That you keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable.—Here St. Paul specifies what was the charge he was commending in such earnest, solemn language to his disciple and representative at Ephesus. It was that he should keep the commandment without spot, unrebukeable. The commandment was the teaching of Jesus Christ, the gospel message, that was to be proclaimed in all its fulness; and that this might be done effectually it was needful that the life of its preacher should be without flaw—blameless; in other words, it was absolutely requisite that the chief pastor in Ephesus should live the life he preached. There were those (the false teachers of whom he had been speaking, well known to Timothy) whose lives had dishonoured the glorious commandment they professed to love and teach.
Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.—The speedy return of the Lord in glory was, no doubt, looked for in the Church of the first days. The expressions of 1Thessalonians 4:15-18 evidently were written at a time when the second advent of Messiah was looked on as probably near at hand. By slow degrees—as one great teacher of the first days after the other fell asleep in Jesus, and the first generation of believers was rapidly passing away, and no fresh sign of the coming in glory was manifested—the strong expressions used in the first fervour which succeeded the Pentecost morning began to be qualified, as in this Epistle, written far on in St. Paul’s life, by words which seemed to say to Timothy: “Keep the Master’s commandment pure and blameless till the hour of that glorious Epiphany which your eyes will possibly behold.”
Without spot - It seems harsh, and is unusual, to apply the epithet, "without spot" - ἄσπιλος aspilos - to a command or doctrine, and the passage may be so construed that this may be understood as referring to Timothy himself - "That thou keep the commandment so that thou mayest be without spot and unrebukable." See Bloomfield, Crit. Dig., in loc. The word here rendered "without spot," occurs in the New Testament only here and in James 1:27; 1 Peter 1:19; 2 Peter 3:14. It means without any "stain" or "blemish; pure." If applied here to Timothy, it means that he should so keep the command that there would be no stain on his moral character; if to the doctrine, that that should be kept pure.
Unrebukable - So that there be no occasion for reproach or reproof; see notes on Philippians 2:15.
without spot, unrebukeable—agreeing with "thou." Keep the commandment and so be without spot," &c. "Pure" (1Ti 5:22; Eph 5:27; Jas 1:27; 2Pe 3:14).
until the appearing of … Christ—His coming in person (2Th 2:8; Tit 2:13). Believers then used in their practice to set before themselves the day of Christ as near at hand; we, the hour of death [Bengel]. The fact has in all ages of the Church been certain, the time as uncertain to Paul, as it is to us; hence, 1Ti 6:15, he says, "in His times": the Church's true attitude is that of continual expectation of her Lord's return (1Co 1:8; Php 1:6, 10).2 Thessalonians 2:2,3, that the apostle knew the contrary; for he assures them that that day should not come till many great things enumerated by him should be accomplished. The meaning therefore of the words
until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the same with our Saviour’s command to the angel of the church of Smyrna: Be thou faithful unto death, Revelation 2:10: for the whole flux of time from the death of any person till the day of judgment makes no alteration in his life; and consequently, whoever is faithful unto the death is so till the appearing of Christ. And there is no motive more powerful to a zealous and faithful discharge of our duty, no excitation more rousing from the security and carelessness of the flesh, than the serious believing consideration of the glorious reward to be dispersed by our Saviour to his faithful servants in that day, and the dreadful condemnation that shall pass upon those who have been careless and negligent in the sacred ministry.
without spot, and unrebukeable; the sense is, that he would discharge his ministerial function with all faithfulness and purity; that he would sincerely, and without any adulteration, preach the pure Gospel of Christ; and that he would so behave in his life and conversation, that his ministry might not be justly blamed by men, or he be rebuked by the church here, or by Christ hereafter: and this he would have him do,
until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; to judge the quick and dead at the last day, and which will be very illustrious and glorious. Now Christ is hid from the eyes of men, but to them that look for him he will appear a second time in great glory; in the glory of his Father, and of his own, and of the holy angels; and when his saints will appear with him in glory: and this the apostle the rather mentions, since every man's work and ministry will then be made manifest; this bright day of Christ's appearing will declare it, and everyone must give an account of himself, and his talents, unto him: and this shows that the apostle did not design this charge, and these instructions, for Timothy only, but for all other ministers of the Gospel, till the second coming of Christ; though this was then, as now, so much unknown, when it would be, that it could not be said but Timothy might live unto it.That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 Timothy 6:14. τηρῆσαι κ.τ.λ.: The phrase τηρεῖν τὴν ἐντολήν, τὰς ἐντολάς or τὸν λόγον, τοὺς λόγους is a common one; found in Matthew 19:17, and especially in the Johannine writings; but wherever it occurs it means to obey or observe a command or a saying; whereas here it means to preserve intact. Perhaps the two meanings were present to the apostle’s mind; and no doubt in actual experience they merge one into the other; for a tradition is only preserved by obedience to the demand which it makes for observance. This use of the verb and the similar τὴν πίστιν τετήρηκα, 2 Timothy 4:7, mutually illustrate each other. τὴν ἐντολὴν τηρεῖν is probably equivalent to τὴν παραθήκην φυλάσσειν, understanding the tradition or deposit in the most comprehensive moral and spiritual sense, in which it is nothing else than “the law of the Gospel (cf. ἡ παραγγελία, 1 Timothy 1:5), the Gospel viewed as a rule of life” (so Ell. and Alf.). St. Paul would not have distinguished this from the charge given to Timothy at his baptism. Cyril Jer. (Cat. 1 Timothy 6:13), in quoting this passage, substitutes ταύτην τὴν παραδεδομένην πίστιν for ἐντολήν. This interpretation is permissible so long as we do not divorce creed from character.
ἄσπιλον ἀνεπίλημπτον: These epithets present a difficulty somewhat similar to that presented by τηρῆσαι. ἄσπιλος is a personal epithet (though applied to οὐρανός, Job 15:15, Symm.); and so is ἀνεπίλημπτος. See reff. on both. Alford shows, after De Wette, by examples from Philo and Plato, that ἀνεπίλ. may be applied to impersonal objects, such as τέχνη, τὸ λεγόμενον. Nevertheless although it would be intolerably awkward to refer the adjectives to σε—the ordinary construction with τηρεῖν being that the qualifying adj. should belong to its object, e.g., 1 Timothy 5:22; Jam 1:27; 2 Corinthians 11:9 (Alf.)—yet St. Paul had the personal reference to Timothy chiefly in his mind when he chose these words as qualifying ἐντολήν; and the R.V., which places a comma after commandment, possibly is intended to suggest a similar view. The man and the word are similarly identified in the parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:19, etc.). If Timothy “keeps himself unspotted” (Jam 1:27) and “without reproach,” the ἐντολή, so far as he is concerned, will be maintained flawless.
The Ancient Homily which used to be attributed to Clem. Rom. contains a sentence written in a similar tone (§8), τηρήσατε τὴν σάρκα ἁγνὴν καὶ τὴν σφραγῖδα ἄσπιλον, ἵνα τὴν ζωην ἀπολάβωμεν.
μέχρι τῆς ἐπιφανείας, κ.τ.λ.: Death may mark the close of our probation state; but we shall not render the account of our stewardship until the ἐπιφάνεια. When the Pastorals were written the ἐπιφάνεια had in men’s thoughts of it receded beyond each man’s death. At an earlier period Christians set it before them as men now set death. In 2 Thessalonians 2:8 the compound phrase occurs ἐπιφάν. τῆς παρουσίας αὐτοῦ. ἐπιφάνεια is the term used in the Pastoral Epistles (see reff.); but the Second Coming of Christ is called παρουσία in 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 2 Thessalonians 2:1. In 2 Timothy 1:10, ἐπιφάνεια includes the first manifestation of Christ in the flesh; and this application of the term is in exact correspondence with its use in heathen sacred associations, where it denoted “a conspicuous appearance or intervention of the higher powers on behalf of their worshippers”. The title ἐπιφανής, assumed by the Seleucidæ, meant a claim to be worshipped as an incarnation of Zeus or Apollo, as the case might be (see Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, vii., vii. 380).14. that thou keep this commandment] the commandment; this phrase in the singular or plural (as indicated above, 1 Timothy 6:13) specially characterises St John’s first epistle and is closely linked with the confession of the true Christ: and the commandment there is ‘love’: see e.g. 1 John 3:23. Again St Paul here, in 1 Timothy 6:13-14, ‘I charge thee’ &c. Is clearly recurring to ‘the charge’ of 1 Timothy 1:5, ‘the end’ of which is ‘love, out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned.’ We have therefore no difficulty as to ‘the commandment’ here.
without spot, unrebukeable] Both words used of persons only in N.T., elsewhere of things; the latter has occurred 1 Timothy 3:2 and 1 Timothy 5:7, and so A.V. apparently here refers them to Timothy; R.V. alters, giving the alliter ation and leaving open the question whether they agree with the subject or the object without spot, without reproach. The early Greek interpreters take them with ‘commandment,’ which on the whole the construction favours.
the appearing of our Lord] At His second Advent; lit. ‘the Epiphany.’ After use in the Apostle’s earliest letters, 2 Thessalonians 2:8, which dealt directly with the subject, the word has been dormant till now; now in each of the latest letters (here and Titus 2:13 and 2 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:8) it shines out, as is so natural after the 15 years that have made an old man of him:—‘Surely the world too is growing old; Timothy may see His coming: yet let it be its own time—no nearer, no further.’1 Timothy 6:14. Τὴν) this.—ἄσπιλον, ἀνεπίληπτον, without spot, unrebukeable) in the masculine gender.—μέχρι, until) Believers, in regulating their practice, used in that day to set before themselves the day of Christ as near at hand: we are accustomed to set before us the hour of death.—ἐπιφανείας, the appearing) This word often occurs in the second Epistle to Timothy and in the Epistle to Titus.
 i.e. Agreeing with σε, not with τὴν ἐντολήν.—ED.Verse 14. - The for this, A.V. without reproach for unrebukable, A.V. The commandment (τὴν ἐντολὴν). The phrase is peculiar, and must have some special meaning. Perhaps, as Bishop Wordsworth expounds it, "the commandment" is that law of faith and duty to which Timothy vowed obedience at his baptism, and is parallel to "the good confession." Some think that the command given in vers. 11, 12 is referred to; and this is the meaning of the A.V. "this." Without spot, without reproach. There is a difference of opinion among commentators, whether these two adjectives (ἄσπιλον ἀνέπιληπτον) belong to the commandment or to the person, i.e. Timothy. The introduction of σέ after τηρῆσαι; the facts that τηρῆσαι τὰς ἐντόλας, without any addition, means "to keep the commandments," and that in the New Testament, ἄσπιλος and ἀνέπιληπτος always are used of persons, not things (James 1:27; 1 Peter 1:19; 2 Peter 3:14; 1 Timothy 3:2, 5:7); and the consideration that the idea of the person being found blameless in, or kept blameless unto, the coming of Christ. is a frequent one in the Epistles (Jude 1:24; 2 Peter 3:14; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Colossians 1:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:23), - seem to point strongly, if not conclusively, to the adjectives ἄσπιλον and ἀνεπίληπτον here agreeing with σέ, not with ἐντολήν. The appearing (τὴν ἐπιφανείαν). The thought of the second advent of the Lord Jesus, always prominent in the mind of St. Paul (1 Corinthians 1:7, 8; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 15:23; Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:9, etc.), seems to have acquired fresh intensity amidst the troubles and dangers of the closing years of his life, both as an object of hope and as a motive of action (2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:12; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13).
Usually of a single commandment or injunction, but sometimes for the whole body of the moral precepts of Christianity, as 2 Peter 2:21; 2 Peter 3:2. The reference may be explained by ἡ παραγγελία the commandment, 1 Timothy 1:5, meaning the gospel as the divine standard of conduct and faith. Comp. 2 Timothy 1:14. The phrase τηρεῖν τὴν ἐντολὴν to keep the commandment is Johannine. See John 14:15, John 14:21; John 15:10; 1 John 2:3, 1 John 2:4; 1 John 3:22, 1 John 3:24; 1 John 5:3.
Without spot (ἄσπιλον)
See on 2 Thessalonians 2:8. In the Books of Maccabees it is used to describe appearances and interventions of God for the aid of his people. See 2 Macc. 2:21; 3:24; 14:15; 15:27; 3 Macc. 5:8, 51. In 2 Timothy 4:18, and Titus 2:13, it denotes, as here, the second coming of Christ. In 2 Timothy 1:10, his historical manifestation, for which also the verb ἐπιφαίνειν is used, Titus 2:11; Titus 3:4. for the Lord is second advent Paul commonly uses παρουσία presence; once the verb φανεροῦν to make manifest (Colossians 3:4), and once ἀποκάλυψις revelation (2 Thessalonians 1:7). It is quite possible that the word ἐπιφάνεια, so characteristic of these Epistles, grew out of the Gnostic vocabulary, in which it was used of the sudden appearing of the hitherto concealed heavenly aeon, Christ. This they compared to a sudden light from heaven; and Christ, who thus appeared, though only docetically, without an actual fleshly body, was styled σωτὴρ savior, although his oneness with the God of creation was denied. The Creator and the Redeemer were not the same, but were rather opposed. Christ was only a factor of a great cosmological process of development. As Neander observes: "The distinctive aim of the Gnostics was to apprehend the appearance of Christ and the new creation proceeding from him in their connection with the evolution of the whole universe."
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