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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY - Chapter 6 - Verse 4

Verse 4. He is proud. That is, he is lifted up with his fancied superior acquaintance with the nature of religion. The Greek verb means properly to smoke, to fume; and then to be inflated, to be conceited, etc. The idea is, that he has no proper knowledge of the nature of the gospel, and yet he values himself on a fancied superior acquaintance with its principles.

Knowing nothing. Marg., a fool. That is, that he does not understand the nature of religion as he supposes he does. His views in regard to the relation of masters and servants, and to the bearing of religion on that relation, show that he does not understand the genius of Christianity. The apostle expresses this in strong language, by saying that he knows nothing. See Barnes "1 Co 8:2".

 

But doting. Marg., sick. The Greek word— nosew —means properly to be sick; then to languish, to pine after. The meaning here is, that such persons had a sickly or morbid desire for debates of this kind. They had not a sound and healthy state of mind on the subject of religion. They were like a sickly man, who has no desire for solid and healthful food, but for that which will gratify a diseased appetite. They desired no sound doctrine, but controversies about unimportant and unsubstantial matters—things that bore the same relation to important doctrines which the things that a sick man pines after do to substantial food.

Questions and strifes of words. The Jews abounded much in disputes of this sort, and it would seem probable that the persons here referred to were Jewish teachers. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:6"; See Barnes "1 Ti 1:7"; See Barnes "Ac 18:15".

 

Whereof cometh envy. The only fruit of which is to produce envy. That is the appearance of superior knowledge; the boast of being profoundly acquainted with religion, and the show of an ability for subtle argumentation, would produce in a certain class envy. Envy is uneasiness, pain, mortification, or discontent, excited by another's prosperity, or by his superior knowledge or possessions. See Barnes "Ro 1:29".

 

Strife. Or contentions with those who will not readily yield to their opinions.

Railings. Harsh and abusive language towards those who will not concede a point—a common effect of disputes, and more commonly of disputes about small and unimportant matters, than of those which are of magnitude. Such railings often attend disputes that arise out of nice and subtle distinctions.

Evil surmisings. Suspicions that they are led to hold their views, not by the love of the truth, but from sordid or worldly motives. Such suspicions are very apt to attend an angry debate of any kind. It might be expected peculiarly to exist on such a question as the apostle refers to here—the relation of a master and slave. It is always very hard to do justice to the motives of one who seems to us to be living in sin, or to believe it to be possible that he acts from right motives.

{1} "knowing nothing" "a fool" {a} "nothing" 2 Ti 1:13 {2} "doting" "sick"

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