1 Timothy 6:17-21
17. 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;
17. Iis, qui divites sunt in hoc saeculo, praecipe (vel, denuntia) ne efferantur, neve sperent in divitiarum incertitudine, sed in Deo vivo, qui abundè suppeditat omnia ad fruendum;
18. That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
18. Ut benefaciant, ut divites sint in operibus bonis, faciles ad largiendum (vel, ad communicationem,) libenter communicantes.
19. Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold On eternal life.
19. Recondentes sibi ipsis fundamentum bonum in posterum, ut vitam aeternum apprehendant.
20. O Timothy keep that is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
20. O Timothee, depositum custodi, devitans profanas clamorum inanitates, vaniloquia et oppositiones falsò nominatae scientiae.
21. Which some professing, have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
21. Quam quidam profitentes aberrarunt a fide. Gratia tecum. Amen.
The first to Timothy was written from Laodicea, which is the chiefest city of Phrygia Pacatiana
Ad Timotheum prima missa fuit ex Laodicea, quae est metropolis Phrygiae Pacatianae.
Hence it follows, that they are egregiously mistaken, who rely on riches, and do not depend entirely on the blessing of God, in which consists a sufficiency of food and of everything else. Hence also we conclude, that we are forbidden to trust in riches, not only because they belong to the use of mortal life, but likewise because they are nothing but smoke; for we are fed, not by bread only, but by the blessing of God. (Deuteronomy 8:3.) 1
When he says plousi>wv eijv ajpo>lausin, abundantly for enjoyment, he describes how kind God is to us, and even to all men, and to the brute beasts; for his kindness extends far and wide beyond our necessity. (Psalm 36:6.)
The inference drawn by Papists from this passage, that we therefore obtain eternal life by the merit of good works, is excessively frivolous. It is true that God accepts as given to himself everything that is bestowed on the poor. (Matthew 25:40.) But even the most perfect hardly perform the hundredth part of their duty; and therefore our liberality, does not deserve to be brought into account before God. So far are we from rendering full payment, that, if God should call us to a strict account, there is not one of us who would not be a bankrupt. But, after having reconciled us to himself by free grace, he accepts our services, such as they are, and bestows on them a reward which is not due. This recompense, therefore, does not depend on considerations of merit, but on God's gracious acceptance, and is so far from being inconsistent with the righteousness of faith, that it may be viewed as an appendage to it.
But, for my part, I think that he describes the high -- sounding and verbose and bombastic style of those who, not content with the simplicity of the gospel, turn it into profane philosophy.
The kenofwbi>ai 2 consist, not in single words, but in that swelling language which is so constantly and so disgustingly poured out by ambitious men, who aim at applause rather than the profit of the Church. And most accurately has Paul described it; for, while there is a strange sound of something lofty, there is nothing underneath but "empty" jingle, which he likewise calls "profane;" for the power of the Spirit is extinguished as soon as the Doctors blow their flutes in this manner, to display their eloquence.
In the face of a prohibition so clear and distinct, which the Holy Spirit has given, this plague has nevertheless broken out; and, indeed, it showed itself at the very beginning, but, at length, has grown to such a height in Popery, that the counterfeit mark of theology which prevails there -- is a lively mirror of that "profane" and "empty noise" of which Paul speaks. I say nothing about the innumerable errors and follies and blasphemies with which their books and their noisy disputes abound. But even although they taught nothing that was contrary to godliness, yet, because their whole doctrine contains nothing else than big words and bombast, because it is inconsistent with the majesty of Scripture, the efficacy of the Spirit, the gravity of the prophets, and the sincerity of the apostles, it is, on that account, an absolute profanation of real theology.
What, I ask, do they teach about faith, or repentance, or calling on God; about the weakness of men, or the assistance of the Holy Spirit, or the forgiveness of sins by free grace, or about the office of Christ, that can be of any avail for the solid edification of godliness? But on this subject we shall have occasion to speak again in expounding the Second Epistle. Undoubtedly, any person who possesses a moderate share of understanding and of candor; will acknowledge that all the high -- sounding terms of Popish Theology, and all the authoritative decisions that make so much noise in their schools, are nothing else than "profane kenofwni>ai," (empty words,) and that it is impossible to find more accurate terms for describing them than those which the Apostle has employed. And certainly it is a most righteous punishment of human arrogance, that they who swerve from the purity of Scripture become profane. The doctors of the Church, therefore, cannot be too earnestly attentive to guard against such corruptions, and to defend the youth from them.
The old translation, adopting the reading of kainofwni>av instead of kenofwni>av, rendered it novelties of words; and it is evident from the commentaries of the ancients, that this rendering, which is even now found in some Greek copies, was at one time extensively approved; but the former, which I have followed, is far better.
Paul does not mean that Timothy should be moved by emulation to attempt something of the same kind, but, because those things which have an appearance of subtlety, or are adapted to ostentation, are more agreeable to human curiosity, Paul, on the contrary, pronounces that "science "which exalts itself above the plain and humble doctrine of godliness -- to be falsely called and thought a science. This ought to be carefully observed, that we may learn boldly to laugh at and despise all that hypocritical wisdom which strikes the world with admiration and amazement, although there is no edification in it; for, according to Paul, no science is truly and justly so called but that which instruct us in the confidence and fear of God; that is, in godliness.
END OF THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY.
1 "It will be useless to say to us, What are the riches of this world? We see that there is no certainty of them. What are honors? They are but smoke. What is even this life? It is but a dream. There is but a turn of the hand, and we become dust and ashes. It will be useless to argue with us on these grounds. All this will serve no purpose, till God has been presented to our minds, till it has been demonstrated to us that we must direct all our affections and confidence to him alone. And that is the reason why all the fine remonstrances urged by the philosophers had no effect. For they spoke of the frailty of this earthly life and the uncertain condition of men. They showed that it was vain to think of finding happiness in our possessions, in our lordships, or in anything else. They showed that it is delusive to think of having anything here below on which we might vaunt ourselves. Those great philosophers knew nothing about God, yet being convinced by experience, discussed and argued ably on these subjects. But still they did no good, because they did not seek the true remedy, to fix the hearts of men on God, and to inform them, that it is He alone in whom they can find contentment, and till we have come to this, we shall always be involved in many perplexities."