1st Timothy Chapter 6


Analysis of the Chapter

This chapter embraces the following subjects of counsel and exhortation:—

(1.) The kind of instruction which was to be given to servants, 1 Ti 6:1-5. They were to treat their masters with all proper respect, 1 Ti 6:1; if their masters were Christians, they were, on that account, to serve them with the more fidelity, 1 Ti 6:2; and any opposite kind of teaching would tend only to stir up strife and produce dissatisfaction and contention, and could proceed only from a proud and self-confident heart.

(2.) The advantage of piety and of a contented mind, 1 Ti 6:6-8. The argument for this is, that we brought nothing into the world, and can carry nothing out; that our essential wants here are food and raiment; and that, having enough to make us comfortable, we should be content.

(3.) The evils of a desire to be rich, 1 Ti 6:9,10; evils seen in the temptations to which it leads; the passions which it fosters; and the danger to religion itself.

(4.) An exhortation to Timothy, as a minister of religion, to pursue higher and nobler objects, 1 Ti 6:11-16. He was

(a) to avoid these worldly things; he was

(b) to pursue nobler objects.

He was to follow after righteousness, and to fight the good fight of faith. To do this, he was to be encouraged by the assurance that the great and only Potentate would, in due time, place the crown on his head.

(5.) The duty of those who were rich—for it is supposed that some Christians will be rich, either by inheritance, or by prosperous business, 1 Ti 6:17-19. They are

(a) not to be proud;

(b) nor to trust in their riches so as to forget their dependence on God;

(c) to do good with their property; and

(d) to make their wealth the means of securing eternal life.

(6.) A solemn charge to Timothy to observe these things, and not to be turned from them by any of the arguments and objections of pretended science, 1 Ti 6:20,21.

Verse 1. Let as many servants. On the word here rendered servants— douloiSee Barnes "Eph 6:5".

The word is that which was commonly applied to a slave, but it is so extensive in its signification as to be applicable to any species of servitude, whether voluntary or involuntary. If slavery existed in Ephesus at the time when this epistle was written, it would be applicable to slaves; if, any other kind of servitude existed, the word would be equally applicable to that. There is nothing in the word itself which essentially limits it to slavery. Examine Mt 13:27; 20:27; Mr 10:44; Lu 2:29; Joh 15:15; Ac 2:18; 4:29; 16:17; Ro 1:1

2 Co 4:5; Jude 1:1; Re 1:1; 2:20; 7:3.

The addition of the phrase "under the yoke," however, shows undoubtedly that it is to be understood here of slavery.

As are under the yoke. On the word yoke, See Barnes "Mt 11:29".

The phrase here properly denotes slavery, as it would not be applied to any other species of servitude. See Le 26:13. Dem. 322. 12. zugov doulosunhv Rob. Lex. It sometimes denotes the bondage of the Mosaic law as being a severe and oppressive burden. Ac 15:10; Ga 5:1. It may be remarked here that the apostle did not regard slavery as a light or desirable thing. He would not have applied this term to the condition of a wife or a child.

Count their own masters worthy of all honour. Treat them with all proper respect. They were to manifest the right spirit themselves, whatever their masters did; they were not to do anything that would dishonour religion. The injunction here would seem to have particular reference to those whose masters were not Christians. In the following verse, the apostle gives particular instructions to those who had pious masters. The meaning here is, that the slave ought to show the Christian spirit towards his master who was not a Christian; he ought to conduct himself so that religion would not be dishonoured; he ought not to give his master occasion to say that the only effect of the Christian religion on the mind of a servant was to make him restless, discontented, dissatisfied, and disobedient. In the humble and trying situation in which he confessedly was—under the yoke of bondage—he ought to evince patience, kindness, and respect for his master, and as long as the relation continued he was to be obedient. This command, however, was by no means inconsistent with his desiring his freedom, and securing it, if the opportunity presented itself. See Notes on 1 Co 7:21. Comp., on the passage before us, See Barnes "Eph 6:5"; Eph 6:6-8 1 Pe 2:18.

That the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. That religion be not dishonoured and reproached, and that there may be no occasion to say that Christianity tends to produce discontent and to lead to insurrection. If the effect of religion had been to teach all who were servants that they should no longer obey their masters, or that they should rise upon them and assert their freedom by violence, or that their masters were to be treated with indignity on account of their usurped rights over others, the effect would have been obvious. There would have been a loud and united outcry against the new religion, and it could have made no progress in the world. Instead of this, Christianity taught the necessity of patience and meekness, and forbearance in the endurance of all wrong—whether from private individuals, Mt 5:39-41; 1 Co 6:7; or under the oppressions and exactions of Nero, Ro 13:1-7; or amidst the hardships and cruelties of slavery. These peaceful injunctions, however, did not demonstrate that Christ approved the act of him "that smote on the one cheek," or that Paul regarded the government of Nero as a good government, —and as little do they prove that Paul or the Saviour approved of slavery.

{a} "servants" Eph 6:5 {*} "blasphemed" "evil spoken of"

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