1 Timothy 6:11
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
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(11) But thou, O man of God, flee these things.—A commentator always speaks with great caution when he approaches in these inspired writings anything of the nature of a direct personal reference. The writers and actors in the New Testament history we have so long surrounded with a halo of reverence, that we are tempted often to forget that they were but men exposed to temptations like us, and not unfrequently succumbing to them. We owe them, indeed, a deep debt of reverence for their faithful, gallant witness—for their splendid service in laying so well the early storeys of the great Christian Temple; but we lose somewhat of the reality of the Apostolic story when in the saint we forget the man. After the very solemn, the intensely earnest warning against covetousness—that fatal love of gain and gold which seems to have been the mainspring of the life of those false teachers who were engaged in marring the noble work St. Paul had done for his Master at Ephesus—after these weighty words, the fact of St. Paul turning to Timothy, and, with the grand old covenant title Timothy knew so well, personally addressing his loved friend with “But thou, O man of God, flee these things,” leads us irresistibly to the conclusion that the old Apostle was dreading for his young and comparatively untried disciple the corrupting danger of the wealth of the city in which he held so great a charge; so he warns Timothy, and, through Timothy, God’s servants of all grades and powers in different ages, of the soul-destroying dangers of covetousness—“Flee these things.” A glance at Timothy’s present life will show how possible it was, even for a loved pupil of St. Paul—even for one of whom he once wrote, “I have no man likeminded;” and, again, “Ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel” (Philippians 2:20-22)—to need so grave a reminder. Since those days, when these words were written to the Philippians, some six years had passed. His was no longer the old harassed life of danger and hazard to which, as the companion of the missionary St. Paul, he was constantly exposed. He now filled the position of an honoured teacher and leader in a rich and organised church; many and grievous were the temptations to which, in such a station, he would be exposed.

Gold and popularity, gain and ease, were to be won with the sacrifice of apparently so little, but with this sacrifice Timothy would cease to be the “man of God.” To maintain that St. Paul was aware of any weakness already shown by his disciple and friend would, of course, be a baseless assertion; but that the older man dreaded for the younger these dangerous influences is clear. The term “man of God” was the common Old Testament name for “divine messengers,” but under the new covenant the name seems extended to all just men faithful to the Lord Jesus. (See 2Timothy 3:17.) The solemn warning, then, through Timothy comes to each of His servants, “Flee thou from covetousness.”

And follow after righteousness.—“The evil must be overcome with good” (Romans 12:21). The “man of God,” tossing away from him all covetous longings, must press after “righteousness;” here used in a general sense, signifying “the inner life shaped after the Law of God.”

Faith, love.—The two characteristic virtues of Christianity. The one may be termed the hand that lays hold of God’s mercy; and the other the mainspring of the Christian’s life.

Patience.—That brave patience which, for Christ’s dear sake, with a smile can bear up against all sufferings.

Meekness.—The German “sanftmuth”—the meekness of heart and feeling with which a Christian acts towards his enemies. His conduct who “when he was reviled, reviled not again” best exemplifies this virtue.

1 Timothy 6:11-12. But thou, O man of God — Whatever all the world else do; (a man of God is either a prophet, a messenger of God, or a man devoted to God, a man of another world;) flee — As from a serpent, instead of coveting these things, and follow after righteousness — Truth, justice, mercy, with all their proper fruits; godliness — Sincere and fervent piety, implying devotedness to God, in heart and life, and a conformity to his image; faith — In all its branches, especially as having the perfections of God, and the truths and promises of his word for its object, implying an evidence of things not seen, and an earnest of things hoped for, with fidelity as to every trust committed to thee. This faith is the foundation of righteousness, the support of godliness, the root of every grace of the Spirit; love — To God and all mankind, friends or enemies, and especially to all the saints. This the apostle intermixes with every thing that is good: he, as it were, penetrates whatever he treats of with love, the glorious spring of all inward and outward holiness. Patience — Under all afflictions coming immediately from the hand of God; meekness — Under all provocations proceeding from man through God’s permission. Fight the good fight of faith — Greek, αγωνιζου τον καλον αγωνα, agonize the good agony, or, maintain the good combat: the words, with those that follow, are plainly agonistical, and refer to the eagerness with which they who contended in the Grecian games struggled for, and laid hold on the crown; and the degree to which the presence of many spectators, or the cloud of witnesses, animated them in their contests. Some would translate the clause, Exercise the good exercise; but the word exercise does not, by any means, express the force of αγωνα, which always supposes an opponent to be resisted. Lay hold on eternal life — The prize just before thee; whereunto thou art also called — By the gospel and the grace of God; and — In pursuance thereof; hast professed, &c. — Or, rather, hast confessed; a good confession — Probably at his baptism or ordination, or perhaps at both; before many witnesses — Who were present on that solemn day, when thou wast dedicated entirely and irrevocably to the service of God, of Christ, of his church, and all mankind.

6:11-16 It ill becomes any men, but especially men of God, to set their hearts upon the things of this world; men of God should be taken up with the things of God. There must be a conflict with corruption, and temptations, and the powers of darkness. Eternal life is the crown proposed for our encouragement. We are called to lay hold thereon. To the rich must especially be pointed out their dangers and duties, as to the proper use of wealth. But who can give such a charge, that is not himself above the love of things that wealth can buy? The appearing of Christ is certain, but it is not for us to know the time. Mortal eyes cannot bear the brightness of the Divine glory. None can approach him except as he is made known unto sinners in and by Christ. The Godhead is here adored without distinction of Persons, as all these things are properly spoken, whether of the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost. God is revealed to us, only in and through the human nature of Christ, as the only begotten Son of the Father.But thou, O man of God, flee these things - These allurements of wealth, and these sad consequences which the love of gold produces.

And follow after righteousness, ... - Make these the grand object of your pursuit. On the virtues here enumerated, see the notes on Galatians 5:22-23.

11. But thou—in contrast to the "some" (1Ti 6:10).

man of God—who hast God as thy true riches (Ge 15:1; Ps 16:5; La 3:24). Applying primarily to Timothy as a minister (compare 2Pe 1:21), just as the term was used of Moses (De 33:1), Samuel (1Sa 9:6), Elijah, and Elisha; but, as the exhortation is as to duties incumbent also on all Christians, the term applies secondarily to him (so 2Ti 3:17) as a Christian man born of God (Jas 1:18; 1Jo 5:1), no longer a man of the world raised above earthly things; therefore, God's property, not his own, bought with a price, and so having parted with all right in himself: Christ's work is to be his great work: he is to be Christ's living representative.

flee these things—namely, "the love of money" with its evil results (1Ti 6:9, 10).

follow after righteousness—(2Ti 2:22).

godliness—"piety." Righteousness is more in relation to our fellow man; piety ("godliness") to God"; faith is the root of both (see on [2484]Tit 2:12).

love—by which "faith worketh."

patience—enduring perseverance amidst trials.

meekness—The oldest manuscripts read, "meek-spiritedness," namely, towards the opponents of the Gospel.

O man of God; that is, O thou minister of God, whose service is not the service of the world. It is a compellation borrowed from the Old Testament, where we find it often applied to such whose work was to reveal the Divine will, 2 Kings 1:9 4:40,42. By giving Timothy this compellation, he mindeth him how much he was concerned to contemn the world.

Flee these things; flee this eager pursuit of riches.

And follow after righteousness; and follow after justice, or the business of a righteous life, in thy conversation with men.

Godliness; piety toward God.

Faith; the exercise and life of faith.

Love; love to God and thy neighbour.

Patience; a quiet bearing of injuries.

Meekness; a gentleness of spirit, opposed to all rash anger.

But thou, O man of God,.... Not only by creation, as every man is; nor merely by special grace, as everyone is, that is chosen of God, redeemed by Christ, and regenerated and sanctified by the Spirit; but by his peculiar office, as an evangelist and minister of the word, being qualified for, and devoted to, and employed in the service of God. The phrase is taken out of the Old Testament, where the prophets, Elijah and Elisha, are so called, 2 Kings 1:9,

flee these things; the Arabic version reads "these abominations"; namely, all questions and strifes of words, from whence so many evils follow, 1 Timothy 6:4 and all worldly gain, selfish interest, and mercenary views in religion; a wicked resolution to be rich, at any rate, and an immoderate love of the things of the world, and an eager pursuit after them, which expose to great danger, and even utter ruin; things very unbecoming any professor of religion, but much more a minister of the Gospel.

And follow after righteousness; not for justification before God, that he had followed after, and attained unto, which is the righteousness of Christ, and not of the law; but for the honour of religion before men; and intends the doing of justice between man and man, giving everyone their own, which in undue affection for the world sometimes leads men from:

godliness; spiritual religion, holiness of heart, and conversation, which has the promise of this life, as well as of the other, and with contentment is great gain; wherefore to pursue this is much better than greedily to run after the riches of this world, or with the false teachers to suppose that godliness lies in worldly gain, or in securing to a man his worldly interest:

faith; the grace of faith, which looks not to things seen, which are temporal, but to things not seen, which are eternal; and leads off the mind from sublunary enjoyments to God, and Christ, and the glories of another world; and is the leading grace to all others, and the foundation of good works, without which there is no pleasing in acts of moral righteousness, or in any acts of religious worship, which may be called godliness:

love; to God, which is inconsistent with serving mammon, or with an immoderate love of money; and to Christ, which will put a man on seeking, not his own things, but the things of Christ; and to the saints, which will direct him to serve them by acts of beneficence and liberality:

patience; in bearing reproaches and indignities; in suffering injuries, loss of goods, imprisonment, and every sort of persecution, for the sake of the Gospel; which a covetous disposition will not admit of: last of all,

meekness; or humility, not seeking great things, but being content with a lower station of life; for generally it is pride that puts men upon a determination to be rich at any rate: it may also design meekness in instructing the ignorant, in refuting error, and in reproving offenders.

{9} But thou, O {e} man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

(9) A peculiar exhortation to various virtues, with which it appropriate for the pastors especially to be furnished.

(e) Whom the Spirit of God rules.

1 Timothy 6:11. The apostle again turns to Timothy, exhorting him to a faithful fulfilment of his Christian and evangelical vocation.

σὺ δε] opposed to τινές, 1 Timothy 6:10 ὦ ἄνθρωπε [τοῦ] Θεοῦ] The expression may be taken in a more general or a more special sense; so, too, in 2 Peter 1:21. It does not, however, follow “that Paul thus names Timothy here because of his evangelic office;” the exhortations following rather show that the apostle was thinking of Timothy’s position as a Christian; comp. 2 Timothy 3:17.

ταῦτα φεῦγε] ταῦτα refers to the φιλαργυρία and that which is connected with it (de Wette, Wiesinger, and others); not to everything that has been said in 1 Timothy 6:3-10, because “1 Timothy 6:17 ff. show that the author is keeping in view the subject of riches,” de Wette. φεύγειν vitare; comp. 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Corinthians 6:18. Hofmann wrongly deduces from this exhortation that Timothy had some inclination to φιλαργυρία; one might as well deduce from the next exhortation that Timothy had no inclination to δικαιοσύνη κ.τ.λ. It is to be observed that it is not said φεῦγε ἀπό or ἐκ τούτων; comp., besides, the passages quoted.

δίωκε δὲ τὴν δικαιοσύνην] διώκειν here as in Deuteronomy 16:20, LXX.; Romans 12:13, and other passages of the N. T. (neque exteris scriptoribus infrequens est haec hujus verbi notio; see Xenophon, Cyropaedia, viii. 1. 39; Thucydides, ii. 63; Leo). Paul names six Christian virtues which Timothy is to cultivate, the six being arranged in pairs. The two most general in meaning are placed first: δικαιοσύνην (righteousness) and εὐσέβειαν (comp. Titus 2:12). Then follow πίστιν (not “faithfulness or conscientiousness,” but “faith”) and ἀγάπην as the ground principle of the Christian life. Last come ὑπομόνην and πραϋπάθειαν (ἅπ. λεγ., Philo, de Abrah. p. 379), which denote the Christian conduct proper in regard to the hostility of the world against the gospel, the former being opposed to submission, the latter to exasperation.

1 Timothy 6:11-16 are a digression into a personal appeal. Cf. 2 Timothy 2:1; 2 Timothy 3:10; 2 Timothy 3:14; 2 Timothy 4:5.

11–16. A further exhortation to Timothy. The Lord’s appearing

Timothy’s own true life and bearing are solemnly dwelt upon in contrast to the false and low; see on 1 Timothy 6:3.

thou, O man of God] Opposed not only to the ‘some’ of 1 Timothy 6:10 but to the ‘any’ of 1 Timothy 6:3. The phrase ‘man of God’ occurs also with the same reference to the ministry, 2 Timothy 3:17, derived probably from the O. T. ministry of the prophets; cf. 2 Peter 1:21, where the best reading, however, slightly varies the phrase ‘men spake from God;’ and 1 Kings 17:18; 1 Kings 17:24. It marks the high tone of this final address; and is in keeping with the full dignity of title which in both these last contrasts of the false and the true ministry is given to the great Head of the Church’s ministry (and given here only in these Epistles) ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ.’

flee these things] ‘Unsound words, and ungodly doctrine,’ ‘questionings and evil surmisings,’ ‘traffic in godliness and love of money.’ These three heads of evil, in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th to 10th verses respectively, are opposed by three pairs of contrasted virtues: ‘righteousness and godliness,’ ‘faith and love,’ ‘patience and meekness.’ In the first pair ‘the sound words,’ ‘the words of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ go to the very root of the matter as fully expounded, Romans 6. ‘Baptised into Christ Jesus … dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus … obedient from the heart to that form of teaching … ye became servants of righteousness,’ and 1 Corinthians 1. ‘We preach Christ crucified … Christ the power of God … of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God and righteousness’; all this being but the working out of the very ‘words of the Lord,’ Matthew 5:6, ‘Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.’ In the second pair ‘faith’ is as evidently the antidote to ‘ignorance,’ ‘questionings,’ and ‘disputes of words,’ as ‘love’ is to ‘envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings. In the third pair ‘patient endurance’ and ‘meekness of heart’ are well fitted to produce ‘godliness with contentment,’ as being the very graces to which ‘the words of the Lord’ assign the blessings of that ‘kingdom of heaven’ which is ‘godliness,’ and that ‘inheritance of the earth’ which is ‘contentment.’ ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ ‘Blessed are the meek.’

meekness] The compound word, meekness of heart, a word peculiar here, is to be read. See note on 2 Timothy 2:25.

1 Timothy 6:11. Ὦ ἄνθρωπε τοῦ Θεοῦ) O man of God. So the LXX. for the Hebrew, man of God, i.e. a prophet, a mediating messenger of God to men, one removed from earthly things.—ταῦτα φεῦγε, flee these things) He resumes, after the parenthesis, the words which he had spoken at the end of 1 Timothy 6:5. Therefore the expression, these things, is to be referred to 1 Timothy 6:4-5 : for both enumerations form an evident antithesis [to what follows in 1 Timothy 6:11]: to this antithesis flee, follow, belong.—δικαιοσύνην, righteousness) This comprehends all the other things, and is again put in the first place, 2 Timothy 2:22.—εὐσέβειαν, godliness) The antithesis is the abuse of godliness, 1 Timothy 6:5. πίστιν, ἀγάπην, faith, love) Their antitheses are envy, strife, 1 Timothy 6:4. ὑπομονὴν, patience) by which even calumnious railings are endured, ibid. πρᾳότητα, meekness) by which evil surmisings are overcome, ibid.

Verse 11. - O man of God. The force of this address is very great. It indicates that the money-lovers just spoken of were not and could not be "men of God," whatever they might profess; and it leads with singular strength to the opposite direction in which Timothy's aspirations should point. The treasures which he must covet as "a man of God" were "righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience meekness." For the phrase, "man of God," see 2 Timothy 3:17 and 2 Peter 1:21. In the Old Testament it always applies to a prophet (Deuteronomy 33:1; Judges 13:6; 1 Samuel 2:27; 1 Kings 12:22; 2 Kings 1:9; Jeremiah 35:4; and a great many other passages). St. Paul uses the expression with especial reference to Timothy and his holy office, and here, perhaps, in contrast with the τοὺς ἀνθρώπους mentioned in ver. 9. Flee these things. Note the sharp contrast between "the men" of the world, who reach after, and the man of God, who avoids, φιλαργυρία. The expression, "these things," is a little loose, but seems to apply to the love of money, and the desire to be rich, with all their attendant "foolish and hurtful lusts." The man of God avoids the perdition and maul fold sorrows of the covetous, by avoiding the covetousness which is their root. Follow after (δίωκε); pursue, in direct contrast with φεύγε, flee from, avoid (see 2 Timothy 2:22). Meekness (πρα'υπαθείαν). This rare word, found in Philo, but nowhere in the New Testament, is the reading of the R.T. (instead of the πρᾳο;τητα of the T.R.) and accepted by almost all critics on the authority of all the older manuscripts. It has no perceptible difference of meaning from πραότης, meekness or gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11Man of God (ἄνθρωπε θεοῦ)

The phrase only in Pastorals. Comp 2 Timothy 3:17. Not an official designation.

Righteousness (δικαιοσύνην)

See on Romans 1:17. Not in the Pauline dogmatic sense, but as Ephesians 5:9, moral rectitude according to God's law.

Meekness (πραΰπαθίαν)

N.T.o. olxx. Meekness of feeling (πάθος). The usual word is πραΰ̀της, often in Paul. See on meek, Matthew 5:5. With the whole verse comp. Titus 3:12.

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