I Timothy Brief Study Notes
Verses 1-2: “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.” Those Christians who were servants (slaves) were to do good work for their masters and honor their masters. This is not the first time Paul addressed servants (Ephesians 6:5-8, Colossians 3:22-25, and Titus 2:9-10). Paul also wrote Philemon in defense of Onesimus who was Philemon’s slave, but had obviously escaped (Philemon vs. 9-23). Paul told Timothy here in our text that servants, who are saints, should not use that fact to their advantage if they had Christian masters. They should work not only as they have in the past, but even better as they now understand what it means to be a servant.
Verses 3-5: “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” Paul already warned that some would depart from the faith (I Timothy 4:1-2). Paul says that those who will not draw themselves to sound words according to the doctrine of Christ are proud, ignorant, and divisive. They will come with questions, envy, and evil surmisings [suspecting; imagining upon slight evidence]. When someone does not agree with truth they have to ask questions that cause division (II Timothy 2:23 and Titus 3:9), and teach things that will cause doubt in one’s faith. Paul’s conclusion was to keep from these individuals. Evil companionship corrupts the good (I Corinthians 15:33). We are guilty of agreement with error when we choose to keep company with those who teach it (II John 9-11). One trait that is made clear here in our context, of false teachers, is that they are motivated by and seek after personal gain (II Peter 2:1-3).
Verses 6-10: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The individuals Paul spoke of thought that gain is godliness. Paul now refutes that principle. Paul illustrates to us that we came into this present life with nothing and we will leave this present life with nothing. Job said the same thing after loosing most of what he had (Job 1:21). Monetary gain should not be our primary objective. We should lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). We should realize that God will provide for us and that we cannot serve the Lord and seek to be materialistic at the same time (Matthew 6:24-34). Being wealthy would not be the best goal to have in light of what the scriptures teach on wealth (Matthew 19:16-24 and Luke 12:13-21). Verse ten displays what is at the root of all evil. Mankind always has had a problem with covetousness.
Verses 11-12: “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” Paul acknowledges Timothy as a man of God. He tells him to flee from the things which would come. Paul instructs Timothy to follow after righteousness (Psalms 119:72), godliness (II Peter 1:3), faith (Romans 10:17), love (John 14:15 and John 13:34-35), patience (James 1:3), and meekness (Matthew 5:5). These things are known as the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). He told him to fight the good fight of faith. We cannot deny that we are in a spiritual battle. Such is why we are foretold to prepare by putting on battle garments (Ephesians 6:10-18). By Timothy doing these things, he would lay hold on eternal life and be able to say in his last days what Paul said to Timothy at the end of his life (II Timothy 4:6-8). Timothy was called [chosen] just as we are God’s elect (I Peter 2:9). Timothy had already been confessing truth and was to continue in what he was doing. We too should heed to these words.
Verses 13-16: “I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of Lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” Paul gives this order in the sight of God. God sees and knows all (Hebrews 4:13). God is the one who brings all things to life. Christ is the one who stood before Pilate and confessed who He was (John 18:33-37). Paul wanted Timothy to hold to these things rightly so that no one could rebuke him. He was to hold his faith and stand till the Lord returns of which time we know not (Matthew 24:35-36). Paul then illustrates that Christ is the only Potentate [prince – high officer], the King of kings, and the Lord of Lords. He shows that Christ is immortal and dwells in a place of which no man has seen or can presently see (Acts 2:32-33). Then the ever true statement appears, that to the Lord be honor.
Verses 17-19: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” A similar point is made to that which was made in verses six through ten in verses seventeen through nineteen. Wealth is a good foundation for those on this earth, the problem with that logic is that this earth is temporary (II Peter 3:10). Timothy is to teach that there needs to be a foundation of faith built upward. It is interesting to note that Paul made the distinction of saying “Charge them that are rich in this world…”
Verses 20-21: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.” The Lord has given work to Timothy. Paul wants him to do that work the Lord has given to his care. Paul concludes this first letter to Timothy instructing him to avoid wicked and empty babblings which are in opposition to knowledge. The warning is made because some were doing those things and the result was their false doctrines.
Back to Textual Studies
2003 by Brian A. Yeager may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.