior of all who would place their faith in him. But he is also the ‘Lord’ (KURIOS) which means: supreme in authority, God, Lord and master. He has all rights over his people and is the final authority in all matters. These were Paul’s wishes for his spiritual child in the faith.
First Timothy 1:3-11
03 – False doctrines in the church
3 Just as I urged you when I traveled to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus, so that you may instruct certain people not to teach other doctrine, 4 and not to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which cause useless speculations rather than God’s plan that is by faith. 5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a faith without hypocrisy, 6 from which some have deviated, and have turned away into fruitless discussion, 7 wanting to be teachers of the law, although they do not understand either the things which they are saying or the things concerning which they are speaking confidently.
8 But we know that the law is good, if anyone makes use of it lawfully, 9 knowing this, that the law is not given for a righteous person but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and totally worldly, for the one who kills his father and the one who kills his mother, for murderers, 10 sexually immoral people, homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God that I was entrusted with.
It is amazing to see how the early church was already plagued with false doctrines. Just a few years was enough to infect the church with its deadly poison! We can see by the opening of Paul’s epistle, the urgency of the matter.
3 Just as I urged you when I traveled to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus, so that you may instruct certain people not to teach other doctrine, 4 and not to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which cause useless speculations rather than God’s plan that is by faith.
As Paul writes, the matter was urgent ‘I urged you’ (PARAKALEO) meaning: to call near, to invite, to invoke. This seems more of a command than a simple suggestion! Paul ‘traveled to Macedonia’. The word ‘traveled’ (POREUOMAI) means, to travel, to depart, to go away. Paul was leaving for Macedonia, which is the northern part of Greece, but he was also leaving Timothy in Ephesus. There were serious matters that needed to be taken care of and Timothy was the one who was called to accomplish them. I can see that Paul did not think that he himself was called to do everything. He trusted Timothy with this grave matter. May all believers, especially the ones in authority, have the same vision. We are not called to ‘do it all’. Others are there and they are well equipped to do God’s work also.
Timothy is asked to ‘remain in Ephesus’. This city was part of the Roman empire, situated in the province of Asia minor near the opening of the Cayster river. Ephesus was a port city of great importance and it was one of the gateways into this province. Ephesus was located approximately 65 kilometers from Smyrna. In this city stood the temple of the goddess Diana which is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It is also one of the seven churches to which a letter is written by the Lord in the book of Revelations (2:1-7). Today, only ruins remain of this great city.
There were different reasons why Paul asked Timothy to remain in Ephesus. This is the first one:
(v.3) …so that you may instruct certain people not to teach other doctrine,
There was an important job to do and the first was to ‘instruct certain people’. The word ‘instruct’ (PARAGGELLO) means: to transmit a message. In other words, he wanted Timothy to teach. It seems to be more than simple teaching but rather to exhort strongly to STOP and ‘not to teach other doctrine’. Only ‘certain people’ were doing this but even if they were few, they needed to be stopped. The Corinthians also had the same problem and Paul reminds them:
1 Cor. 5
6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
Some were teaching another ‘doctrine’. The words ‘other doctrine’ (HETERODIDASKALEO) means: to instruct differently. There were people who did not remain in the Christian doctrine. These false prophets and teachers are seen everywhere in the Bible: beginning by the warnings God gave to Moses just before they entered the Promised Land (Deut. 18:17-22), to the last book of the Bible with the False Prophet speaking lies (Rev. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10). Today, these false teachers are rampant and you can find them on television, on internet and in every possible means of communication. Later on, Paul will speak about the ‘doctrines of demons’ (1 Tim. 4:1).
4 and not to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which cause useless speculations rather than God’s plan that is by faith.
Another reason why Timothy was left in Ephesus was that he personally, and others through him would not ‘pay attention’ (PROSECHO) which means: to hold the mind towards, to take heed. While in Ephesus Timothy was warned not to give any attention to ‘myths’ (MUTHOS) meaning: a tale, fiction or a fable. Still today, so many fables and fake stories are traveling among the brethren. People believe just about anything they call ‘spiritual’ and the enemy knows this. They do not take the time to see if it is in line with the holy scriptures. A perfect example of this is the story of a little boy who said he went to heaven and gave exact information about his parents so it had to be true! There was even a book and a film made about this. The boy’s father later confessed that it was just a hoax.
Timothy also had to watch out and teach others concerning ‘endless genealogies’. The word ‘endless’ (APERANTOS) means: unfinished, interminable and endless. The word ‘genealogies’ (GENEALOGIA) means: tracing by generations. It is well known that for the Jewish people, genealogies were very important because by this they could trace and confirm their origins as a Jewish person. Matthew and Luke are examples of this, for they both have the genealogy of the Messiah. But there were ‘endless genealogies’ where people would argue and contend. This had absolutely no benefit:
(v.4) …which cause useless speculations rather than God’s plan that is by faith.
The only thing that these never ceasing arguments brought forth was ‘useless speculations’ (ZETESIS) meaning: the act of searching, a dispute. Again, we see that these never-ending disputes concerning certain subjects, are thriving in our Christian circles. Have you seen the fruits that they bear? Families are at odds, churches split and denominations are weakened. Endless speculations concerning worship styles and music and dress codes and tithing have no benefit. They simply weaken the body of Christ.
Paul speaks of ‘God’s plan that is by faith’. Useless speculations go against God’s ‘plan’ (OIKODOMEO) meaning: to be a house builder, to edify. God desires to build-up each and every one of his children and one thing for certain that can block this, is endless disputing over non-essential subjects.
5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a faith without hypocrisy, 6 from which some have deviated, and have turned away into fruitless discussion, 7 wanting to be teachers of the law, although they do not understand either the things which they are saying or the things concerning which they are speaking confidently.
The goal of useless speculations is to cause a believer to distance himself from God’s plan. The ones doing this may not even know what they are actually doing. They believe that what they are doing is very important – but it’s not! Paul reveals the true goal that Timothy needs to keep in mind. The word ‘goal’ (TELOS) means: to set out for a definite point. The definite point Timothy needed to have (as all true believers do) needs to be:
5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a faith without hypocrisy
The word ‘instruction’ (PARAGGELIA) means: a mandate, a charge and command. His mandate was to teach ‘love’ (AGAPE) meaning: affection, benevolence and charity. He needed to teach about true love but also do this in a loving way. The only way Timothy could manifest and teach love was ‘from a pure heart’. His ‘heart’ (KARDIA) figuratively means the thoughts or feelings of the mind. These thought and feelings needed to be ‘pure’ (KATHAROS) meaning: clean and pure. Paul is saying to Timothy that to be able to teach God’s plan, he needed to have a ‘pure heart’. This has not changed, if you are in any form or fashion a bible teacher your heart must also be pure. One needs to examine himself before he teaches others in the name of God.
Those who instruct need a second element and that is ‘a good conscience’. The word ‘conscience’ (SUNEIDESIS) means: co-perception or moral consciousness. Your conscience needs to be good and clean before the Lord. This is what Paul wrote to the Corinthians concerning having a good conscience.
2 Corinthians 4
2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
The final goal when one teaches should be to do it with ‘a faith without hypocrisy’. The word ‘hypocrisy’ (ANUPOKRITOS) means: without hypocrisy. If there is one thing that the Lord detests it is spiritual hypocrites. Six times the Lord says ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites’ in Matthew 23! If you wonder what exactly a hypocrite is, here is Jesus’ definition:
6 He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
A spiritual hypocrite is someone who honors God with his lips, but his heart is far from him! One needs to be honest, before he steps forward and teaches God’s word. Is it done in love with a pure heart? Do you have a pure conscience before the Lord? Are there sins you have not repented of? Finally, are you a spiritual hypocrite, pretending to love God but actually acting differently?
6 from which some have deviated, and have turned away into fruitless discussion,
Not everyone was like Paul or Timothy, for the teachers with false doctrines had ‘deviated’ (ASTOCHEO) meaning: to miss the mark or to deviate. Happily, only ‘some’ deviated, but just a few, is more than enough to corrupt an entire church. Some were teaching outside orthodoxy and ‘have turned away’ (EKTREPO) meaning: to defect, to turn away. They turned their backs on what they had learned and brought forth ‘fruitless discussions’. Paul continues to speak about the same theme: myths and endless genealogies and useless speculations (v.4). All of this only brings ‘fruitless discussions’ (MATAIOLOGIA) which means: random talk, babble and vain jangling.
7 wanting to be teachers of the law, although they do not understand either the things which they are saying or the things concerning which they are speaking confidently.
It seems that those who have deviated wanted ‘to be teachers’. They probably wanted to have honor or glory or authority for being a teacher. There was a desire in them for the word ‘wanting’ (ETHELEO) means: to determine, to desire or will have. They wanted to be known and admired as ‘teachers of the law’ (NOMODIDASKALOS) meaning: expounders of the Jewish law. But there was a problem ‘they do not understand’. The word ‘understand’ (NOIEO) means: to observe, to comprehend. You may have seen these people – Mr. or Mrs. Know-it-all. They have an answer for every question concerning the Bible and they love to speak out and be heard! They don’t understand ‘the things which they are saying’ and the things they are ‘speaking confidently’. The word ‘confidently’ (DIABEBAIOOMAI) means: to confirm thoroughly by words. They are simply ignorant of God’s word but they love to manifest and project the image that they do. This reminds me of the following:
19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; The heart of the wicked is worth little
In verse seven, Paul writes that these men wanted to be teachers of the law but they misunderstood it. That is why in the following verses Paul will speak of what the Law is all about.
8 But we know that the law is good, if anyone makes use of it lawfully, 9 knowing this, that the law is not given for a righteous person but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and totally worldly, for the one who kills his father and the one who kills his mother, for murderers, 10 sexually immoral people, homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God that I was entrusted with.
Paul gives a general statement concerning the law - it is ‘good’. The law that he is writing about is the Law of Moses. The laws given by the Almighty to Moses and later on to his prophets are good. But why is the Law good? It is good because it reflects the character of God. If it is good how can it become ‘bad’ for me? Paul answers this in his epistle to the Romans:
9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.
10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.
11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.
12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
The Law is always good but when I am confronted with it, sin in me reacts and I break the law and therefore sin against God and await a judgment. That is why Paul writes ‘if anyone makes use of it lawfully’. The Law is useful and when it is used the way that it should be then it reveals to me that I am a sinner and knowing this I should rush to the Savior Jesus to receive redemption.
9 knowing this, that the law is not given for a righteous person
We first know that the Law is good (when it is used lawfully) Paul now says that we also know ‘the law is not given for the righteous person’. What is a righteous person? How does someone become righteous? Paul’s answer to this is very simple:
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
A righteous person does not have any personal righteousness from keeping the Law, but is granted righteousness through faith in Christ. This righteousness ‘is from God by faith’. For this person has become a child of God through his redemption found only in Christ. The law ‘is not given for a righteous person’. The Law is not for him because he has received God’s righteousness which was given to him in his salvation. The believer has become righteous because his Savior is righteous, and he is hidden in him and has passed from death unto life.
24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
If the Law is not given for a righteous person, to whom is it given? Paul gives a list of sins that unrepented sinners commit. This list is not exhaustive but it gives a good idea of who the Law is meant for.
(v.9) …. but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and totally worldly, for the one who kills his father and the one who kills his mother, for murderers, 10 sexually immoral people, homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching
For the ‘lawless’ (ANOMOS) meaning: lawless, not subject to the law. This describes people who openly say that the law of God is not binding upon themselves.
They openly reject all of God’s laws. It may be the case of someone who is an atheist or is of another faith or philosophy of life. Paul also uses this word in 1 Cor. 9:2 and 2 Thes. 2:8.
For the ‘rebellious’ (ANUPOTAKTOS) meaning: unsubdued, disobedient, unruly. These are the people who know of the Law but openly desire to be disobedient. They reject God’s authority over them. Paul uses this word in Titus 1:6,10.
For the ‘ungodly’ (ASEBES) meaning: irreverent, impious, wicked. These are the people who mock God in word and life-style. They may even be pleased in doing do. Paul uses this word in Rom. 4:5; 5:6.
For the ‘sinners’ (HARMATOLOS) meaning: sinful, a sinner. This is a general description of those, who knowingly or not sin against God. All people fall into this category (Rom. 3:23). Paul uses this word in many verses such as Rom. 3:7; 5:8,19.
For the ‘unholy’ (ANOSIOS) meaning: wicked and unholy. This describes those who go against God’s holiness, who, prefer the fruits of darkness than those of the light. Paul uses this word in this verse and also in 2 Tim. 3:2.
For the ’totally worldly’ (BEBELOS) meaning: heathenness or profane. This speaks about those who love the world and the things of this world and who only live for what the world and the flesh offer them. Paul uses this verse in verses such as 1 Tim. 4:7; 6:20.
For those who ‘kills his father’ (PATROLOAS) meaning: murderers of fathers. This is very easily understood. It is used by Paul in this verse only.
For those who ‘kills his mother’ (MEETRALOEES) meaning: murderers of mothers. Again, this is very easily understood. It is used by Paul only in this verse.
For those who are ‘murderers’ (ANDROPHONOS) meaning: a murderer, a manslayer. I believe that Paul identifies killers of father and mothers because it goes directly against the commandment of honoring your father and mother. Then he speaks of murderers in general.
For the ‘sexually immoral’ (PORNOS) meaning: a debauchee, a fornicator and a whoremonger. This speaks of people who have sexual relationships outside the marriage and for those who have sex without being married or have sex with animals and so forth. Paul uses this word in 1 Cor. 5:9,10,11; Eph. 5:5.
For the ‘homosexuals’ (ARSENOKOITES) meaning: a sodomite, a person who has sex with the same gender he (she) is. This is easily understood. Paul uses this word in 1 Cor. 6:9.
For the ‘kidnappers’ (ANDRAPODISTES) meaning: an enslaver, men-stealer. Here Paul speaks of those who steal people for their own gain. This is an APAX which means that this word is only used once.
For the ‘liars’ (PSEUTES) meaning: a falsifier, a liar. This goes against one of the Ten Commandments. It is also used in Rom. 3:4 and Titus 1:1.
For the ‘perjurers’ (EPIORKOS) meaning: a false oath, a perjurer. This speaks of those who willfully lie under oath. Paul uses this word only in this verse.
For ‘whatever else is opposed’. The word ‘opposed’ (ANTIKEIMAI) means: to lie opposite, to be adverse. To ‘sound’ (HUIGIAINO) means: to have good health, to be uncorrupt and ‘teaching’ (DIDASKALIA) means: instruction, doctrine and teaching. This speaks of those who oppose, who stand against the teachings of the Lord.
It is for these that the Law stands against. Again, this is certainly not an exhaustive list of different types of sinners.
11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God that I was entrusted with.
This is NOT according to Paul’s personal thoughts or theology. One can not say: This is what Paul thinks! This IS according ‘to the glorious gospel of the blessed God’. This is what God says and all who go against this will be condemned by the Law. That is why ALL men need salvation in Christ Jesus – because all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).
First Timothy 1:12-17
04 – Paul is thankful to God
12 I give thanks to the one who strengthens me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me faithful, placing me into ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, but I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord abounded with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and worthy of all acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But because of this I was shown mercy, in order that in me foremost, Christ Jesus might demonstrate his total patience, for an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, to the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
In this section Paul bursts forth with thankfulness unto his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He reminds Timothy what the Lord has done for him and uses this as a powerful tool, to encourage his son in the faith to carry on with the ministries that were given to him. Should all believers not also remind themselves of the grace that they have received? Should they not also glorify the Lord by being witnesses to others of the mercy they have received?
12 I give thanks to the one who strengthens me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me faithful, placing me into ministry
Paul writes: ‘I give thanks’ (CHARIS) which means: gratitude, to be thankful. This shows that Paul has not forgotten what he has received from God. It seems to be constant in his mind and he is filled with gratitude. This is probably one of the driving forces in Paul’s constancy in his Christian life and ministry. The thought of the grace he has been given is solidly anchored in his heart. Paul gives thanks ‘to the one who strengthens me’. He has one person in mind and it is the one who ‘strengthens me’. The word ‘strengthens’ (ENDUNAMOO) means: to empower, enable, to make strong. The power, the drive, the strength that holds him up is not of a human origin but divine for it is ‘Christ Jesus our Lord’. Jesus is the source of his perseverance. Like the ‘burning bush’ that was never consumed (Ex. 3:3), the fire in Paul’s heart was constantly fed by Christ’s love. Who or what strengthens you in life? Who burns in your heart and carries you forward? May we all be like Paul and have Christ alive in our hearts.
Paul also gives thanks ‘because he considered me faithful, placing me in ministry’.
Out of all the Jews God had ‘considered’ him! The word ‘considered’ (HEGEOMAI) means: to deem, to consider, to command. After all those years Paul didn’t get over the fact that the Lord God had chosen HIM. If you are a believer should you not also have the same thoughts? Do you wonder, from time to time, at the mystery of your choosing to become a child of God? How could God consider ‘me faithful’? The word ‘faithful’ (PISTOS) means: trustworthy, truthful and faithful. Paul knew his heart as well as his weaknesses. He saw who he was in the inside – ‘me faithful’! He did not feel worthy of such a calling!
Paul also thought of God ‘placing me in ministry’. God had placed him in his global plan exactly where he wanted him to be – ‘in ministry’. The word ‘ministry’ (DIAKONIA) means: attendance as a servant, aid. Paul never made a BIG thing out of being in ministry – he knew to be a servant of God and he served where his Lord wanted him to be. Remember what Jesus said:
25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.
26 "Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.
27 "And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave--
I believe one of the reasons why Paul was so astounded by God’s grace, which made him to minister among the brethren, was the fact that he never forgot who he had been BEFORE being born-again.
13 although I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, but I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief,
Paul remembers exactly who he was before coming to the cross and he does not try to hide this from Timothy. I love the word ‘formerly’ (PROTERON) which means: previously, before and former. There was a before and an after in his life - before when he was without Christ and the after when he had Christ. Is there also a before and an after in your life? If you say ‘I was always a Christian’ then there is something missing! You have no before and no after – no spiritual birth. Take a moment to search your heart and if you need to – come to Christ right away!
Paul is painting a picture of himself and he uses three colors. The first is ‘a blasphemer’ (BLASPHEMO) which means: abusive, speaking evil. As a Pharisee it is difficult to imagine Paul as a blasphemer but he was. He spoke things and taught things that were of the traditions of the fathers (Gal. 1:14) but not of God. Remember what Jesus said:
7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
8 "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men--the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do."
9 He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
The second color he chose to describe himself was ‘persecutor’ (DIOKTES) which means: a persecutor. The memories were still fresh in Paul’s mind when he went from house to house trying to capture those who followed Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 8:1-3; 22:4; 22:11)). How terrible he must have felt when he realized all the pain he had caused. The third color is ‘violent’ (HUBRISTES) meaning: an insulter, a maltreater. He spared no energy, no words and no action to get rid of these ‘Christians’. His zeal for the traditions and what he thought was God, brought him to become a violent man. Today, Paul would have been considered as a radical, a zealot and a terrorist!
(v.13) …but I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief,
I always loved the word ‘but’! Imagine if there was no such word in Paul’s life, he would have continued in his ways and died in his sins. If the word ‘but’ did not exist in my life I also would be walking on the wide road that leads to death. If there is such a word as ‘but’ in your life be forever grateful unto the Lord for the mercy he manifested in your favor.
Paul writes: ‘I was shown mercy’. The words ‘shown mercy’ (ELEEO) means: to obtain, to receive compassion. Mercy was given to Paul, it was a favor given unto him. It was not his religion nor his deeds, quite the contrary. He knew this and that is why he would write to the Ephesians:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
He then writes why mercy was given: ‘because I acted ignorantly in unbelief’. Although we know that the choosing of the elect is a mystery (Eph. 1:3-6), Paul believed that God overlooked his ignorance. Now the word ignorance (AGNOEO) means: not to know, ignorant, not understand. Just think that Paul was among the brightest and active students of the Law in his day (Acts 22:1-5). All of his knowledge, all those years of studying under Gamaliel, all the traditions of the elders – all that he ever loved and worked for, he now considers it to be ignorance!
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
He also says that he acted ‘in unbelief’ (APISTIA) which means: disbelief, unbelief. Paul was radically changed at his conversion. He was then certain that the TRUTH he had believed was actually ‘unbelief’, that it was false! Jesus of Nazareth was truly the Messiah. The curtain that covered his eyes had been taken away and so Paul was able to write:
2 Corinthians 3
15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.
16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Paul recognizes that he had been given mercy and he also understands that he had received something else from God.
14 and the grace of our Lord abounded with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
The ‘grace of our Lord’ was to be found in him. One of the meanings of the word ‘grace’ (CHARIS) is: to be in favor with, to find grace with. The grace of God is an unmerited favor that is bestowed upon the sinner. Paul had become the recipient of God’s grace. If you are a true believer, never forget that all of God’s favor is given by grace. Now this grace ‘abounded’ (HUPERLEONAZO) which means: to super abound. When God’s favor fell upon Paul, the Lord God gave him a super amount of ‘faith and love’. Faith (PISTIS) means: credence, conviction and persuasion and ‘love’ (AGAPE) means: love, affection, benevolence. Paul received a measure, an extra-ordinary measure of faith and love when he was saved (Rom. 12:3; Eph. 4:7). All of this was to be found in ‘Christ Jesus’. All the treasures of life are found in Christ.
15 The saying is trustworthy and worthy of all acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
Paul continues to unveil himself to Timothy. He elevates Christ while he abases himself. Isn’t this what John the Baptist did (John 3:30)? Is this not what we should all do? Paul calls the saying both ‘trustworthy’ (PISTOS) meaning: trustworthy, trustful and true and also ‘worthy’ (AXIOS) meaning: deserving, suitable and true. There is a lot of weight placed here (about Christ’s coming) and it should be regarded with ‘acceptance’ (APODOCHE) meaning: acceptance or acceptable.
(v.15) …Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
This may be one of the most important phrases that Paul ever wrote about himself and the Lord. Jesus ‘came into the world to save sinners’. This shows the aim of Christ’s coming here on earth – ‘to save sinners’. The word ‘save’ (SOZO) means: to save, to deliver, to protect and the word ‘sinners’ (HARMATOLOS) means: a sinner or sinful. He came for those who were enemies of God, to save them from the judgment to come (Luke 5:32). That is why it is imperative that all evangelism include the thought of sinning against God. If the person does not believe that he is a sinner then he will not have any need for a Savior! Paul knew that Christ had come to save sinners but he also knows something else – ‘of whom I am the foremost’. Here is his confession ‘I am the foremost’. The word ‘foremost’ (PROTOS) means: foremost in time or place, best, chief. In other words, he is saying that he is the BIGGEST SINNER on the face of the earth! Paul was able not only to see the deep darkness of his heart but he was able to confess it also! This may be one of the reasons why the grace of God followed him all through his life as James writes:
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."
May all believers humble themselves before the Lord, confessing that they are great sinners and affirm that they are grateful for the grace they have received.
16 But because of this I was shown mercy, in order that in me foremost, Christ Jesus might demonstrate his total patience, for an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, to the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
The ‘because of this’ refers to Paul being such a great sinner and the grace that is found in Christ Jesus. Paul writes that ‘I was shown mercy’ (ELEEO) which means: to obtain, to receive compassion’. Once again (as in v.13) he writes about the mercy and compassion the Lord God had for him. This time he reveals WHY this mercy was given. It was ‘in order that in me foremost’ again the word ‘foremost’ (PROTOS) means: foremost in time or place, best, chief. God had a special plan for Paul’s life and part of this was that ‘Christ Jesus might demonstrate his total patience’. God wanted the world to see how patient he is with mankind. The word ‘total’ (PAS) means: all, any, every. The word ‘patience’ (MAKROTHUMEO) means: to be long spirited, long suffering. God wanted to manifest through Paul his great patience and long-suffering. Paul writes that he knows that he is:
(v.16) …an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life’.
As a child of God may we also never forget that we also are examples that the Lord God uses to manifest his longsuffering towards mankind. The word ‘example’ (HUPOTUPOSIS) means: typification, a sketch, a pattern. Believers are the work of God’s hands and we are to be looked upon as examples, of what the Lord can do with a person that allows himself to be transformed by God. Is not the Lord God the potter and his people the clay (Isaiah 64:8) in his hands?
This example of a changed life and the Lord’s longsuffering was ‘for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life’. Paul is an example for you and me. He is there for us to ponder upon and see God’s grace and immense patience. We also see the reward for those who believe in Christ Jesus – ‘eternal life’ (AIONIOS ZOE) means: perpetual, eternal, everlasting life. Finally, Paul bursts forth in praise:
17 Now to the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, to the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
This sentence is a beautiful example of what is called a doxology. Paul begins by enumerating who God is. First of all, God is ‘the King of ages’. The word ‘King’ (BASILIUS) means: a foundation of power, a sovereign. God is the foundation of all and he is the sovereign of all. He is the Almighty which every thing and everyone is submitted. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the great I AM. He is King of ‘ages’ (AION) which means: an age, perpetuity, ever more. His throne is for evermore. The second title given is ‘immortal’ (APHTHARTOS) meaning: incorruptible. God is the only immortal, in the sense that he has no beginning and no end. He has always been and will always be. The third title is ‘invisible’ (AORATOS) which means: invisible. By this Paul is expressing that God is a spirit. He is not like a man of flesh and blood. The fourth is ‘to the only God’.
The word ‘only’ (MONOS) means: sole, single, alone or only. There is no other God than YHWH.
To the absolute Monarch, who has always been, who is a spirit and the only God there is - this is what Paul gives him. The first is ‘honor’ (TIME) meaning: a value, esteem of the highest decree. Honor is what God presently receives in heaven.
13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"
The second is ‘glory’ (DOXA) meaning: dignity, glory, honor, praise and worship. Glory is not for believers or angels it is for God alone. Again, we see this being done in the heavens before the throne of God.
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
11 "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."
‘Amen’ is the last word of his doxology it means: so be it. And so, it should be in our lives also. Giving honor and glory to the Almighty God!
First Timothy 1 :18-20
05 – Fight the good fight
18 I am setting before you this instruction, Timothy my child, in accordance with the prophecies spoken long ago about you, in order that by them you may fight the good fight, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some, because they have rejected these, have suffered shipwreck concerning their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, in order that they may be taught not to blaspheme.
Paul is away and writes to his spiritual son the vision that he must uphold as a spiritual leader in his Christian community. He writes ‘I am setting before you’. The word ‘setting’ (PARATITHEMI) means: to deposit, commit, set before. He lays down at Timothy’s feet ‘this instruction’ (PARAGGELIA) which means: a mandate, a charge, a command. Paul had a specific mandate to give to Timothy, something that he needed to remember day in and day out. This would be one of the major rules he needed to keep alive in his heart. Before giving him this command, Paul calls Timothy ‘my child’. We see the tenderness and also the closeness that Paul and Timothy shared.
Paul speaks of the source of this charge – why he was giving it, “in accordance with the prophecies’. The word ‘accordance’ (KATA) means: according as, pertaining to. Paul had heard the ‘prophecies’ (PROPHETEIA) which means: prediction, prophecy. Paul knew what God had in mind for Timothy and delivers a charge in regards of this. These prophecies were ‘spoken a long time ago about you’. We can understand that at one point a prophet or prophets spoke on the behalf of the Lord and Paul was present or had heard of them. The word ‘spoken’ (PROAGO) means: to lead forward, to precede, to go before. These prophecies preceded their actual arrival. Time had come, Timothy was now on his own and Paul recalls what had been said concerning him.
(v.18) …in order that by them you may fight the good fight,
This was the prophecy that Paul wanted Timothy to remember: ‘fight the good fight’. There are many causes one can adopt in life, from helping the poor to preventing the spreading of disease. But God had a special plan for Timothy and that was to ‘fight the good fight’. The first word ‘fight’ (STRATEUOMAI) means: to serve in a military campaign, to go to war. What was asked was not an easy task, Timothy needed to be prepared to go to war! A civil war – no! Rather a spiritual war. In Mat. 13:39 Jesus names the enemy – the devil. In Luke 10:19 Jesus gives his disciples authority over the power of the enemy. Believers are at war and the fallen angels are our enemies.
Timothy was called to ‘fight’ but what was he supposed to do? He needed to ‘fight the good fight’. The word ‘good’ (KALOS) means: beautiful, good, valuable. There are different fights that Christians take part in - mostly in theology. Some fight against everyone who do not think exactly like them. Shamefully they tear down reputations of the brethren. This is NOT what Paul is speaking about! Timothy is to fight what is good to fight.
33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
The ‘good’ fight was for the kingdom of God in all its aspects. Now the second word ‘fight’ (STRATEIA) means: military service, warfare. Indeed, Timothy needed to prepare for war and to be involved in war. He was not to take up arms and fight an enemy of flesh because they did not uphold the same religious views (as some terrorists do). He was to fight by teaching and preaching and praying, while being a model for others. This is not only Timothy’s fight, it is the fight of all the true children of God.
19 having faith and a good conscience, which some, because they have rejected these, have suffered shipwreck concerning their faith,
There are two main weapons that Timothy needed to possess so that he would be effective. The first is ‘faith’ (PISTIS) which means: persuasion, credence or conviction. His faith would:
Keep him from being fearful (Mat. 8:26)
Keep him in good cheer (Mat. 9:22)
Keep him from doubting (Mat. 14:31)
Keep him from foolish reasoning (Mat. 16:8)
Move mountains (Mat, 17:20)
Make him well (Mark 5:34)
His faith would become his greatest weapon and with-it Timothy would be able to stand against the enemy and whatever he might throw at him. The second is ‘a good conscience’. The word ‘good’ (AGATHOS) is not the same as with ‘good fight’ (KALOS). The word ‘good’ (AGATHOS) means: good, benefit, well. The word ‘conscience’ (SUNEIDESIS) means: co-perception, the witness borne to one’s conduct by conscience, the sense of guilt before God. Paul talks of his own conscience to the Corinthians:
2 Corinthians 1
12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
A ‘good conscience’ is what Paul held on to during his entire life and Timothy needed to do the same. But what happens when a Disciple of Christ falls away from keeping a good conscience before the Lord. What happens if he hardens his heart and does not repent of a bad attitude or keeps secret sins without any repentance?
(v.19) …which some, because they have rejected these, have suffered shipwreck concerning their faith,
Paul speaks concerning those who ‘have rejected’ (APOTHEMAI) meaning: to shove, to push, to reject. He speaks of those who have set aside their ‘good conscience’, closed their eyes and more than that, even welcomed sin in their life. This is what happens to them they ‘have suffered shipwreck concerning their faith’. They become ‘shipwreck’ (NAUAGEO) meaning: to be shipwrecked, to be stranded. Because they neglect having a good conscience before God their life-ship hits rocks and the hull breaks and their ship sinks and they become stranded! Christians are not able to ‘keep afloat’ if they do not keep a clear conscience before the Lord. The apostle John speaks of this and gives the remedy for it.
1 John 1
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Confession is the key to the keeping of a good conscience. When a believer sins, he needs to confess so he can be relieved from the coming danger of being spiritually shipwrecked. How many men and women have become useless for the Lord having become lukewarm or even cold-hearted? How many lose years of their life living away from the one who gives true life? Yet for others, the discipline is much greater!
20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, in order that they may be taught not to blaspheme.
Paul speaks of two Christians that he had to deal with. The first is ‘Hymenaeus’ (HUMENAIOS) his name means: the god of weddings. He is also mentioned in Paul’s second letter to Timothy:
2 Timothy 2
16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.
17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort,
18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.
Here we see that Hymenaeus was (or had become) a false teacher, straying from the truth and ‘saying that the resurrection is already past’. It seems that he was persuasive for ‘they overthrow the faith of some’.
The other man ‘Alexander’ (ALEXANDROS) meaning: man defender, was a partner in the shipwreck of their faith. Nothing is said of him except in this passage (1:20). What we do know is that he suffered the same discipline as Hymenaeus. What is meant by Paul when he writes:
(v.20) …whom I have handed over to Satan, in order that they may be taught not to blaspheme.
The term ‘handed over’ (PARADIDOMI) means: to surrender, to yield up, to cast. It seems that the discipline for these two men who had abandoned their ‘good conscience’ was to be ‘handed over to Satan’. The word ‘Satan’ (SANTANAS) means: the accuser, the devil. Only Paul does this in the New testament writings and very little is mentioned about this. Since we know that Hymenaeus is mentioned in Second Timothy that means that he was still alive and continuing in his evil ways. This means that ‘handing over to Satan’ does not mean that Satan had permission to kill him. It probably deals with some type of Church discipline as we see with the man who slept with one of his father’s concubines (1 Cor. 5:1-5) who also was delivered unto Satan. This discipline bore fruit and the man repented and was re-inserted in the church (2 Cor. 2:5-11). From this we can understand that the point of being delivered unto Satan is a means of discipline in hope that the person will repent.
(v.20) …in order that they may be taught not to blaspheme.
Their sin against the Lord was great for it was a ‘blaspheme’ (BLASPHEMO) meaning: to vilify, to defame, to rail, to speak evil of. As far as we know Hymenaeus and Alexander never repented.
First Timothy 2:1-8
06 – General instructions concerning prayer
Therefore, I urge first of all that petitions, prayers, requests, and thanksgiving be made on behalf of all people, 2 on behalf of kings and all those who are in authority, in order that we may live a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable before God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and human beings, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself a ransom for all, the testimony at the proper time, 7 for which I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am speaking the truth, I am not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger and dispute.
Paul now begins his section concerning the local church. We know that Timothy was in Ephesus (1:3) and he had things to take care of concerning the church. Paul already spoke of the false teachers and now he will speak of the importance of prayer in the life of the church.
Therefore, I urge first of all that petitions, prayers, requests, and thanksgiving be made on behalf of all people
He begins by saying: ‘I urge you first of all’. Paul sees prayer as essential and he is pressing Timothy concerning this. ‘I urge you’ (PARAKALEO) means: to call near, invite or invoke. This is no suggestion which Paul is about to make. Paul writes ‘first of all’ (PROTON) meaning: first in time, place, order or importance. This should be on ‘top of your list’. He then names four things concerning invoking the blessed God of Israel.
He begins with ‘petitions’ (DEESIS) meaning: a petition, supplication, a wanting, a need then asking for it. This Greek word is always addressed to God. It is also used in verses such as: Acts 1:14, Rom. 10:1, 2 Cor. 1:11.
Then Paul speaks of ‘prayers’ (PROSEUCHE) meaning: a prayer to God. This is the most common word for prayer in the New Testament. It is also used in verses such as: Mat. 21:13; Mark 9:29; Acts 2:42; Rom. 12:2.
He then speaks of ‘requests’ (ENTEUXIS) meaning: a lighting upon, meeting with, a conversation, a petition. It is only used by Paul in two verses 1 Tim. 2:1; 4:5.
Paul ends with another aspect of prayer – ‘thanksgiving’ (EUCHARISTIA) meaning: grateful language, gratitude, thankfulness. It is also used in verses such as 1 Cor. 16:16; Eph. 5:4; Phil. 4:6.
Are we to understand by this that there are four types or four parts or levels of praying? I do not believe so. What I see is that Paul speaks of praying no matter how you do it. Prayers are different in nature and depending on the importance or urgency of them. They can be of different intensity. An example of this is when Christ prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. This prayer was more intense than in any other situation he had lived. For it is the only place recorded that he actually prayed so intensely that blood drops fell from his face to the ground!
40 When He came to the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation."
41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed,
42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."
43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.
44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Whether for small petitions or very important petitions Paul wanted everyone to be praying.
(v.1) …on behalf of all people
No one was to be left out, every Christian should be praying ‘on behalf’ (POIEO) meaning: to make or do, for ‘all people’. Not just certain people (the ones you like and care for) but for everyone. Everyone needs God’s help or intervention in his life. God actually cares for all men, not only the ‘good’ ones!
45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
In verse two, Paul directs Timothy not to forget the following and gives the reason why Christians should pray for them.
2 on behalf of kings and all those who are in authority, in order that we may live a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
Paul targets ‘kings and those who are in authority’. Living in the Roman Empire was not easy for the first century Christians. Already Christians were disliked as we can read in Acts:
1 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth.
2 And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them.
Christians are to pray in favor of ‘kings’ (HUPER) Meaning: over a place, beyond superior to. He doe s not mention whether they are true believers or not. Do not forget that in verse one he writes that prayers should be made on behalf of ALL people. Prayers should also be given in favor of ‘all those who are in authority’. The word ‘authority’ (HUPEROCHE) means: prominence, superiority in rank. This could include anyone who has a status greater than ours and in whatever context. There is a reason given for why true believers should pray for kings and people in authority.
(v.2) …in order that we may live a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
The thought behind the words ‘may live’ (DIAGO) means: to pass time or life. Here Paul makes a direct link between the way we live and prayer. Paul encourages believers to pray to God so that their lives may be filled with four things. The first is ‘tranquil’ (ERESMOS) which means: stillness. This is an APAX which means that it is only used once in the New Testament. This word means tranquility arising from without. This is not inner peace from the Lord but a peaceful social setting. The second is ‘quiet’ (HESUCHIOS) life which means: keeping one’s seat, still, peaceable. This denotes tranquility from within that causes no disturbance to others. This could manifest the inner peace that comes from the Lord. This word is only used twice in the New Testament. Peter uses it in the following verse:
1 Peter 3
4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet (HESUCHIOS) spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
The third prayer is for a ‘life in all godliness’. The word ‘godliness’ (EUSEBEIA) means: godliness, holiness. All believers are called to pray for those in authority, for a tranquil and quiet life but also for the spiritual aspect of our daily living. It makes quite a difference when the authorities accept Christianity and give people the right to worship freely and when they do not! Believers should pray for freedom of religion asking the Lord to touch the hearts of those who are the head of governments. The fourth prayer is for a life of ‘dignity’ (SEMNOTES) which means: venerable, gravity and honesty. This would be the open manifestation of our faith in Christ. We are to pray not only to be ‘safe’ as Christians but also to be able to openly live our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. So, let’s pray!
3 This is good and acceptable before God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
What is ‘good and acceptable’ is the fact that all children of God should take time to pray as Paul stated above. God says that it is ‘good’ (KALOS) meaning: good, valuable, virtuous. If God considers it ‘good’ should not believers be active in this goodness? The word ‘acceptable’ (APODEKTOS) means: acceptable in the sense that it is pleasing and welcome. Once more this should encourage believers to spend time praying. God is called ‘our Savior’ (SOTER) meaning: deliverer, a savior. This word is only used for God – the Father and God – the Son in the Scriptures. This is another proof of the deity of Jesus Christ. God is the only Savior:
11 I, even I, am the LORD, And besides Me there is no savior.
And the Bible also declares very openly that Jesus Christ is the Savior:
10 Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11 "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 "And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
The following verse is a difficult one if we do not have the proper theological mindset.
4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
This same God who wants all his children to pray ‘on behalf of all people’ once again speaks of ‘all people’. Now the word ‘all’ (PAS) means: all, any, every. The word ‘people’ (ANTHROPOS) means: a human being. We know that God has two types of ‘wills’. The first is his absolute will, which would be a decree on his part. He willed that the universe was created and it was. He willed that plants, animals and humans be created and they were. This type of will cannot be thwarted by any one. The second will is a permissive will and it emanates from his character and is not a decree. Because God is a God of peace (Rom. 15:33) he desires that all men live in peace but does not intervene and force peace on earth. Paul just wrote ‘God our Savior’. Since he is Savior, he ‘wants all people to be saved’. The word ‘saved’ (SOZO) means: to save, to deliver, to protect. But this is not a decree, he does not order that all people be saved but it his desire that all should be saved.
An example of this would be that of a parent who is willing to offer help to his troubled child. He gives his offer but the child must do his part and accept the help offered. Salvation is offered to everyone yet not everyone accepts this wonderful gift from God:
38 "But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.
39 "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
40 "But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
So, God desires that ‘all people be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth’ but not all are willing to do so. God wants people to be saved and also to ‘come to a knowledge of the truth’. The word ‘knowledge’ (EPIGNOSIS) means: recognition, full discernment. The word ‘truth’ (ALETHEIA) means: truly, verily, truth. It is only when one is ‘saved’ that he is able to come to the TRUTH – God’s truth. This verse DOES NOT mean that ALL WILL BE SAVED as some interpret.
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and human beings, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself a ransom for all, the testimony at the proper time,
In these verses Paul explains how one can be saved. He begins by saying that ‘there is one God’. Let us not forget that Paul is writing to Timothy who is living in Ephesus. Ephesus was a religious center with the Temple of Artemis (Diana) as its main attraction.
This temple was the largest temple in the known world and was at least twice the size of the Parthenon! It was built in the 6th century BC by king Croesus of Lydia. It was twice destroyed and is considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world! But there were numerous other temples dedicated to various other idols. Ephesus was the chief city for necromancy and exorcism. Several other gods and goddesses were also worshipped in Ephesus including: Aphrodite, Apollo, Athena, Dionysus, Heracles, Pan, Zeus and many, many more.
That is why Paul begins by saying that ‘there is one God’. Christians do not believe that there are many gods – only one. We are monotheistic – one God and this God is trinitarian. This one God is three: Father, Son and Spirit but is only one. This is a great mystery and is not the subject of this commentary. Paul continues with ‘and one mediator between God and human beings’. Because of man’s sinfulness he can not be in a righteous position with God. The words ‘human beings’ (ANTHROPOS) means: a human being. Paul elsewhere writes:
9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
10 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;
Because ALL of mankind is not righteous, we need ‘a mediator between God and human beings’. The word ‘mediator’ (MESITES) means: a go between, intercessor. Again, please notice that there is only ONE mediator and that is ‘the man Christ Jesus’. The word ‘man’ is the same word (ANTHROPOS) that is used with ‘human beings’ (v.5) and also ‘people’ (v.4). Why does Paul place emphasis on the word ‘man’ (ANTHROPOS) Christ Jesus? Why is the humanity of Christ and not his divinity mentioned as important? Paul speaks of this in Galatians:
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
To be able to redeem those under the Law (mankind), God – the Son had to become fully man and live under the Law (as a man) and fulfill it perfectly (Mat. 5:17). Only then would his sacrifice be accepted by the Father.
6 who gave himself a ransom for all, the testimony at the proper time
This verse speaks of what happened when Christ offered himself at the cross, ‘who gave himself a ransom for all’. The word ‘gave’ (DIDOMI) means: to give, to grant. Jesus offered himself freely, it was his love for the Father and mankind that pushed him to become the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29,36). By dying on the cross, Jesus became ‘a ransom for all’. The word ‘ransom’ (ANTILUTRON) means: a redemption price, ransom. In other words, Jesus paid the price so that all who would come to him for redemption would receive it freely. Again, we see the word ‘all’. Redemption is for all who repent of their sins and ask Christ to save them from the judgment to come. This was the heavenly ‘testimony at the proper time’. The word ‘testimony’ (MARTURION) means: evidence given, witness. The cross is all the evidence needed for all men to repent unto Jesus for salvation.
30 "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
31 "because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
Paul explains his God-given duties towards the ‘Good News’.
7 for which I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am speaking the truth, I am not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
Jesus is the only mediator between God and man! No one else is able to do this because only Christ has given himself as a perfect ransom. The preaching of this was Paul’s calling – ‘I was appointed’ (TITHEMI) meaning: to place. God himself placed Paul in this ministry. He was ‘a herald and apostle’. The word ‘herald’ (KERUX) means: herald of the divine truth. Just as John the Baptist proclaimed the arrival of the Messiah, Paul proclaimed his holy sacrifice! He was also an ‘apostle’ (APOSTOLOS) meaning: a delegate, an ambassador of the gospel. He was sent to be ‘a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth’. As Peter was sent for the Jews, Paul was sent to the ‘Gentiles’ (ETHNOS) meaning: a race, a tribe especially foreign to the Jews. That is why Paul always worked outside of Israel on his missionary trips. As he writes, he taught ‘faith and truth’ to the non-Jews. Of this he testifies ‘I am not lying’. The word ‘lying’ (PSEUDOMAI) means: to utter an un-truth.
Paul now returns to his main subject which is general instructions concerning the believer’s life of prayer.
8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger and dispute.
This is Paul’s conclusion concerning prayer: ‘I want the men in every place to pray’. The word ‘men’ is not ANTHROPOS which means the human race which would infer that everybody is to pray. But the word for ‘men’ is (ANER) which means, a man, a fellow. Here, there is a special call for men to pray. They were to pray ‘in every place’. The word ‘every’ (PAS) means: all, any, every. ALL men are called to pray like this ‘lifting up holy hands without anger and dispute’. Men’s hands and hearts need to be ‘without anger and dispute’. The word ‘anger’ (ORGE) meaning: desires reaching forth with the excitement of the mind. This is not to be taken as a good thing ,as anger never is, unless it is holy anger! He needs to pray without having ‘dispute’ (DIALOGISMOS) meaning: a debate, a dispute. If man is to be ‘lifting up holy hands’ his heart must be clear of all anger and useless verbal disputes. If you are to pray you need to have a clean heart before the Lord.
First Timothy 2:9-15
07 – Women in the church
9 Likewise also the women should adorn themselves in appropriate clothing, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold jewelry or pearls or expensive clothing, 10 but with good deeds which are fitting for women who profess godliness. 11 A woman must learn in quietness with all submission. 12 But I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve, 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman, because she was deceived, came into transgression. 15 But she will be saved through the bearing of children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness with self-control.
In our last section Paul began to give general directions to Timothy concerning praying and he ends with a special mention concerning men and the attitude they should have. He continues but this time he turns to women believers.
9 Likewise also the women should adorn themselves in appropriate clothing, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold jewelry or pearls or expensive clothing, 10 but with good deeds which are fitting for women who profess godliness.
The word ‘likewise’ (HOSAUTOS) means: in the same way, even so, likewise. This gives the idea that just as men have to act a certain way in relationship with prayer ‘likewise’ women have to act a certain way not with prayer but with fashion. He speaks to ‘women’ (GUNE) meaning: a woman, in particular a wife. Some believe that this section is only meant for wives and not single women. I believe that the context points in the other direction. This should include all women whether married or not. If this were not the case, then it would mean that some women would need to dress modestly while others could dress as they wished even if it were immodest! This makes no theological sense!
So, how should women dress? Paul writes ‘the women should adorn themselves’, the word ‘adorn’ (KOSMEO), means: to put in proper order, to decorate. This is where we get the word cosmetics. One can easily see where Paul is going. It seems, in general, that women have a tendency to better themselves with all sorts of means. This is not new – fashion seems to have had its place even centuries before the birth of Christ! Unfortunately, for some, it went a bit too far (overboard) and Paul needed to address this issue. In fact, Peter also wrote about women and fashion (1 Peter 3:3-5). So how should born-again women dress? Paul first writes ‘in appropriate clothing’.
This would be a general statement, the word ‘appropriate’ (KOSMIOS) means: orderly, decorous, of good behavior. In other words, it should be with good taste, the standard naturally being the mind of God. Paul continues his description with ‘with modesty’ (AIDOS) meaning: bashful, modesty. This gives the idea of not wearing something that is aggressive and unabashed or something that will catch the eye and be ‘outrageous’. Women should dress with ‘modesty’. He also writes ‘with self-control’ (SOPHROSUNE) meaning: soundness of mind, sanity. Paul and Peter are actually the only writers of epistles that speak of ‘self-control’! Luke mentions this in Acts 24:25 but Acts is not an epistle per-say.
Women should dress with ‘self-control’. For Paul, self-control is absolutely necessary if one desires to become a good Disciple of Christ. In 1 Cor. 7:5, Paul writes, that without self-control Satan will easily attack you. In 1 Cor. 7:9 Paul says that if you lack sexual self-control you should marry. In Gal. 5:23, self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Tim. 2:15 he again speaks of self-control in the lives of women. In 2 Tim. 3:3 he speaks of the nature of mankind in the end-times and one aspect is the lack of self-control. Women should control themselves in relationship with what they wear. As we have seen self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. This means that women who do not dress modestly are not walking in the Spirit but in the flesh.
(v.9) … not with braided hair and gold jewelry or pearls or expensive clothing,
Paul speaks of the hair saying ‘not with braided hair’. It was a custom in Pagan countries, for women to adorn their hair even with gold pieces simply to show their social status! Since believers in Christ should be humble like their Savior was, this eliminates everything that is against modesty even with hair when it is elaborate and ‘braided’. Please remember that this deals with women using their hair to ‘show off’ and make themselves more attractive and not with the making of a ‘pony tail’ and such things.
The Christian attire for women should not include ‘gold jewelry’ (CHRUSOS) meaning: gold, a golden article, gold ornament. Again, this would be an obvious lack of ‘self-control’ desiring outward beauty instead of the inward qualities as Peter writes:
1 Peter 3
3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel--
4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,
Certain accessories are not welcomed for a Disciple of Christ, such as ‘pearls or expensive clothing’. ‘Pearls’ (MARGARITES) means: a pearl, an oyster. Again, we see the desire to adorn our self to make our self be seen. The words ‘expensive’ (POLUTELES) means: extremely expensive, costly, very precious. Why would any humble disciple (male or female) desire to dress in a way which contradicts one of the pillars of the faith which is humility?
10 but with good deeds which are fitting for women who profess godliness.
If this IS NOT the way Christian women should dress, then with what should they cover themselves? Paul writes ‘with good deeds’. The word ‘good’ (AGATHOS) means: good in any sense, benefit, well. A woman should be remembered not for her outrageous clothing but rather for her good deeds. The word ‘deeds’ (ERGON) means: work, toil, effort, labour. This is what she should be remembered for. Do you remember the believer Dorcas? She had died and people sent for Peter. Listen to what is written about her:
36 At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.
37 But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.
38 And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them.
39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.
This is exactly what Paul is speaking about. Women should be remembered for their ‘good works and charitable deeds’. Now concerning these ‘good deeds which are fitting for women who profess godliness’. It is ‘fitting’ (PREPO) meaning: to be suitable or proper. These ‘good deeds’ are suitable and proper for women ‘who profess godliness’. In other words, if you declare to be a born-again Christ, if you ‘profess’ (EPAGGELLO) meaning: to announce upon, to engage to do something, then this is how you should dress. This ‘dress code’ is not something new as some people say. It was established in the Old Testament where God sets down his rules concerning what men and women could or could not wear. Showing off with all sorts of clothing and apparels is not within the scope of the character of God.
11 A woman must learn in quietness with all submission. 12 But I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve, 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman, because she was deceived, came into transgression. 15 But she will be saved through the bearing of children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness with self-control.
A quick note, all the times that Paul writes the word ‘women’ in our English language they are ALL translated from the same Greek word (GUNE) which means any woman single or married.
Paul now turns his attention to another aspect of the Christian life of women. I would like you to notice that Paul says: ‘A woman must learn’. What he will write about is something that can be achieved, something that a woman can ‘learn’ (MANTHANO) meaning: to learn in any way, to understand. We are all called to learn from the Lord and to change our way of living. We are all to set aside the ‘old man’ and to put on the ‘new man’ (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9) whether we are a son or daughter of the Almighty!
This is what women needed: to ‘learn in quietness with all submission’. It seems that this would be in the context of a gathering of the brethren where teaching was given for the edifying of the believers. It could be possible that some women would ‘take all the place’ and would voice their opinion before all. Paul says that this should not be. Learning was to be done in ‘quietness’ (HESUCHIA) meaning: stillness, silence. When I was young, learning in classrooms was also done in silence and respect. Verbal chaos in a classroom is certainly not welcomed if you desire to learn. Women also needed to learn ‘with all submission’. The word ‘submission’ (HUPOTAGE) means: subjection, to rank under. This is mainly a military term. They needed to recognize that someone else had a higher rank than they did and that person did the talking.
12 But I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
In verse twelve, Paul bring clarifications to the command he had just given. ‘I do not permit a woman’, the word ‘permit’ (EPITREPO) means: allow, give, permit. There was something that Paul did not want women to do, which involved two things: ‘to teach or to exercise authority over a man’. The word ‘teach’ (DIDASKO) simply means: to teach, being up front and being the teacher over students. The second thing was ‘to exercise authority over a man’.
The words ‘exercise authority’ (AUTHENTEO) means: to act of oneself, dominate, usurp authority. This gives the idea of taking the rightful place of someone and that would be ‘over a man’ (ANER) a man, a husband.
The rightful place of a teacher in a Christian community is for men and not women. Now this does not mean that women are not able to teach children and teenagers. It also does not mean that a woman can not teach other women in the church. It means that when the congregation is gathered (men and women) then the rightful place is for men to teach. Paul tells women that when this happens (the gathering) they are to ‘remain quiet’. The word ‘quiet’ (HESUCHIA same as in verse 11) means: stillness, silence. They are called to be good students and to remain silent when someone teaches.
13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve, 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman, because she was deceived, came into transgression. 15 But she will be saved through the bearing of children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness with self-control.
In verses thirteen to fifteen Paul explains WHY this must be so. Some believe that Paul hated women, that he was a misogynist. But this is far from the truth and anyone who seriously studies his epistles will confirm that this is not the case. To explain WHY he reminds women to be silent and not to have authority over men he goes back to the garden of Eden.
His first argument is ‘For Adam was formed first, then Eve’. Adam was ‘formed’ (PLASSO) meaning: to mold, shape or fabricate. The Almighty created Adam before he created Eve. We know that Eve was created to be a helper of Adam, for he could not find a mate suitable for himself in all of God’s creation. Eve was created for Adam and not the opposite. So, Paul uses the argument of who came first – Adam did. Because he was first it was impossible for Eve to be first.
His second argument is ‘and Adam was not deceived but the woman’. It was Eve that was ‘deceived’ (APATAO) meaning: to cheat, delude, deceive. Satan deceived Eve into sinning against the Lord God. She later would deceive Adam to also eat. There was a price to pay for her going against the will of the Lord. Adam would now become her ruling head.
His third argument follows the second in that ‘because she was deceived, came into transgression’. The word ‘transgression’ (PARABASIS) means: violation, breaking, transgression. After being deceived, she acted upon her deception and ate the fruit and because of this she sinned against the Lord.
The arguments are not social but rather historical. The perfect relationship between the first man and the first woman was destroyed and BOTH suffered the judgment of God (Gen. 3:14-24). This judgment will continue until both our soul AND body will be saved. When we will be with the Lord we will be like angels (with a celestial body) and the earthly judgment will be a thing of the past (Mat. 22:30,31).
15 But she will be saved through the bearing of children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness with self-control.
This verse is one of the ‘difficult ones’ that we find in the Bible, but when it is understood in its context it becomes much easier to understand. Who is this ‘she’ that Paul is writing about? If this ‘she’ is to be understood as any or every woman then this verse goes against ALL that soteriology (the study of salvation) declares! For ALL women would need to have children to be saved. BUT if the ‘she’ is the woman that is in our context (v.13,14) then we can understand. Who is the ‘she’ that Paul had just referred to – Eve. If we see Eve in this verse then we can understand. God had promised that someone in the lineage of Eve, her descendent, would do the following to Satan (the serpent):
15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."
For salvation to be brought forth, Eve would have to bear children (TEKNOGONIA) meaning: child birth, maternity, child bearing. It was through her lineage that Christ the Savior would come and be victor over Satan through his perfect sacrifice on the cross. Now to be in good ‘standing’ with the Lord God Eve, who had just sinned against the Lord, needed to persevere or ‘continues’ (MENO) meaning: to stay, abide, continue in these things: first, through ‘faith’(PISTIS) meaning: persuasion, credence, conviction. Second, by ‘holiness’ (HAGIASMOS) meaning: purification, holiness and third, ‘self-control’ (SOPHROSUNE) meaning: sound in mind, self-controlled. Eve had been saved from her sins (Gen. 3:21) but she needed to have a good relationship with the Lord to be happy in life by living these three things. This is not surprising, for ALL children of God also need to have these three things: faith, holiness and self-control in order to have a good fellowship with God.
First Timothy 3:1-7
08 – Qualifications for future elders
The saying is trustworthy: if anyone aspires to supervision, he desires a good work. 2 Therefore the overseer must be irreproachable, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, skillful in teaching, 3 not addicted to wine, not a violent person, but gentle, peaceable, not loving money, 4 managing his own household well, having children in submission with all dignity 5 (but if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6 not newly converted, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 But he must also have a good testimony from those outside, in order that he may not fall into disgrace and the trap of the devil.
This is one of the most important sections in this epistle! Unfortunately, so many churches do not apply the commands of the Bible for the establishing of Elders. So many church fights, church splits and the closing of churches can be rooted in the absence of spiritual Elders – men of God who possess the character of Christ. Today it has become some sort of popularity contest. If you are well-known and are generally accepted by the congregation you have a good chance to become an elder. This is a great tragedy and so foolish. Do you remember when Samuel went to anoint the future king - one of the sons of Jesse? He thought it was Eliab the oldest of the boys, yet this is what the Lord said:
1 Samuel 16
6 So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, "Surely the LORD'S anointed is before Him."
7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
Children of God look too often at who the person is, what he does in life, his success or his human capacities INSTEAD of looking at ‘the heart’ (v.7). Because of this church boards fail miserably and are filled with strife and battles for power. If today you are in a position of church leadership, be brave enough to evaluate yourself to see if you have the spiritual qualifications of an Elder. If not, then be honest enough to step down for the betterment of the church!
What Paul says is ‘trustworthy’ (PISTOS) meaning: faithful, true, sure. Paul stands before the Lord when he writes and says – this is the truth. He wanted Timothy to open his ears and his heart and so should we!
The saying is trustworthy: if anyone aspires to supervision, he desires a good work.
He then begins to explain the worthiness of desiring to become an Elder. ‘If anyone desires to supervision’. The word ‘anyone’ (EI TIS) means: if any, be that, whosoever. As we will see, this does not mean ‘anyone’ man or woman for we have already seen in our last section that Paul does not want women to have authority over men nor preach. This ‘anyone’ is reserved of any man, if a man ‘aspires’ (OREGOMAI) meaning: to stretch oneself, to reach out after. This gives the idea of someone who is or would like to walk towards ‘supervision’ of the church. The word ‘supervision’ (EPISKOPE) means: superintendent, the office of bishop or elder. This is a man who has a deep desire to take care of God’s church. If this deep desire is within a person than ‘he desires a good thing’. He ‘desires’ (EPITHUMEO) means: to set the heart upon, to long for. This heart-felt longing or craving is ‘a good thing’. It is ‘good’ (KALOS) meaning: beautiful, good, valuable, virtuous. If the heart is right before God then this desire is virtuous before the Lord, but the inner intentions must be pure.
For the rest of this section Paul will give a series of ABSOLUTES that a man MUST FULFILL if he desires to supervise a Christian community.
2 Therefore the overseer must be irreproachable, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, skillful in teaching,
Paul calls this an ‘overseer’ (EPISKOPOS) meaning: superintendent, overseer of a church. Other versions have the word Bishop (KJV, American Standard, Bible in Basic English, NKJV, RSV…). Some use the word overseer (Darby, Modern King James Version, World English Bible, Lexham English Bible, Amplified Bible). It is to be noted that in his letter to Titus when Paul speaks on the same subject (overseers) he uses another word in Greek (PRESBUTEROS) which means: older, a senior, elder, old which gives the idea of having someone who has experience in the things of the Lord. Whether he is called an overseer, a bishop or an elder, it seems to be the same type of person doing the same type of work for the Lord.
The next important thought is that the overseer ‘must be’ (DEI) meaning: it is necessary, be met. This is where many churches are at fault, they overlook the fact that an overseer ‘must be’. The spiritual qualities listed ‘must be’ in that man. When they are not it will be a disaster for the entire church. If a man, who is not spiritually qualified, is given authority in the church he will not use this power or authority wisely, for he is a carnal person! Here are the qualifications that a man who aspires to become an overseer MUST HAVE.
He must be ‘irreproachable’ (ANEPILEPTOS) meaning: not arrested, inculpable, blameless. This speaks of his public standing in life. Is he irreproachable before the law, is the police after him? Is he morally irreproachable, do people have issues with him? Has he done wrong to people? Can someone in the congregation or outside of the church bring a case against him? To become an overseer this man needs to be as white as snow! This word is only used by Paul and only in First Timothy (3:2; 5:7; 6:14)
He must be ‘the husband of one wife’. The word ‘one’ (MIA) means; one and the word ‘wife’ (GUNE) means: a woman, a wife. This is interpreted in two ways (depending on your basic theology or church denomination). Some believe that it means that you can marry only once and if your spouse dies you either remain a celibate or step down if you remarry. Others believe that this gives the idea of having one wife at a time. In the Roman Empire a man having a wife and concubines was not frowned upon. But not so with the Lord. A man (or a woman) had one spouse at a time. The vast majority of people believe that Paul was teaching that a man to become an overseer must only have one wife and no concubines or ‘slave girls’ to satisfy his sexual drive. They also vastly believe that if his wife died, he can remarry as the Lord permits all believers to. The idea of ‘one wife’ is only given by Paul (1 Tim. 3:2,12; Titus 1:6)
He must be ‘temperate’ (NEPHALEOS) meaning: sober, circumspect. This speaks of the general state of mind of the overseer. Is he sober in his thoughts? Does his theology align with the Word of God? Does he have a stable character or is he up and down and sometimes all over the place? Is he predictable and stable? This word is only used by Paul (1 Tim. 3:2,11; Titus 3:2)
He must be ‘self-controlled’ (SOPHRON) meaning: sound in mind, sober, discreet. Is he able to control his speech? Does he ‘explode’ when confronted? How does he react when placed in a difficult situation? Does he control his eating habits? How does he drive – too fast? Does he have his person in control – all of his person? This word is only used by Paul (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8; 2:2,5)
He must be ‘respectable’ (KOSMIOS) meaning: decent, honest, orderly, of good behavior. How does he act with people? Does he want to have his way and it shows? Is he polite and a person that people enjoy being around? Does he know when to act one way or another depending on the circumstance? This word is only used by Paul and only in First Timothy (1 Tim. 2:9; 3:2).
He must be ‘hospitable’ (PHILOXENOS) meaning: fond of guests, lover of strangers, hospitable. How does he act with new people in the church? Is he a friend of everyone in the congregation? Does he open up his home for fellowship? Does he like people or does he rather not mingle? This word is also used elsewhere. (Titus 1:8; 1 Peter 4:9)
He must be ‘skillful in teaching’ (DIDAKTIKOS) meaning: apt to teach. Is he a good teacher? Do his sermons inspire people? Is he able to analyze the Bible correctly? Is it manifest that he ‘worked’ his sermon and knows how to deliver it? This word is only used by Paul (1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 2:24).
3 not addicted to wine, not a violent person, but gentle, peaceable, not loving money,
He must not be ‘addicted to wine’. The word ‘not’ (ME) means: never, no, none. The word ‘wine’ (PAROINOS) means: staying near wine, given to wine. We can easily see the thought of Paul is not that a person can not take wine, for we see that Paul even orders Timothy to take wine because of his indisposition (1 Tim. 5:23) but rather that a person aspiring to become an overseer must not linger on wine or have a bad habit of having wine outside of its natural context (eating). The book of Proverbs warns us to stay away from any excess of wine (Pr. 20:1: 23:20,21). This word is only used by Paul (1 Tim. 3:3, Titus 1:7).
He must not be ‘a violent man’. The word ‘violent’ (PLEKTES) means: a brawler, quarrelsome, a striker. This gives the idea of a person who easily ‘loses it’ and is violent either in speech or in action. Does he keep calm and remain composed? Does his mouth ‘run off’ and belittles others. Is he physically abusive? This word is only used by Paul (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7)
He must be ‘gentle’ (EPIEIKES) meaning: appropriate, mild, gentle, patient, fair. This is in contrast with being contentious. Is he a reasonable person? Does he insist often? Does he analyze the facts given to him before reacting? This speaks of the general character of the person. This word is also used by James (3:17) and Peter (1 Peter 2:18).
He must be ‘peaceable’ (AMACHOS) meaning: not a brawler. Is he looking for ‘fights’? Does he love to argue and have never ceasing arguments with people? Is he strongly opiniated and it become displeasing with time? Does peace follow him whenever he arrives or does he agitate and irritate people? This word is only used by Paul (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 3:2)
He must not be a person that is ‘loving money’ (AISCHROKERDES) meaning: given to or greedy of filthy lucre. Jesus said that a man can not both love Mammon and God (Mat. 6:24). Does this man love money? Is that what he desires in life? Does he love what money can give him? Is he materialistic? This word is only used by Paul (1 Tim. 3:3,8: Titus 1:7)
4 managing his own household well, having children in submission with all dignity
He must be ‘managing his own household well’. The word ‘managing’ (PROISTEMI) means: to stand before, to practice, to maintain. Such a man needs to manage his own ‘household’ (OIKOSO meaning: a dwelling, a home, a family. Here Paul speaks concerning how he is as a husband and also as a father. Take a look at his family, how are they? How do the children behave? What does his relationship with his wife look like? All of this must be ‘well’ (KALOS) meaning: good, well, honestly, what is done rightly. Paul goes a little further and gives an example of what he means ‘having children in submission with all dignity’. The word ‘submission’ (HUPOTAGE) means: subordination, subjection. Are the children respecting their parents, people and things? In all ‘dignity’ (SEMNOTES) meaning: gravity and honesty. If the family situation is not the best, if the children are unruly that means that something is missing in this person’s character.
5 (but if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),
He now gives the argument that if someone ‘does not know how to manage his own household’. The word ‘manage’ is the same as in verse four, showing a continuation of thought. If a man can’t take care and manage his own household ‘how will he take care of the church of God?’ The words ‘take care’ (EPIMELEOMAI) mean: to care for. This is your proof: if he does not know how to care for his family how then can he take care of the family of God? – He can’t!
6 not newly converted, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the devil.
He must not be ‘newly converted’. The word ‘not’ (ME) negation, absolute denial. Once again, we can not escape the wisdom and desires of God. He can not be a ‘newly’ (NEOPHUTOS) meaning: newly planted, fig. a new Christian. If you are to teach, lead the way and protect the church you will not able to do this if you are a babe in Christ! Churches must not be in a hurry to give this sort of ministry to a young person. He needs to grow, to be surrounded, to learn and to have experience in the Lord before he is able to do this. This is an APAX which means it is only used here in the Greek.
Paul tells Timothy why he should not be a young convert. There are two possible reasons. The first is ‘lest he becomes conceited’. The word ‘conceited’ (TUPHOO) means: to inflate with self-conceit, high minded. In other words, this will ‘go to his head’ and make him believe that he is more important then he is. The second reason is that he may ‘fall into the condemnation of the devil’. The devil will look at him as an easy prey (1 Peter 5:8), He will ‘fall’ (EMPIPTO) meaning: to fall on, to be entrapped by. His youth will be a trap for him and he will fall into the ‘condemnation of the devil’. The devil will fight against him and will bring spiritual heaviness upon the young man and he will fall.
7 But he must also have a good testimony from those outside, in order that he may not fall into disgrace and the trap of the devil.
These are Paul’s final orders to Timothy concerning men being placed as responsible for the church.
He must have a ‘good testimony from those outside’. Not only is Paul preoccupied with what people think about him inside the church but also from the ‘outside’ (EXOTHEN) meaning: external, outside, from without. It is important what people think of the man even when they are not Christians. He needs a ‘good testimony’. Notice that Paul does not write a perfect testimony (for no one is perfect) but a ‘good’ (KALOS) meaning: beautiful, good, virtuous. In general, people ought to think well of such a man. If people think your new Elder is a crook, or lazy, or a womaniser, greedy or cold hearted that certainly will not project the kind of Christian image that Christ would be pleased with.
Paul writes why this should be so: ‘in order that he may not fall into disgrace and the trap of the devil’. He would be a ‘disgrace’ (ONEIDISMOS) meaning: insolent in language or action, reproach. People would point their finger at him and he would be a laughing stock therefore hurting the church’s reputation. Note that once more the devil is mentioned ‘the trap of the devil’. The word ‘trap’ (PAGIS) means: a trap, a snare, a trick. Being placed in such a position is just an open trap for any man who is not spiritually qualified.
If you see that you DO NOT have these qualifications and you are in church leadership at this level – please step down! It will only be a trap for you and it will harm the church and dishonor the Lord.
First Timothy 3:8-13
09 – Qualifications for future deacons
8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not insincere, not devoted to much wine, not fond of dishonest gain, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience, 10 and these also must be tested first; then let them serve if they are above reproach. 11 The wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderous, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who have served well acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
The word ‘deacons’ (DIAKONOS) meaning: to run on errands, a waiter on menial duties, has a variety of uses in the New Testament. It is mostly translated into two different words.
Mat. 20:26 (servant)
Rom. 13:4 (minister)
The New Testament does not give a ‘job description’ for ‘deacons’ (servants). Some believe that the first ‘deacons’ are to be found in Acts 6:1-7 when seven men were called to equally distribute food between the Jewish and the Hellenist widows. In my opinion this does not seem to be the same case as the servants Paul is writing about. In Acts 6:1-7 we see that the election of deacons rises from a particular issue that needed to be fixed. Once this was done then the issue (uneven distribution of food) would go away and the need for these seven men would no longer be needed. As for Paul, it seems that the ‘deacons’ he writes about are people who serve in different ministries in the church. This would presume that these ministries are on-going. If this is so, then the Bible does not tell us what they did exactly – apart from being servants by helping out in the church. Outside of the pastoral letters (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus) they are only mentioned once and that is in Phil. 1:1:
1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Because men, in church authority, have set aside the true meaning of the word DIAKONOS (a simple servant), ‘deacons’ have taken a much greater (and dangerous) stand in God’s churches. In some circles they even have more authority than the pastor(s) or elder(s)! This is a grave mistake! It is always a mistake to twist the word of God or have church tradition rule over the Sacred Scriptures.
8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not insincere, not devoted to much wine, not fond of dishonest gain,
The word ‘likewise’ (HOSAUTOS) means: in the same way, even so, likewise. This is in relation with what Paul had just written concerning the elders (3:1-7). Just as the elders need to be spiritual men SO DO the ‘deacons’. As he did with the elders, Paul will give a list of traits of character of ‘deacons’. Notice that, as with elders, the idea of ‘must be’ is also present. There is no other option. Every single trait of character must be present in this person’s life if he (or she) is to be called to serve the church.
He must be ‘dignified’ (SEMNOS) meaning: honorable, gravity, integrity, honesty. This gives a general picture of the character of the person. If he is honorable in life, he can be seen as a model for other believers. In other words, this person is a true disciple of Christ. He is asked to serve not because of WHAT he has (talents, capacities, etc..) but for WHO he is.
He must ‘not’ (ME) meaning: neither, never, no. This is the same Greek word that is also used for the elders in our prior section. He must not be ‘insincere’ (DILOGOS) meaning: telling a different story, doubled-tongued. His heart must be true and straight as an arrow. His ‘yes’ must be ‘yes’ and not change for a ‘no’ a while later. This means that he is trustworthy. He will do what he says and will say what he has done!
He must not be ‘devoted to much wine’. The word ‘devoted’ (PROSECHO) means: to hold to the mind, to pay attention to. Is wine on his mind? Does he like to take a ‘drink’? Does he seem to drink a little bit too much? Is this getting out of hand? Does his character change with a little wine? A servant of the Lord should not care for wine. Please notice that Paul writes ‘much wine’ proving that this does not mean that he is to be abstinent but that wine has its proper place (at meals) in his life. It is the quantity of wine that Paul refers to, not the taking of wine as a beverage.
He must not be ‘fond of dishonest gain’ (AISCHROKERDES) means: greedy of filthy lucre or of sordid gain. This speaks about his relationship with money. What place has money in the servant’s life? Is this an important part of his life? Will he do certain things or neglect God’s work for monetary gain? Will he flatter people to have them on his side and use them for monetary gain in some may?
9 holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience,
They need to be ‘holding the mystery of the faith’. The word ‘holding’ (ECHO) means: to hold, to be able, ability. They must be able people, capable people concerning ‘the mystery’ (MUSTERION) meaning: to shut the mouth, silence imposed. The ‘mystery of the faith’ has been revealed:
26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.
27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
The mystery that has now been revealed is that God through Christ would welcome gentiles into his kingdom through the saving work of Christ at the cross. Both Jews and Gentiles would become ONE in Christ the Messiah!
A deacon must keep this ‘faith’ (PISTIS) meaning: persuasion, credence, moral conviction. This MUST BE KEPT ‘with a clear conscience’. The word ‘clear’ (KATHAROS) means: clean, clear, pure and the word ‘conscience’ (SUNEIDESIS) means: co-perception, moral consciousness. He needs to be transparent and honest before the Lord. His spirit-filled conscience should walk ‘in the light’. He should not go against the will of the Lord. He should be holding on with all his might to what he knows to be true.
10 and these also must be tested first; then let them serve if they are above reproach.
Here is another way in which many churches do not take the time to obey the Lord’s will. A person joins the church and he is an accountant and within a few months he becomes the church secretary. Or a new believer who is a school teacher after just a few weeks is asked to become a Sunday school teacher. This approach should not even exist! The Lord says that the person ‘must be tested’. Here we see the ‘must be’ again. Church leaders have no choice. They must follow the voice of the Lord! Any person who will have any ministry in the church needs to be ‘tested’ (DOKIMAZO) meaning: to test, to approve, to examine. A new person who joins a church needs to pass the test of time! It is only time that will manifest the authenticity of the person’s heart. Often people are placed in authority and later it becomes a regrettable choice.
(v.10) …then let them serve if they are above reproach.
They can serve ONLY ‘if they are above reproach’. The words ‘above reproach’ (ANEGKLETOS) means: irreproachable, un-accused, blameless. If their witness in life is without reproach then and ONLY then are they to be able to ‘serve’ (DIAKONEO) meaning: to be an attendant, wait upon, to serve. May we all remember this important lesson concerning ‘when’ to ask someone to become a servant in the church.
11 The wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderous, temperate, faithful in all things.
This verse is particular in the sense that some take it as instructions for female deacons. But the context does not favor this. It is a verse that seems to be ‘dropped’ out of the blue, if it were standards for female deacons. This verse rather flows with the context of deacons in relationship with their wives. M.A. Vincent in his ‘Word Studies in the New Testament’ wrote the following concerning this verse:
A deacon whose wife is wanting in the qualities required in him is not to be chosen. She should sustain an active relation to his office, and by her ministries would increase his efficiency, and by frivolity, slander, or intemperance, would bring him and his office into dispute.
Just as for a deacon (v.8), a deacon’s wife should be ‘dignified’ (SEMNOS) meaning: venerable, honorable and grace. She also should manifest general traits of a good Christian character. Her presence and lifestyle should encourage others to walk in the Lord.
She must not be ‘slanderous’ (DIABOLOS) meaning: false accuser, traducer or slanderer. She must be able to keep her tongue to herself and not spread gossip or lies concerning people. This manifests that she is capable of restraint and self-control. Being able to ‘hold our tongue’ is the manifestation of Christian maturity (James 3:1-12).
She must be ‘temperate’ (NEPHALEOS) meaning: sober, circumspect. Being sober minded gives the idea of not being filled with all sorts of foolishness in our mind. Being ‘clear-minded’, being able to see the reality through the fog of life is a wonderful quality in life. Remember what Paul wrote:
1 Thessalonians 5
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.
8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.
The last recommendation for the wives of deacons is that she be ‘faithful in all things'. This comes with no surprise, for ALL disciples of Christ are called to be faithful, not only in things that they like, but also in ALL things.
Food for thought – why is it that there are no recommendations for the wives of the elders?
12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who have served well acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
Just as with the elders ‘Deacons must be husbands of one wife’. It is exactly the same principle that is found for the elders (3:2) and it is also the same words for both elders and deacons. A deacon is to have one and only one wife at a time. If she dies and goes to be with the Lord then he is able to remarry.
A deacon must be ‘managing their children and their household well’. This also is the same as with the elders (3:4,5). It is obvious that if someone can not keep his household in the Lord’s path then how can he be of help (and a model) for others? I believe that when a child is of a certain age and comes to a point where he can make decisions for himself, the parent is then no longer responsible for that child and should not be criticized by others because of this grown-up child.
13 For those who have served well acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
Paul ends with a reminder of why it is so important to serve well. The word ‘well’ (KALOS) means: in a good place, honestly, morally well. When servants of the Lord do what they are asked and in a way that honors their Savior they acquire for themselves two things. The first is that they will ‘acquire a good standing’. The word ‘acquire’ (PERIPOIEOMAI) means: to make around oneself, to acquire, to purchase. This word is only used twice in the New Testament: the other is Acts 20:28 where it is written:
28 "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
By working well, you acquire for yourself a ‘good standing’ among the brethren. The word ‘standing’ (BATHMOS) means: grade of dignity, degree. A respect and esteem will be granted to the good servant of the Lord. These people will be highly regarded as spiritual men or women of God.
The second thing they acquire is a ‘great boldness in the faith’. The word ‘great’ (POLUS) means: much, many, largely. So, there is a large amount of something that a good servant acquires and that is ‘boldness’ (PARRHESIA) meaning: frankness, assurance, confidence. When a servant follows his Master and sees his glory, power and majesty, he is automatically fortified in his faith. He knows that the Lord will be able to take care of ANY situation.
As I wrote concerning the elders, if you are a deacon, a servant in the church, and some of these qualities are lacking I would encourage you to become that person or to leave your ministry until you are.
First Timothy 3:14-16
10 – The reason for Paul’s letter
14 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you in a short time. 15 But if I am delayed, I am writing in order that you may know how one must conduct oneself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and mainstay of the truth. 16 And most certainly, great is the mystery of godliness:
Who was revealed in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was proclaimed among the Gentiles,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.
For all who wonder ‘why Paul wrote this letter’ these verses will give you the answer. Paul declares openly why he writes. This letter is not like a vacation postcard which says ‘having a great time’. There is an aim to this letter.
14 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you in a short time.
‘Writing’ (GRAPHO) which means: to write, to describe, was the only way to communicate apart from speaking. So, Paul writes to Timothy but he doesn’t write aimlessly, he is very specific. By the way, let us never forget that it was actually the Holy Spirit through Paul’s penmanship that wrote this letter.
2 Peter 1
20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,
21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
‘These things’, is the content of the letter. All of what we call First Timothy was written for a purpose. He first expresses his anticipation ‘hoping to come to you in a short time’. This was the desire of his heart. The word ‘hoping’ (ELPIZO) means; to expect, to confide, to trust. Paul trusted that soon he would be able to get out of jail and be set free. He hoped to come ‘in a short time’ (TACHION) meaning: more swiftly, more rapidly, more speedily. Like a parent who can’t wait to see his grandchildren, Paul just could not wait to see Timothy face to face and hold him in his arms.
15 But if I am delayed, I am writing in order that you may know how one must conduct oneself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and mainstay of the truth.
On the other hand, Paul was a realist. He knew that there was a possibility that he would stay in jail longer than he hoped. He writes ‘but if I am delayed’. He does not ‘claim freedom in the name of Jesus’! He does not ‘order the doors to open and his chains to fall off’. The people (name it and claim it) who believe this, are not seriously grounded in God’s word! Paul hoped to get out but knew that he could stay jailed. What we do see is that Paul, even though he is jailed, keeps on having plans in the Lord’s work. What we also see is that he bows down to the will of the Lord. This should be every believer’s attitude. We hope for the best and whatever happens we accept the situation and keep on working for the kingdom of God. The word ‘delayed’ (BRADUNO) means: to delay, to slack, to tarry.
There was a possibility that Paul would stay in prison, if this happens then I am writing ‘that you may know how one must conduct oneself in the household of God’.
God is a God of order and conduct (1 Cor. 14:40; Col. 2:5; Titus 1:5). Certain churches have no order, saying that they are just following the Spirit and His direction. This is not biblical. Disorder is not God’s way of doing things! Leaders who say this are false teachers – beware of them!
Paul wants Timothy to ‘know’ (EIDO) meaning: to know, to be aware, to consider. I am certain that after following Paul all these years, Timothy knew these things but Paul reminds him of the importance of Christian conduct. The word ‘conduct’ (ANASTREPHO) means: to busy oneself, live, abide, behave. So, this is how ALL disciples of Christ are to behave. Let us not forget that we do not belong to ourselves any longer.
1 Corinthians 6
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
The ‘conduct’ that Paul is speaking about is to be seen ‘in the household of God’. The word ‘household’ (OIKOS) means: a dwelling, a family, a home. Believers are to conduct themselves in a special way in the House of God. We are not free to do what we desire and behave as we wish! Our conduct is to reflect who we are and where we are!
(v.15) …which is the church of the living God, the pillar and mainstay of the truth.
The ‘household’ of God ‘is the church’ (EKKLESIA) meaning: a calling out, a religious congregation. Believers are God’s household, we are his family, we are his dwelling. Peter writes concerning what true believers in Christ Jesus have become:
1 Peter 2
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
Our God is a ‘living God’! Amen that he is alive, he always was and always will be. He is not dead and his children never die just as Jesus explains:
31 "But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,
32 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
It is because the church is ‘the pillar and mainstay of the truth’ that our conduct must be holy. The church is the ‘pillar’ (STULOS) meaning: a support, a pillar. Believers in Christ are to be the ones who support ‘the truth’ (ALETHEIA) meaning: truth, true, verity. The truth should be clearly seen and lived in the lives of God’s children. This is not our truth but THE truth found in the Sacred Scriptures. If people do not see the truth in believers where else shall they see it? Believers are also the ‘mainstay’ of the truth. The word ‘mainstay’ (HEDRAIOMA) means: a basis, ground. This is where truth rests – in the child of God.
Paul reminds Timothy that the conduct of the believers should reflect the truth of the Lord God. There is no exception for this. If you have eternal life through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross THEN you are called to have a conduct which reflects this truth. Peter writes it this way:
1 Peter 1
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
Paul ends this section with what some would consider a doxology while others believe that it is a very old hymn:
16 And most certainly, great is the mystery of godliness:
Who was revealed in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was proclaimed among the Gentiles,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.
This is a rendering of this verse given in the Interlinear Hebrew/Greek English Bible. Jay Green general editor and translator. Associated Publishers and Authors, Lafayette, Indiana, U.S.A.
And confessedly, great is the godliness mystery,
God was manifested in flesh,
Was justified in Spirit,
Was seen by angels,
Was proclaimed among nations,
Was believed in the world,
Was taken up in glory.
First Timothy 4:1-5
11 – Description of false teachers
Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the last times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 by the hypocrisy of liars, who are seared in their own conscience, 3 who forbid marrying and insist on abstaining from foods that God created for sharing in with thankfulness by those who believe and who know the truth, 4 because everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thankfulness, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
As with all the other churches that Paul deals with, there are words of precaution given to them. This section speaks about the infiltration of the enemies of our souls within the congregations. This is the same today and we also need to take heed to what is written. False teachers are rampant and more and more so. They communicate through the written page, books and tracts. You can see them on the television. You can hear them on the radio. They have their websites and infect the internet – YouTube, Facebook, twitter – they are everywhere. Some even come knocking at your door! The work of the enemy is relentless and God’s children must be made aware of the danger that is upon them.
1Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the last times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,
Notice that Paul receives what the Spirit says as the Word of God itself! This is another proof of the deity of the Holy Spirit. This is the prophecy given by the Holy Spirit and it begins with ‘the Spirit explicitly says’. The word ‘explicitly’ (RHETOS) means: out-spoken, distinctly, expressively. What the Spirit will talk about is not like a shy child, who murmurs what he wants and you need to ask him to speak louder. The Spirit’s speech is loud, clear and easily understood. Now what does he say – ‘in the last times’. He speaks of the future for the word ‘last’ (HUSTEROS) means: later, latter and the word ‘times’ (KAIROS) means: an occasion, a set or proper time. So, in later days ‘some will depart from the faith’. Amen that it is not ‘all will depart from the faith’ but ‘some’ (TIS) meaning: any, anything, partly, some. There will be a certain group of people who are in the midst of the brethren who will ‘depart’ (APHISTEMI) meaning: to remove, to draw away. This reminds me of what happened in the life of Christ when what he taught was so difficult to receive that many just left him (John 6:54-66).
There will be some who will depart ‘from the faith’ (PISTIS) meaning: persuasion, credence, moral conviction. They will leave behind what they have been taught concerning Christ the Messiah, the redemption that he brings and the new life that is found in him. They will turn their backs on Christ and abandon him. How did this come along?
(v.1) …paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,
This will happen: instead of keeping their eyes and hearts on the teaching of the Lord and instead of holding on to Jesus and only looking towards him. As he explains:
57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, "Lord, I will follow You wherever You go."
58 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
59 Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God."
61 And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house."
62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Some will abandon him and turn back to their old ways of living. But some will go even further away and begin to walk in deep darkness and openly dabble with the devil! Like Eve, who was seduced by the serpent, these people will also be seduced by ‘deceitful spirits’. It all starts when they begin ‘paying attention’. The words ‘paying attention’ (PROSECHO) mean: to hold the mind, pay attention, apply oneself to. Their minds, no longer fixed on the Lord of Light, turned their attention to the prince of darkness. They became captive and enslaved to ‘deceitful spirits’. The word ‘deceitful’ (PLANOS) means: an imposter, a misleader, seducing. Remember what Paul wrote about our spiritual enemy:
2 Corinthians 11
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
These people not only turn to ‘deceitful spirits’ but also to ‘teachings of demons’. Abandoning the teachings of Christ, they attach themselves to ‘teachings’ (DIDASKALIA) meaning: instructions, doctrine, teachings. They accept as true the lies of the ‘demons’ (DAIMONION) meaning: a demonic being, a devil. Remember the warning of the Lord:
20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Paul continues to speaks about these false teachers and prophets
2 by the hypocrisy of liars, who are seared in their own conscience,
Doctrines of demons are taught by people who have departed from the faith. They joyfully receive from these demonic spirits and become heralds of hell! Paul says that they are filled with ‘hypocrisy’ (HYPOKRISIS) meaning: acting under a feigned part, deceit, dissimulation. They are actors who are playing a role! They are also called ‘liars’ (PSEUDOLOGOS) meaning: mendacious, dishonest, speaking lies. It may even be that they do not know that what they are teaching are open lies or tricks of the dark world!
The problem with those who have abandoned the Lord is that they ‘are seared in their own conscience’. The word ‘seared’ (KAUTERIAZO) means: to render insensitive. Their hearts have become callous, cold and insensitive, like in the parable of the sower, where Jesus explains why some who hear the ‘good news’ reject it:
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.'
It is their ‘conscience’ (SUNEIDESIS) meaning: co-perception, moral consciousness. It is this part of their being that that has become stone cold and is no longer sensitive to the truth. The word of God tells us to guard our heart above all else.
23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
Paul now begins to give a description of what these teachers of demonic doctrines offer to their audience.
3 who forbid marrying and insist on abstaining from foods that God created for sharing in with thankfulness by those who believe and who know the truth,
In their demonic doctrines they ‘forbid marrying’. The word ‘forbid’ (KOLUO) means: to prevent, forbid, keep from. This is totally against the general will of God for when God created Adam he later said:
18 And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."
These demonic doctrines try to steer man away from the plan of God. In fact, ALL doctrines or teachings that turn you away from the Holy Scriptures are inspired by the devil! Another doctrine is that they ‘insist on abstaining from foods that God created’. It is well-known that in the Old Testament, certain foods were not to be eaten for they were ‘unclean’ to the Lord. But this is not the case here. First, Christians are not under the Old Alliance and second, most of the people Timothy dealt with were not of Jewish descent. What Paul seems to be referring to is that it was taught that legitimate foods were not to be eaten. Some cults were vegetarians or vegan others abstained from certain specific foods. They taught that by doing this one would be purified and closer to God!
Paul argues that this is false stating ‘that God created for sharing in with thankfulness’. Why would God tell us not to eat when he desires his children to ‘share’ (METALEPSIS) meaning: participation, the food with one another? On the contrary we read ‘who believe and who know the truth’ Here Paul is speaking about the brethren, the true children of God who are to eat their food with ‘thankfulness’ (EUCHARISTIS) meaning: gratitude, grateful language. Children of God should rejoice in thankfulness for the food that they have and share it with others. May we retain these words and open our hearts and invite our brothers and sisters into our homes.
4 because everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thankfulness, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
Here Paul continues his argument against abstaining from certain foods. He brings to memory that ‘everything created by God is good’. This is the general principle in relationship with eating.
Does this mean that ‘everything’ (PAS) meaning: all, any, every, can be eaten? Of course not, poison mushrooms are not to be eaten! But ALL the food that is created for eating should be considered ‘good’ (KALOS) meaning: properly, beautiful, morally good. We may not like the taste of certain things but if we do then it is good for us to have.
Paul writes ‘and nothing is to be rejected’. The word ‘nothing’ (OUDEIS) means: not even one, none, nothing. So, if a teacher says that just one type of food is not to be taken (rejected) – then he is a false teacher. Paul writes that every food is to be taken ‘IF it is received with thankfulness’. There is a condition that Paul sets out concerning eating all sorts of foods. Believers need to ‘receive with thankfulness’. In stead of it being ‘rejected’ (APOBLETOS) meaning: cast off, to be rejected, be refused, food should be ‘received with thankfulness’. The world ‘received’ (LAMBANO) means: to take, to get hold of. So, believers receive the food they are to eat with ‘thankfulness’ This is the same word that we find in verse three. Twice, Paul reminds Christians to be thankful for all the food that they have. Let us eat what is placed before us and thank the Lord for his provision. This is what demonic doctrines do not want you to do. Let us also remember that it is not a food that gets us closer to God but only the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ!
5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
The ‘it’ is the food that Paul is talking about. Here we find that food is just not food but something that is far superior ‘it is made holy’. Food when received with thankfulness becomes a ‘holy’ thing! The word ‘holy’ (HAGIAZO) means: to make holy, consecrated. The showbread in the Old Testament was holy before the Lord and could only be eaten by the priest whose time had come to serve the Lord. The food for God’s children (for we are all priests – 1 Peter 2:9) also becomes holy to us by ‘the word of God and prayer’. God’s word sanctifies our food and so does our ‘prayer’ (ENTEUXIS) meaning: supplication, intercession, when we give thanks before, we eat.
May all true believers be on the look-out for those who teach doctrines of the devil even if they seem as insignificant as not eating certain foods.
First Timothy 4:6-11
12 – Description of a true servant
6 By teaching these things to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, trained in the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed faithfully. 7 But reject those worthless myths told by elderly women, and train yourself for godliness. 8 For the training of the body is somewhat profitable, but godliness is profitable for everything, because it holds promise for the present life and for the life to come. 9 The statement is trustworthy and deserving of complete acceptance. 10 For to this end we labor and suffer reproach, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers.
11 Command these things and teach them.
It seems that the apostle Paul is passing on the ‘baton’ to Timothy. He is sharing his experience as a servant of God, with his spiritual son. The advice he is offering has its weight in gold and all who profess to serve the Lord in the same capacity as Timothy should also heed to what is written. All who are in leadership, may you open your ears.
6 By teaching these things to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, trained in the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed faithfully.
A greater part of Timothy’s ministry was ‘teaching’ (HUPOTITHEMI) meaning: to suggest, to lay down, to put in remembrance. This is the way that people learn, it has always been this way and always will be. No one is born with knowledge, it is acquired when one is taught. Teaching and learning are so important that it is no surprise that the enemy will dabble in this process. How many Christians resist being taught? How many systematically will not go to conferences, Sunday School, small groups and skip Sunday service. Many have the ‘know it all’ syndrome. On the other hand, often teachers will refrain from speaking out, or the brethren will not exhort each other. For the apostle Paul, teaching was of the essence and it should be the same for all of God’s children.
What are ‘these things’ that Paul is speaking about? It is what he has just written in the last section concerning the false teachers. The word ‘brothers’ (ADELPHOS) means: a brother, near or remote. In Christ Jesus we are all brothers and sisters. We have all become adopted children of God (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5).
By teaching these things to the brothers, Paul tells Timothy, ‘you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus’. It should be the desire for all true believers to be ‘good servants’.
The word ‘good’ (KALOS) means: beautiful, morally good, virtuous, while the word ‘servant’ (DIAKONOS) means: to run on errands, an attendant. In his parable concerning the three workers, this is what Jesus said to the good workers:
17 "And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.'
Jesus is pleased with ‘good servants’ and he promises them a reward for all the good work that they do. Paul also teaches that the Lord will reward his followers, at his tribunal, for all that they have done in his name and for his glory (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10).
(v.6) …trained in the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed faithfully.
To be able to teach ‘these things’ Timothy (and we also) needed to be ‘trained’ (ENTREPHO) which means: to educate, to nourish up. Before being able to teach others, we first need to learn! There are so many false preachers out there who have no clue to what they are preaching – who can speak for an hour without saying anything constructive at all. Timothy had been ‘trained in the words of the faith’ by Paul himself. Imagine being taught by Paul! Paul taught him the matters ‘of the faith’ (PISTIS) meaning: persuasion, credence, moral conviction. If you are a teacher or a preacher, what should be taught are things that relate to the faith. Paul calls this ‘good’ (KALOS) meaning: beautiful, morally good, virtuous. This next part of the phrase ‘that you have followed faithfully’ is also very important.
Not only are we to be good students of the faith and then become good teachers of the faith, but we also need to be good doers of the faith! Paul writes: ‘you have followed faithfully’. The words ‘followed faithfully’ (PARAKOLOUTHEO) means: to conform to, to follow, to fully know. The Pharisees knew the Law and taught the Law but they did not follow the Law and that made them spiritual hypocrites!
1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples,
2 saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.
3 "Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.
Paul continues to exhort Timothy concerning his teaching ministry. Here we see the other side of the coin of teaching. The first is to teach the second is to reprove. One can tell a child the dangers of doing something and if he does not listen and gets into trouble one needs to reprove the child, for he ALREADY knew what he should have done but refused to do it.
7 But reject those worthless myths told by elderly women, and train yourself for godliness.
It seems that some older women had a bad habit (a sinful habit I should say) and that was to gossip and to spread old stories that were not founded. Paul tell Timothy to ‘reject’ (PARAITEOMAI) meaning: decline, shun, avoid, refuse. There was something that Timothy urgently needed to do towards certain ‘elderly women’. The word ‘elderly’ (GRAODES) means: an old woman, silly old wives. It may be that a group of ‘elderly women’ gathered and chatted. But instead of edifying themselves they talked about ‘worthless myths’. Instead of glorifying the Lord and giving thanks to him in songs or prayer they talked about ‘worthless’ (BEBELOS) meaning: heathenish, wicked and profane things. The word ‘myths’ (MUTHOS) means: a myth, a fable, fiction. They were spreading news that was not true and Timothy needed to put a stop to this.
You would think that Timothy had reached the ‘top’ of the Christian scale! He had been at the feet of Paul for many years, followed him on his journeys and had been taught in the Truth. Yet Paul tells him to ‘train yourself for godliness’. With all that spiritual input Timothy still needed spiritual training! The word ‘train’ (GUMNAZO) means: to practice naked (as an athlete), to train, to exercise. His training was not a physical one but in the discipline of ‘godliness’ (EUSEBEIA) meaning: piety, godliness and holiness. Many people go to the gym almost everyday, yet for the Disciples of Christ we need to go to God’s spiritual gym and train ourselves in ‘godliness’.
8 For the training of the body is somewhat profitable, but godliness is profitable for everything, because it holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.
Here Paul explains his statement concerning his need for training oneself in godliness. He continues with the theme of ‘training’ (GUMNAZIA) meaning: training, exercise. On one side we see the training of the ‘body’ (SOMATIKOS) meaning: corporal, physical, bodily. Paul says that the training of the body is ‘somewhat profitable’. Now he doesn’t say that it is not good but ‘somewhat’ (OLIGOS) meaning: somewhat, a season, small, a while. The result of physical exercise lasts only for a short while – here on earth at the most! But on the other side we have the exercise of ‘godliness’ (EUSEBEIA) meaning: piety, godliness and holiness. Now, the training in ‘godliness’ is “profitable’ (OPHELIMOS) meaning: helpful, serviceable, not only for a few years and for the body. But the training in ‘godliness’ is profitable ‘for everything’ (PAS) meaning: all, any, every. It is profitable for every aspect of your life. It will overflow and touch every part of your being.
Why is the training in godliness of every true believer so important? Paul writes ‘because it holds promise for this present life and for the life to come’. Godliness has in itself and offers to all who practice it a ‘promise’ (EPAGGELIA) meaning: assent, a pledge, a promise. This promise from God is not only ‘for this present life’ as with the practice of physical exercise. The word ‘present’ (NUN) means: now, present and immediate. It is, for the life ‘to come’ (MELLO) meaning: to intend, be at point, expectation. It is for the life after this life on earth – everlasting life.
9 The statement is trustworthy and deserving of complete acceptance.
Is it really that important to practice godliness? Is there really a promise given by God for those who walk in holiness? Paul answers this quite firmly. He says that it ‘is trustworthy’ (PISTOS) meaning: trustful, faithful, sure and true. Yes, you can place your confidence in this – the Lord has promised and will keep his promise. Not only is it ‘trustworthy’ but it is ‘deserving of complete acceptance’. Believers should have ‘complete’ (PAS) meaning: all, any, every and ‘acceptance’ (APODFOCHE) means: acceptance, acceptation. There are no reservations to have concerning the practice of godliness – remember what the Lord God said:
1 Peter 1
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
The next verse may be confusing if understood outside of the biblical theological framework.
10 For to this end we labor and suffer reproach, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers.
11 Command these things and teach them.
Paul just spoke to Timothy concerning living a life of constant godliness and he continues to encourage him concerning this. ‘For to this end we labor and suffer reproach’. The words ‘this end’ (EIS) means: to or into, a purpose. So, this is the purpose of living a godly life. This is why ‘we labor’ (KOPIAO) meaning: to feel fatigued, to work hard. This is why we ‘suffer reproach’ (ONEIDIZO) meaning: to defame, to rail at, to taunt.
This is why we work so hard even though people laugh at us and defame us. All of this is ‘because we have put our hope’, the word ‘hope’ (ELPIZO) means: to expect, to confide, to trust. But whom does Paul place his trust in – ‘the living God’! The word ‘living’ (ZAO) means: to live, life, alive. His God and hopefully your God is ‘living’. He is not dead, he is sovereign and upholds all things. He is neither sleeping or on vacation! He is present in our life and that is the reason – God!
(v.10) …who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers.
This is the part that some get mixed up. Yes God ‘is the Savior’ (SOTER) meaning: a deliverer, a savior. God is the ‘Savior of all people’ in the sense that he has provided for all the way of Redemption through the sacrifice of his beloved Son Jesus Christ. He is also Savior ‘especially of believers’. The word ‘especially’ (MALISTA) means: chiefly, most of all, especially – ‘of believers' (PISTOS) meaning: trustful, believer, faithful. This is because they have accepted the offer of salvation through (and only through) Jesus. This verse DOES NOT MEAN that all will be saved but that salvation is offered to all and those who accept will receive it.
11 Command these things and teach them.
Just as in verse six Paul told Timothy ‘by teaching these things’ he now ‘commands’ (PARAGGELLO) meaning: to transmit a message, to charge, to command. The same thought is expressed – Timothy you need to ‘command these things’. This refers to all of what our text includes. He was also to ‘teach’ (DIDASKO) meaning: to teach in a broad application.
Was Timothy a bit shy in his teaching ministry? Are we a bit shy in teaching, encouraging and exhorting others?
First Timothy 4:12-16
13 – Take care of your ministry
11 Command these things and teach them. 12 Let no one look down on your youth, but be an example for the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, pay attention to the public reading, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, that was granted to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 15 Practice these things. Be diligent in these things, in order that your progress may be evident to everyone. 16 Fix your attention on yourself and on your teaching. Continue in them, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
Have you noticed that the word ‘command’ (PARAGGELLO) meaning: to transmit a message, to enjoin, to give a charge, is mentioned again? This struck me and I found out that this Greek word is used five times in this epistle (1:3; 4:11; 5:7: 6:13,17). The word ‘teach’ (DIDASKO) meaning: to teach in a broad application, is used three times (2:12; 4:11; 6:2). The importance of the repetition of these words must not be over looked. We can see by this that the main ministry of Timothy was to teach people and enjoin them to follow God’s word. If that is the case then one of the main goals in the life of a Disciple of Christ is to receive this instruction and apply it to his life.
12 Let no one look down on your youth, but be an example for the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
Among the difficulties that Timothy had to face was the way that some people would look at him. Unfortunately, the perception we have of others often dilutes or increases the importance of what he is saying. The words ‘no one’ (MEDEIS) mean: not even one, none, not at all. It may have been that Timothy was a bit shy and needed to be more respected by those in Ephesus. His age did not demand respect from others, especially in his charge as a church leader. Some people could ‘look down’ (KATAPHRONEO) meaning: to think against, despise, at him because of his ‘youth’ (NEOTES) meaning: newness, youthfulness, youth. Timothy was not a ‘young man’ in our standards for it is believed that he was about 35-40 years old! The Greek word used here denotes a person who is up to forty years of age. It may be that Timothy was reluctant to teach and command and exhort people older than he was, especially if these people looked down at him because of his age! In the culture in which Timothy lived in, people in general honored older people which he was not a part of.
(v.12) …but be an example for the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
Since his age ‘worked against him’ Timothy really needed to work twice as hard to get the respect of his office as a church leader. That is why Paul gives him the following advice. He first of all needed to ‘be an example for the believers’. Timothy needed to be an ‘example’ (TUPOS) meaning: a die, a stamp, an example. People in the church needed to see God’s wisdom living in Timothy. This example was to be manifest in five different aspects of his life:
1. ‘In word’ (LOGOS) meaning: something said, reasoning, mental faculty. Since one of his main ministries dealt with ‘words’ (teaching, exhortation.), it is reasonable that Paul should call Timothy to be very careful with what he says. He needed to speak at all times with wisdom, knowledge and insight. His speech needed to be mature and not silly and youthful.
2. ‘In conduct’ (ANASTROPHE) meaning: behavior; the way that he lived, that he related with others, that he held and handled himself. It was important for Timothy to remember that as a leader, people would look at him and draw conclusions. His conduct needed to be holy.
‘In love’ (AGAPE) meaning: a love feast, charity, dear, love. He needed to handle people with care, compassion, sympathy and empathy. The brethren needed to see Jesus in Timothy. Remember how Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery (John 8), the woman of little virtue (Luke 7:37), the demon possessed man (Luke 8:30) and the man whose son was also demon possessed (Luke 9:38).
3. ‘In love’ (AGAPE) meaning: a love feast, charity, dear, love. He needed to handle people with care, compassion, sympathy and empathy. The brethren needed to see Jesus in Timothy. Remember how Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery (John 8), the woman of little virtue (Luke 7:37), the demon possessed man (Luke 8:30) and the man whose son was also demon possessed (Luke 9:38).
4. ‘In faith’ (PISTIS) meaning: persuasion, credence, moral conviction. In other words, people needed to see the REALITY of Timothy’s faith. He was not only to teach but also to LIVE what he taught! There is nothing easier than to tell others what to do. Timothy needed to remember what Jesus said in Mat. 7:12 "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
5. ‘In purity’ (HAGNEIA) meaning: cleanliness, chastity and purity. This refers to spiritual holiness and also physical purity. Timothy needed to ‘keep his hands’ to himself and be a good minister of the Lord to his people. Remember the two sons of Samuel and how they were not pure in thought and action? 1 Samuel 8:3 says: “But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.”
13 Until I come, pay attention to the public reading, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, that was granted to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 15 Practice these things. Be diligent in these things, in order that your progress may be evident to everyone. 16 Fix your attention on yourself and on your teaching. Continue in them, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
Even if Paul was imprisoned, he truly hoped that he would be released for he said: ‘Until I come’. The word ‘until’ (HEOS) means: until, as far as, up to. So, between the reception of this letter and (hopefully) when I come to you remember to prioritise these things.
1. ‘Pay attention to the public reading’. The words ‘pay attention’ mean: to hold the mind towards, be cautious. So, Timothy needed to keep this in mind, in other words to do it regularly. The words ‘public reading’ (ANGNOSIS) means: the act of reading. This Greek word is only used three times in the New Testament (Acts 13:15; 2 Cor. 3:14; 1 Tim. 4:13) and it seems that it is always used with the act of publicly reading the Sacred Scriptures. It may be that in Ephesus, part of the gathering included the reading of God’s word.
2. ‘To exhortation’ (PARAKLESIS) means: imploration, solace, exhortation. We have already seen that Timothy needed to teach and command the people to follow their Lord and Savior.
3. ‘To teaching’ (DIDASKALIA) means: instruction, doctrine and teaching. Just as with exhortation this was also a main aspect of his ministry. Timothy needed to use every opportunity to educate God’s people in God’s ways.
4. ‘Do not neglect’ (AMELEO) means: to be careless of, to make light of and the words ‘do not’ (ME) mean: negation, denial and not. Timothy might have neglected something absolutely necessary for his ministry and that is ‘the gift that is in you’. The word ‘gift’ (CHARISMA) means: a divine gratuity, a spiritual endowment. Like all true believers, Timothy had to receive at least one spiritual gift. For some reason he might have taken for granted these gifts or was using them in a lesser way. He had received them ‘with the laying of the hands by the council of elders’. The elders of the church (we do not know which elders or what church) had imposed their hands and prayed for Timothy and for his ministry. It was through ‘prophecy’ (PROPHETIA) meaning: a prediction or prophecy, that God had revealed his plan for Timothy. The imposition of the elder’s hands was a visible sign of what God had already done invisibly.
5. ‘Practice these things’ (ISTHI) means: to give yourself wholly to. All that Paul had taught Timothy either in practice or in theology, needed to put into action. There is an obligation upon every child of God not to neglect what he knows he needs to do. That is what the epistle of James is all about!
6. ‘Be diligent in these things’. A second aspect is brought here to ‘be diligent’ (MELETAO) ‘to revolve in the mind’. This gives the idea that Timothy needed to keep his ministry, what he had learned and all that Paul had written in his mind. He was not to neglect what he had received either from God (the spiritual gifts) or from Paul (knowledge and example of practice). May all believers keep in mind what they have
7. ‘Your progress may be evident to everyone’. Timothy still needed to ‘grow in the Lord’. His ‘progress’ (PROKOPE) meaning: progress, advancement, profit, needed to be ‘evident’ (PHANEROS) meaning: shining, apparent, manifest. Everyone needed to see Timothy living in the light and growing spiritually. Also, people need to see that this is possible, that people can live in a godly way. They also need to see that God is alive and does take care of his children. Living like this will encourage people to take a step of faith – as Timothy did.
8. ‘Fix your attention’. The words ‘fix your attention’ (EPECHO) mean: to hold upon, to retain, to detain. The eyes of Timothy needed to look forward unto the Lord like Jesus taught all his disciples to do (Luke 9:62). The world offers many things that we can look upon and enjoy but only one is worth our attention! Attention must be fixed on ‘yourself and on your teaching’. Timothy needed to look at any ‘planks’ in his eyes before he could take the straw out of someone elses (Mat. 7:4,5).
9. ‘Continue in them’. The word ‘continue’ (EPIMENO) means: to persevere, to abide in, to continue in. All of this needed to be alive in Timothy and not just stored-up somewhere in his memory. He needed to daily walk in them and not just on the Lord’s day when he gathered with others. WHY should Timothy do this? Paul answered by saying ‘for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.’. Again, this is a verse that some twist saying that if you do ‘good works’ you will be saved from hell. This IS NOT what this phrase teaches. If Timothy fixes his attention on walking as a man of God should - THEN ‘you will save’ (SOZO) meaning: to save, to deliver, to protect in a figurative and literal way. This IS NOT eternal salvation (for he is already saved) but rather a present salvation from the tricks of the devil. You will be saved from many calamities, mishaps and tragedies of life simply by doing the will of God instead of the will of the flesh. This is good for all, not only Timothy but ‘those who hear you’.
First Timothy 5:1,2
14 – General exhortations
5 Do not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.
In this new section, Paul will now turn to another ‘pastoral’ aspect of Timothy’s ministry. Church is all about relationships and they are often very delicate. That is why Timothy needed to be reminded how to relate with the brethren. This is a general overview, an opening statement of what is to come. I know that these two verses normally are placed within section 5:1-10 but I prefer to have them alone. This does not change anything nor does any harm theologically.
Paul begins with ‘do not’ (ME) meaning: a negation, none, nothing. This word is used seventeen times in this letter! There are things that we should do and things that we should not do. Paul is telling Timothy things that he should not do. May I encourage you to remember that this is for all true believers. What is written is also for us not to do!
This is what Timothy should not do. The first section concerns ‘an older man’. The word ‘older’ (PRESBUTEROS) means: older, a senior. What is Timothy not to do with ‘an older man’? He should not ‘rebuke’ (EPIPLESSO) meaning: to chastise with words, to upbraid. As a minister, Timothy will eventually need to speak to people because of their behavior and it may happen that it will be an old man. Timothy needs to understand that respect and deference are very important (Lev. 19:32; Pr. 16:31; 20:29). Older folk need to be honored and well taken care of. So, one can not harshly rebuke an older man.
So, what should Timothy do if he has to deal with an older man who needs to be exhorted? Paul writes ‘but appeal to him as a father’. The word ‘appeal’ (PARAKALEO) means: to call near, invite, comfort. In such a case one should go to the old man’s side and speak to him kindly. Instead of crushing him with our authority, encourage him to act this way instead of that. Our approach will always make the difference, so make it a good difference.
(v.1) … younger men as brothers,
Paul now speaks concerning ‘younger men’. The word ‘younger’ (NEOS) means: new, youthful, fresh. This group of people can often disturb our lives because they are full of energy and lacking in wisdom. They are ready to try ‘stupid’ things just for the fun of it. Not thinking of the consequences of their actions. They can cause many headaches! So how was Timothy to deal with these ‘younger men’? Paul’s answer to this is ‘as brothers’. The word ‘brothers’ (ADELPHOS) means: a brother near or remote. Timothy needed to see these ‘younger men’ as his own brother and not some stranger who he needs to deal with! He needed to react to their silliness and lack of wisdom with just as much love and compassion as he would with his own brother.
2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.
Paul now turns to Timothy’s relationship with ‘older women’ The word ‘older’ (PRESBUTEROS) is the same as Paul used with ‘older men’. In our present-day churches there are often more older women than older men. So, this is important to understand. Older women may also need to be encouraged and exhorted. They may not necessarily walk as the Lord desires them to. What is the attitude Timothy needed when he would approach them? Paul writes ‘as mothers’. The word ‘mothers’ (METER) means: a mother immediate or remote. Timothy needed to see them with his spiritual eyes as if they were his own mother. Certainly, that would change the way we act and speak! In his dealings with older women Timothy needed to be respectful, thoughtful, reverent and kind. There is no sense in hurting someone with our speech or clumsy actions. Quite the contrary, it is sinful if we do.
Paul ends with ‘younger women’. The word ‘younger’ (NEOS) is the same as with ‘younger men’. Here we are dealing with women who are not married, certainly not with young widows. Young women can also get into trouble because of their lack of wisdom or lack of self control. They can be busy doing things they should not be doing! How should Timothy approach such ‘younger women’ to exhort them in the ways of the Lord? Paul writes ‘as sisters’ (ADELPHE) meaning: a sister immediate or remote. Treat these ‘younger women’ as if they were your own sisters. Be careful with your words, don’t hurt their feelings with the way you treat them. With this group of ‘younger women’ Paul adds something different. Something that he does not mention with older men and women and younger men. Paul warns Timothy with the words ‘with all purity’. The word ‘all’ (PAS) means: all, any, every and the word ‘purity’ (HAGNEIA) means: cleanliness, chastity and purity. It could be a dangerous situation for Timothy to deal with ‘younger women’. They were not married and neither was he! The flesh and the desires of the flesh are very strong and one can fall into sin. That is why Paul adds ‘with all purity’ in relationship with ‘younger women’. How many men fall into sin because of their lack of self-control – far too many! Timothy had to be very careful and ALL MEN, in authority or not, need to do the same.
Have you noticed that Paul sees the people in a congregation as a family? He speaks of older men and women and then younger men and women. These are members of a family and that’s what we are – a spiritual family. We all need to be careful with the way we act toward each other. We need to carefully chose our words and the way we approach each other.
First Timothy 5:3-10
15 – Timothy and older widows
3 Honor widows who are truly widows. 4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must learn to show profound respect for their own household first, and to pay back recompense to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. 5 But the widow who is one truly, and is left alone, has put her hope in God and continues in her petitions and prayers night and day. 6 But the one who lives for sensual pleasure is dead even though she lives. 7 And command these things, in order that they may be irreproachable. 8 But if someone does not provide for his own relatives, and especially the members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
9 Let a widow be put on the list if she is not less than sixty years old, the wife of one husband, 10 being well-attested by good works, if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality, if she has washed the feet of the saints, if she has helped those who are oppressed, if she has devoted herself to every good work.
In each church there are different groups of people which have something in common. This section speaks about older women who are widowed. Paul will explain that the church does have responsibilities towards them but it is the family that first of all needs to take care of their own.
3 Honor widows who are truly widows.
Timothy (as well as all believers) needed to give to widows their due before the Lord and that was to “honor’ them. The word ‘honor’ (TIMAO) means: to revere, to honor, to value. It is comforting to see that in the mind of God, older people are to be honored. In many modern societies when a person gets old, he is simply pushed aside as though they have lost all their worth. Often forgotten by their own families they find themselves neglected and alone – but not so with the Lord!
Timothy had to honor ‘widows who are truly widows’. This sentence seems a bit odd! If you are a widow - are you not a widow? We will see that Paul is speaking in terms of taking care of widows as being a charge to the church. A widow is a widow for she is without a husband. The word ‘widows’ (CHERA) means: a widow as lacking a husband. By writing ‘widows who are truly widows’ we will see that Paul makes certain distinctions between those who no longer have husbands.
Now the word ‘truly’ (ONTOS) means: certainly, in deed, of a truth, verily. In Paul’s mind, in relation with the local church, there were widows who should not be considered like widows whose charge is the churches responsibility.
4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must learn to show profound respect for their own household first, and to pay back recompense to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.
In verse four, Paul describes for Timothy the type of widows that he needs to take care of. We first see that the immediate family has a responsibility for them. It is the charge of ‘children’ (TEKNON) meaning: a child, daughter or son. They are the first who are called to take care of their mother. This is one of the Ten Commandments:
12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
The church should not have to take care of a widow if she has children. It is their duty to care and provide food, shelter and comfort for their old mother. The idea of children taking care of their mothers does not stop there. Paul charges the third generation to do so also for he speaks of ‘grandchildren’ (EKGONON) meaning: a descendant, especially grandchildren. When grandchildren are grown up and able to do so, it is also their duty to care for their grandmother. They are to do so because it is an honorable thing to do. These mothers or grandmothers have taken care of their children and often grandchildren and it is now time that they are taken care of.
Paul writes that the children and grandchildren ‘must learn to show profound respect for their own household first’. Paul stresses this point by writing ‘they must’ (PROTON) meaning: first in time, place or order. In life – taking care of your family is top priority! People at large need to learn ‘to show profound respect’, not casual care but ‘profound respect’ (EUSEBEO) meaning: to be pious, to respect, to support. It is a spiritual good work to love and care for the older people in your family – especially if they are alone. Paul writes about ‘their own household’ (OIKOS) meaning: a dwelling, a family, a home. The focus of manifesting care should first of all be for our own family. They should not be a responsibility for others simply because we neglect them.
(v.4) …and to pay back recompense to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.
The idea behind the words ‘to pay back’ (APODIDOMI) means: to give back, to repay. Children and grandchildren are to remember all the good that their mother or grandmother has done for them. Now that they are grown-up it is their turn to give back a little of what they have received. Notice that Paul writes ‘their parents’ (PROGONOS) which means: an ancestor, a parent, forefather. I believe that this hints that children and grandchildren are not only to take care of their mothers or grandmothers but also of ‘their parents’ which would naturally include their fathers or grandfathers. When God said: ‘Honor your father and mother’ he meant what he said! Paul gives the reason why children should take care of their parents: ‘for this is pleasing in the sight of God’. The word ‘pleasing’ (KALOS) means: beautiful, good, valuable. That is why one should take care of his old mother or grandmother because it pleases God that we do so. Here we see a glimpse of the character of God. He is well-pleased when we act this way. There is no better reason for a child of God to act than when it is done for the good pleasure of his Lord! May I ask if you are taking care of your parents or grand-parents? Do you call or write? Do you take time to visit them and do things with them?
5 But the widow who is one truly, and is left alone, has put her hope in God and continues in her petitions and prayers night and day.
Again, we see the idea of a ‘widow who is one truly’. We have seen this in verse three. It is the same Greek word (ONTOS) for our English word ‘truly’ in both verses. Paul will continue to give a description of a widow who should be taken care of by the church. There are three criteria for these widows. The first is ‘and is left alone’. The words ‘left alone’ (MONOO) means: to isolate, bereave, be desolate. As we have seen, if she has children or grand-children they have the responsibility to take care of her – NOT the church. But if she has no family and is desolate (for she may be a wealthy widow) then she has reached the first criteria. The next criteria is the following: ‘has put her hope in God’. The word ‘hope’ (ELPIZO) means: to expect or confide, hope, trust. The church is not supposed to take care of ALL the widows that happen to be there. It is impossible to do this. Here we see that they need to have placed their ‘hope in God’. She needs to be a true believer. This is not to say that even if the church can, they should not help poor widows. It simply means that the church needs to take care of its own first. The third criteria speak of her spirituality: ‘continues in her petition and prayers night and day’. These widows are to manifest their spirituality. The word ‘continues’ (PROSMENO) means: to remain in place, to persevere. These are older women who have manifested their faith and continue to do so on a daily basis. They are not to be accepted if they come to church once in a while or only when food is distributed. They are known for their ‘petition and prayers’. They are what we would call prayer warriors because they pray ‘night and day’.
Only if a widow meets these three criteria is she to be considered eligible to be taken care of by the church. First, is there no one in her family around to take care of her? Two, is she a real Christian? Three, does she manifest a constant spirituality? If she does not then she is not to be taken care of! Now someone might ask – why? Paul gives the answer in the next verse.
6 But the one who lives for sensual pleasure is dead even though she lives.
The word ‘but’ (DE) is important for it means: moreover. Paul will explain to Timothy why certain widows are not eligible. Some widows, instead of living for the Lord and manifesting the fruits of the Spirit, rather ‘lives for sensual pleasure’. The words ‘lives for sensual pleasure’ (SPATALAO) mean: to be voluptuous, to live in pleasure. In other words, there were widows who decided to live for the flesh instead of the Spirit. Some have turned away and were walking on the wide road. They belonged in the church but lived in the world. Paul writes that such a widow is ‘dead even though she lives’. She is ‘dead’ (THNESKO) meaning: to die literally or figuratively. She is spiritually dead and has gone back to her state before she was saved. The church is to look at her ‘even though she lives’, the word ‘lives’ (ZAO) meaning: to live literally or figuratively, as if she were dead. It is a great sin to turn our back on the Lord once we have tasted his salvation. Believers are not to accommodate those who abandon the Lord. It would only recompense their sin! AGAIN, I am not saying that if such a person is on the fringe of dying that she should not be helped but she should certainly not be rewarded by friendship and food when she lives in sin.
7 And command these things, in order that they may be irreproachable.
This is another time when we see Paul ordering Timothy to ‘command’ (PARAGGELLO) meaning: to transmit a message, to charge. These teachings concerning older widows were not to be taken lightly. Timothy had to apply what he was taught. I can imagine that it must have been difficult for Timothy to refuse aid to widows who lived in the flesh but he had to do it. It is the same for all true believers who have to do what the Lord tells them. It may not be easy but it needs to be done. The whole idea is to be ‘irreproachable’ (ANEPILEPTOS) meaning: not arrested, blameless. It may be that this refusal for help could be a ‘wake-up’ call for these widows and they would turn back to the Lord with repentance. This is the aim for all Christian discipline – that the person abandons his way of living, repents and returns to the Lord.
8 But if someone does not provide for his own relatives, and especially the members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Once more Paul turns to the members of the family. For there might be someone who refuses to do what is godly and ‘does not provide for his own relatives’. The words ‘does not’ (OU) mean: neither, never, no, an absolute negative. Some could turn their back on their godly mother or grandmother. The word ‘relatives’ (IDIOS) means: pertaining to self, one’s own. Again, we see that it is the duty of a person to care for HIS OWN ‘household’ (OIKEIOS) meaning: a relative, those of his house. If a person denied the help his mother or grandmother needed - this is what Paul considered that person to be:
(v.8) …he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Paul first considers that person to have ‘denied the faith’. The word ‘denied’ (ARNEOMAI) meaning: to contradict, to disavow, to reject. A believer who does not care for his own has ‘denied’ the faith. Jesus said:
35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."
13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
When a Christian denies these basic instructions, he ‘is worse than an unbeliever’! That statement is very strong! The word ‘worse’ (CHEIRON) means: more evil, sorer, worse. God is not pleased with such a person and no longer looks at him with favorable eyes! He has become much more evil ‘than an unbeliever’ (APISTOS) meaning: disbelieving, a heathen, faithless. By not helping our mothers or grandmothers (or fathers and grandfathers if it is the case) we lose our light and walk in the path of darkness. May we heed the warnings of the apostle Paul!
9 Let a widow be put on the list if she is not less than sixty years old, the wife of one husband, 10 being well-attested by good works, if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality, if she has washed the feet of the saints, if she has helped those who are oppressed, if she has devoted herself to every good work.
We can look at verse eight as a parenthesis in Paul’s topic of older widows. With verses nine and ten he returns to the qualifications needed to be considered eligible for church help. In verse nine we see two other qualifications needed.
Paul speaks of being ‘put on a list’ (KATALEGO) meaning: to lay down, to take into the number, to enrol. We can imagine that there must have been a list that was kept of older widows that needed special attention. If you were placed on this list then the church would care for some of your needs. To be on this older widow list one needed to be ‘not less than sixty years old’. The words ‘not less’ (ELASSON) mean: smaller in size or age. Here we find that no one under sixty could be on this list. It may just be that if you were younger one could work to get some sustenance. Then she needed to be ‘the wife of one husband’. This gives the same idea, as with the elders or deacons, which speaks about being married to one person at the time. But it also speaks about not being unfaithful or promiscuous as a widow. Such a person would not get help from the church since she would be living in open sin.
The third qualification speaks about her spiritual life. She needed to be ‘well-attested’ (MARTUREO) meaning: to be a witness, to give evidence. She would need to testify of her ‘good works’. Now the word ‘good’ (KALOS) means: beautiful, good, valuable and the word ‘works’ (ERGON) means: a toiler, to work. It needed to be evident to everyone that this woman walked closely with the Lord! Paul lists five things that would help Timothy to assess if an older widow was to be put on the list.
The first is ‘if she has brought up children’. Not every single woman is able to have children with her husband but normally she could. If this was not the case then I do not believe that this requirement would apply. The words ‘brought up’ (TEKNOTROPHEO) means: to be a child bearer. We can assume that her spirituality would be seen through her rearing of her children.
The second is, ‘if she has shown hospitality’. The word ‘hospitality’ (XENODOCHEO) means: to be hospitable, to lodge strangers. Has her life manifested compassion, empathy and kindness towards others. If she has not taken care of others how can she ask the church to take care of her? Certainly, taking care of others is a basic trait of a true believer!
The third is, ‘if she has washed the feet of the saints’. This would show humility, since washing the feet of people as they enter a home was done by the lowest class of slaves. Remember when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and what he said?
12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?
13 "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.
14 "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
The forth is, ‘if she has helped those who are oppressed’. The word ‘helped’ (EPARKEO) means: to avail for, to help, to relieve. Was she a person who would open her heart to others? Was she caring not only for her friends but for the ‘oppressed’ (THLIBO) meaning: afflicted, to suffer tribulation. Was her house open to those who needed shelter, food or comfort?
The fifth is, ‘if she has devoted herself to every good work’. This seems to be a ‘general clause’. The word ‘devoted’ (EPAKOLOUTHEO) means: to accompany, to follow. This gives the idea that such a widow would not do ‘good works’ sporadically or because it’s her turn to do so as though it was an obligation. Such a widow did not try to ‘weasel out’ of being a caring person. She would authentically love others and do what she could to help them.
If an older widow asked to be enrolled on the church list, she would need to meet these requirements:
If she does not have any children or grandchildren
If she is alone in life
If she places her hope in God
If she continues in petitions and prayers
If she does not live for sensual pleasure
If she is not less than sixty years old
If she was a wife of one husband at a time and not promiscuous
If she was well-attested in good works
If she has brought up children
If she has shown hospitality
If she has washed the feet of the saints
If she has helped the oppressed
If she has devoted herself to ‘good works’
As you can see, not every older widow was able to be enrolled on the list. May we take care of the old people in our family for this pleases the Lord.
First Timothy 5 :11-16
16 – Timothy and younger widows
11 But refuse younger widows, for whenever their physical desires lead them away from Christ, they want to marry, 12 thus incurring condemnation because they have broken their former pledge. 13 And at the same time also, going around from house to house, they learn to be idle, and not only idle, but also gossipy and busybodies, saying the things that are not necessary. 14 Therefore I want younger widows to marry, to bear children, to manage a household, to give the adversary no opportunity for reproach. 15 For already some have turned away and followed after Satan. 16 If any believing woman has widows, she must help them, and the church must not be burdened, in order that it may help those who are truly widows.
In our present section, Paul continues to speak concerning widows but this time he deals with the younger ones. Life in the Roman empire was difficult and for different reasons a wife could become a young widow very easily. This was the case in Ephesus where Timothy had a ministry. Having finished speaking about older widows, Paul continues with his teachings.
11 But refuse younger widows, for whenever their physical desires lead them away from Christ, they want to marry, 12 thus incurring condemnation because they have broken their former pledge.
These two verses, accompanied with verse fourteen are somewhat difficult to understand and openly seem to disavow each other. Only when we truly understand the context, are we able to appreciate what Paul is writing. He begins with ‘refuse’ (PARAITEOMAI) meaning: to decline, to shun, to avoid or refuse. Paul is speaking about the list for older widows. He does not want ‘younger widows’ to be registered. The word ‘younger’ (NEOS) means: new, youthful, fresh and young. Since they were younger Paul had a different plan for these widows.
(v.11) …for whenever their physical desires lead them away from Christ, they want to marry,
To understand the difference between young and old widows, one needs to remember that in our last section the older widows had devoted themselves to the work of the Lord (1 Tim. 5:3-10) by manifesting good deeds and being ‘prayer warriors’. With the younger widows it was different. Paul speaks of their ‘physical desires’.
Because of their younger age their desires were different than the older widows. Their ‘physical desires’, which are common to all humans, could ‘lead them away from Christ’. The idea is that their desires were taking them far from the Lord. The Greek words give the idea of feeling the sexual impulse. In other words, their desire to find a husband greatly distracted them from living for Christ. In some cases, this desire even brought them to sin’s gate and they entered! Instead of being married to Christ and living for him, in their hearts they secretly ‘want to get married’. The desire for doing so is very strong in the Greek. So strong was their desire that it led them away from the Lord!
12 thus incurring condemnation because they have broken their former pledge.
This verse speaks of the consequence of abandoning their love for Christ to follow their sexual drive to have a husband at all cost. There was a ‘condemnation’ (KRIMA) meaning: damnation, judgment, condemnation. In other words, they carried in themselves a judgment from God and brought this into their new marriage. It seemed that some of the younger widows did not wait upon the Lord for him to bring to them the right godly husband. The result was a marriage without the Lords blessing! What a tragedy! Following the flesh is always a spiritual disaster. The condemnation is brought forth ‘because they have broken their former pledge’. This is important to remember when we will get to verse fourteen. The word ‘broken’ (ATHETEO) means: to disesteem, to despise, to cast off. There was something that they turned their backs on and that was ‘their former pledge’. The word ‘pledge’ (PISTIS) means: persuasion, credence, moral conviction. It is this word that is used in English for our word ‘faith’. By following their sexual desires and marrying, they abandoned their Christian moral conviction of waiting upon the Lord. A perfect example of this is when Sarai told Abram to sleep with her maid (Gen. 16) so she could give them a child. She should have waited upon the Lord. Instead she took things in her own hands and what a mess this brought, not only to them as a couple but to the entire world! We still see the consequences today for the Jewish nation (Isaac’s descendants) is hated by the Arabic nations (Ismael’s descendants)!
13 And at the same time also, going around from house to house, they learn to be idle, and not only idle, but also gossipy and busybodies, saying the things that are not necessary.
Some younger widows not satisfied with the lust of the flesh, gathered together ‘going around from house to house’. They kept busy but with the wrong things! They went visiting each other. There is nothing wrong with fellowship but unfortunately this was not spiritual fellowship but rather quite wordily for the following reasons.
First, ‘they learn to be idle’. It is so important to understand that whatever we do we are teaching others. If we gather together to be helpful and kind to those who need help, we teach that it is a good thing to do. But if we gather together simply to be ‘idle’ (ARGOS) meaning: inactive, unemployed, lazy – then we teach that it is quite normal to be doing so. The book of proverbs has many things to say concerning the sin of laziness (Pr. 12:24,27; 13:4; 15:19; 19:24; 20:4; 21:25; 22:13; 24:30; 26:13,14, 15, 16). These young widows aught to be busy with their children, helping others, helping in the church but they are inactive. They love to go from one house to another.
Second, ‘but also gossipy’ (PHLUAROS) meaning: a prattler, a gossiper, a tattler. They gathered together not for edification or prayer but to spend time talking about people and things. They spread news of things they had no proof of and had heard through the ‘grape vine’. They had difficulty with their tongue and were not capable of mastering it. This reminds me of what James said:
2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
3 Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.
4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.
5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
Third, they were ‘busybodies’. The word ‘busybodies’ (PERIERGOS) means: walking all around, a busybody. They simply did not mind their own business. They were putting their noses in other people’s lives by always being willing to chatter and comment on everything that was happening around them. They are always willing to make statements, founded or not. They fixed their attention on other people instead of their own lives.
Fourth, ‘saying the things that are not necessary’. They did not refrain from speaking out! The word ‘saying’ (LALEO) means: to talk, to utter words, to preach. It seems that they had difficulty to keep things to themselves. They were itching to gossip about every subject they could find. They were talking concerning ‘things that are not necessary’.
There are good things to talk about and things that should be kept quiet. The words ‘not necessary’ (ME) means: a qualified negative, not. Negative things were on their lips. Remember what Paul wrote:
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
It seems that almost 2000 years have not changed anything! We find this sort of sin in almost every church today!
14 Therefore I want younger widows to marry, to bear children, to manage a household, to give the adversary no opportunity for reproach.
Because of what Paul has attested to Timothy, he comes to a conclusion by writing ‘therefore’ (OUN) meaning: certainly, accordingly, likewise then. So, what does Paul want younger widows to do:
First, ‘I want younger widows to marry’. This might seem to be the opposite of what was written in verse eleven but actually it isn’t. In verse eleven their desire to marry was because of the flesh. In verse fourteen they are told to marry but this time for the right reasons! Instead of gossiping and being busybodies going from house to house and saying things that do not edify – get married. For Paul, this naturally meant ‘in the Lord’.
Second, ‘to bear children’. Since they were young widows, they were still capable of having children. Actually, it was quite normal for a young widow to re-marry, it was even expected! The words ‘bear children’ (TEKNOGONEO) means: to be a child bearer. Having children would change everything in their lives. They would become very busy and STOP being lazy, gossipers and busybodies.
Third, ‘to manage a household’ (OIKODESPOTEO) means: to be the head of a family. They were to be like the woman in Prov. 31:10-31 by focusing on their families, helping others, being able to administer the family’s income. Busybodies always try to manage everyone, Paul tells them to be busy at managing their own household. Besides honoring the Lord by doing all that is written – why should younger widows follow these exhortations?
(v.14) …to give the adversary no opportunity for reproach.
There is an ‘adversary’ (ANTIKEIMAI) meaning: to lie opposite, be adverse – that is waiting and wanting to keep you on the wrong path and to dishonor the Lord. Here Paul states that these young widows literally ‘give’ ((DIDOMI) meaning: to give in a very wide application), by being busybodies, the enemy the best opportunity to destroy their Christian testimony! What you will reap is ‘reproach’ (LOIDORIA) meaning: slander and railing against you!
15 For already some have turned away and followed after Satan.
Paul knows what he is talking about and even if he was in prison, he had received news of what was going on with certain younger widows! The word ‘already’ (EDE) means: even now, already, by this time. Timothy had to act fast because this sin was quite alive in the church of Ephesus! Some had already ‘turned away’ (EKTREPO) meaning: to deflect, to turn away, to avoid. Some had denied their faith and chosen to walk on a different path, a deadly path! This is what some younger widows did, they ‘followed after Satan’. Instead of following their Savior and walking in the light they turned their back on Christ and followed Satan.
16 If any believing woman has widows, she must help them, and the church must not be burdened, in order that it may help those who are truly widows.
Paul ends with what I would call a general statement especially aimed at a ‘believing woman’ in the congregation. To all the ‘believing’ ladies in the church, all who have true faith in the Lord this is what they should do they ‘must help them’. If there are young widows in the church godly women need to ‘help them’. The words ‘must help’ (EPARKEO) mean: to avail for, to help, to relieve. Notice that Paul calls upon the women in the church to help these widows and not the men. This manifests the wisdom of the Lord God. Since many had problems with controlling their sexual impulses it was not a good idea that men should go around helping them. One must not play with fire!
By having women helping these widows this would help the church to ‘not be burdened’. The word ‘burdened’ (BAREO) means: to weigh down, burden, heavy, press. This would relieve the church from having to care for them and allow them to do other things. These other things were:
(v.16) …in order that it may help those who are truly widows.
By helping younger widows these women of faith were doing a great service to the congregation. They could now focus on ‘those who are truly widows’, the older ones, the ones without any family support and care. These are the widows that are to be specifically looked after.
First Timothy 5:17-20
17 – Timothy and the elders in the church
17 The elders who lead well must be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor by speaking and teaching. 18 For the scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox while it is threshing,” and “The worker is worthy of his wages.” 19 Do not accept an accusation against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20 Reprove those who sin in the presence of all, in order that the rest also may experience fear.
In the third chapter of Paul’s letter we have seen the qualifications needed to become an elder, Paul now returns to this subject. Being an elder, pastor or minister in a church is a difficult and often lonesome place to be. The brethren have a tendency to lack respect and to quickly bring accusations against them. This should not be so and this section clearly denotes this.
17 The elders who lead well must be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor by speaking and teaching.
‘Elders’ (PRESBUTEROS) means: an elder, a senior, a Christian presbyter. They were the ones who were responsible before the Lord for the health of the church (Acts 20:28). The elders were called to ‘lead well’. The word ‘lead’ (PROISTEMI) means: to stand before, to provide, to rule. They were the ones who were the shepherds of God’s flock. Peter gives a clear job description for these men:
1 Peter 5
1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:
2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;
3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;
4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
When Paul writes ‘who lead well’ it gives the idea that there were some elders who did not lead well or he would have simply written: ‘The elders must be considered…’. Unfortunately, there are men who are in this type of leadership who really do not belong there. This always causes trouble in the church.
If you are ever considered to become an elder, please refrain from doing so if your intentions are not as godly as they should! For those who do lead well, Paul tells Timothy that they must be ‘considered worthy of double honor’. Timothy needed to know that they ‘must be considered’. The words ‘considered worthy’ (AXIOO) mean: desire, think good, count worthy. He had to look at these men differently and think of them as worthy workers of the Lord and not as ‘hired hands’ or someone who just does their job but as precious because of the responsibility they bear.
Paul speaks of a ‘double honor’. The word ‘double’ (DIPLOUS) means: two-fold and the word ‘honor’ (TIME) means: a value, money paid, esteem. These elders, who were good leaders, were to receive double the honor given to another person. I believe that it happens often that a pastor, elder, minister does not get the honor that he should not that one should bow down before him and kiss his ring but be especially respectful.
(v.17) …especially those who labor by speaking and teaching.
There might have been different ‘types’ of elders ministering in relationship with the spiritual gifts they had received. Paul places special emphasis on a certain group of elders. They were the ones who ‘labor’ (KOPIAO) meaning: to feel fatigued, to work hard, to toil. Some specialized in ‘speaking and teaching’ – this was their spiritual gifting. The word ‘speaking’ (LOGOS) means: something said, the divine expression and the word ‘teaching’ (DIDASKALIA) means: instruction, doctrine. It was these men who were to be given a ‘double honor’. As we have seen before, the teaching of doctrine has always been very important for the health of the church. Remember what Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 14
18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;
19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
To make this point very clear, the apostle Paul first of all refers back to the Old Testament to show that this is truly the desire of God for these men.
18 For the scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox while it is threshing,” and “The worker is worthy of his wages.”
When Paul talks about ‘the scripture’ (GRAPHE) meaning: Holy writ, Holy Scriptures, he means the Old Testament. The cannon of the New testament had not yet been finished. His source to prove a point was the Word of God and this should always be the same for all true believers. We must go to the Scriptures like the Bereans did:
10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
His first reference comes from Deuteronomy 25:4 where the Lord God wanted people to treat their working animals well by leaving them the capacity to eat grass as they moved along. If this was so for animals it was even more so for those who worked for the Lord by teaching and preaching! His second reference comes from the Lord Jesus when he spoke in Luke 10:7. This is when he told his disciples to go and preach the ‘Good News’ and told them to eat and drink whatever is given to them, for a worker deserves his wages.
There was an old saying in many churches that said something like this: ‘A pastor should have a meager wage to be a good shepherd because this would keep him in prayer on his knees before the Lord’. As we have seen this philosophy of remunerating the pastor very little DOES NOT come from the Lord but from the hardened heart of man.
19 Do not accept an accusation against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20 Reprove those who sin in the presence of all, in order that the rest also may experience fear.
Paul continues to discuss the work of the elders and speaks of two different subjects that concern them. The first has to do with accusations that are brought against them. Elders, pastors and ministers are too often the target of mean and false accusations and Paul tells Timothy what to do when this happens. He writes ‘do not’ (ME) meaning: a negation, never, no. This must never be done- to ‘accept an accusation’. The word ‘accept’ (PARADECHOMAIS) means: to accept near, to admit, to receive. People may have brought to the attention of Timothy certain grievances, certain ‘accusations’ (KATEGORIA) meaning: a complaint, a criminal charge. Timothy needed to disregard these grievances ‘except on the evidence of two or three witnesses’. The need of two or three witnesses to condemn a person dates from the Old Testament as we see in the following verse:
15 "One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.
What God is saying is that there needs to be a thorough investigation when it comes to accusing anyone and that one witness is not enough. These two or three people needed to be ‘witnesses’ (MARTUS) meaning: a witness, of the event.
20 Reprove those who sin in the presence of all, in order that the rest also may experience fear.
If an elder was caught sinning what should be done? Since he is an elder should the congregation ‘turn aside’ and not keep him accountable? Quite the contrary Paul tells Timothy to ‘reprove those who sin’. The word ‘reprove’ (ELEGCHO) means: to admonish, to convict, to rebuke. Whether it be an elder, pastor or minister this man is not above the standards of God! He must be admonished and reprehended. Is this to be done in the pastor’s office just between the Board of Elders? Is this to be kept secret? NO – Paul writes ‘in the presence of all’. The word ‘presence’ (ENOPION) means: in the face of, in the presence of. This should be done publicly, in the presence of the church body. There is a reason for this public discipline. This is not that he should be willingly humiliated before all but ‘in order that the rest also may experience fear’. The words ‘in order that’ (HINA) mean: in order that, so as, to the intent that. There was a real reason for doing so and this was ‘that the rest also may experience fear’. Who are the ‘rest’ (LOIPOY) that Paul speaks of? I believe it could be two groups of people in the church.
The first is the ‘rest’ of the elders. Seeing that one of their comrades was disciplined this would make them think twice before venturing on sin’s road. Paul writes that they need to ‘experience fear’ (PHOBOS) meaning: to be put under fear, alarm or fright. Even if they were elders, the leaders of the church, they needed to fear the consequence of sinning. The second ‘rest’ would be everybody else in the congregation. People needed to see that sin is sin and if you practice sin you will be openly disciplined. They needed to know that there were no exceptions to this rule.
Paul knew what he was talking about. Sinners need to be reproved according to God’s will, whoever they may be. Do you remember when the apostle Peter came to Galatia and sinned by being a hypocrite before the congregation? Do you remember what Paul did?
11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;
12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.
13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?
Even Peter needed to be rebuked publicly!
First Timothy 5:21-25
18 – Paul’s charge to Timothy
21 I testify solemnly before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing according to partiality. 22 Lay hands on no one hastily, and do not participate in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. 23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach and your frequent illnesses.) 24 The sins of some people are evident, preceding them to judgment, but for some also they follow after them. 25 Likewise also good works are evident, and those considered otherwise are not able to be hidden.
All that Paul had reminded Timothy to do was extremely important and absolutely needed to be applied in his ministry. As with ALL the commands of God, they need to be applied in our lives also. Believers do this for the glory of the Lord but also for our own benefit.
21 I testify solemnly before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing according to partiality.
Here we see that Paul gives another charge to his son in the faith. The words ‘testify solemnly’ (DIAMARTUROMAI) means: to attest or protest earnestly, to testify. Paul was sincerely and seriously telling Timothy how to take care of the church. He was so serious that he witnessed this ‘before God’ (THEOS) meaning: the supreme God and also before ‘Christ Jesus’ (CHRISTOS) meaning: the anointed, the Messiah and before ‘the elect angels’. The word ‘elect’ (EKLEKTOS) means: to select, favorite, chosen, elect and the word ‘angels’ (AGGELOS) means: a messenger, especially an angel.
Please notice that this testimony is in the context of judging elders that sin. Paul reminds Timothy that he absolutely needs to judge elders. To emphasise this, he speaks of the Father, the Son and elect angels. Are these ‘elect angels’ elected to judge (as the Father and the Son are able to) or elected as certain children of Adam are? I am not certain but we do see that the Father, the Son and certain angels are sometimes grouped together when judgment is mentioned (Mat. 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Rev. 14:10).
As we have seen, it was very important for Timothy to ‘observe these things’. The word ‘observe’ (PHULASSO) means: to watch, to be on guard, to obey. Timothy had to obey them ‘without prejudice’. This is very difficult to do and that is why Paul reminds Timothy that he has no choice, he has to publicly admonish elders before the congregation.
The word ‘without’ (CHORIS) means: separately, apart from, without and the word ‘prejudice’ (PROKRIMA) means: a prejudgment, to prefer one before. Timothy needed to forget who that person was and to judge without any preconceived perception. May we also remember that God is not prejudiced.
34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.
Paul ends this verse by saying: ‘doing nothing according to partiality.’ The word ‘doing’ (POIEO) means: to make or to do. Nothing that you do should be done with ‘partiality’ (PROSKLISIS) meaning: a leaning towards, favoritism. You must be honest in all of your dealings. This includes the ones that are trivial and also the ones that are important. Actually, the more difficult the judgments are the more important it is to do them right away - before the Father, Son and elect angels. As with Timothy, even if we are not in his position, all children of God are called to be without prejudice in all they do.
22 Lay hands on no one hastily, and do not participate in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
The second charge to Timothy also deals with elders or those in leadership. Paul tells him not to ‘lay hands’ (EPITITHEMI) meaning: to impose, to lay upon, to set on. As we have seen in 1 Tim. 4:14, the council of the elders had laid hands on Timothy. This was their manifestation of agreement concerning Timothy and the official commission of Timothy for ministry. We also see that Paul speaks of his own laying of the hands on Timothy:
2 Timothy 1
6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
Here we see that Timothy receives a spiritual gift through this. So, the laying of the hands on a person was a ‘seal of approval’ of the value of this person. That is why Paul tells Timothy not to do this ‘hastily’ (TACHEOS) meaning: speedily, rapidly, quickly. Timothy needed to take his time and see the fruits of repentance in a person’s life before he would officially call someone in ministry. How often we see this in churches today! New people are called into key positions simply because they have the ability to do things.
The third charge has to do with sinning. Paul warns Timothy ‘not to participate in the sins of others’. This should be a given and yet Paul reminds Timothy! Are we not all in need of being reminded not to sin! Paul writes ‘not to’ (MEDE) meaning: but not, not even, no, not once. You can see that Paul is very direct – don’t do this! He did not want Timothy to ‘participate in the sins of others’. The word ‘participate’ (KOINONEO) means: to share with others, be a partaker of. If some were lazy do not be lazy, if some were gossiping do not gossip. In other words: don’t do what others do unless it is godly! Be holy in speech, thought and action. Don’t let yourself slip, don’t open the gate that is wide – stay on the narrow path! It is so easy for true believers to let themselves go and just be like everybody else but we shouldn’t do this!
To counter act this sin Paul writes ‘keep yourself pure’. It is interesting to understand that we are the ones who keep ourselves pure. This is in the sense that we need to make the right decisions or right choices in our everyday life. We are responsible for ourselves before the Lord. No one will be able to say ‘I had no choice but sin’ or ‘he made me sin’ or ‘everybody else did it’. We need to keep ourselves ‘pure’. The context is not imitating the sins of others. Beloved, if you have friends or relatives who act in an ungodly manner it is up to you not to follow them in their sin!
23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach and your frequent illnesses.)
It seems as though this verse was just ‘dropped’ there without any kind of affiliation with the rest of the section. As you can see this verse is in parenthesis while other versions have no parenthesis at all – some do and some don’t, it all depends on how you read the text. If you consider verses twenty-four and twenty-five as a continuation of verse twenty-two – then verse twenty-three looks a bit out of place. On the other hand, if you see no link between these two sections then there is no problem since Paul finishes with verse twenty-two, then speaks about Timothy’s health and then finishes by speaking about the evidence of the believer’s good works.
As you can easily see, Paul is worried about Timothy’s health. He talks about Timothy’s ‘frequent illnesses’. The word ‘frequent’ (PUKNOS) means: frequent, often. What was happening to Timothy was frequently happening. Unfortunately, he was stricken with ‘illnesses’ (ASTHENEIA) meaning: feebleness, malady, sickness. Timothy did not seem to have a strong metabolism and he suffered from this regularly. What I would like to point out is the courage that Timothy had. Even though he was often sick, he persevered in ministry. He did not let his condition control his life. Too often Christians at the slightest sign of illness will stop participating in God’s work until their health gets 100% better. A believer should do as Timothy and simply carry on.
The problem with Timothy’s health was rooted in the water that he drank. Water was not filtered like we have it today! There were good sources of water and sometimes there were not. Have you ever drank water that was not safe? I have and I landed up at the doctor being terribly ill! I can only imagine how Timothy felt when this would happen. Paul tells him to ‘no longer drink only water, but use a little wine’. To remedy his problem in regards to the water he drank, Paul tells him to add ‘a little wine’. Stop only drinking water and take a little (not a lot but a little) wine. This should not be taken as a verse that allows Christians to go out and drink! This verse is in the context of an illness and only a little is to be taken.
24 The sins of some people are evident, preceding them to judgment, but for some also they follow after them. 25 Likewise also good works are evident, and those considered otherwise are not able to be hidden.
A good portion of this letter dealt with the way that one ought to conduct himself as a Christian, how God expects his children to live by, especially those who are in office. Having this in mind, Paul ends this chapter with a thought that we all should consider everyday. Paul juxtaposes works of sin and good works. In verse twenty-four he speaks of ‘the sins of some people’. The word ‘sins’ (HAMARTIA) means: a sin, an offense. The offenses Paul is referring to are those done towards God. For some people they are ‘evident’ (PRODELOS) which means: plain before all men, manifest. A person who is drunk is drunk before all men, everyone can see him. Some sins are like that, everyone can tell you are sinning. Theirs sin is ‘preceding them’. The word ‘preceding’ (PROAGO) means: to lead forward, to precede in place or time. Their sins are so evident that they are always ‘seen’ when they arrive somewhere. This is a bit like a bad reputation that follows you wherever you go. Their sins will bring them ‘to judgment’ (KRISIS) meaning: a tribunal, accusation, damnation. It does not seem to be the final judgment that Paul is speaking about but being judged here because of one’s crimes. For some, their sins will ‘follow after them’. This gives the idea that some sins only come forth after a while. One does not see them right away but with time they become evident.
25 Likewise also good works are evident, and those considered otherwise are not able to be hidden.
The opposite is also true. For some, their ‘good works’ are evident! The word ‘good’ (KALOS) means: beautiful, good, valuable and the word ‘works’ (ERGON) means: to work, toil labor. Blessed are they who manifest good works day after day, that live in the light and glorify the Lord with their life. But there are also those who are not in office (deacons or elders) and live godly lives without it being automatically made public.
They work in the background, they are often anonymous. They work for the Lord in silence without blowing their trumpets as some people did to be known and glorified by people (Mat.6:1-18). One day, all that they have done will not remain ‘hidden’ (KRUPTO) meaning: to conceal, to hide, kept secret. They will get their reward from the Lord himself!
2 Corinthians 5
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
First Timothy 6:1,2
19 – Timothy and slaves
All those who are under the yoke as slaves must regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, lest the name of God and the teaching be slandered. 2 And those who have believing masters must not look down on them because they are brothers, but rather they must serve, because those who benefit by their service are believers and dearly loved.
Teach and encourage these things.
Paul now turns his teaching to slaves. We must remember that this was written for people living in the Roman Empire where slavery was not only accepted but was legal. It is believed that at one point in the city of Rome there were more slaves than free people and Roman citizens! Much of the commerce and industry was based upon slavery. The gladiators were slaves who fought for their lives. Slaves were considered property and had no legal personhood, they were ‘things’ that belonged to their masters. Slaves usually performed domestic services or worked on farms or for industries. Greek slaves were highly regarded for they had better educations. Some were even accountants and physicians! Slaves belonged to their masters and they could suffer physical punishment and even torture. Some were used for sexual exploitation as prostitutes or concubines. Slaves could become ‘Freedmen’ either by paying for their freedom, doing some heroic feat or by the grace of their masters. If a slave became a ‘Freedmen’ he was able to vote but still could not run for the office of the senatorial class. The children of the ‘Freedmen’ had all the privileges of Roman citizenship without any restrictions. When slaves became ‘Freedmen’ they belonged to a special social class called ‘libertini’.
All those who are under the yoke as slaves must regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, lest the name of God and the teaching be slandered.
This teaching had NO EXCEPTION it was for ‘all’ (HOSOS) meaning: as much as, so many as, all. The ‘Good News’ was offered to everyone the rich, the poor, the downcast and the slaves. It was natural that some slaves became true believers of Jesus Christ. As Disciples of Christ they needed to act in a godly manner and this section concerns this. As we will see in verse two, some believing slaves may have thought that since their masters were Christians, they were no longer to see them as slaves. After all, were they not all brothers and sisters in Christ? This thought probably caused dilemmas and Paul’s spiritual wisdom and insight were needed. This is not the case in verse one for Paul speaks concerning having non-believing masters.
This is for ‘those who are under the yoke as slaves’. The word ‘yoke’ (ZUGOS) means: a yoke, a coupling, servitude. These people were ‘yoked’, in bondage, to their masters. Have you ever seen two bulls pulling a plow? If so, you have seen them ‘hooked together’ with a yoke around their necks and one could not escape from the other. Paul calls those that are ‘under a yoke’ as ‘slaves’ (DOULOS) meaning: a slave, a bound-man, a servant. Remember that these slaves were not considered people in the Roman Empire but rather things that you can purchase and do as you please with them. Their lives were often very difficult and brutal.
Paul speaks of their new-found attitude towards their masters. Before being born-again one can presume that slaves hated their masters both because of the way they saw them (non-persons) and the way they were treated. They must have detested them and wished evil upon them. But now they had received a new heart and mind. The Spirit of the Living God was in them and their entire inner being changed (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 4:23).
10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Because these slaves had become children of God and had the Spirit of God living in them, their attitude and behavior should manifest this. That is why Paul wrote:
(v.1) …must regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, lest the name of God and the teaching be slandered.
It was not a question that they should or ought to do this, it was a command! Slaves ‘must regard’, the words ‘must regard’ (HEGEOMAI) mean: to lead or to command. Paul, as an apostle of Christ and with all the authority this gave him, commanded that they looked at their ‘masters’ (DESPOTES) meaning: an absolute ruler, a lord, a master, differently. They needed to see their masters with new eyes, eyes that would see them as ‘worthy of all honor’ even though they had not changed! The word ‘worthy’ (AXIOS) means: deserving, due reward, worthy. Their masters were deserving ‘all honor’. This was a radical change of view! The word ‘all’ (PAS) means: all, any, every, the whole. While the word ‘honor’ (TIME) means: a value, an esteem, honor. This was not only for the Christian masters but even for the pagan masters, the ones who were hard on them, the ones who did not really care for them, the ones who treated them as if they were things!
They needed to act like Jesus, who suffered unjustly at the cross while paying for the penalty of sinning against the Lord God. They needed to have the same attitude and mind as their Savior did. Remember what Peter wrote:
1 Peter 2
21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth";
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
They needed not to retaliate but to forgive. They were not to take things into their own hands but to leave everything in the hands of God the Father! But why should slaves give all honors to their masters? Why should they not just rebel against them?
(v.1) …lest the name of God and the teaching be slandered.
Because of God! They should give honor to whom it is due and not rebel because of ‘the name of God’! The word ‘name’ (ONOMA) means: a name, a character, an authority. They should act this way because of what the Lord God had done in their favor. Remember what Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 10
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
They needed to be loving and respectful slaves, not only for the sake of God’s name, (for it would be shameful for God to have such rebellious children) but also because of ‘the teaching be slandered’. The word ‘teaching’ (DIDASKALIA) means: instruction, doctrine, teaching. All that was taught about God could be ‘slandered’ (BLASPHEMO) meaning: to vilify, to speak impiously, to defame. Their attitude would destroy the name of God and the Christian teachings before others. Slaves needed to place the glory of God before their own desires!
2 And those who have believing masters must not look down on them because they are brothers, but rather they must serve, because those who benefit by their service are believers and dearly loved.
Teach and encourage these things.
If verse one spoke about the relationship between a born-again slave and his unbelieving master, verse two speaks concerning those who have born-again masters.
The word ‘believing’ (PISTOS) means: trustworthy, faithful, true and the word ‘masters’ (DESPOTES) means: an absolute ruler, lord, master. This is the same Greek word used for both believing and non-believing masters. The believing slave ‘must not look down’ (KATAPHONEO) which means: to think against, to despise. It may be that a believing slave thinks that he/she should be set free because his master has now come to the faith. Seeing that this is not so, bitter sentiments can fill his heart.
The apostle Paul writes not to despise them if they do not set you free or for any other reason. In his letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote something very interesting concerning slavery and freedom:
1 Corinthians 7
20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.
21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it.
22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord's freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ's slave.
23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.
24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.
If the Christian slaves were not to ‘look down on them’ because they are also true believers, what were they to do?
(v.2) …but rather they must serve, because those who benefit by their service are believers and dearly loved.
The word ‘rather’ (MALLON) means: rather, better, more. There was something much better that they should be doing instead of harboring evil against them. The solution is rather simple ‘they must serve’. Again, we see the word ‘must’ and again this is not a suggestion but a command. You must ‘serve’ (DOULEUO) meaning: to be a slave, to be in bondage, to serve. When you place this with what Paul writes in 1 Cor. 7, we understand that each person has a different calling and if it is to be a slave, we should not be concerned about it because slave or free ALL have been freed from the judgment to come!
Paul brings in another thought which sounds like this: ‘Serve them because the one you give service to will benefit from this and he is your brother in the faith’.
(v.2) …because those who benefit by their service are believers and dearly loved.
The word ‘benefit’ (EUERGESIA) means: beneficence, a good deed done. By serving your master you are doing a ‘good deed’ unto him and he reaps the benefits of this. Christ suffered and believers benefit from his sacrifice – they are set free from the chains of sin and no longer are under judgment. Paul is simply asking the slaves to be Christ-like. Let’s not forget that your master is ‘dearly loved’ by the Lord God himself! Be good to them, work honestly because God loves him and that should suffice.
(v.2) …Teach and encourage these things.
Once more Paul encourages Timothy to ‘teach’ (DIDASKO) meaning: to teach in a broad application and also ‘encourage’ (PARAKALEO) meaning: exhort, intreat, beseech. May we never forget to love God’s children and honor them even if they are difficult people.
If you have a difficult supervisor, who is often ‘on your back’ and even seems to take pleasure in irritating and humiliating you please remember this section and apply it in your life.
First Timothy 6:3-5
20 – The dangers of false teachers
3 If anyone teaches other doctrine and does not devote himself to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, 4 he is conceited, understanding nothing, but having a morbid interest concerning controversies and disputes about words, from which come envy, strife, slanders, evil suspicions, 5 constant wrangling by people of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who consider godliness to be a means of gain.
The subject of false teachers and false prophets can be read from the gospels to Revelation. There are constant warnings concerning them for their fruits will bring people astray from the gospel saving truth. Jesus calls these people blind teachers of the blind:
13 But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.
14 "Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch."
The warning of Paul was for ‘anyone’ (EI) meaning: if any, he that, whosoever. Paul considered ‘anyone’ to be a spiritual enemy if he preached another gospel. He went so far as telling the Galatians that if even if he himself taught a different gospel he should be cursed!
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this. Believers should be very careful and not let things ‘slide’, or turn a blind eye, simply because they like the preacher so much! The subject is about anyone who ‘teaches other doctrine’. These are called false teachers and prophets. The words ‘teaches other doctrine’ (HETERODIDASKALEO) mean: to instruct differently. This gives the idea that they stray away from orthodoxy. This is a sure sign of a cult. They have found a new way, or have discovered “hidden secrets” in the bible.
They reveal the ‘true’ meaning of ancient prophecies or ‘unlock’ bible mysteries. They may even receive ‘new revelations’ that veer away from the written word or have prophets for our modern times! Paul describes these false teachers:
3 If anyone teaches other doctrine and does not devote himself to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness,
They first do ‘not devote themselves to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ’. The word ‘devote’ (PROSERCHOMAI) means: to approach, to come near, assent to. It seems that they ‘devote’ themselves to other things and not to the ‘sound words’ of Christ! The word ‘sound’ (HUGIAINO) means: to have sound health, safe and sound. They are blind fools for this is what Jesus said about his ‘words’:
My words will never pass away (Mat. 24:35)
If you are ashamed of my words, I will be ashamed of you (Mark8:38)
My words will be used on the final judgment (John 12:48)
If you do not love my words you do not love me (John 14:24)
My words are the words of the Father (also John 14:24)
When Jesus asked his disciples if they also wanted to leave him like the crowd did, this is what Peter answered:
67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"
68 But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
69 "Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Peter understood that the words of Jesus were ‘words of eternal life’. And so, he remained truthful to his Savior until his last breath. On the other hand, these false teachers abandoned the ‘sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ’. May all true believers remain attached to every word that come out of the mouth of our Lord!
They no longer ‘devoted’ themselves to the words of Jesus and also with ‘the teaching that is accordance with godliness’. The word ‘teaching’ (DIDASKALIA) means: instruction, doctrine, teaching. These teachings that they left were in ‘accordance’ (KATA) meaning: about, according as. Once more we see they departed from the narrow path for they abandoned ‘godliness’.
The word ‘godliness (EUSEBEIA) means: piety, holiness, godliness. They left what was holy and accepted the teaching of darkness. Jesus has warned us concerning them:
15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
16 "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?
17 "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 "Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Because they have followed the dark path and departed from truth and godliness, this will automatically be manifested in their life. Paul gives a detailed picture of what a false teacher will act like.
4 he is conceited, understanding nothing, but having a morbid interest concerning controversies and disputes about words, from which come envy, strife, slanders, evil suspicions, 5 constant wrangling by people of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who consider godliness to be a means of gain.
First, ‘he is conceited’ (TUPHOO) meaning: to inflate with self-conceit, high minded. Instead of being humble they thought much of themselves. This was a trait of character which most of the scribes and Pharisees had. They loved to walk around with elaborate clothing, being regarded as important. Jesus gives a perfect description of these conceited Pharisees and why his disciples should not act like them (Mat. 23:1-12).
Second, ‘understanding nothing’. They call themselves teachers but they actually do not understand at all! The word ‘understanding’ (EPISTAMAI) means: to put the mind upon, comprehend. While the word ‘nothing’ (MEDEIS) means: not even one, no, not, none. They just don’t understand, they are not born-again and their minds are still in the dark as Paul writes:
2 Corinthians 3
14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.
Third, ‘but having a morbid interest concerning controversies and disputes about words’. Their interest is not in the Lord nor his kingdom. They do not devote themselves to the words of the Lord. But they do have a special interest and Paul calls it ‘morbid’. The word ‘morbid’ (NOSEO) means: to be sick, of a diseased appetite. In other words, they had a very sick ‘interest’ (ZETESIS) meaning: the act of searching, a dispute, a question, in ‘controversies and disputes’. They not only enjoyed but actually looked to find ‘controversies and disputes’ (LOGOMACHIA) meaning: disputations about trifles, strife of words. They just loved to argue concerning different subjects. They were argumentative, quarrelsome and confrontational. They were right and everybody else was wrong! Do you know people like this? I hope you are not one of them. Because of their attitude Paul writes that certain things proceed from this and they are not godly traits!
Forth, ‘envy’ (PHTHONEO) meaning: to be jealous, to envy. They were jealous of others. They thought they were more intelligent and more spiritual. They claimed that they knew ‘another truth’ YET they were jealous. We can see that the ‘superior’ knowledge they had was not sufficient to bring them contentment. We all know that only the Lord God can fill our hearts and bring perfect peace.
Fifth, ‘strife’ (ERIS) meaning: a quarrel, contention, strife. This is another fruit that one could see in the life of these false teachers. It seems that they were ‘at war’ with almost everyone. They did not bring peace, joy, harmony and acceptance through their teachings and persons – it was the opposite! They brought dissention, opposition and disagreement wherever they set foot. Again, this is not a sign that they are disciples of Christ! Jesus said that the sure sign of being his disciples was the love they would have for one another (John 13:34,35).
Sixth, ‘slanders’ (BLASPHEMIA) meaning: evil speaking, railing. Whether against God or against men, they secretly and sometimes openly spoke evil of them. These false prophets were not ashamed to discredit the brethren, dishonor their names and spread scandals concerning them. They spoke against God by teaching ‘another gospel’. Remember what you have just read in Mat. 7:15-20!
Seventh, ‘evil suspicions’, this was the seventh fruit that these false teachers manifested. The word ‘evil’ (PONEROS) means: hurtful, evil, degeneracy from original virtue. They were certainly not of the Lord who is the Lord of truth and light! They were ‘evil’ in their ‘suspicious’ (HUPONOIA) meaning: suspicion, surmising. They had evil thoughts and deductions against people. Not knowing the truth, they guessed and they came to false conclusions. They seemed to be very judgmental!
Their eighth fruit was ‘constant wrangling’ (PARADIATRIBE) meaning: misemployment, meddlesomeness, perverse disputing. Again, we see the depth of their heart. They raged verbal war against all who did not adhere to their beliefs. They hurt others with their words, breaking them down and dishonoring them.
Paul writes that they were like this because of their ‘depraved mind’. The word ‘depraved’ (DIAPHTHEIRO) means: to rot thoroughly, corrupt, destroy. The word ‘minds’ (NOUS) means: the intellect, the mind. Their minds were rotten through and through, filled with decay and debris which the doctrines of darkness had brought! Since their minds were ‘depraved’, the only fruits they could bear were all spiritually corrupt. They were also ‘deprived of the truth’. They believed that they had the TRUTH and generously taught it! Yet they were ‘deprived’ (APOSTEREO) meaning: to deprive, defraud, destitute, of the ‘truth’ – God’s truth. This is the only truth that will survive for all eternity. They had empty hands and thought they were filled with spiritual truth!
Finally, Paul describes these false teachers as people ‘who consider godliness to be a means of gain.’ Things have not changed! False teachers, pastors, prophets, elders, bishops – how many use their status to rob people and to fatten themselves!
They ‘consider’ (NOMIZO) meaning: to do by law, to deem, to regard. They regarded or looked upon ‘godliness’ (EUSEBEIA) meaning: piety, godliness, holiness as something they could use for their own benefit. They acted spiritual, spoke with elegance, gave the image that they had authority from the Lord. But all of this, all of this charade, pretence and travesty had one main goal, it was ‘a means of gain’ (PORISMOS) meaning: money getting, acquisition, gain.
They wanted to get rich and become wealthy by using the gospel as a means of doing so. Does this sound like some present false teachers you hear about?
First Timothy 6 :6-10
21 – True contentment in this world
6 But godliness with contentment is a great means of gain. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so that neither can we bring anything out. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these things we will be content. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and a trap and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge those people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all evil, by which some, because they desire it, have gone astray from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.
If you would ask true believers what would be a great sin before the eyes of the Lord they would probably name one of the following: stealing, killing, lack of love or compassion, anger, gluttony, striking someone and so forth. I have NEVER heard someone say that lack of contentment is also a great sin – yet it is! Some of my readers probably live in countries where the economy permits you to buy things that you like and enjoy, on credit. This may be a serious snare. A good portion of the people living in my country are over their heads in debt because of lack of contentment and never being satisfied with what they have. They crave for things that will not satisfy their souls and only deepens their debt. Now, the lack of contentment is the fruit of the lust in us.
1 John 2
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.
17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
If this was true in the days of Paul, how much greater is the possibility of falling into this sin today, with credit so available! Let us all be very attentive to this section.
6 But godliness with contentment is a great means of gain.
This is the general statement of this section and the key words are ‘godliness, contentment and gain’. Paul first speaks on the subject of ‘godliness’ (EUSEBEIA) meaning: piety, godliness, holiness. This word characterises the inward attitude of the born-again child of God, an attitude which pleases the Father.
In other words, godliness mirrors the character of God. Paul tells Timothy that contentment is part of being Christ-like. The word ‘contentment’ (AUTARKEIA) means: self-satisfaction, sufficiency. This word is only used twice in the New Testament. The other reference is found in 2 Cor. 9:8:
2 Corinthians 9
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
It is the word ‘sufficiency’ that is translated from AUTARKEIA. Being content with what we have is KEY not only to having a good relationship with our heavenly Father, but also to being generally happy in life. The lack of contentment in life manifests that we are not happy with the way that God treats us. This is exactly what the serpent got Eve to believe. Take the fruit, of course it is good, you won’t die – and she ate it along with Adam. They fell into the devil’s trap - you need to have this to really be happy. But were they happier? No!
They felt ashamed and hid themselves for they were naked.
They were afraid of God.
Communion was broken between them.
They were cast away from the Garden of Eden.
They personally received a judgment from the Lord.
They now had a sinful nature.
All of this was because they were not content with what the Lord had given them. If Adam and Eve, who lived in a perfect setting can lack in contentment, image all of us who have a sinful nature! So, children of God need to practice ‘contentment’. Paul writes that ‘godliness’ and ‘contentment’ is a ‘great means of gain’. The word ‘great’ (MEGAS) means: big, exceedingly great. The word ‘gain’ (PORISMOS) means: money getting, acquisition, gain. In other words, believers who manifest the character of God and are satisfied with what they have or what they are living, will receive a ‘great gain’ from it. Being humble and thankful before the Lord makes ALL the difference. This is something that all believers should practice in all circumstances. May I ask if this is the case for you? Do you often desire things that you do not have? Are you not satisfied with your health, your work, the way you look and so forth – then you lack contentment and it is a sin and it robs you from being happy.
7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so that neither can we bring anything out.
Paul gives a logical reason why we should be content and not strive to possess and fall into the never-ending cycle of discontentment. He tells Timothy that when we enter ‘into the world’ we brought nothing with us. When we are born, we personally have ‘nothing’ (OUDEN) meaning: not even one, none, nothing. It is our parents who take care of our needs by providing for us. As time goes by this child grows older and begins to accumulate possessions until one day he dies. What happens then? Paul writes: ‘neither can we bring anything out’. Just as we did not come in this world with anything, it is impossible for us to leave this world and ‘bring anything out’. The word ‘bring’ (EKPHERO) means: to bear out, to bring forth. We arrive with nothing and we leave this world with nothing also! That is the foolishness of discontentment! Solomon expressed it this way:
14 But those riches perish through misfortune; When he begets a son, there is nothing in his hand.
15 As he came from his mother's womb, naked shall he return, To go as he came; And he shall take nothing from his labor Which he may carry away in his hand.
16 And this also is a severe evil-Just exactly as he came, so shall he go. And what profit has he who has labored for the wind?
Jesus also tells us that it is the Gentiles who seek after the things of this world and that his disciples should be care-free knowing that the Father will take care of their needs (Mat. 6:30-34).
8 But if we have food and clothing, with these things we will be content.
This is contentment for Paul, not that he promoted ascetism but he promoted self-control which is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23). All we truly need in life are ‘food’ (DIATROPHE) meaning: nourishment, food. This is to keep the body functioning well, to be in good health to be able to work for the Lord. And also ‘clothing’ (SKEPASMA) meaning: a covering, clothing, raiment. This is to cover our nudity (this is the first thing God did for Adam and Eve after they had sinned in the garden) and also to protect our body which is the instrument of life. This should suffice. Does this mean that believers can not have material possessions – absolutely not! Some of the great saints of the Bible were extremely rich.
But what is noticeable is that they did not make a goal of being rich – it was a gift from God or an inheritance (as with Solomon) they had received. Paul writes that with this simple life-style ‘we will be content’ (ARKEO) meaning: to avail, be enough, be sufficient, content. Why work for things that are today and can vanish tomorrow? Jesus said:
33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
So, let God decide what you should have. Let him provide for all your needs. Instead of being discontent why not first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. When we do so, the good Lord will take care of the rest.
9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and a trap and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge those people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all evil, by which some, because they desire it, have gone astray from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.
As with all sins there are consequences to our lack of contentment. We see two of them in verse nine. Notice these consequences are for those ‘who want to be rich’. The word ‘want’ (BOULOMAI) means: be willing, be disposed, intend. This is expressly for those who desire, who make a goal in life of being rich. Again, we notice that this comes from the heart. It is a craving that has deep roots and controls the mind and will of a person. This has nothing to do with a person who is blessed by God and becomes wealthy.
This person will ‘fall into temptation’. The word ‘fall’ (EMPIPTO) means: to fall, to be entrapped by. While the word ‘temptation’ (PEIRASMOS) means: a putting to proof, experience evil. The lack of contentment is a trap and when you fall into it you will experience all sorts of evil. The Lord God warns his children and we should have ears to listen. Materialism is a snare, while contentment frees us.
The second consequence to our lack of contentment is that it will bring ‘many foolish and harmful desires’. The word ‘foolish’ (ANOETOS) means: unintelligent, foolish, unwise. We are told that one of the fruits of discontentment is becoming ‘foolish’. We should grow in wisdom, understanding and spiritual insight but discontentment blocks all of this. Our ‘desires’ (EPITHUMIA) meaning: a longing especially for what is forbidden, become unintelligent and we search for the wrong things in life.
These ‘foolish… desires’ become ‘harmful’ (BLABEROS) meaning: injurious, hurtful. In other words, our lack of contentment gives birth to desires which are not grounded in the Lord. These desires are foolish and harmful! They are not good for the child of God they only enslave him to live for the flesh.
(v.9) …which plunge those people into ruin and destruction.
The lack of contentment gives birth to the trap of temptation and also foolish and harmful desires. If that was not enough it will also ‘plunge’ (BUTHIZO meaning: to sink, to drown, you into two things. It will bring you ‘ruin’ (APOLEIA) meaning: ruin, loss, waste. This is the harvest that you will reap – waste! You may have possessions but your spiritual life will be wasted! Your relationship with the Lord will be like a desert! Discontentment will also ‘plunge’ you into ‘destruction’ (OLETHROS) meaning: to destroy, ruin, death. Have you ever seen a garden or a field that has suffered a drought? All that was alive and bearing fruit now stands dry and lifeless! This is the picture of a child of God who desires riches before his own God! You become a wasteland, for you sold your soul to Mammon. Remember what the Lord Jesus said:
24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Paul ends this section concerning contentment with a few words of wisdom. It is also a dreadful warning to all believers who lack true love for their Savior.
10 For the love of money is a root of all evil, by which some, because they desire it, have gone astray from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.
Why have I written that the lack of contentment equates with the lack of love for our Lord and Savior? Simply because Jesus said so!
19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Paul speaks of the ‘love of money’ and this is the key to understanding our section on contentment. The words ‘love of money’ (PHILARGURIA) mean: avarice, the love of money. It is our love for money (and all it can procure) that ‘is a root of all evil’. This refers to not having money but to loving money. Loving money ‘is a root’ (RHIZA) meaning: a root. The root is the organ through which the nourishment is provided for the plant. If the root dies the plant will also die. This root (the love of money) is the ‘root of all evil’. Not just some evil but ‘all’ (PAS) meaning: all, any, every, the whole. ALL of ‘evil’ (KAKOS) meaning: worthless, depraved, bad, evil, is grounded on the love of money! Can you imagine a world without having a single citizen who desires to love money? Can you imagine how that would change the face of the earth? Try to picture this and if you are capable then you will understand why the lack of contentment is so evil!
(v.10) …by which some, because they desire it, have gone astray from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.
Once more Paul makes a distinction between those who have great possessions and those who are possessed by great wealth. Paul speaks of ‘some’, not all but ‘some’, those are the ones who desire to be rich. The ones that ‘desire it’ (OREGOMAI) meaning: to reach out after, covet, desire, harm themselves and often without even knowing it!
The first thing is that they ‘have gone astray from the faith’. The words ‘gone astray’ (APOPLANAO) mean: to lead astray, err, seduce. They abandon the true ‘faith’ (PISTIS) meaning: persuasion, credence, moral conviction. They slowly turn their back on the Lord. They lose their first love like some of the believers did in Ephesus:
4 "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
5 "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent.
Since Mammon has become the desire of their hearts it is natural that their love for the Lord diminishes.
The second thing is that the love of money has ‘pierced themselves with many pains’. The word ‘pierced’ (PERIPEIRO) means: to penetrate entirely. This is nota slight cut but a deep wound that the believer afflicts himself with. The imagery is so astonishing!
You wound yourself deeply when you love money because of lack of contentment. You actually afflict yourself with ‘many pains’! You execute upon yourself ‘many pains’! The word ‘many’ (POLUS) means: much, many, abundant. And the word ‘pains’ (ODUNE) means: grief, sorrow. You eat the fruit of your love for money which is a great amount of pain and sorrow. How foolish are some children of God who set aside the Lord in order to make more money!
12 Be astonished, O heavens, at this, And be horribly afraid; Be very desolate," says the LORD.
13 "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns-broken cisterns that can hold no water.
First Timothy 6:11-16
22 – Pursue these things
11 But you, O man of God, flee from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patient endurance, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I command you, in the sight of God who gives life to all things and Christ Jesus who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you observe the commandment without fault, irreproachable until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will make known in his own time, the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of those who reign as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords, 16 the one who alone possesses immortality, who lives in unapproachable light, whom no human being has seen nor is able to see, to whom be honor and eternal power. Amen.
In this section we can see that Paul speaks directly to Timothy: ‘but you’ refers to his child in the faith. He refers to Timothy as ‘O man of God’. The term ‘man of God’ was used in the Old Testament on seventy-one occasions and is mostly found in 1 & 2 Kings. It refers to prophets, priests or someone special who was sent by God to carry his words and do his bidding. It is quite an honor for Timothy to be called ‘man of God’. It is only used twice in the New testament and both times by Paul who was referring to Timothy (1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 3:17). May it be our desire to be known as a woman or a man of God and to be regarded as someone who God uses as an instrument of justice (Rom. 6:13) in this corrupt world. In order to be a true ‘man of God’ Paul gives a short list of things which needed to be in him as a believer.
11 But you, O man of God, flee from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patient endurance, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Paul writes: ‘flee from these things’. Here Paul speaks of the foolishness of being discontent and to be searching for the things of this world (section #21). The word ‘flee’ (PHEUGO) means: to run away, to vanish, to escape, to flee. There are things that Timothy had to run away from and abandon. It is only when one lets go of what is in his hand, that he is then able to fill it with something else! Paul opposes these two words: flee and pursue. This is what Paul did in his own life (he fled from and pursued towards) and now he is passing this onto Timothy.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Leaving these deeds of darkness behind, Timothy had to ‘pursue’ (DIOKO) meaning: to pursue, to follow, to press forward, other things. There were things that Timothy (and all true believers) needed to run after to become a man of God.
The first pursuit is ‘righteousness’ (DIKAIOSUNE) meaning: equity of character or act. This speaks of having a moral rectitude which is based on God’s Law. All of his thoughts and actions needed to be weighed in God’s balance. To be righteous is to have the character of God and above all things this is what Timothy needed to conserve. May righteousness of character also be our priority in life.
The second pursuit is ‘godliness’ (EUSEBEIA) meaning: piety, godliness, holiness. This gives the idea of being devout to the Lord. It also manifests an inner desire to please his Savior. In the parable of the pearl (Mat. 13:45, 46) the man who found a great pearl sells all he has to be able to purchase it. A person filled with ‘godliness’ will abandon all he has to follow and emulate his Lord.
The third pursuit is ‘faith’ (PISTIS) meaning: a persuasion, credence, moral conviction. The elements of faith are:
a firm conviction that God’s Word is the truth (John 6:68)
a personal surrender to God (John 20:28)
a conduct reflecting this surrender (Eph. 5:8)
The fourth pursuit is ‘love’ (AGAPE) meaning: love, affection, benevolence.
Love is the attitude of God towards his son (John 17:26)
Love is the attitude of God towards the human race (John 3:16)
Love is the attitude of God towards he who believes (John 14:21)
Love is the attitude of God’s children towards each other (John 13:14)
Love is the essential nature of God (1 John 4:8)
Never forget that love can be known only through actions (Rom. 5:8) and love is the uttermost expression among men (2 Cor. 5:14).
The fifth pursuit is ‘patient endurance’ (HUPOMONE) meaning: hopeful endurance, constancy. This type of patience seems to grow only in trials! We all know that patience perfects the Christian character (James 1:4) and we all need perfecting!
The sixth pursuit is ‘gentleness’ (PRAIOTES) meaning: gentleness, humility, meekness. This describes the inward grace of the soul and describes someone who is good in his dealings with others without disputing or resisting them. This word is closely linked with humility.
12 Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Believers are engaged in a spiritual warfare and Paul reminds Timothy to be ready to fight:
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Timothy was to ‘fight the good fight’. There are many battles people can engage in but for Disciples of Christ ‘the good fight’ is our battle! The word ‘good’ (KALOS) means: properly, beautiful, valuable, virtuous. This describes our ‘fight’ (AGONIZOMAI) meaning: to struggle, labor, strive, fervently. What is this ‘good fight’? There is only one: ‘of the faith’ (PISTIS) meaning: persuasion, credence, moral conviction.
The Gospel is our fight and the earth is our battleground! Winning souls to Christ, saving men from the pit of hell, teaching the ways of the Lord God – this is what each of us should fight for. This was Timothy’s fight and if you are a child of God this is also your ‘good fight’.
(v.12) …take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Timothy needed to be pro-active in his ‘good fight’ so Paul tells him to ‘take hold’ (EPILAMBANOMAI) meaning: to seize, catch, take hold of. He needed to seize every opportunity that the Lord presented him. In his second letter he will write:
2 Timothy 4
1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
Timothy needed to remember the calling he had received ‘of the eternal life to which you were called’. The word ‘called’ (KALEO) means: to call, call forth, calling a name. His name was called out before he was born and even before time existed! Not only was Timothy ‘called’ to eternal life but so were ALL who would accept the Son as their personal Savior.
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
There is an important point which needs to be addressed. Paul writes ‘and confessed a good confession in the presence of many witnesses’. The word ‘confessed’ (HOMOLOGEO) means: to assent, to acknowledge, to confess. This speaks of the profession of faith which Timothy gave – his testimony of repentance. It was a ‘good confession’.
It was real, true and honest. His repentance story was to the point and not wishy-washy leaving the ‘witnesses’ (MARTUS) meaning: a witness, a martyr wondering if he truly understood what salvation is all about. Too often we hear testimonies that have nothing to do with sin – repentance-salvation. But not so with Timothy’s testimony. May I ask what is your personal testimony? Is there a decisive moment in your life where you saw yourself as a dreadful sinner with the judgment of God upon your head? Have you cried out to Christ to come and save you? Have you repented of your sins and now possess a deep desire to abandon your old ways? If not, then there is no better time to do this than right now!
13 I command you, in the sight of God who gives life to all things and Christ Jesus who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you observe the commandment without fault, irreproachable until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
The word ‘command’ (PARAGGELLO) means: to enjoin, to give a charge, to declare. Once again this is not advice that is given but an actual order. People in general do not like to be ordered around but as a child of God we know that what God tells us to do is always for our good.
This is the fourth time that Paul uses this word (PARAGGELLO) in this letter (1:3; 4:11; 5:7; 6:13) and he will use it once more in 6:17. This word also gives the idea of: to announce, to command. This is an important command for it is given ‘in the sight of God’. This is the second time Paul calls upon God to be his witness (5:21). He describes God as the one ‘who gives life to all things’. The word ‘life’ (ZOOPOIEO) means: to make alive, to give life, to quicken. This was the God of Paul, the creator and sustainer of all life. This is also the God of all true believers.
Paul also uses Jesus as his witness, just as he did before (5:21). He describes Jesus as the one ‘who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate’. I wonder if Paul is making a link between the ‘good confession’ Timothy did (6:12) and the ‘good confession’, which are the exact same words in the Greek, that Jesus gave? Whatever the case, I hope that if we ever have to give a ‘good confession’ we will be strong enough to take a stand and declare the truth!
This is the command that Paul orders Timothy to do.
14 that you observe the commandment without fault, irreproachable until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
He commands Timothy to observe the command without fault! I do believe that Paul is trying to make his point VERY CLEAR. Timothy needed to ‘observe’ (TEREO) meaning: to keep the eye upon, to fulfill a command. He needed to ‘observe’ what Paul had commandment ‘without fault’ (ASPILOS) meaning: unblemished, without spot. Timothy, do what you know you have to do and do it right – all the time. By doing so, by being a godly leader he will be ‘irreproachable until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ’.
By doing so you will be ‘irreproachable’ (ANEPILEPTOS) meaning: blameless, not culpable before the law. No reproach will be given on your account if you follow the commands that I have given you. Paul may be encouraging Timothy by speaking of the return of Jesus. He may also desire that he keeps his eyes on the hope of the return of the Lord. May this also be the quiet flame that burns in our hearts!
15 which he will make known in his own time, the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of those who reign as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords, 16 the one who alone possesses immortality, who lives in unapproachable light, whom no human being has seen nor is able to see, to whom be honor and eternal power.
The ‘time’ of his return is unknown, let no one fool you as many have been fooled in the past.
36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
37 "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
38 "For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
39 "and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
40 "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.
41 "Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
42 "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
43 "But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
44 "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
The following passage is identified as a doxology to the Father. We know Paul speaks about the Father since he wrote ‘he will make known in his own time’ and this refers (as we have seen) to the return of the Messiah. Only the Father knows this so it is logical to understand that what is written is about the Father! Seven things are mentioned about God – the Father.
First, ‘the blessed and only sovereign’. The word ‘blessed’ (MAKARIOS) means: supremely blessed, well-off, happy. Only God is to be blessed by our lips, no one else should be because he is the ‘only sovereign’. The word ‘only’ (MONOS) means: sole, single, alone, only. There is NO OTHER ‘sovereign’ (DUNASTES) meaning: a ruler or officer of great authority.
Second, ‘the King of those who reign as kings’. The word ‘king’ (BESILEUS) means: a foundation of power. Here we see that God is the foundation on which all kings rest. Most of them do not even realize this!
1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
Third, ‘Lord of those who rule as lords’. The word ‘Lord’ (KURIOS) means: supreme in authority. If God the Father is the foundation (BESILEUS) of everything, he is also the supreme authority in all things – even of the lords of this world!
Fourth, ‘the one who alone possess immortality’. Once again, we have the confirmation that there is no other God for, we have the word ‘alone’ (MONOS) meaning: sole or single, alone, only. Only one ‘possess’ (ECHO) meaning: to hold, to be able ‘immortality’ (ATHANASIA) meaning: deathlessness, immortality. God has no beginning and has no end (Rev. 1:4,8; 4:8; 11:17; 16:5). God gives eternal life (John 3:16) but no one has no beginning and no end – only God does.
Fifth, ‘who lives in unapproachable light’. Here the word ‘lives’ (OIKEO) means: to remain, to inhabit, to dwell. This is the abode of the Lord God – pure light for he IS LIGHT (Ps. 104:2). God is ‘unapproachable’ (APROSITOS) meaning: inaccessible, which no man can approach. No man can come to him because of their iniquities. That is why we desperately need Jesus as our mediator (Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24).
Sixth, ‘whom no human being has seen nor is able to see’. Our eyes are too impure to gaze upon the holiness of the Lord God. Moses desired to see God but even he could not!
18 And he said, "Please, show me Your glory."
19 Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
20 But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live."
Seventh, ‘to whom be honor and eternal power'. Only God is worthy of our ‘honor’ (TIME) meaning: esteem, precious. Only He, in our eyes, can be considered and esteemed and worthy of worship. Only He is to receive ‘eternal power’ (AIONIOS KRATOS) meaning: eternal or everlasting dominion. May we offer God what is his – worship and dominion over our soul.
First Timothy 6 :17-19
23 – Instructions to the rich
17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be proud and not to put their hope in the uncertainty of riches, but in God, who provides us all things richly for enjoyment, 18 to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, sharing freely, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the future, in order that they may take hold of what is truly life.
As we have seen in our last section there are five times when the apostle Paul used the word PARAGGELLO which means ‘command’ in English and this is the last time in this epistle. There were things that Paul wanted Timothy to teach concerning being wealthy. It was an order, not a suggestion, that ‘those who are rich’ (PLOUSIOS) meaning: wealthy, abounding with, needed to hear and apply to their life. Like today there were those who were rich and being children of God, they needed to know what the Father wanted of them. Since they were rich ‘in this present age’ they also needed to act ‘in this present age’. The words ‘present age’ (NUN) means: now, present, immediate. These are the teaching concerning the wealthy.
First, they were ‘not to be proud’ (HUPSELOPHRONEO) meaning: high minded, arrogant. This speaks of the inner attitude that they should not have. The Lord detests those who are proud. Do you remember what James and Peter wrote?
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."
1 Peter 5
5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."
Some say that pride is the mother of all sins! When one thinks too much of himself it is the beginning of his downfall. When one is rich, he believes that he has power and authority and that he is in control – how foolish is this thought! Remember what Jesus taught about having great wealth:
16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.
17 "And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?'
18 "So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.
19 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."'
20 "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'
21 "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
The second, is ‘not to put their hope in the uncertainty of riches,’. The words ‘put their hope’ (ELPIZO) means: to expect, to confide, hope, trust. People who are rich have a tendency to trust in their wealth. If something happens, they have the means to take care of it. This causes the heart to become more and more independent. I don’t need God – I can take care of myself and the heart slowly drifts away from its Maker! Paul reminds the rich of the ‘uncertainty’ of their wealth. The word ‘uncertainty’ (ADELOTES) meaning: hidden, uncertain. One never knows if even in ONE DAY they can lose all of their great wealth (ask Job!).
(v.17) …but in God
Since your riches are uncertain, should you not place your hope in the Living God? Is he not the one who gives life and sustains every breath that you take? Again, how foolish is the man who trusts in himself instead of the Lord!
(v.17) …who provides us all things richly for enjoyment,
Here we see Paul giving the reasons why the rich (and the poor) should trust in God and not in what they possess. First of all, God ‘provides us all things’. The word ‘provides’ (PARECHO) means: to hold near, furnish, to give. If God provides food for the ravens (Job 38:41) will he not provide for you also! If God has provided a substitute for Abraham’s son as a sacrifice (Gen. 22:13) will he not also provide assistance in your deepest needs? God, will provide ‘richly’ (PLOUSIOS) meaning: copiously, abundantly. God does not provide sparsely but lavishly and profusely. The Lord’s provisions are luxuriant and he generously gives all things ‘for enjoyment’ (APOLAUSIS) meaning: to enjoy, full enjoyment. This Greek word is only used here and in Heb.11:25.
It gives the idea of experiencing joy and the benefits of joy. So, trust in God who provides richly so his children can enjoy the gifts of God.
18 to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, sharing freely, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the future, in order that they may take hold of what is truly life.
Third, Paul tells the rich ‘to do good’. The word ‘good’ (AGATHOERGEO) means: to work good, do good. This is a general statement. In all things have this attitude ‘to do good’. God has given you riches so you can ‘do good’ with them. They are not to be kept but rather to be shared with the ones God points out. A rich Christian is an agent in God’s hand who should distribute goodness where it is needed.
Fourth, and they are all linked one with the other, the rich are called ‘to be rich in good works’. Paul is contrasting the riches of the world and the riches of God. One tends to keep the riches of the world for himself while the good servant of God does the opposite. The rich should desire to be rich in ‘good works’. The word ‘good’ (KALOS) means: beautiful, good, virtuous and the word ‘works’ (ERGON) means: to work, toil, an act, a deed. If you want to be rich, be rich by doing spiritual acts of goodness unto others. That is what Jesus meant when he said to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (Mat. 22:39).
Fifth, he calls the rich ‘to be generous’ (EUMETADOTOS) meaning: good at imparting, liberal with monies. As you can see, all the things the rich are called to do are linked one with the other. Paul explains what it means to do ‘good works’ and it implies that you need to be ‘generous’, to be ‘sharing freely’ (KOINONIKOS) meaning: willing to communicate, to be liberal with. Jesus said: ‘You have received freely, give freely’ (Mat. 10:8). Remember that one does not need to be rich to be generous with others!
When the rich (or any generous Christian) share freely of their riches with others, apart from glorifying the Lord, what are they doing?
19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the future, in order that they may take hold of what is truly life.
They are ‘storing up’ (APOTHESAURIZO) meaning: to treasure away, to lay up for themselves. They are building ‘a good foundation for the future’. The word ‘foundation’ (THEMELIOO) means: to lay a basis for. In the future their ‘good works’ will be a foundation for something they will receive. Paul speaks of this:
1 Corinthians 3
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.
14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Be rich in good works and by doing so you are laying down a ‘good foundation for the future’ – for your future. This has nothing to do with salvation for only Christ can provide this. It deals with the rewards one receives because of the loving good works he has done in the name of Christ. God truly is generous!
The life that waits for true Christians is called ‘truly life’. Believers are called to ‘take hold’ (EPILAMBANOMAI) meaning: to seize, catch, lay hold. NOW is the time to do good works, one needs to grasp this thought and apply it to himself. The word ‘truly’ (AIONIOS) actually means: perpetual, eternal, for ever and the word ‘life’ (ZOE) means: life literally or figuratively. There is also a sense of living a true spiritual life that can begin now and is extended into eternity (with all its new implications).
Rich or poor, may all children of God desire to do good works for the glory of the Lord and the encouragement of others.
First Timothy 6 :20,21
24 – Conclusion
20 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Turn away from pointless empty talk and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some, by professing it, have deviated concerning the faith. Grace be with you all.
Paul comes to the conclusion of his letter. He fears for Timothy and his ministry. He knows the tricks and traps of the enemy. He leaves his beloved child in the faith with a few last remarks.
20 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you.
The first deals with having to ‘guard’ (PHULASSO) meaning: to watch, to be on guard. The enemy is subtle and crafty and Timothy needed to be watchful of himself and his ministry. Peter also gives a clear warning to the believers that he wrote to:
1 Peter 5
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
What Timothy especially needed to guard was ‘what has been entrusted in you’. The word ‘entrusted’ (PARAKATATHEKE) means: a deposit, a sacred trust, that which is committed. We know that Paul had already spoken to him concerning the spiritual gift that was in Timothy:
1 Timothy 4
14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.
Now he needed to protect and guard that gift. It was a precious spiritual gift given by the Lord God which he needed to cherish and use for the benefit of others. This reminds me of the parable of the three servants who receive a sum of money just before their master left.
They were to put it to work (Mat. 25:14-29), two did but the third did not. Paul did not want Timothy to be like the third servant who became useless to his master. May I ask if you are using your natural and spiritual talents that the Lord has given you? Like Timothy, you may need to be reminded not to forget them and to put them to good use.
(v.20) …Turn away from pointless empty talk and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some, by professing it, have deviated concerning the faith. Grace be with you all.
Timothy also needed to ‘turn away from pointless empty talk and contradictions.’ This second warning could be used in almost every church! This is a poison that plagues churches on every continent! The word ‘pointless’ (BEBELOS) means: heathenish, wicked, profane. The words ‘empty’ (KENOPHONIA) means: empty sounding, fruitless, vain. Finally, the word ‘contradictions’ (ANTITHESIS) means: a conflict, opposition. These three Greek words describes what Paul calls ‘talk’, the contents of what people say to each other.
Timothy had to ‘turn away’ (EKTREPO) meaning: to deflect, to turn away, to avoid from such talk. There is no use participating in such conversations for they are wicked, empty and only bring conflicts. Christians can often be so adamant about trivialities that it causes divisions amongst them. All of this talk is often looked upon as ‘knowledge’ (GNOSIS) meaning: the act of knowing, science. But in reality, it is ‘falsely called’ (PSEUDONUMOS) meaning: untruly named, so called falsely. They believe they are smart with interesting insights but in truth its not so at all.
Paul warns Timothy that the ‘professing’ (EPAGGELLO) meaning: to announce upon, to profess. This vain and empty talk became so important and so believable to some that they have ‘deviated concerning the faith’. In other words, they believe their own lies! The word ‘deviated’ (ASTOCHEO) means: to miss the mark, deviate from the truth. Vain talk often leads people astray and that it why Timothy had to turn away from it! Do you listen to pointless and empty talk? Watch out for it may lead you astray from the Lord.
Grace be with you all.
Paul ends with a blessing, not only to Timothy but to all the brethren! Grace is what saves us, keeps us and brings us into eternity to be with the Lord. May God’s grace also be upon you.