1 Timothy 6
Shawn Bumpers / General
1 Timothy / Church at Ephesus; Timothy; Doctrine; Teaching; Faith and Order / 1 Timothy 6
Final instructions from Paul to Timothy
Because we deviated from our current study through 1 Timothy for Resurrection Sunday, let’s spend a few minutes reviewing where we are with chapter 6.
• In chapter 1, Paul took some time to encourage Timothy in his calling and to address some doctrinal concerns.
• Then, in chapter 2, Paul addressed etiquette and gender roles.
• In chapter 3, Paul again addresses solidifying church structure by addressing leadership.
• With chapter 4, Paul addressed some who left the faith by exchanging the good doctrines of the Bible for personal agenda and personal gain … false teachers and false doctrines.
• And in chapter 5, Paul addressed some important social relationships and the proper treatment of church members.
• This chapter continues Paul’s advice to Timothy on ministering to the various kinds of believers in the church, but also turns again to defending the faith, and not turning to the right or left, but holding to the confession of faith for a good testimony before others.
And for part of our chapter for today, Paul continues on this theme.
But he soon switches back to defending the faith from those who twist the gospel for personal gain.
The Apostle uses words like: “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12).
“Command those that are rich” (1 Tim. 6:17).
“Guard what was committed to your trust” (1 Tim. 6:20).
We start out our chapter with Paul addressing a subset of believers that might surprise us … slaves.
Among the many believers from many different walks of life that would be in the early church, some were slaves.
Galatians 3:28 NKJV
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
That being said, in the church that Timothy was pastoring, there was a problem that Paul needed to address.
He is addressing a reality that existed at that time.
The Greek word that the NKJV translates as bondservants is δοῦλος Doulos.
Colossians 4:1 NKJV
Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
Philemon 15–16 NKJV
For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
Mark 10:45 NKJV
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Earlier in the Gospel of Mark, His disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest.
Mark 9:35 NKJV
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.”
When Jesus is Lord of our lives, His lordship will be expressed in the way we love and serve others.
1 Peter 4:10 NKJV
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
John 15:12–13 NKJV
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
A large part of our testimony to the unsaved, but also to one another, is how we love and serve one another.
1 Peter 2:21 NKJV
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
Paul had opened this letter with warnings about false teachers and false doctrines.
He touched back on the subject again in chapter 4.
Paul now returns to the topic of false teachers and false doctrines.
These verses contain a blunt warning about the damage that false teachers and false doctrines were capable of causing.
2 Timothy 1:13–14 NKJV
Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
1 Timothy 6:4 LEB
he is conceited, understanding nothing, but having a morbid interest concerning controversies and disputes about words, from which come envy, strife, slanders, evil suspicions,
In the text here, Paul gives a very revealing picture of the typical false teacher … a teacher of “new things” is the implication of Paul’s words.
Isaiah 8:20 NKJV
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
2 Timothy 1:13 NKJV
Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
A second mark is the teacher’s own attitude.
Instead of being humble, a false teacher is proud.
Acts 20:29–30 NKJV
For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
Another mark of these false teachers is that their arrogance and narcissism
This attitude causes a teacher to argue about minor matters, Paul says, concerning “words” (1 Tim. 6:3).
The Greek word for godliness is εὐσέβεια Eusebeia.
This word for “Godliness” is found in the N.T. only in the pastoral epistles and in 2 Peter.
It suggests a reverent faith which expresses its awe of God in glad obedience to Him.
1 Timothy 5:17 NKJV
Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
Philippians 4:11 NKJV
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
True contentment comes from godliness in the heart.
It never comes from an abundance of money in the wallet.
Job 1:21 NKJV
And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
The Greek word for “clothing” here, σκέπασμα Skepasma means “covering” and can mean both clothing and shelter.
Food and covering are basic needs.
When we are content, we are satisfied with having the basic necessities of life.
Henry David Thoreau said that, “A man is wealthy in proportion to the number of things he can afford to do without.”
1 Timothy 6:9–10 LEB
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. 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.
Paul warns Timothy that the desire to acquire wealth is dangerous.
It presents people with the temptation to do something sinful to bring about financial gain.
Verse 10 does not say that MONEY is the root of ALL evil, or even that the LOVE OF MONEY is the root of ALL evil; but that the love of money is A root of of evil.
And as we see in our chapter, a lust for personal profit makes people wander from the faith, and lead others from the faith, looking for pleasure but finding only pain and sorrows.
“Man of God” - to refer to Timothy and he does that to draw a distinction, starting with, “But you.”
The distinction was from the false teachers, who were men of the world, to Timothy, who was a “man of God.”
Nehemiah 6:11 NKJV
And I said, “Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!”
Not literal running, but to Timothy’s separating himself from the sins of the false teachers.
1 Timothy 6:5 NKJV
useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
But in the second half of verse 11, Paul says there are things that Timothy should run to … pursue (or some translations use follow).
Pursue is the best translation … So, Paul says pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
Galatians 6:1 NKJV
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Now, look with me to verse 12 … Timothy is also to ‘fight the good fight of the faith.’
The Greek word here is ἀγωνίζομαι Agōnizomai (ago-neezo-may) which means struggle.
Timothy should not stoop to the contentious and divisive level of the false teachers.
Instead, must confront and correct them in a way that would honour God.
And so, Paul points to the wonderful example of Christ when He made His courageous witness before Pilate.
So, Paul wrote about the danger of the love of money.
Here he adds a special “charge” for Timothy to give to the rich.
But in Christ we have true riches.
Romans 2:4 NKJV
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
Romans 9:23 NKJV
and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,
Romans 11:33 NKJV
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
Colossians 2:3 NKJV
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
But what about the earthly wealth that we might have?
In Christ, we have “all things to enjoy” and they are given to us “richly”!
Matthew 6:19–21 NKJV
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
And so, Paul uses an interesting phrase … “Those who are rich in this present age.”
It is possible to be rich in this world but not rich toward God.
How can we use wealth for God’s glory?
Deuteronomy 8:18 NKJV
“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
The rich farmer in the Lord’s parable of Luke 12 thought that his wealth meant security.
It was actually an evidence of insecurity.
Riches are uncertain.
We should use our wealth to do good to others.
Be rich in good works.
Paul’s final sentence was not just for Timothy.
“Grace be with all of you.”
This handing down of and obedience to the truth by faithful men and women in the church is God’s way of protecting the truth and spreading it around the world.
We are stewards of the doctrines of the faith, and God expects us to be faithful in sharing His Good News.