The duty of Christians towards believing, as well as other masters. (1-5) The advantage of godliness with contentment. (6-10) A solemn charge to Timothy to be faithful. (11-16) The apostle repeats his warning to the rich, and closes with a blessing. (17-21)
Verses 1-5 Christians were not to suppose that religious knowledge, or Christian privileges, gave them any right to despise heathen masters, or to disobey lawful commands, or to expose their faults to others. And such as enjoyed the privilege of living with believing masters, were not to withhold due respect and reverence, because they were equal in respect to religious privileges, but were to serve with double diligence and cheerfulness, because of their faith in Christ, and as partakers of his free salvation. We are not to consent to any words as wholesome, except the words of our Lord Jesus Christ; to these we must give unfeigned consent. Commonly those are most proud who know least; for they do not know themselves. Hence come envy, strife, railings, evil-surmisings, disputes that are all subtlety, and of no solidity, between men of corrupt and carnal minds, ignorant of the truth and its sanctifying power, and seeking their worldly advantage.
Verses 6-10 Those that make a trade of Christianity to serve their turn for this world, will be disappointed; but those who mind it as their calling, will find it has the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come. He that is godly, is sure to be happy in another world; and if contented with his condition in this world, he has enough; and all truly godly people are content. When brought into the greatest straits, we cannot be poorer than when we came into this world; a shroud, a coffin, and a grave, are all that the richest man in the world can have from all his wealth. If nature should be content with a little, grace should be content with less. The necessaries of life bound a true Christian's desires, and with these he will endeavour to be content. We see here the evil of covetousness. It is not said, they that are rich, but they will be rich; who place their happiness in wealth, and are eager and determined in the pursuit. Those that are such, give to Satan the opportunity of tempting them, leading them to use dishonest means, and other bad practices, to add to their gains. Also, leading into so many employments, and such a hurry of business, as leave no time or inclination for spiritual religion; leading to connexions that draw into sin and folly. What sins will not men be drawn into by the love of money! People may have money, and yet not love it; but if they love it, this will push them on to all evil. Every sort of wickedness and vice, in one way or another, grows from the love of money. We cannot look around without perceiving many proofs of this, especially in a day of outward prosperity, great expenses, and loose profession.
Verses 11-16 It ill becomes any men, but especially men of God, to set their hearts upon the things of this world; men of God should be taken up with the things of God. There must be a conflict with corruption, and temptations, and the powers of darkness. Eternal life is the crown proposed for our encouragement. We are called to lay hold thereon. To the rich must especially be pointed out their dangers and duties, as to the proper use of wealth. But who can give such a charge, that is not himself above the love of things that wealth can buy? The appearing of Christ is certain, but it is not for us to know the time. Mortal eyes cannot bear the brightness of the Divine glory. None can approach him except as he is made known unto sinners in and by Christ. The Godhead is here adored without distinction of Persons, as all these things are properly spoken, whether of the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost. God is revealed to us, only in and through the human nature of Christ, as the only begotten Son of the Father.
Verses 17-21 Being rich in this world is wholly different from being rich towards God. Nothing is more uncertain than worldly wealth. Those who are rich, must see that God gives them their riches; and he only can give to enjoy them richly; for many have riches, but enjoy them poorly, not having a heart to use them. What is the best estate worth, more than as it gives opportunity of doing the more good? Showing faith in Christ by fruits of love, let us lay hold on eternal life, when the self-indulgent, covetous, and ungodly around, lift up their eyes in torment. That learning which opposes the truth of the gospel, is not true science, or real knowledge, or it would approve the gospel, and consent to it. Those who advance reason above faith, are in danger of leaving faith. Grace includes all that is good, and grace is an earnest, a beginning of glory; wherever God gives grace, he will give glory.
In this chapter the apostle gives some instructions to servants; lays down some rules, by which to judge of false teachers; advises to contentment; exposes the sin of covetousness; exhorts Timothy to avoid sin, and follow after things that are good, to be constant in his warfare, the issue of which would be eternal life; gives him a charge with respect to himself, and orders him what he should enjoin others, particularly the rich, and what he should do himself; and wishes grace unto him, to enable him to discharge his duty. The instructions to servants are of two sorts; first, to such who had unbelieving masters, whom they ought to honour and obey; that the name and doctrine of Christ be not evil spoken of: and then to such as had believing masters, that they despise them not being brethren, but should the more cheerfully serve them; because believers in Christ, beloved of God, and partakers of his grace; which duties are worthy to be insisted upon in the Gospel ministry, 1Ti 6:1,2, and such who teach not these things are to be accounted false teachers, whose characters are given in several particulars; as men unsound, proud, ignorant, quarrelsome, and covetous, and to be withdrawn from, 1Ti 6:3-5. And from hence the apostle exhorts to contentment; and argues for it, partly from the gain of it along with godliness; and partly from the consideration of what men are, when they come into the world, and what they will be, when they go out of it; and also from having food and raiment, which include all the necessaries of life, 1Ti 6:6-8. And then he exposes the folly and danger of covetousness, being the root of all evil; an enemy to true religion and godliness; and the cause of ruin and destruction, 1Ti 6:9,10. Wherefore he addresses himself to Timothy, in particular, to avoid everything of this kind; and to follow the reverse of those things that were in the false teachers; to fight the good fight of faith, and then lay hold on eternal life; to which he encourages him, from his calling, and the profession he had made, in a very public manner, 1Ti 6:11,12. And then follows a solemn charge unto him, given him before God and Christ; that he would observe what had been commanded him in the most perfect manner, until the appearance of Christ; which is certain, and may be concluded will be, from the various epithets of God; who will make him manifest in his own time, 1Ti 6:13-16. To which is added an injunction on Timothy to charge rich men not to be elated with their riches, nor trust in them, since they are uncertain things; but in God, from whom they have received such a plentiful measure of them; that they be beneficent to others, which will turn to their own advantage in the issue, 1Ti 6:17-19. And to close all, he is very urgent upon Timothy, to keep the Gospel pure and uncorrupt, he was intrusted with; and avoid everything that was opposite to it, as profane and mere babbling, and having only a show of knowledge, but not that itself; and the rather, since some profane teachers and professors of the Gospel had erred from it: and concludes with wishing him grace, to enable him to attend to the several instructions which had been given him, 1Ti 6:20,21.
under the yoke of the law of God, or under the yoke of Christ; though the servants here spoken of were under both; but "under the yoke of government", as the Arabic version renders it; that is, under the yoke of men, in a state of servitude, under the government of masters, and in their service; being either apprentices to them, or bought with their money, or hired by them:
\\count their own masters worthy of all honour\\; and give it to them; which includes subjection to them; obedience to all their lawful commands, which are consistent with religion and reason, with the laws of God, and with the light of nature; and all reverence of them, and respect unto them, expressed by words and gestures: and all this is to be given to their own masters to whom they belong; who have a property in them; whose money or goods they are; and that be they what they will, as to their religion and temper; whether they be believers or unbelievers; or whether they be good and gentle, kind and humane; or whether they be froward, peevish, and ill natured:
\\that the name of God and [his] doctrine be not blasphemed\\; by unbelieving masters, who, should their believing servants be refractory, disobedient, rebellious, or disrespectful, would be apt to say, what a God do these men serve? is this their religion? is this the Gospel they talk of? does their doctrine teach them such things, to be disobedient to their masters, and carry it disrespectfully to them? does it disengage them from the laws of nature, and dissolve the bonds of civil society, and destroy the relation that subsists between man and man? If this be the case, away with their God and their doctrine too. Wherefore the apostle exhorts, that if believing servants have any regard to that name they are called by, and call upon, and to the doctrine of the Gospel they have embraced and professed; that they would be obedient and respectful to their masters; that they may have no occasion to speak reproachfully of God, and of the Gospel. 06646-940625-1323-1Ti6.2