SUMMARY.--Duties of Servants. Life the Test of Doctrine. The Blessedness of Contentment. The Danger of the Love of Money. Charge to the Man of God. A Lesson for the Rich.
1, 2. Let as many servants as are under the yoke. Under the yoke of slavery. The slaves were as numerous as the free population, and many of the early Christians belonged to this class. Count their own masters worthy of all honor. There was danger that these converted slaves would despise their heathen masters. If they were to do so, it would create a great odium against the Christian religion and lead to attempts to extirpate it. Slavery was to be destroyed, not by putting a spirit of insubordination into slaves, but by putting a Christian spirit into masters. 2. Because they are brethren. Converted slaves must not despise their masters, because in the church they are equal. Rather, they must serve them better, because they are beloved brethren, and partakers of the benefit of their service.
3-5. If any man teach otherwise. Teach new doctrines or duties which differ from the doctrine of Christ. See 1:3, 4. 4. He is proud. The idea is that he is blinded with pride, so that he really knows nothing. Doting. Morbidly dwelling upon foolish questions. He no doubt refers to foolish disputes which had been sprung upon the church by heretical teachers. 5. Thinking that gain is godliness. Men who have come into the church for gain and think that godliness is a source of gain.
6-8. Godliness with contentment. In contrast with this false view a godly life with contentment is a great gain. It brings its greatest gain in eternity. 7. For we brought nothing. See Job 1:21. Since we must leave the earth as we came into it, contentment and an immortal hope are better than earthly gains. 8. Having food and raiment. Having the necessities of life let us be content without piling up wealth.
9, 10. They that will be rich. Who have set their heart on riches. Fall into temptation. Are tempted to do sinful things in order to build up wealth. It is not much the possession of wealth, as cupidity and a trust in riches, which constitute the danger. See notes on Mark 10:24. 10. For the love of money is the root of all evil. Not the money itself, which if used as by a steward of God is a blessing, so much as the love of it. This greedy love is the source of every sin. Men murder, cheat, lie, rob, run saloons, gambling houses, brothels, all for the love of money. For love of money Judas sold his Master. Some . . . have erred. Have wandered from the faith through the love of money. Judas is one example.
11, 12. O man of God. This expression is used in the sense of an evangelist devoted to God's work. See 1 Sam. 9:6, 8; 1 Kings 13:1, 4, 8. Flee these things. The love of money. Instead of following after money, seek after righteousness, etc. 12. Fight the good fight of faith. The thought is of a soldier. See 1:18. The Christian life is a struggle. Oppose hurtful earthful lusts, but seize upon eternal life. Hast professed a good profession. When called to eternal life. "This refers probably to his baptism, when, as we know from very early times, a public profession of faith was made."--Speaker's Commentary. "The Divine call, and the confession of believers are correlatives; they imply each other."--Bengel. Compare Acts 8:37.
13-16. I charge thee. See 1:5, 18. The whole epistle is a charge, and here at the close Paul renews the charge very solemnly. Quickeneth. Giveth life to. Who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession. The Greek may be rendered "under Pontius Pilate." Jesus before the Sanhedrim confessed that he was the Christ, the Son of God, and on that confession they condemned him to death and hurried him to Pilate for execution. I believed this is what Paul refers to. Though before Pilate our Lord reaffirmed in substance this same confession. 14. That thou keep the commandment. Not one only, but the will of Christ. Until the appearing. The language seems to imply a feeling that Christ would come in Timothy's time; at any rate Timothy is to keep that in view. 15. Which in his time he shall show. In his own times. Man knows not the day or hour. The Blessed and only potentate. All power in heaven and earth had been placed in Jesus Christ's hands (Matt. 28:18; Rev. 17:14; 19:16). 16. Who only hath immortality. See John 5:26. He is the source from whence there comes to man eternal life. Dwelling in light. Surrounded by the divine splendors which no mortal can gaze upon.
17-19. Charge them that are rich. Some in Ephesus had riches. These must be humble and "condescend to men of low estate." Their trust must be in God, rather than in uncertain riches. 18. That they do good. The right use of wealth is given. Let it be a means of doing good so that they may be rich in good works. 19. Laying up store. Treasure in heaven by giving for good purposes. See close of verse 18.
20, 21. O Timothy. A final exhortation to faithfully discharge his trust. Oppositions of science. The wild speculations which were already taught by dreamers and which were probably derived from Jewish sources. These speculations a half century later had ripened into what was called Gnosticism. Some had already run off after speculations and departed from the faith. There are allusions in the Epistles to Ephesus and Colosse to the germs of the same false teaching.