|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:17-21 Being rich in this world is wholly different from being rich towards God. Nothing is more uncertain than worldly wealth. Those who are rich, must see that God gives them their riches; and he only can give to enjoy them richly; for many have riches, but enjoy them poorly, not having a heart to use them. What is the best estate worth, more than as it gives opportunity of doing the more good? Showing faith in Christ by fruits of love, let us lay hold on eternal life, when the self-indulgent, covetous, and ungodly around, lift up their eyes in torment. That learning which opposes the truth of the gospel, is not true science, or real knowledge, or it would approve the gospel, and consent to it. Those who advance reason above faith, are in danger of leaving faith. Grace includes all that is good, and grace is an earnest, a beginning of glory; wherever God gives grace, he will give glory.
Verse 18. - That they be ready for ready, A.V. Do good (ἀγαθοεργεῖν; here only, for the more common ἀγαθοποιεῖν). That they be rich in good works (1 Timothy 5:10, note); not merely in the perishing riches of this present world - the same sentiment as Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:33 and 21. Ready to distribute (εὐμεταδότους); here only in the New Testament, and rarely in later classical Greek. The opposite, "dose-handed," is δυσμετάδοτος The verb μεταδίδωμι means "to give to others a share or portion of what one has" (Luke 3:11; Romans 1:11; Romans 12:8; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 2:8). Willing to communicate (κοινωνίκους); here only in the New Testament, but found in classical Greek in a slightly different sense. "Communicative" is the exact equivalent, though in this wider use it is obsolete. We have the same precept in Hebrews 13:16, "To do good and to communicate forget not." (For κοινωνεῖν in the sense of "giving," see Romans 12:13; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:15; and for κοινωνία in the same sense, see Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 9:13; Hebrews 13:16.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
That they do good,.... Rich men sometimes do much ill to themselves, to the hurt of their bodies, by luxury, intemperance, and debauchery, and to their souls, to the ruin of them; and to others by fraud, oppression, and violence; for it is in the power of their hands to do much evil, and also to do much good, as they should; and much is required of them, since much is given them to do good with, and for which they are accountable: it becomes them, and especially such as believe in Christ, to do every good work in general, and to do acts of beneficence in particular, both to all men, and to the household of faith.
That they be rich in good works; or abound in the performance of them, as Dorcas is said to be full of good works and alms deeds; and to reckon that their true riches lie more in the exercise of grace, and in the fruits of it, doing good works, than in their worldly enjoyments. The phrase seems to be Rabbinical. Frequent mention is made of , "rich in the law", and , "rich in the commandments" (t); and it is said (u), no man is poor but he that is without the law, and good works, for the riches of a man are the law, and good works.
Ready to distribute; unasked; and when they are asked, do not turn away, and put off, but give at once, and without grief, and with cheerfulness; want no arguments to press them to it, nor use any against it.
Willing to communicate; of their good things to the necessities of the poor, making them common to them, and them partakers of them. Some render the word "sociable", in opposition to that moroseness, stillness, and those haughty and forbidding airs, with which rich men are apt to treat the poor, when they should be affable and courteous to them, and admit them to a free conversation with them.
(t) Zohar in Numb. fol. 91. 3. Vajikra Rabba, sect. 34. fol. 173. 4. & Tzeror Hammaor, fol. 15. 2.((u) Raya Mehimna in Exod. fol 48. 3. Vid. T. Bab. Megilia, fol. 11. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. do good—like God Himself (Ps 119:68; Ac 14:17) and Christ (Ac 10:38). Tittmann translates, "to do," or "act well"; as the Greek for "to be beneficent" is a distinct word, agathopoiein.
rich in good works—so "rich in faith," which produces good works (Jas 2:5). Contrasted with "rich in this world," 1Ti 6:17. Literally, it is "rich in honorable (right) works." Greek, "kalois," "ergois," are works good or right in themselves: "agathois," good to another.
ready to distribute—free givers [Alford]; the heart not cleaving to possessions, but ready to impart to others.
willing to communicate—ready contributors [Alford]: liberal in admitting others to share our goods in common with ourselves (Ga 6:6; Heb 13:16).
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