1 Timothy 6:15
Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
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(15) Which in his times he shall shew.—More accurately rendered, which in his own seasons. Here the language of fervid expectation is qualified by words which imply that in St. Paul’s mind then there was no certainty about the period of the “coming of the Lord.” It depended on the unknown and mysterious counsels of the Most High. The impression left upon our minds by the words of this and the preceding verse is that St. Paul had given up all hope of living himself to see the dawn of that awful day, but he deemed it more than probable that his son in the faith would live to witness it. Hence his words to him: “Keep the commandment without spot until the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Who is the blessed and only Potentate.—The stately and rhythmical doxology with which the solemn charge to Timothy is closed was not improbably taken from a hymn loved by the Ephesian Christians, and often sung in their churches; the words, then, were, likely enough, familiar to Timothy and his people, though now receiving a new and deeper meaning than before. Well might Timothy, as example to the flock of Ephesus, keep “the commandment without spot, unrebukeable”—fearlessly, even though danger and death were presented before him as the sure reward of his faithfulness—for He who in His own times should reveal (show) the Lord Jesus returning to earth in glory, was inconceivably greater and grander than any earthly potentate, king, or lord, before whose little throne Timothy might have to stand and be judged for his faithfulness to the “only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.”

Of the first of these sublime titles, God is termed “the blessed,” or the happy, because He is the source of all blessedness and happiness; and the “only Potentate,” in solemn assertion that the Christian’s God was One, and that to none save to Him could this appellation “only Potentate” be applied. Possibly already in Ephesus the teachers of Gnosticism had begun their unhappy work—with their fables of the mighty æons, and their strange Eastern conception of one God the source of good, and another the source of evil.

The King of kings, and Lord of lords.—God is king over those men style kings, and lord over all men call lords here.

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.Which in his times he shall show - Which God will reveal at such times as he shall deem best. It is implied here that the time is unknown to people; see the notes on Acts 1:7.

Who is the blessed and only Potentate - God, who is the ruler over all. The word used here - δυνάστης dunastēs - means one who is "mighty" Luke 1:22, then a prince or ruler; compare Acts 8:27. It is applied here to God as the mighty ruler over the universe.

The King of kings - Who claims dominion over all the kings of the earth. In Revelation 7:14, the same appellation is applied to the Lord Jesus, ascribing to him universal dominion.

Lord of lords - The idea here is, that all the sovereigns of the earth are under his sway; that none of them can prevent the accomplishment of his purposes; and that he can direct the winding up of human affairs when he pleases.

15. in his times—Greek, "His own [fitting] times" (Ac 1:7). The plural implies successive stages in the manifestation of the kingdom of God, each having its own appropriate time, the regulating principle and knowledge of which rests with the Father (1Ti 2:6; 2Ti 1:9; Tit 1:3; Heb 1:1).

he shall show—"display": an expression appropriate in reference to His "APPEARING," which is stronger than His "coming," and implies its visibility; "manifest": make visible (compare Ac 3:20): "He" is the Father (1Ti 6:16).

blessed—in Himself: so about to be the source of blessing to His people at Christ appearing, whence flows their "blessed hope" (1Ti 1:11; Tit 2:13).

only—(Joh 17:3; Ro 16:27; Re 15:4).

King of kings—elsewhere applied also to Jesus (Re 1:5; 17:14; 19:16).

Which in his times he shall show; on Which Christ coming the second time, God in his time, his proper seasons, (so it is in the Greek), will show. Or: Which appearing of our Lord Jesus God in his time will show; for some Greek copies read the article in the feminine termination, to distinguish the order of the Trinity’s working; as the first coming of Christ is made to be from the Father’s sending, so is also the second coming.

Who is the blessed and only Potentate: God is said to be the only Potentate, because he only hath power in and from himself, by him kings reign; and he is called the blessed Potentate, because he is the fountain of all felicity and happiness.

The King of kings, and Lord of lords; that is, the most mighty King and Lord, to whom all other princes are subjects, all other lords are vassals, Revelation 17:14 19:16. These terms seem here to be applied to the Father, though they agree also to the Son and the Spirit. They are applied to Christ, Revelation 17:14 19:16.

Which in his times he shall show,.... For though the time of Christ's appearing is unknown, yet the thing itself is certain; God will bring it about, and make it manifest in his own time, in the time that is fixed and appointed by him; and which is only known unto him, and which he keeps in his own power, and has reserved in his own breast:

who is the blessed; the Syriac version reads, "the blessed God"; who is blessed in himself, in his Son and Spirit, in the perfections of his nature; who is God all-sufficient, has enough in himself for himself, and for all his creatures; who is the fountain and the author of all blessedness, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, which any of them are, or shall be possessed of:

and only Potentate; or Governor of the whole world, which can be said of none but himself: he is the Governor among the nations, and over all the nations of the earth; his kingdom rules over all other kingdoms; and he has his power and government from himself, whereas all other potentates have their power from him, as follows:

the King of kings, and Lord of lords; from whom they receive their sceptres, crowns, and kingdoms; by whom they reign, and are continued in their power; for he sets up kings, and removes kings at his pleasure, and to him they must be accountable for all their administrations another day; and at present they are under his influence, and at his control; he has their hearts, and their counsels, as well as kingdoms, in his hands, and under his overruling providence; and causes all to answer his wise and eternal purposes. These titles are used by the Jews, who style him, , "Lord of all lords, King over all kings" (s). The same name is given to Christ, Revelation 19:16 which shows him to be equal with the Father.

(s) Zohar in Numb. fol. 100. 2.

Which in his times he shall shew, who is the {f} blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;

(f) He combines many words together for one purpose: by which he confirms the power of God, which if we trust steadfastly in, we will not be moved out of our position.

1 Timothy 6:15-16. The apostle concludes with a doxology, which is attached to the previous words by means of the relative clause ἣνδείξει κ.τ.λ.

ἣν καιροῖς ἰδίοις δείξει] On καιροῖς ἰδ., comp. 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 1:3; also Galatians 6:9.

δείξει] Bengel: ostendi dicitur, quod jam ante erat, Acts 3:20. The verb does not mean “effect;” nor is it, with Heydenreich, to be translated: “which He will show in its majesty, will cause to follow and present in visible glory,” but simply: “which He will make visible, cause to appear.” The expression is used by the apostle in reference to Christ’s present hiddenness. The hope of the near return of Christ did not lead the apostle to fix arbitrarily the hour when that would take place.

Instead of the simple Θεός, there follows, as subject to δείξει, a series of designations for God, by which Paul represents God as the blessed, the only potentate, the immortal, the invisible—in one word, the absolute (comp. with this 1 Timothy 1:17). This he does not simply for the purpose “of giving to his words a more solemn conclusion” (de Wette), but to satisfy the inward impulse of naming the chief features of the idea of God as rooted in the Christian consciousness—specially in opposition to the fictions of the heretics (according to Wiesinger, “in antithetic reference to the striving after earthly riches, rebuked in the preceding verses”).

ὁ μακάριος] comp. 1 Timothy 1:11; μακάριος is to be taken as an adjective, as is clear from the omission of the article before μόνος.

Καὶ μόνος δυνάσγης] To God alone as the Almighty is the predicate δυνάστης due in the absolute sense; hence the addition of μόνος. The supreme power contained in δυνάστης (comp. 2Ma 12:15; 3Ma 5:51) is made still more prominent by the next words: ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν βασιλευόντων κ.τ.λ.; comp. 1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 17:14; Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 136:3.—1 Timothy 6:16. ὁ μόνος ἔχων ἀθανασίαν] comp. 1 Timothy 1:17. Ἀθανασία is synonymous with ἀφθαρσία, 1 Corinthians 15:53; Justin Martyr (Quaest. et Respons. ad Orthod. 61): μόνος ἔχων τὴν ἀθανασίαν λέγεται ὁ Θεός, ὅτι οὐκ ἐκ θελήματος ἄλλου ταύτην ἔχει, καθάπερ οἱ λοιποὶ πάντες ἀθάνατοι, ἀλλʼ ἐκ τῆς οἰκείας οὐσίας.

φῶς οἰκῶν ἀπρόσιτον] This idea that God, who is Himself called light (1 John 1:5), dwells in light, is found nowhere else in the N. T.; but we may compare with it Psalm 104:2; Ezekiel 1:26 ff. Chrysostom remarks on this: οὐκοῦν καὶ τόπῳ ἐμπεριείληπται; ἄπαγε· οὐχ ἵνα τοῦτο νοήσωμεν, ἀλλʼ ἵνα τὸ ἀκατάληπτον τῆς θείας φύσεως παραστήση, φῶς αὐτὸν οἰκεῖν εἶπεν ἀπρόσιτον, οὕτω θεολογήσας, ὡς ἦν αὐτῷ δυνατόν.

The verb οἰκεῖν is found only here in the N. T. with an accusative; the construction is often found in the classics, also 2Ma 5:17; 2Ma 6:2.

ἀπρόσιτος is ἅπ. λεγ. in Holy Scripture. This participial clause does not serve as a reason for the one previous (Hofmann: “by dwelling in light unapproachable”), but adds to it a new definition of the divine nature.

To the idea that God is surrounded by an unapproachable majesty of light, there is attached the corresponding thought: ὃν εἶδεν οὐδεὶς ἀνθρώπων, οὐδὲ ἰδεῖν δύναται; on which comp. John 1:18; 1 John 4:12; Matthew 11:27. The following two sentences may serve as explanation: Theophilus (ad Autol. p. 71): τὸ εἶδος τοῦ Θεοῦμὴ δυνάμενον ὀφθαλμοῖς σαρκίνοις ὁραθῆναι; and Dionysius Areop. (De Divin. Nom. ch. i. p. 376, I. ed. Corder): πάσαις διανοίαις ἀδιανόητόν ἐστι τὸ ὑπὲρ διάνοιαν ἕν.[208]

ᾧ τιμὴ καὶ κράτος αἰώνιον] comp. 1 Timothy 1:17.

[208] There is no good ground for deriving, with Hofmann, all these names for God from His relations “to other potentates who meet with trouble, whom death does not permit to abide, who are not unapproachable and invisible.” And there is as little ground for saying that this doxology was added, because the apostle intended to describe “God who will grant to see the appearance of Jesus as judge with reward or punishment, to describe Him as a potentate who is infinitely more and higher than all earthly kings and lords,” and did so because Timothy “was in danger of injuring his position as a Christian, and his calling as a teacher for the sake of gain” (!).

1 Timothy 6:15. καιροῖς ἰδίοις: See note on 1 Timothy 2:6. In due season may refer primarily either to the appropriateness of the occasion of the ἐπιφάνεια or to the supreme will of the δυνάστης. The wording of the discouragement given by Jesus, in Acts 1:7, to those who would pry into the future makes it natural to suppose that this latter notion chiefly was in St. Paul’s mind here (καιροὺς οὓς ὁ πατὴρ ἔθετο ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ). We may perhaps put it thus: A devout mind recognises the providential ordering of past events as having taken place at the time best fitted for them, and shrinks from the presumption of guessing the appropriate time for future events. Thus there is no presumption in saying “When the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son”; and when the time is ripe, He will send Him again (Acts 3:20).

δείξει: Ell. well explains the force of this verb from John 2:18, τί σημεῖον δεικνύεις ἡμῖν; The last ἐπιφάνεια will be the final proof offered by God to the human race.

The terms of this magnificent characterisation of God are an expansion of the epithets in the doxology in 1 Timothy 1:17 q.v.

μακάριος: See on 1 Timothy 1:11. Philo (de Sacrific. Abelis et Caini, p. 147) has the remarkable parallel, περὶ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀγεννήτου, καὶ ἀφθάρτου, καὶ ἀτρέπτου, καὶ ἁγίου, καὶ μόνου μακαρίου.

δυνάστης is found as a title of God in the Apocrypha. See reff., esp. 2Ma 3:24, δυνάστης ἐπιφανίαν μεγάλην ἐποίησεν. It occurs in the ordinary sense, Luke 1:52, Acts 8:27. The choice of the phrase μόνος δυν. here was perhaps suggested by the thought of His absolute and irresponsible power in arranging the times and seasons for the affairs of men. It is unnecessary to seek any special polemical object in μόνος, as exclusive of dualism. As has been already suggested (on 1 Timothy 1:17), the predications of glory to God that occur in these epistles are probably repeated from eucharistic prayers uttered by St. Paul in the discharge of his prophetic liturgical functions.

ὁ βασιλεύς, κ.τ.λ.: The Vulg. renders rather inconsistently, Rex regum et Dominus dominantium. So also in Revelation 19:16. It is not quite obvious why the phrase is varied from the usual βασιλεὺς βασιλέων (2Ma 13:4; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16) and Κύριος [τῶν] Κυρίων (Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 136:3; Enoch ix. 4). Perhaps the participle gives new vigour to a phrase that had lost its freshness.

15. in his times] R.V. in its own times, apparently because sometimes it must be so, e.g. 1 Timothy 2:6; and this would point to a set meaning and quasi-adverbial use. But in Titus 1:2 inconsistently ‘his own seasons.’

the blessed and only Potentate] The ‘only,’ without being polemical, states the grand truth positively, which is the antidote to the questionings of the heretical negations. See note on 1 Timothy 6:13.

King of kings, and Lord of lords] A title given to our Lord, Revelation 17:14, as the Lamb; clearly here to God the Father—an addition to the many similar proofs of the Unity of the Godhead. Cf. Pearson, On the Creed, Art. 1.

1 Timothy 6:15. Καιροῖς ἰδίοις, in His own fitting times) The plural number is to be noticed, which does not much abridge (does not confine within very narrow limits) the shortness of the times: His own, viz. of which the reason (the regulating principle), power, knowledge, and revelation, is in His own hand. So ἴδιος, ch. 1 Timothy 2:6; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:3. A divine reservation.—δείξει, He shall show) To be shown is an expression used of what formerly existed. God will show Him (Acts 3:20), of whom a most magnificent panegyric follows, involving in it the glory of Christ itself [as well as that of God the Father].—ὁ μακάριος καὶ μόνος δυνάστης, the blessed and only Potentate) These are two predicates:[52] the first, with the addition also of only, is treated of in 1 Timothy 6:16 [“who only hath immortality”]; for the word μακάριος and ἀκήρατος[53] have the same derivation, and signify immortal; and hence honour (1 Timothy 6:16) is due to Him: the second is treated of presently after in this verse, and hence power everlasting (1 Timothy 6:16) is due to Him. This is the reason why men in power, and death threatened by them, should not be feared in the confession of the Gospel. So eternal power is mentioned at Romans 1:20.—τῶν βασιλευότωνΚΥΡΙΕΥΌΝΤΩΝ, of those reigning—of those ruling) Spiritually and politically.

[52] Who is the blessed and only Potentate. ὁ δυνάστης is not the subject of δείξει, but a predicate of its subject.—ED.

[53] Bengel derives μακάριος from μὴ, and κήρ, death; and so ἀκήρατος from α privative, and κὴρ, death. The derivation of ἀκήρατος is rather from α and κεράννυμι: and μακάριος is of dubious etymon. Some give χαίρω (?).—ED.

Verse 15. - Its own for his, A.V. This correction seems to be manifestly right. The same phrase is rendered in 1 Timothy 2:6 and Titus 1:3 "in due time," in the A.V.; but in the R.V. 2:6 is "its own times," and in Titus 1:3 "his own seasons. In Galatians 6:9 καίρῳ ἰδίῳ is also rendered "in due season," in both the A.V. and the R.V. Such a phrase as ἐν καιροῖς ἰδίοις must be taken everywhere in the same sense. It clearly means at the fitting or proper time, and corresponds to the πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου, "the fullness of time," in Galatians 4:4. The two ideas are combined in Luke 1:20 (πληρωθήσονται εἰς τὸν καιρὸν αὐτῶν) and Luke 21:24 (comp. Ephesians 1:10). Shall show (δείξει). Δεικνύειν ἐπιφανείαν, "to show an appearing," is a somewhat unusual phrase, and is more classical than scriptural. The verb and the object are not of cognate sense (as "to display a display," or "to manifest a manifestation"), but the invisible God, God the Father, will, it is said, display the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ. The wonder displayed and manifested to the world is the appearing of Christ in his glory. The Author of that manifestation is God. The blessed; ὁ μακάριος (not εὐλογητός, as in Mark 14:61), is only here and in 1 Timothy 1:11 (where see note) applied to God in Scripture. The blessed and only Potentate. The phrase is a remarkable one. Δυνάστης (Potentate), which is only found elsewhere in the New Testament in Luke 1:52 and Acts 8:27, is applied to God here only. It is, however, so applied in 2 Macc. 3:24 2Macc. 12:15 2Macc. 15:23, where we have Πάσης ἐξουσιας δυνάστης Γόν μέγαν τοῦ κόσμου δυνάστην, and Δυνάστα τὧ῀ν οὐρανῶν; in all which places, as here, the phrase is used to signify, by way of contrast, the superiority of the power of God over all earthly power. In the first of the above-cited passages the language is singularly like that here used by St. Paul. For it is said that ὁ πάσης ἐξουσίας δυνάστης, "the Prince (or Potentate) of all power made a great apparition," or "appearing" (ἐπιφονείαν μεγάλην ἐποίησεν), for the overthrow of the blasphemer and persecutor Heliodorus. St. Paul must have had this in his mind, and compared the effect of "the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ," in overthrowing the Neros of the earth with the overthrow of Heliodorus (comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:7-10). King of kings, and Lord of lords, etc. (compare the slightly different phrase in Revelation 17:14 and Revelation 19:16, applied to the Son). So in Psalm 136:2, 3, God is spoken of as "God of gods, and Lord of lords." 1 Timothy 6:15In his times (καιροῖς ἰδίοις)

Better, his own seasons, or its own seasons. Either the seasons proper to the appearing, or the seasons which God shall see fit to select. See on 1 Timothy 2:6.

Potentate (δυνάστης)

Only here of God. Very often in lxx. See Sir. 46:5; 2 Macc. 12:15, etc. In Class. applied to Zeus (Soph. Antig. 608). In Aesch. Agam. 6, the stars are called λαμπροὶ δυνάσται bright rulers, as the regulators of the seasons.

Of kings (τῶν βασιλευόντων)

Lit. of those who rule as kings. Only here for the noun, βασιλέων. Βασιλεὺς βσιλέων king of kings, Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16.

Of lords (κυριευόντων)

Lit. of those who Lord it. Only here for the noun κυρίων. See κύριος κυρίων Lord of lords, Revelation 19:16; comp. lxx, Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 135:3. Probably liturgical.

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