1 Timothy vi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1-2. Lest the name and doctrine of the Lord be blasphemed, or ill spoken of by infidels, when such as were converted refused to be servants. — Let them not despise them, &c. That is, they who were servants under Christian masters, ought to think themselves more happy on that account, being brethren, and partakers of the same benefit of faith and grace. (Witham) — If servants be insolent and disobedient, their infidel masters will blaspheme the Christian religion, as if that were the cause of their disrespectful behaviour. And let them not be arrogant, or aspire to an equality with their Christian masters, under pretence that the profession of the same religion makes them brothers; but rather serve them with greater submission and affection, as partakers of the benefit of the same faith, the same baptism, the same hope, &c. (Calmet)

Ver. 4. But sick about questions,[1] unprofitable disputes, blasphemies, which may either signify against God, or railing one against another, conflicts, &c.[2] and dissensions of men corrupted in their minds: such is the character and description he gives of those ancient heretics, which applies to heretics in general. (Witham)

Ver. 5. Supposing gain to be piety.[3] The sense is the same, that they make a shew of piety only for gain-sake. (Witham)

Ver. 6. But piety with sufficiency, or when a man hath what is sufficient to support his necessities, is certainly great gain, is accompanied with the most valuable advantages, the treasure of a good conscience, peace of mind, the grace of God, and hereafter a recompense of eternal glory. (Witham) — That man is certainly rich, however small his possession, if he desire nothing more below, and aspires eagerly after that blessing above, which alone can fill his heart. Mediocrity is an enviable state; it frees us from the dangers of riches, and from the temptations of extreme poverty: with this lot let us be content. Why should we fix our hearts on the fleeting possessions of the day: we had not them yesterday, and to-morrow they will not be ours; for as we were born so we must die.

Ver. 9. For they who wish to become rich.[4] He does not say, as St. Chrysostom observes, they who are rich; as persons may be rich, and make good use of their riches to God’s honour, and the good of others. But such as would be rich, who seek riches, and have their heart and affections upon riches, fall into various temptations of injustice, of pride, and vanity, into hurtful lusts, which drown and plunge[5] men into perdition, &c. (Witham)

Ver. 10. The root of all evils is covetousness,[6] or the love of money, as it is in the Greek; a covetous man being ready to sacrifice his soul for money. (Witham) — This truth is verified and illustrated by the example of Judas, in the gospel; of Ananias and Saphira, in the Acts; of Demas, mentioned by St. Paul in his second epistle to Timothy; and many others, who have made shipwreck of their faith through eagerness to gain riches. Whoever seeks visible and terrestrial goods with great avidity, cannot be supposed to retain much faith in things that are celestial and invisible. He quits a future real and substantial good to seek for a delusive happiness that presents itself, but which will prove a source of present and future evils.

Ver. 11. But thou, O man of God.[7] This, says St. Chrysostom, is one of the highest title and commendations that can be given to any man. So are called Samuel, Elias, Eliseus. (1 Kings ii and ix.; 3 Kings xxxiii.) (Witham)

Ver. 12. Fight the good fight. Literally, strive[8] a good strife. St. Paul oftentimes brings this comparison of men striving for a prize. — And hast confessed a good confession before many witnesses, not only when baptized, not only when thou wast ordained a bishop, but by thy constancy and sufferings and persecutions, says St. Chrysostom, though we know not the particulars. (Witham) — Timothy had made profession of his faith at his baptism, at his ordination, and during the whole course of a life which, through many labours and persecutions, had been dedicated entirely to promote the faith. (St. Thomas Aquinas) — Like him let us also combat, if we aspire after the same triumph and prize.

Ver. 13. Under Pontius Pilate, &c. Some expound it of the words and particular testimony Christ gave when he said he was king, but not of this world, who came to teach the truth. We may rather understand it with others, of all Christ taught and suffered under Pilate, or whilst he was governor of Judea. (Witham)

Ver. 14. That thou keep the commandment. Some understand that of fighting manfully; others of loving God; others rather comprehend all that St. Paul had commanded him, and all the instructions given. — Unto the coming of our Lord;[9] which coming, he in due time will shew. This is the construction by the Greek. (Witham) — This coming will be desirable for Christians who have preserved or recovered their baptismal innocence, and for pastors who have faithfully fulfilled their ministry; but terrible, in the extreme, for all who have lived in the constant neglect and omission of their duties.

Ver. 16. Who only hath immortality; i.e. is immortal of himself, and by his own nature. — Light inaccessible; to human eyes or understandings. (Witham)

Ver. 17. Charge the rich of this world not to confide in such uncertain goods; to strive to be rich in good works; to communicate[10] in lending, assisting, giving to others, by which they will lay up an everlasting treasure. (Witham)

Ver. 20. O Timothy, keep that which is committed[11] to thy trust. He does not mean his charge of bishop, nor the graces of God, but the true and sound doctrine delivered to him either by writing or word of mouth, according to the common interpretation. See St. Chrysostom, Vincentius Lirinensis, Commonitorii, chap. xvii. This is confirmed by the following words, avoiding the profane novelties[12] of words: (in the Greek empty, vain, babbling). The apostle here condemns new words, which change the doctrine; but sometimes to express the ancient doctrine, new words may be found necessary, as those of trinity, incarnation, consubstantiality, transubstantiation, &c. as St. Athanasius, St. Augustine, and others observed. See 2 Timothy i. 14. — Oppositions of knowledge falsely so[13] called. St. Chrysostom understands in particular the errors of the Gnostics, so called from the same Greek word, who were the successors of Simon Magus. But they perhaps not having the name when St. Paul wrote, we may rather understand heretics in general, who all pretend to an uncommon knowledge in Scriptures, when they follow their own private judgment, and so fall from the faith. (Witham) — Keep the deposit, viz. of faith, which has been committed to thee. Throughout this whole epistle the apostle beseeches Timothy, in the most earnest manner, as a guardian of the faith, to preserve it without change. He every where condemns sects, heresies, and changes in faith. It would be well for the modern religionists, to inform us and themselves, why St. Paul is so particular in insisting upon union of faith, under pain of damnation, if it was the intention of Christ that men should differ on questions of religion. Let them tell us what St. Paul means, or else say plainly that they differ from the apostle’s religion, and have formed theirs upon a more liberal scale. (Haydock)


[1] Ver. 4. Languens, noson. Ęgrotans; Erasmus, insaniens.

[2] Ver. 4. Conflictationes, paradiatribai, exercitationes.

[3] Ver. 5. Existimantes quęstum esse pietatem, porismon einai ten eusebeian. In the ordinary Greek copies follows, aphistato apo ton toiouton, and so the Protestant translation, from which withdraw thyself. But Grotius and Dr. Wells leave them out, preferring those manuscripts that agree with the Latin Vulgate and with the Syriac.

[4] Ver. 9. Qui volunt divites fieri, oi boulomenoi. St. Chrysostom, (log. iz. p. 321.) ouk aplos eipen, oi ploutountes, all oi boulomenoi.

[5] Ver. 9. Mergunt, buthizousi.

[6] Ver. 10. Cupiditas, philarguria, amor pecunię.

[7] Ver. 11. O homo Dei. See St. Chrysostom, (log. iz. p. 321.) mega axioma&c. magna dignitas, &c.

[8] Ver. 12. Certa bonum certamen, agonizou ton kalon agona, which may be by running as well as by fighting.

[9] Ver. 14. Usque ad Adventum Domini, quem, &c. mechri tes epiphaneias…en, not on, and so must agree with adventum.

[10] Ver. 17. Communicare, koinonikous. See koinonein, Romans xii. &c.

[11] Ver. 20. Depositum custodi, ten parakatatheken phulaxon. See St. Chrysostom on these words.

[12] Ver. 20. Profanas vocum novitates; though all the Greek copies have now kenophonias, vocum inanitates: the Latin interpreter must have read, kainophonias.

[13] Ver. 20. Falsi nominis scientię, pseudonuma gnoseos. St. Chrysostom, (log. ie.tines eautous ekaloun tote Gnostikous

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Duties of servants. The danger of covetousness. Lessons for the rich.

1 Whosoever are servants under the yoke, let them count their masters worthy of all honour, lest the name and doctrine of the Lord be blasphemed.

2 But they who have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren: but serve them the rather, because they are faithful and beloved, who are partakers of the benefit. These things teach, and exhort.

3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to that doctrine which is according to piety:

4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but sick about questions and strifes of words: from which arise envies, contentions, blasphemies, evil suspicions,

5 Conflicts of men corrupted in mind, and who are destitute of the truth, supposing gain to be piety.

6 But piety with sufficiency, is great gain.

7 *For we brought nothing into this world: and certainly we can carry nothing out.

8 *But having food, and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content.

9 For they who wish to become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

10 For covetousness is the root of all evils; which some desiring, have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows.

11 But thou, O man of God, fly these things: and pursue justice, piety, faith, charity, patience, meekness.

12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life whereunto thou art called, and hast confessed a good confession before many witnesses.

13 I charge thee before God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony *under Pontius Pilate, a good confession:

14 That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

15 Which in his times he shall shew, *who is the Blessed and only Mighty, the King of kings, and Lord of lords:

16 Who only hath immortality, and inhabiteth light inaccessible, *whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and empire everlasting. Amen.

17 Charge the rich of this world not to be high-minded, *nor to hope in uncertain riches, but in the living God (who giveth us abundantly all things to enjoy)

18 To do good, to be rich in good works, to distribute readily, to communicate.

19 To lay up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may obtain true life.

20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties of words, and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called,

21 Which some promising, have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.



7: Job. i. 21.; Ecclesiastes v. 14.

8: Proverbs xxvii. 26.

13: Matthew xxvii. 11.; John xviii. 33. and 37.

15: Apocalypse xvii. 14. and xix. 16.

16: John i. 18.; 1 John iv. 12.

17: Luke xii.