1 Timothy 4-6 Secrets of Godliness, Contentment, and Great Gain

TMS Romans 8:32 God's Provision
Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son,
but delivered Him up for us all,
how shall He not with Him
also freely give us all things?”

Observations: 8:32 The fact that God provided Jesus for us, should clue us into the degree to which He wants us to be saved and succeed in the Christian life. This verse is in the context of how much God wants us to experience His plan to bless us (for that's His purpose in creating us, and glorifying Himself -See observations on Romans 8). “Freely give” is the verbal form of grace, so it could be translated as “grace us with all” we need for fulfilling His desire that we go from forgiven, to free/sanctified, to glorified.

Application: God will give us all we need, all we need to do is ask and accept.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I'm so grateful You sent Jesus to die for my sins; thanks too, for Your willingness to make realization of Your perfect will possible by Your grace; may I not receive it in vain. Amen.

1 Timothy 4-6 These chapters describe the behavior of believers who will be blessed when Christ returns. As in the previous chapter, there are a few verses that indicate salvation and eternal life are the result of works done in faith. These are not what secure our justification/forgiveness (which is only by faith in God's provision of Christ), but they are what secure our eternal reward/glorification. Paul warns Timothy against the things and people that might keep him from his faithful service and future reward as well. The secrets of godliness, contentment, and a secure eternal happily ever after are also revealed.

1 Timothy 4 Godliness is Doubly Profitable
4:1 But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceiving/seducing spirits and doctrines/teachings of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared as with a hot iron; 3 forbidding marriage and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with thanksgiving. 5 For it is sanctified through the word of God and prayer.
6 If you instruct the brothers of these things, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished in the words of the faith, and of the good doctrine which you have followed. 7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables. Exercise/discipline yourself toward godliness. 8 For bodily exercise has some value, but godliness has value in all things, having the promise of the life which is now, and of that which is to come. 9 This saying is faithful and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we have set our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
11 Command and teach these things. 12 Let no man despise your youth; but be an example to those who believe, in word, in your way of life, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. 13 Until I come, pay attention to reading, to exhortation, and to teaching. 14 Don’t neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the elders. 15 Be diligent in these things. Give yourself wholly to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Pay attention to yourself, and to your teaching. Continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Observations: 4:1-5 Paul warns Timothy that some believers will depart from the faith, and teach others to do the same. “Depart” is used in 6:5 of withdrawing from false teachers, and in 2Tim 2:19 of departing from iniquity. The use in Hebrews 3:12 is instructive “Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unfaithfulness, in departing from the living God.” He's not talking about folks no longer believing that Jesus died for their sins, but of those who no longer believe that Christ is returning to reward those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6).
Those who depart from the faith (who no longer believe the revelation of the Spirit of God) will follow evil spirits and the doctrines of demons (lies that sound pleasing and plausible, but are wickedly calculated to cause people to miss the will and glory of God -Gen 3). Those who abandon truth speak lies insincerely (hypocritically making an outward show of piety to impress, but inwardly are corrupt), and have their consciences seared so as to be totally insensitive to the Spirit. A calloused conscience develops over time by ignoring the truth to do one's own will rather than God's will. A seared conscience, like a brand, occurs more rapidly, when one is seduced by the dark side, and embraces it for the benefits. Those who teach out of a concern for themselves, rather than the eternal benefit of their hearers, are doing the devil's work. Some of the teaching of the devil's agents involved abstaining from certain foods, and forbidding marriage. As God revealed to Peter in Acts 10, no food created by God is unclean, but is made holy (sanctified) by thankful prayer and the revelation of God. Asceticism and Judaizing are just two expressions of demonic doctrine.
4:6-10 God prophesied false teaching would occur (cf Acts 20:29-31), and the planned corrective is Biblical teaching, which Paul exhorts Timothy to do. In teaching and reminding believers of the truth, Timothy will be a good servant of Christ, who nourishes himself on the truth he had learned from Paul and followed. Paul warns him to avoid unprofitable theology, and instead to discipline/train himself for the objective of godliness (knowing and doing all God requires, used of the even pagan priests, who knew and did what the gods wanted -cf Titus 1:1). Godliness is not automatic, but requires blood, sweat and prayers. Bodily exercise has some temporal profit, but godliness has both temporal and eternal profit, resulting in a fulfilled, content life now, and dominion/glory in the future. This promise of life, abundant life, and a glorified life as a result of disciplining oneself for the purpose of knowing and doing all God requires is a faithful saying worthy of all acceptance, but it is amazing how few accept and teach it. Those who don't are teaching the devil's doctrine, for he wants to deprive people of glory (see under Digging Deeper in 2Cor 4-5),
Those who teach the truth about godliness and glory, will suffer opposition, for this is not yet our Father's world (1Pt 5:8 -see outline on Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth). However, those who have set their hope on the promises of the living God, know that He is not only the Savior of all men who come to Him, but saves to the uttermost (Heb 7:25), as in glorification, those who continue to believe His promises.
4:11-16 Paul exhorts Timothy to command and teach this truth, because many will oppose it. Some will attempt to discredit the truth by despising the youth of the teacher. Paul tells him not to be affected by their attacks, but instead be an example to the believers in six areas:
  • word/speech – convincingly speaking the truth in love so that it edifies others;
  • way of life – living the truth;
  • love – sacrificing his comfort and ambitions for the eternal benefit of others;
  • spirit – zeal and passion for the glory of God;
  • faith – confidence in the character and promises of God, including dependent daily trust;
  • purity – abstaining from every appearance of evil;
  • ministry - public reading, exhortation and teaching of Scripture.
Paul also told him not to neglect the gracething (gift) that was supernaturally bestowed upon him by the elders. We're not told what it was in this letter, but in 2Timothy 1:6 he reminds him of it again, and in 4:5 Paul exhorts him to do the work of an evangelist. This is not the norm for people being equipped for service today (see comments on Ephesians 4 for the limited duration of gifted men). The modern equivalent would be to be a good steward of all that God has entrusted to us. (See the Faithfulness series at the end of the TOYL booklet on Truthbase.net if you're serious about hearing the words “Well done, good and faithful servant:”)
If Timothy is diligent to wholeheartedly give himself to what Paul outlined, his progress/profiting would be obvious to all. We should be different than we were a year ago at this time, and we should be more like Christ a year from now. If not, something isn't working correctly. Paul reminds him to pay attention to (consider and evaluate) his own physical and spiritual needs, as well as his teaching and stick with it, so that he will save both himself and those who hear him. This is another (cf 2:15-16) obvious use of the glorification aspect of salvation. Those who fail to acknowledge that salvation has three aspects (justification/forgiveness, sanctification/holiness, and glorification/reward) would have to interpret this verse as works that are necessary to pay the debt of our sin (rather than justification by faith).
Application: How do you exercise yourself for the purpose of developing godliness in your life? If you don't already have such an exercise program in place, you can develop one from the instructions Paul gave Timothy.
Prayer: God, thanks that You guide and glorify Your godly servants; may my conscience be sensitive to Your Spirit, my life embody Your truth, and my teaching transform lives, for Your glory's sake. Amen.

1Timothy 5 Honoring the Honorable
5:1 Don’t rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father; the younger men as brothers; 2 the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, in all purity.
3 Honor widows who are widows indeed. 4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them learn first to show piety towards their own family, and to repay/requite their parents, for this is acceptable in the sight of God. 5 Now she who is a widow indeed, and desolate, has her hope set on God, and continues in petitions and prayers night and day. 6 But she who gives herself to pleasure is dead while she lives. 7 Also command these things, that they may be without reproach. 8 But if anyone doesn’t provide for his own, and especially his own household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever. 9 Let no one be enrolled as a widow under sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, 10 being approved by good works, if she has brought up children, if she has been hospitable to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, and if she has diligently followed every good work. 11 But refuse younger widows, for when they have grown wanton against Christ, they desire to marry; 12 having condemnation, because they have rejected their first pledge/faith. 13 Besides, they also learn to be idle, going about from house to house. Not only idle, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 14 I desire therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the household, and give no occasion to the adversary for insulting. 15 For already some have turned aside after Satan. 16 If any man or woman who believes has widows, let them relieve them, and don’t let the assembly be burdened; that it might relieve those who are widows indeed.
17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and in teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle the ox when it treads out the grain." And, "The laborer is worthy of his wages." 19 Don’t receive an accusation against an elder, except at the word of two or three witnesses. 20 Those who sin, reprove in the sight of all, that the rest also may be in fear. 21 I command you in the sight of God, and Christ Jesus, and the chosen/elect angels, that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by partiality. 22 Lay hands hastily on no one, neither be a participant in other men’s sins. Keep yourself pure. 23 Be no longer a drinker of water only, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities. 24 Some men’s sins are evident, preceding them to judgment, and some also follow later. 25 In the same way also there are good works that are obvious, and those that are otherwise can’t be hidden.

Observations: 5:1-2 Paul reminds Timothy that his ministry is to the family of God, and thus should relate to others as family (in a good, not dysfunctional way).
5:3-16 Speaking of family matters, Paul gives direction regarding the care of widows, distinguishing between those whom the church should support, and those they shouldn't. Believers have the responsibility to care for and requite (pay back; it is justice, not charity) their parents for the care they bestowed upon them. This is one of the two major NT commands directed at children (cf Eph 6). This is right in the sight of God (and thus our righteousness). Those who don't have denied the faith (here put for the teaching one professes to believe) and are worse in the sight of others than an unbeliever/infidel (who care for their own).
Widows who serve God rather than their pleasures should be supported by the church if they have no family. The characteristics of a godly woman are noted in the text, and worth emulating, and the characteristics of an ungodly woman are worth eschewing (if one hopes for eternal reward). Younger widows should remarry and raise children. Otherwise they risk the judgment they would receive from either violating a “pledge” to remain single and serve Christ (although there is no clear historical record of such a practice), or perhaps they fulfill their desire for marriage by marrying an unbeliever (since verse 15 indicates that some have turned aside from their faith/pledge in following Satan, this latter option has merit, but not explicitly stated). There might be better third option.
5:17-25 Paul now gives instruction regarding elders (presbuteros, from which we get our word Presbyterian; these are the overseers/bishops of 3:1, episkopos, from which we get Episcopal, the designations of demonstrations based upon polity or structure of church leadership). Those elders (see comments on Acts 20:17,28) who rule well (1Thess 5:12) should be worthy of double honor. “Honor” is a word that means both “price”, and “deference or respect.” The concept of double honor implies both. The verb “honor” was used of meeting the needs of widows in 5:3, and compensation is seen in verse 18 (cf. 1Cor 9:7-14). The giving of monetary gifts is a form of honor (as in honorarium). There are elders who focus on overseeing and shepherding the flock, and some who especially labor in teaching and preaching (cf Acts 6:2). All elders should do both (see qualifications in 3:2; Titus 1:9). Those who do their job well (which implies there are some who don't) should be worthy of both kinds of honor. One thousand five hundred pastors leave the ministry in the USA every month. Half of those who remain would leave if they could! There are numerous reasons for leaving (see study), but failure to be honorable and be honored would encompass many of them. See the Catacomb Church Blog (later this year) for hopefully helpful suggestions.
Those elders who are missing the mark (as in sinning -5:20) should be reproved publicly. This is a specific instruction to Timothy (cf. 5:21). It would probably be prudent (and Biblical) for modern believers to follow the principles of Matthew 18, and Galatians 6 first; however, if the sin of the elder is public, the lack of toleration for it should be public as well, so people don't get complacent about sin, but rather fear it. Paul commands that Timothy follow this command without showing partiality (his future reward depends upon it – 5:23). The elect or choice angels is a better translation than chosen, referring to the group of angels that remained faithful to God rather than siding with Satan. This should have some bearing on how people understand “elect/choice” as it refers to humans who show themselves to be loyal to Christ. Verse 21 consists of three imperatives, the first two contrastive, and the last one a conclusion. It is highly unlikely that the laying on of hands refers to some kind of “ordination” since that would have been mentioned in chapter 3 when Paul instructed Timothy to appoint elders and deacons who were proven. The more obvious reference is to the two previous commands in verses 19 and 20. Timothy should not be hasty to receive an accusation nor slow to carry out the rebuke when warranted. Laying on of hands can be used for attacking someone, especially when combined with “hastily.” Sharing/fellowshipping in one's sin is a function of condoning and enabling it (Rom 1:32). The final imperative to keep himself holy is enabled by judging rightly the cases of erring elders.
Paul commands Timothy to drink a little wine for his health. This is a permissive statement to shield him for those who would accuse him of being a drunkard (cf. Mt 11:19). Rounding out the section on sin, Paul states that some people's sins, which will result in judgment and loss of reward (not forgiveness), are obvious (to everyone but the sinner). Others are hidden, but will be revealed before the bema of Christ (2Cor 5:10). Similarly, some good works are obvious, those that aren't seen in the present, will one day be revealed and rewarded (1Cor 3:13).
Application: Strive to be honorable, and to honor those to whom honor is due.
Prayer: Lord thanks that You use Your people to meet the needs of Your people so Your love and care can be reflected to others; help me be honorable, as I mirror Your character. Amen.

1 Timothy 6 Rich and Riches
6:1 Let as many as are bondservants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine/teaching not be blasphemed. 2 Those who have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brothers, but rather let them serve them, because those who partake of the benefit are believing and beloved. Teach and exhort these things. 3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine, and doesn’t consent to sound words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, 4 he is conceited, knowing nothing, but obsessed with arguments, disputes, and word battles, from which come envy, strife, insulting, evil suspicions, 5 constant friction of people of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. Withdraw yourself from such.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly can’t carry anything out. 8 But having food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But you, man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you confessed the good confession in the sight of many witnesses. 13 I command you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate testified the good confession, 14 that you keep the commandment without spot, blameless, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; 15 which in its own times he will show, who is the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and eternal power. Amen.
17 Charge those who are rich in this present world that they not be haughty, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on the living God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy; 18 that they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to share; 19 laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold of eternal life. 20 Timothy, guard that which is committed to you, turning away from the empty chatter and oppositions of the knowledge which is falsely so called; 21 which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.

Observations: 6:1-5 Servants/workers are to consider their masters/employers worthy of all honor so the Christian God and teaching/faith not be viewed unfavorably by others. Lazy Christian workers do not reflect well on God (Col 3:22-25). Those who have Christian bosses, should not diminish the respect and fear that is due them (despise means to treat lightly), because they are fellow-believers. Instead they should serve them and honor their authority so much the more, because they are brothers in Christ. Paul says some pretty unflattering things about those who don't agree with his teaching, which was designed to produce godliness (see 4:8). Those who think otherwise don't know the truth, nor understand godliness, and are only teaching for financial gain (“keep those card$ and letter$ coming in folk$”). From such Timothy was to withdraw (arguing with fools isn't worth it, they don't have the mental nor spiritual equipment to process change -Pr 14:7).
6:6-11 Godliness (knowing and doing what God requires) with contentment (an awareness that God gives what's best when it's best, and will not withhold anything good from those who walk uprightly -Ps 84:11), is great gain. See sermons on Contentment and Lord of the Ringless on Truthbase.net, as well as comments on Philippians 4. God is the one who meets our needs (Mt 6:11, 24-34), therefore we can concern ourselves with His agenda rather than our own. Wanting to be rich is a root of all kinds of evil, which choke the word, and make it unfruitful (Mk 4:19). Love of money competes with our love of God. Which will be your Master?
6:11-16 Men and women of God need to flee the pursuit of temporal value, and chase after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness. These don't become part of our lives automatically, we have to go for them with the same gusto worldlings go for wealth (2Pt 1:5-11). What's your plan to get them? How's your progress? Paul also tells Timothy to wage the good fight of faith, against the dark forces that would seek to derail him. In doing so, he will lay hold of the dominion of the Age (glory) to which he was called/invited by Christ (as we all are) when he believed. Paul charges him to keep the commandment/charge blamelessly until the return of Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, (and ruler of the Age to come). The charge would consist of all that Paul just told him.
6:17-21 Timothy is to charge (command) those who are rich in this present age to not be arrogant, nor set their hope for the future on the vagaries of riches, but on the living God. He provides us with all things that we enjoy (see comments on Ecclesiastes 2:24-26). Wealth is a tool, to be used to accomplish God's purposes. Note that the rich are not told to get rid of their wealth, but to use it for the good of others, and their own eternal good as well. They are to do good (which presumes being good -6:11), be rich in good deeds, ready to impart, and willing to share. Then they can lay hold of the dominion/glory of the Age. This is another place where eternal life is not a given, but is given as a result of our works (the glorification aspect of salvation). Paul gives a final reminder to Timothy to guard the truth from distortion and dilution, and avoid those who are only interested in debate, and have departed from the faith as revealed in Christ. He wishes him the covenantal blessing of grace.
Application: God richly provides what we need so we can richly meet the needs of others.
Prayer: God, thanks that You protect and prosper Your people so they can bring You glory though the blessing of others; help me use what You've given me to accomplish all Your intended purposes. Amen.

Digging Deeper

God in a nutshell: God gives us all things to enjoy and use to serve, bless and honor others.

Build-a-Jesus: The Lord Jesus Christ is the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who alone has immortality; who dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom belongs all honor and eternal power.

Us in a nutshell: We can be content in God's provision as we seek to do what is right in His sight.

Where to Go for More:

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