1 - 5 Workers and Sound Words
1 All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and [our] doctrine will not be spoken against. 2 Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these [principles]. 3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4 he is conceited [and] understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
V1. Paul starts this chapter with instructions for believing slaves. They are a part of the church in Ephesus. The fact that a slave is a believer doesn’t change his position as slave. Slavery is not something that is given by God, but it is a result of sin. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that a slave gets his freedom back when he converts. Christendom doesn’t change (deplorable) situations, but hearts. The Lord Jesus did not come to deal with this wrong and other wrongs, but to save sinners.
A believing slave could have possibly come into such a position through several circumstances, for example by birth or by captivity or by running into debts. Especially a slave can show what it means to be a Christian (Tit 2:10; 1Pet 2:18). With that purpose in mind Paul even sent the runaway slave Onesimus back to his master Philemon. Paul indeed hoped that Philemon would release his slave Onesimus, that he may assist the apostle in his ministry for the Lord (see the letter to Philemon).
In those days slaves had no privileges. They had no entitlements at all. According to Greek-Roman ideas slaves were no individuals but instruments. They were the unlimited property of their master and had not a single right. A private life is something that was not created for them, it didn’t exist for them. As such a comparison with relationships as we know in the Western world is not possible. Of course we can apply these instructions to the relationships between an employer and an employee. The believing employee is not supposed to expect his help from a labor union, from means to exert pressure, like strikes, company occupation or slowdown actions. By not participating with those actions he may be slandered by his colleagues, but it surely delivers him an approval from the Lord.
Of the believing employee it is expected that he ‘regards his own employer worthy of all honor’. In verse 1 it is about an unbelieving employer. The believing employee ought to speak about him respectfully and to treat him respectfully. He will not participate (anymore) with rebellion or slacken in doing his work. Rebellion also doesn’t fit to a Christian servant. When the believing servant would be rebellious, disobedient to his master, then others would have a reason to say: ‘What a God is that Who allows such a disorder and what doctrine is it, that it tolerates rebellion and violence?’
Today also a believer exposes a positive or a negative testimony to His Lord in his working place. When he closely follows the orders of his boss in his work, then “the name of God and [our] doctrine will not be spoken against”. After all, the point is that God is being made known as Savior in accordance with the Christian doctrine. The doctrine and practice go inextricably together.
V2. In this verse it is about “those who have believers as their masters”. Then there is mention of a double relation: that of a brother and of a boss. Then there is the risk of a mixture between spiritual and social relationships. Then you may be tempted to deal too amicably with your boss or you may think you could afford more than is fitting because he is a brother of yours. In that way you are surely not respecting the relations and in fact you despise him as your boss. That is no testimony towards your unbelieving colleagues.
It should rather be the case that the fact that your boss is a believer it leads you to “serve” him even more. You may be aware to be “of … benefit” to your believing boss (who, in his turn, is supposed to honor this and fully appreciate it). The quality of the service is better because this doesn’t happen out of fear but out of love.
The fact is that such a situation demands from both sides much wisdom and caution. The brotherly love could be easily affected, which can cause a tense working atmosphere. On top of that the roles in the church could be the other way around. Not in the sense that the one is superior to the other, but that the servant has a more prominent position than the master. Then it is important that both of them show a spiritual mind.
It is necessary that Timothy also teaches these things and urges that this teaching is applied in practice.
V3. “A different doctrine” undermines the relationship between the servant and master. That happens when a person teaches his own human thoughts after his flesh about the social relationships and ignores what the Lord has to say about it. In that way you could call the right to strike ‘another doctrine’. Then such a person “does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
All words that the Lord has spoken when He was on earth, are sound words. We find them in the four gospels. The Lord heard them from the Father and has passed them on to His disciples (Jn 17:8). The teachings of the apostle Paul which you find in his letters, are completely in line with them. The words of the Lord and the teaching of the apostle induce to live a life in which God is being honored, whatever may be the social position of a believer.
V4. He who ignores that “is conceited”. Pride arises when a person is full of his own knowledge (1Cor 8:1). It is the arrogance of the ignorance that imagines to know everything. Paul speaks out God’s judgment over such a person: he “understands nothing”. However, it doesn’t stop there, but these people are obsessed with “controversial questions and disputes about words”. The proof that their spirit is sick appears from the fact that they are greedy to be right, which make them to debate endlessly and also lead them to unending pointless speculations. The politics, also the so-called Christian politics, are full of them.
The sick thinking of false teachers reveals in narrow-minded arguing and pseudo-intellectual theories, where everything is about ridiculous distinctions between words. Such people are sick and form a source of contamination. Every person that joins them also gets the same sickness. For what comes out from their thinking? “Envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions.” The contrast between what makes sick and what is healthy and what makes healthy about words and doctrine is made sharp here.
In their fractiousness and arguments over words they envy the other who do better in the debate, and has more power of persuasion and gains more followers. They envy the other for what he has and want that for their own. Instead of settling their differences, distance and quarrels arise. In order to justify themselves they slander one another. Lies are being told and to the opponent even evil motives are presumed.
V5. This goes on and on. Without ceasing these people are continuing their quarrels. This corruption is in their thinking. They are not able to respond to the truth in a normal way. They have lost all sense of reality. It is said of them that they “are destitute of the truth”. They formerly had the knowledge of everything that God has revealed in Christ, but they lost it, because they do not consent any longer to the wholesome words and the sound doctrine. You see in which downward spiral you can end if you prefer human ideas to the Word of God.
In all their foolishness they even think that “Godliness is a means of gain”. They have every reason for that. They ask payment for their foolish ideas and people are eager to pay. Also today theologians are financially supported by churches to spread their foolish arguments in words and writings, aren’t they? People promptly pay for these monstrous fantasies. They love it. They do not mind whether it is true or not. The book ‘The Da Vinci Code’ is one of the latest examples.
What a privilege to have the unchangeable measure of God’s Word for verification. I like to emphasize that for you at the end of this section.
Now read 1 Timothy 6:1-5 again.
Reflection: How do you experience your place in society?
6 - 11 Want To Get Rich and the Man of God
6 But godliness [actually] is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance [and] gentleness.
V6. Paul doesn’t deny that Godliness is a means of gain. Only he adds “contentment” to it. He knows what he‘s talking about (Phil 4:11-15). His contentment is the result of his dependence on God. When you are really content you are not focused on outward things, but on the Lord, Who provides you with everything you need. Contentment can also be a result of your own effort. In that way the Stoics didn’t want to be influenced by anything and accepted everything the way it happened. That may seem like contentment, but that is harshness and the result of their own will.
That’s why contentment should go together with Godliness. That doesn’t just deliver gain, but indeed “great gain”. That gain is not to be measured in hard currency, but refers to spiritual gain. Where things happen in fellowship with God and with a view to His honor it will make you richer spiritually.
V7. What did you take with you when you came into the world? Nothing. You may agree to Job, who said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb” (Job 1:21; Ecc 5:15). Is there something that you can take with you from the world when you leave it? Either nothing (Psa 49:14-15).
At the beginning and at the end of life you learn to estimate what the real value is of material things. The intention is that you understand the relativity of money and material things you could gain in this life. You can lose everything all of a sudden (Pro 23:4-5). You will have to leave everything of the world behind you any way. Maybe you know this saying: ‘The last shirt has no pockets.’
V8. If you have “food and covering” you have the basic needs of life (Deu 10:18; Mt 6:25-32). If you are content with that (Heb 13:5) you are a happy man. It keeps you from being restlessly occupied with material things, as you see that with people of the world around you. This call for contentment you may certainly not misuse to justify laziness (2Thes 3:10). The point is that you should not frantically seek more and more luxury.
V9. What is previously said is not to condemn to be rich. When a person is rich it can be the result of the blessing of the Lord (Gen 13:2; Pro 22:2; 1Sam 2:7). However, it is certainly to be condemned to “want to get rich”. It is also important to see that riches can be a danger for the practical life of faith (Mt 13:22). It may even be a hindrance to be saved (Mt 19:23-24).
If it is your desire to be rich you will certainly fall “into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts”. You will surely not be the first one who falls into temptation to desire to be rich through lotteries, gambling or through speculation on the stock market. Desiring to be rich means that you let yourself to be dragged by “many foolish and harmful desires”. Then you also don’t have to pray “lead us not into temptation”, because you are decisively seeking to be rich.
After the ‘temptation’ and the ‘snare’ “ruin and destruction” are waiting for you at the end. You will drown in it. ‘To plunge’ here also means ‘to lead (men) to sink’. The word ‘plunge’ refers to a ship that is overloaded, which causes it to sink. See Luke 5 (Lk 5:7), the only time where the word ‘sink’ appears and where the literal sense is used in the New Testament. Here it is about a soul that is overwhelmed by the desire for wealth and is now plunging further and further in the sea of his lusts. Dealing unwisely with money by desiring to gain more and more has already plunged many in destruction.
V10. “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil.” You must become fully aware of what is meant in this verse. The love of money is a form of greediness which is idolatry in its essence (Col 3:5; Eph 5:5). It is not the root, but it is a root. And it is definitely a root from which all possible forms of evil can sprout. There are more roots from which evil sprouts, but there is no evil that cannot sprout from this root, called love of money.
The warning is serious and fundamental: if you strive for being rich, the risk is great that you deviate from the faith! Your confession that you are a Christian cannot go together with the love of money. Your love of money, in whatever form of luxury it is called, will close your eyes for everything that Christ has to offer you. All the truths of faith will mean nothing for you anymore.
If the love of money is a real danger for you, then take a look at people who were guided by it. There are cases of bitter experiences, broken family relationships, lawless and prodigal children, and a ceaseless fear for losses. This all goes together when getting rich is the target of your life. And finally think about the hereafter (Lk 12:20-21). How great the disillusionment must be to be dying and having to discover that you cannot take anything from all the earthly riches with you. These are some of the “many griefs” with which you have “pierced” yourself.
V11a. Paul offers an alternative with a totally different perspective of life. He introduces this with “but …, you man of God”. A man of God is a person who shows the features of God in his life and walk in a world that is alienated from Him. This can be a man or a woman. This expression appears once more in the New Testament, in 2 Timothy 3 (2Tim 3:17). In the Old Testament this person is also called a ‘man of God’ (Moses, Deu 33:1; David, 2Chr 8:14; Elijah, 1Kgs 17:18; Elisha, 2Kgs 4:7; see further 1Kgs 12:22; 13:1; 20:28; 2Chr 25:7; Jer 35:4.)
A ‘man of God’ here is somebody with whom God connects His Name because this person defends His rights among His people that doesn’t honor His rights (anymore). A man of God is an individual who takes care of God’s interests in the midst of a whole that is deviated from Him. In such a person God exposes Himself.
Timothy is such a person. Does it make him a person who is above all temptation? Certainly not. The first order he receives is: “Flee from these things.” He is being warned not to think to be raised above the temptations just mentioned, any more than you should think.
Fleeing is not a proof of weakness, but it on the contrary proves character and self-knowledge. ‘These things’ is the love of money that goes together with it. For you as a young believer, the call to ‘flee’ is therefore important. You are not insensitive to the abundance of commercials that you weekly find in your letterbox and which are daily presented to you through the media like a flash flood. You ought to resist all that and ask the Lord what you need.
You should always flee things that go together with great temptations because your sinful flesh is being addressed. In those cases your spiritual life is at risk. Therefore it is also written that you should flee “immorality” (1Cor 6:18), “idolatry” (1Cor 10:14) and “youthful lusts” (2Tim 2:22). A clear example of somebody who fled sexual immorality is Joseph (Gen 39:12).
There are also cases that you should not flee but should resist. That is when the devil reveals himself as the adversary of the faith (Jam 4:7; 1Pet 5:9; Eph 6:12). In those cases it is about your testimony towards the world. The enemy wants you to shrink back to testify. If you flee in that case you make yourself a loser. These two different cases are not to be confused. Therefore it is important for you to know when to flee and when to resist, steadfast in the faith.
The command to flee is one side of your life as a Christian. And that side is very essential. Then comes the other side. Now you can and must show that your life as a Christian consists of striving for something and fight. We shall pay attention to that side in the following section.
V11b. Timothy on the one hand is called to flee and on the other hand to pursue and fight. Here it is about an activity that continuously returns and proceeds. You are never finished with this. You cannot say that there will be a moment in your life that you will not have to flee, pursue and fight anymore.
After the negative, but essential, ‘flee’, comes now the positive. You may spend your energy on ‘pursuing’ something (see also Rom 14:19; Phil 3:14; 1Thes 5:15; Heb 12:14). This word includes an action, a speed and being purposely occupied. It is about giving substance in the practice of your life to the things that are being mentioned and which you should pursue.
“Righteousness” is firstly mentioned. This is not the righteousness of God that you have received on the ground of faith (Phil 3:9b) and through which you don’t have to fear hell anymore. No, it is about what becomes visible in your life, that your speech and actions are righteous. And it is like that when it is in accordance to the rights of God. In that case you will never cheat anyone, but you will give anybody what is his or her right. That can be about money, but it can also be the way you do your work as an employee or the honor you give to another person.
The following purpose to pursue is “godliness”. As I already said in the introduction: Godliness means reverence for God and it indicates an attitude that is focused on God which pleases Him. This implies that you adopt the right attitude towards God. You honor Him when you live in fear of Him. That has nothing to do with being afraid of God, but with being afraid of yourself, that you may do something that dishonors Him.
What applies to “faith” is the same as what applies to righteousness. It is not about the saving faith, the faith through which you have the assurance to be a child of God, but it is about the confidence of faith in everyday life. It is a command to make efforts to have confidence in God concerning all things in your daily life, although you don’t see Him. A life in faith is the opposite of a life by what you see, the visible and tangible things. Hold on to the fact that the things you see are temporal and the things you don’t see are eternal (see 2Cor 4:18).
You may have expected that “love” would have the first place. That is not right. In a Christian world where many people are doing what is right for themselves, the main thing is to pursue righteousness. But that doesn’t mean that it can be done without love. If you pursue love, it means that you increase in love. Your love for God, for your brothers and sisters and for your fellow men in general should grow. Love is God’s nature (1Jn 4:8,16). He wants us to show love in practice.
“Perseverance” is necessary because you live in a world that seeks to make it impossible to live as a man of God. Living as a man of God means going out on a limb and not giving up. As long as you are not with the Lord you need perseverance. You have beautiful examples with Caleb (Deu 1:36; Jos 14:8-9,14) and the believers at the beginning of the church (Acts 2:42). If you persevere you can count on the help of God, Who is called “the God who gives perseverence” (Rom 15:5).
The characteristics of the man of God are closed with “gentleness”. That indicates the mind to be able to persevere. With any adversary you experience there is the risk to become bitter or rebellious, or pay one back in his own coin. But a man of God responds like the Lord Jesus did (Mt 11:29). Then you do not defend your own rights, but you forsake them, in favor of the other person, on the contrary.
Now read 1 Timothy 6:6-11 again.
Reflection: Which role does money have in your life?
12 - 13 Pursue, Fight, Take Hold Of, Confess
12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate,
V12. If you are in pursuit of these features, then you are well prepared to fight “the good fight of faith”. As it is said, it is not possible to live here as a man of God without experiencing any adversary. He who lives as a man of God, inevitably experiences fight.
The fight that is the issue here is not so much of a warfare. Of course you are facing an enemy who causes adversary, but you are not called to be concentrating on the adversary but on God. The issue here is not a struggle or fight against the enemy, but the fight in a match where the point is to fight according to the rules. Those rules were mentioned already. Then there is strength for the good fight and in that way the prize will be received.
The good fight is that of the faith. A man of God does everything to hold on to what the faith means and what it consists of, until the end of his life on earth. If you want to be a man of God you may not lose anything of the truth of faith. That means that you continue to give a fully biblical meaning to the biblical conceptions alone and you will definitely not allow any other meaning. Paul is able to say at the end of his life that he has fought the good fight (2Tim 4:7).
Then you are also able to carry out the next command, which will deliver you an awesome blessing if you heed to it: “Take hold of eternal life”. This is said to a person who already has eternal life. The command ‘take hold of’ is therefore not addressed to an unbeliever, but to a believer. The intention is that you enjoy what you possess, that you are guided by it and live up to it. You stretch out to what you will enjoy in heaven. The eternal life is the Lord Jesus (1Jn 5:20). To have fellowship with Him is the most beautiful thing on earth and will be perfectly enjoyed in heaven in all eternity.
That is “to which you were called”. Timothy heeded the call of God at his conversion. The ultimate purpose of that call is the full, uninterrupted joy of eternal life with Him. Timothy has “made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” concerning the possession of eternal life. You can’t tell by a person’s outward appearance whether he has eternal life, for it goes together with a confession. You may think of the baptism by faith. That is a public testimony to express that you have abandoned your old life and that you will henceforth walk ‘in the newness of life’ (Rom 6:4).
V13. The many witnesses to whom Timothy has confessed the good confession are not always in his direct environment. Those who certainly always observe his life are God and the Lord Jesus. Paul brings Timothy in the first place into the presence of God. He presents God as the One “who gives life to all things”. God is the Savior of life (1Tim 4:10). He also is the Fountain of life (Psa 36:9). You may, like Timothy, be conscious that He gives you everything to function as His witness. You are allowed to testify of the real life.
Then Paul brings his child in the faith into the presence of the Lord Jesus, Who is also fully involved with the testimony His followers are confessing. In that way He is the perfect example of expressing the good confession. Of course you can say that of the whole life of the Lord Jesus. Still Paul points out a special moment from the life of the Lord to make clear what the main point is of the good confession. That moment is when He stands before Pontius Pilate.
Pilate asks the Lord whether He is a King. The Lord affirms that He is indeed, but He goes further. He declares that, although He is a King, His Kingdom now is not of this world (Jn 18:36). That makes Him to be a rejected King.
That is exactly the good confession that is being expected from you. You belong to a kingdom that is not of this world and to a King Who has been rejected. When you hold on to this and expresses it towards the world you are a worthy follower of the Lord Jesus to whom He looks with pleasure.
Now read 1 Timothy 6:12-13 again.
Reflection: How do you testify the good confession?
14 - 21 Worship and Final Exhortations
14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him [be] honor and eternal dominion! Amen. 17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18 [Instruct them] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. 20 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly [and] empty chatter [and] the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”— 21 which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you.
V14. Paul says that Timothy should keep “the commandment [that is the commandment to fight the good fight] without stain or reproach”. ‘To keep the commandment’ means to obey the commandment (Jn 8:51; 14:21), but it should also be kept in its original state. It ought not to be defiled by human conceptions and must be passed on undistorted.
It seems like an almost impossible commandment. How could you persist with something like this? By keeping your eye on “the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Up until that moment Timothy should, and you should, commit himself to the commandment given. The Lord Jesus has promised to come quickly and His reward is with Him (Rev 22:12). Here it is not about His coming to take the church with Him. No, reward doesn’t fit with that coming. When He has caught up the church (1Thes 4:15-18) He will afterwards come with all His saints to the earth (1Thes 4:14). Then He will establish the millennial kingdom of peace. Then He will reward all those saints who have served Him to the measure of faithfulness with which they have served Him when He was rejected. Isn’t that a beautiful motive to move on with the good fight?
V15. The thought of that awesome happening lifted the apostle to a praise. With that appearing “the blessed and only Sovereign” will openly manifest Himself. He, Who when He was on earth made Himself to be taken to slaughter as a lamb, will reveal Himself as Potentate.
He is also ‘the only God’, Who has no equivalent. There is nothing and no one on an equal footing with Him.
He manages and rules everything Himself. He doesn’t need anyone’s help for that. He is sovereign in everything. He rules about life and death and controls everything to His pleasure and wisdom (Psa 89:11-13). In Him all power dwells. He is the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (see also Rev 17:14; 19:16). Under His universal dominion also all the leaders of the world are subjected (1Chr 29:11-12).
The time that the Lord will appear lies totally in God’s hands alone (Zec 14:7; Mt 24:36; Acts 1:7). When He appears He will be outwardly perceivable for every eye as Potentate, King and Lord (Rev 1:7).
V16. There are also non-perceivable features. In his praise Paul also mentions the inner greatness of God, such as the fact the He is not subjected to death; He cannot die, “He” is the One “Who alone possesses immortality”. Immortality is more than a life without end: it is something elusive to death.
It is also more than only not dying physically. At the moment Adam and Eve sinned they didn’t die the physical death, but actually the spiritual death. To everyone who doesn’t have life from God it applies that he is spiritually dead. He who converts, receives life from God and shall be clothed with immortality when the Lord Jesus comes (1Cor 15:53-54). In that way they have become elusive to death.
God, Who has made Himself visible in His Son (Jn 1:14; 14:9), is the God “Who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (see also Exo 33:20; Jn 1:18; 1Jn 4:12; Col 1:15). We will never be able to see something of God without the Son. Wherever God reveals Himself He does that through the Son.
Deeply impressed by the awesome greatness and majesty of God Paul praises Him: “To Him [be] honor and eternal dominion! Amen.” Paul doesn’t speak out a wish here, but declares with a solemn ‘amen’ that God is worthy of all homage and that He has a power that never diminishes. All His works, both from the old and the new creation, will honor Him. He will enable them for that through His eternal power.
V17. It would have been a wonderful end of the letter if he had stopped here. But Paul still adds two exhortations: one for the rich (verses 17-19) and one for Timothy (verses 20-21). There is nothing wrong with wealth in itself, but it is when you have the desire to become rich, as you have seen. The apostle doesn’t appeal to sell properties and to give away all the money. It is indeed difficult for a rich person to be rich without putting his trust in that wealth. When that happens he will act independently of God. And that is essentially the haughtiness which Timothy has to warn the believers against.
The rich is, like his riches, so very relative (Jam 1:10-11). Earthly property is perishable and time is not on our side. Riches can just make itself wings (Pro 23:4-5). He who trusts in his riches will become a mockery (Psa 52:7). The rich must be taught what they should not and what they should be paying attention to and why. They will hear “not to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy”.
You may enjoy what God gives you abundantly, if you only consider that God is the Source of true joy and that riches and wealth cannot give you that joy. It is not the intention to indulge in it and to live in luxury and pleasure (Jam 5:5). The money is not your property, but you are a steward of it. God has given it to you that you may manage it for Him.
V18. For that reason riches offers, in spite of its dangers, possibilities to serve God with it. That will give you spiritual joy and satisfaction. You will be able to deal with your riches in several ways. You can use it to do good to others. They will praise God for it. You can also be rich in good works. What you give away makes you richer in another way, indeed in good works (Pro 11:25).
You can also be “generous and ready to share”. When you are ‘ready to share’, you deal just like God has dealt with you. By the way, you ought to act with discretion and not blindly. To be ‘ready to share’ means that you allow others to share the material things you own. Are they for instance allowed to borrow your car in time of need or are you afraid for a scratch?
V19. If you look at your riches and deal with it in that way you are on the way as one of those who are “storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future. When you reason this with common sense you lose what you give away. From a spiritual view you send forward what you give away. To give away is the best way to invest. By focusing in that way on the future you already lay hold on earth on “eternal life”. This actually is the real life when you live for the other. That is what the Lord Jesus did and still does and in that way you should follow Him.
V20. Calling him by his name gives more emphasis to the personal care of the apostle for his young friend Timothy. He convinces him to seriously guard “what has been entrusted” to him, that is the truth as it is written to Timothy in this letter. He is not to be involved with “worldly [and] empty chatter”. That is a waste of time and effort.
He is also not to enter into discussion with “arguments of what is falsely called knowledge”. Here Paul means the fantasies of men who think to belong to a higher spiritual class and to possess higher knowledge. However, educational improvement and intelligence are not the keys for understanding the Scripture, but a mind submitted to God’s Spirit.
V21. He who puts the intellect above the Scripture will surely deviate from the truth of faith.
Finally Paul wishes Timothy and the believers at Ephesus, where Timothy is, grace. Only when they are truly aware of grace they will be able to remain saved in fellowship with the Lord and with each other, despite of being in the midst of all dangers of deviation. We also need that grace daily.
Now read 1 Timothy 6:14-21 again.
Reflection: What is committed to your trust to be guarded by you?