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1 Timothy 6:11-21 (KJV)

6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Fleeing is a reiteration of the phrase found in 1 Timothy 6:5 that urges the believer to withdraw themselves from the “perverse disputing” that “gain is godliness.” 

Following this statement, we find that this evil mindset is a temptation that is synonymous with the “love of money” in verse 10. So we are to flee the love of money and the wicked things that follow. 

“O man of God” is a term unique to Timothy in the New Testament but technically utilized nearly 70 times within the Old Testament. This phrase was never used lightly and carried the connotation of a prophet or someone who acted as a mouthpiece for God. 

This term is simply further validity to the accuracy of authorship and the intended original recipient of the letter. It should also be noted that the following is to be used in a contemporary setting for anyone who brings the Scripture and “speaks for God.”

We find that there are things that the man of God must do. The first order is to flee. The second order of business is to follow. Fleeing requires Christians to step away and set a proximity from unrighteousness and this is a task that does not need to be followed by spiritual stagnation. 

Paul calls the believers to flee from unrighteousness and follow righteousness. Righteousness has God as the source and manifests itself in godliness and spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23; 1 John 2:29).

6:12 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.

The third step that the man of God must take in presenting the Gospel and Scripture faithfully is to fight. Paul in verse 12’s statement can be viewed as preparatory to his later statement to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:7 where Paul affirms that he himself fought the good fight and kept the faith. 

Paul forewarns and encourages Timothy in his fight against the spiritual forces as he labors or “agonizes,” as the original language term of “fight” states, for the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).

Note the first instruction following the fight is to “lay hold of eternal life.” Our fight is only possible with our eyes up. It is impossible to be successful in a fight or battle looking down. In hope, and with our eyes directed upward, we are saved (Romans 8:24). 

Christian reality is synonymous with eternal hope. If this balance is broken, then we will live in a state of defeat. 

6:13-16 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, unrebukable, 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.

When we are placed in Christ, we share many things with Jesus. We share in righteousness, our inheritance, sufferings, etc. (Ephesians 1:11-14; Philippians 1:29-30; 1 John 2:29). We may also share a good confession that Jesus obediently carried out before Pilate. Likewise, we have a good confession in Christ who gave a good confession before the Father (John 18:28-38). 

“This commandment” is simply the entirety of Paul’s charge to Timothy earlier within the epistles (1 Timothy 1:3). This charge is the standard before what it means to be blameless before God while simultaneously laying hold of eternity, which is fulfilled in us upon the appearance of Jesus or also known as the rapture (1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). 

“Which in his times he shall shew” is referring to Christ’s presentation of Himself in His return, here specifically is referring to the Rapture, where we are to meet Christ in the air. 

“Potentate” signifies God as simply the term preceding it, which is blessed and more specifically “sovereign.” The Greek term for Potentate is dunastes, a noun that in this context specifically denotes a supreme ruler or more even more direct and Pauline- “The King of kings” and “Lord of lords.” Within the Scriptures these terms can also be noted in (Revelations 17:14; 19:16). 

Christ is immortal and is known as the “light of the world” (John 8:12). Jesus, who presently resides in Heaven, embodies and dwells in light and in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1). Adopted into the Body of Christ, we become and are to walk as children of light (Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 5:6-11).

6:17-19 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.

Paul, prior to concluding, charges Timothy to teach those who are of a higher position of wealth, to dwell in humility and once again essentially flee from the love of money. We see this teaching reiterated when Paul instructs the rich to not “trust in uncertain riches” but rather invest their faith in the living, resurrected God. 

Here, Paul does not condemn the wealthy as some Christian circles may falsely assert, for God “giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” The call here is to be Godly stewards who do not detach themselves from the good works that we are called to as Christians just because of accumulated wealth (Ephesians 2:10). 

In 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, Paul gives further insight into the reasoning behind giving and God’s love for a “charitable giver” who gives not of necessity. 

It is within this mindset that we may discern the meaning of verse 19. This verse has to do with eternal investments. Earthly charities should be done expecting a return in this life, but rather with a hope of eternal compensation that is far greater than anything mortal. 

6:20-21 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.

Verses 20 through 21 acts as the latter bookend of the epistle where Paul reaffirms Timothy to keep his doctrine pure and undefiled (1 Timothy 1:3-4). Paul’s charges defend the Body of Christ as the “pillar of truth” and standard for the preservation of one’s faith (1 Timothy 3:15). 

1 thought on “1 Timothy 6:11-21 (KJV)”

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