1 Timothy 6:20
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
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(20) O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust.—More literally and better rendered, O Timothy, keep the trust committed to thee. It is a beautiful thought which sees in these few earnest closing words the very handwriting of the worn and aged Apostle St. Paul. The Epistle, no doubt dictated by the old man, was in the handwriting of some friend of St. Paul and the Church, who acted as his scribe; but, as seems to have been sometimes his habit (see especially the closing words of the Galatian Letter), the last pleading reminder was added by the hand of the Apostle himself. “O Timothy”—he writes now no longer addressing church or pastor, but his own favourite friend and pupil, the loved heir of his God-inspired traditions and maxims, which so faithfully represented the doctrine and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth—“O Timothy, keep the sacred trust committed to thy charge.”

This “sacred trust,” so solemnly committed as the parting charge to Timothy, was “the doctrine delivered by St. Paul to him to preach,” the central point of which, we know from the Apostle’s other writings, was the teaching respecting the atonement and the precious blood of Christ. There is a beautiful, though somewhat lengthened, paraphrase of the “Trust” in the Commonitorium of Vincentius Lirinensis, composed about A.D. 430. “What is meant,” he asks, “by ‘keep the trust?’ The disciple of St. Paul must keep the sound doctrine of his master safe from robbers and foes. . . . What is meant by ‘the trust?’ Something intrusted to you to keep—not a possession you have discovered for yourself; something you have received from another—not what you have thought out for yourself . . . of this ‘trust,’ remember, you are nothing but the guardian. . . . What, then, is the meaning of ‘keep the trust?’ It is surely nothing else than ‘guard the treasure of the Catholic faith.’ . . . Gold have you received; see that you hand gold on to others.”

“Is there, then,” asks this same wise writer “to be no progress, no development in religious teaching? Yes,” he answers; “there should be a real progress, a marked development, but it must partake of the nature of a progress, not of a change. . . . Let religion in the soul follow the example of the growth of the various members which compose the body, and which, as years roll on, become ever stronger and more perfect, but which, notwithstanding their growth and developed beauty, always remain the same.”

Avoiding profane and vain babblings.—The Apostle has before in this Epistle warned Timothy against these useless, profitless discussions. Anything like theological controversy and discussion seems to. have been distasteful to St. Paul, as tending to augment dissension and hatred, and to exalt into an undue prominence mere words and phrases.

Oppositions of science falsely so called.—Rather, of knowledge falsely so called. These “oppositions” have been supposed by some to be a special allusion to some of the Gnostic theories of the opposition between the Law and the Gospel, of which peculiar school, later, Marcion was the great teacher. It is hardly likely that any definite Gnostic teaching had as yet been heard in Ephesus, but there is little doubt that the seeds of much of the Gnosticism of the next century were—when St. Paul wrote to Timothy—being then sown in some of the Jewish schools of Ephesus and the neighbouring cities. (Comp. the allusions to these Jewish and cabalistic schools in St. Paul’s letter to the Colossian Church.) The “oppositions” here may be understood as referring generally to the theories of the false teachers, who were undermining the doctrine of St. Paul as taught by Timothy.

1 Timothy 6:20-21. To conclude all: O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust — The original expression, την παρακαταθηκην φυλαξον, is, literally, guard the deposite; namely, the purity of gospel doctrine, with the dispensation of which thou art intrusted; avoiding profane and vain babblings — See 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:7; and oppositions of science falsely so called — Such philosophical disquisitions and debates, as both contradict one another, and were contrary to the truth, though reckoned high points of knowledge. Though it is not certain that the name of Gnostics, or the knowing men, was used in the church so early to denominate a distinct sect, yet it is highly probable that they who opposed the apostle made extraordinary pretences to knowledge, and this text seems sufficient to prove it. Indeed, most of the ancient heretics were great pretenders to knowledge. Which knowledge, some teachers professing to have attained, (1 Timothy 1:6-7,) have erred concerning the faith — Have departed from the true Christian doctrine, some entirely forsaking it, and others corrupting it with gross adulterations. Grace be with thee — To guide, in all things, thy judgment and thy conduct. This epistle being chiefly designed for Timothy’s own use, no salutations were sent to any of the brethren at Ephesus.

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.Keep that which is committed to thy trust - All that is entrusted to you, and to which reference has been particularly made in this Epistle. The honor of the gospel, and the interests of religion, had been specially committed to him; and he was sacredly to guard this holy trust, and not suffer it to be wrested from him.

Avoiding profane and vain babblings - Greek, "Profane, empty words." The reference is to such controversies and doctrines as tended only to produce strife, and were not adapted to promote the edification of the church; see the notes on 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:7.

And oppositions of science falsely so called - Religion has nothing to fear from true science, and the minister of the gospel is not exhorted to dread that. Real science, in all its advances, contributes to the support of religion; and just in proportion as that is promoted will it be found to sustain the Bible, and to confirm the claims of religion to the faith of mankind. See this illustrated at length in Wiseman's Lectures on the connection between science and religion. It is only false or pretended science that religion has to dread, and which the friend of Christianity is to avoid. The meaning here is, that Timothy was to avoid everything which falsely laid claim to being "knowledge" or "science." There was much of this in the world at the time the apostle wrote; and this, more perhaps than anything else, has tended to corrupt true religion since.

20, 21. Recapitulatory conclusion: the main aim of the whole Epistle being here summarily stated.

O Timothy—a personal appeal, marking at once his affection for Timothy, and his prescience of the coming heresies.

keep—from spiritual thieves, and from enemies who will, while men sleep, sow tares amidst the good seed sown by the Son of man.

that which is committed to thy trust—Greek, "the deposit" (1Ti 1:18; 2Ti 1:12, 14; 2:2). "The true" or "sound doctrine" to be taught, as opposed to "the science falsely so called," which leads to "error concerning the faith" (1Ti 6:21). "It is not thine: it is another's property with which thou hast been entrusted: Diminish it not at all" [Chrysostom]. "That which was entrusted to thee, not found by thee; which thou hast received, not invented; a matter not of genius, but of teaching; not of private usurpation, but of public tradition; a matter brought to thee, not put forth by thee, in which thou oughtest to be not an enlarger, but a guardian; not an originator, but a disciple; not leading, but following. 'Keep,' saith he, 'the deposit,'; preserve intact and inviolate the talent of the catholic faith. What has been entrusted to thee, let that same remain with thee; let that same be handed down by thee. Gold thou hast received, gold return. I should be sorry thou shouldest substitute aught else. I should be sorry that for gold thou shouldest substitute lead impudently, or brass fraudulently. I do not want the mere appearance of gold, but its actual reality. Not that there is to be no progress in religion in Christ's Church. Let there be so by all means, and the greatest progress; but then let it be real progress, not a change of the faith. Let the intelligence of the whole Church and its individual members increase exceedingly, provided it be only in its own kind, the doctrine being still the same. Let the religion of the soul resemble the growth of the body,which, though it develops its several parts in the progress of years, yet remains the same as it was essentially" [Vincentius Lirinensis, A.D. 434].

avoiding—"turning away from" (compare 2Ti 3:4). Even as they have "turned away from the truth" (1Ti 1:6; 5:15; 2Ti 4:4).

profane—(1Ti 4:7; 2Ti 2:16).

vain—Greek, "empty": mere "strifes of words," 1Ti 6:4, producing no moral fruit.

oppositions—dialectic antithesis of the false teachers [Alford]. Wiesinger, not so probably, "oppositions to the sound doctrine." I think it likely germs existed already of the heresy of dualistic oppositions, namely, between the good and evil principle, afterwards fully developed in Gnosticism. Contrast Paul's just antithesis (1Ti 3:16; 6:5, 6; 2Ti 2:15-23).

science falsely so called—where there is not faith, there is not knowledge [Chrysostom]. There was true "knowledge," a special gift of the Spirit, which was abused by some (1Co 8:1; 12:8; 14:6). This gift was soon counterfeited by false teachers arrogating to themselves pre-eminently the gift (Col 2:8, 18, 23). Hence arose the creeds of the Church, called symbols, that is, in Greek, "watchwords," or a test whereby the orthodox might distinguish one another in opposition to the heretical. Perhaps here, 1Ti 6:20, and 2Ti 1:13, 14, imply the existence of some such brief formula of doctrine then existing in the Church; if so, we see a good reason for its not being written in Scripture, which is designed not to give dogmatic formularies, but to be the fountain whence all such formularies are to be drawn according to the exigencies of the several churches and ages. Probably thus a portion of the so-called apostle's creed may have had their sanction, and been preserved solely by tradition on this account. "The creed, handed down from the apostles, is not written on paper and with ink, but on fleshy tables of the heart" Jerome [Against John of Jerusalem, 9]. Thus, in the creed, contrary to the "oppositions" (the germs of which probably existed in the Church in Paul's latter days) whereby the aeons were set off in pairs, God is stated to be "the Father Almighty," or all-governing "maker of heaven and earth" [Bishop Hinds].

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust; either the doctrine of the gospel, which ministers ought to keep pure, and without mixture, or the ministerial office; be true and faithful in the discharge of it, preaching Christ and the doctrine of Christ.

Avoiding profane and vain babblings; avoid all impertinent discoursings under the notion of preaching, which in thy discharge of that work are the best of them but profane babblings.

And oppositions of science falsely so called; avoid also all idle speculations, and disputations, no way serving to the end of preaching, and falsely called science.

Keep that which is committed to thy trust,.... That is, the Gospel, see 1 Timothy 1:11 which is a rich treasure put into earthen vessels, and ought to be kept pure and uncorrupt, and faithfully dispensed, and diligently preserved, that so it may be continued genuine and sincere, and not be either adulterated and depraved, or be taken away by false teachers. And it may also include his gifts for the ministration of it, which were to be kept in use, and stirred up, and not neglected, but cultivated and improved to the advantage of the church, and of the interest of Christ:

avoiding profane and vain babblings; about the law, and circumcision, and other things, which the false teachers insisted much on, and amused their hearers with; and which were vain, empty, useless, and unprofitable talk. Some copies, and so the Vulgate Latin version, read, "profane newnesses of words"; or new words, which ought not to be introduced, for they often bring in new doctrines: the form of sound words, the wholesome words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth, should be held fast; and especially all new words should be avoided, which are contrary to them, or in the least weaken them, or detract from them.

And oppositions of science falsely so called; the false teachers boasted of their science and knowledge, but it was not true, solid, spiritual, and saving; it was not an experimental knowledge of the Gospel; it was not the excellent knowledge of Christ, which has eternal life connected with it; it was merely notional and speculative; it was idle, empty, and useless, mere Pagan philosophy, and vain deceit, upon which they formed antitheses, or oppositions and objections to the truths of the Gospel; and even opposed themselves, and the word of God, as well as the faithful ministers of it.

(Knowledge is not determined by a "show of hands". Even though the majority of people believe something, that does not make it true. The majority today do not believe in Noah's flood, 2 Peter 3:4. It was so in Noah's day also, but the unbelievers all drowned! Many fervently believe in evolution and try to compromise the scriptures with it. This verse stands as a stark warning to those who do not try everything through God's Word. Isaiah 8:20 Editor.)

{13} O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

(13) He repeats the most important of all the former exhortations, which ought to be deeply imprinted in the minds of all ministers of the word, that is, that they avoid all vain babblings of false wisdom, and continue in the simplicity of sincere doctrine.

1 Timothy 6:20-21. Final exhortation and benediction to Timothy. The apostle begins fervently and impressively with: ὦ Τιμόθεε (Matthies).

τὴν παραθήκην φύλαξον] comp. 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:14; παραθήκη is a “possession entrusted;” Paul does not say what kind of possession. Even in these parallel passages a more precise definition is not given, except that at 1 Timothy 6:12 he denotes by μου that it is entrusted to him, and in 1 Timothy 6:14 adds the adjective καλήν. In any case there is meant by it here a gift entrusted to Timothy by God, which gift he is to preserve (φύλαξον) from every hurt. As the apostle puts its preservation (φυλάσσειν) in close connection with the ἐκτρέπεσθαι of the heretics, we may understand by it either Timothy’s διακονία (de Wette, Otto), or the gospel, “sound doctrine” (Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Hofmann).

As the chief purpose of the epistle is to instruct Timothy regarding his conduct in the ministry committed to him, it seems right to understand by παραθήκη a possession entrusted, not to all Christians, but to Timothy in particular. Thus—in spite of the absence of σου—the first view deserves the preference, all the more that in the other passages quoted this meaning of the word is the most suitable. The next word, ἐκτρεπόμενος, shows that Timothy would injure his office by entering upon the βέβηλοι κενοφωνίαι. Plitt arbitrarily takes παραθήκη as equivalent to “eternal life.”

ἐκτρεπόμενος τὰς βεβήλους κενοφωνίας] ἐκτρέπεσθαι, properly: “turn away from anything;” then with the accusative (as in 2 Timothy 3:5 : ἀποτρέπεσθαι): “avoid,” synonymous with παραιτεῖσθαι.

κενοφωνία] synonymous with ματαιολογία, 1 Timothy 1:6; comp. 2 Timothy 2:16 : “empty talk without anything in it.”

This talk is still more precisely defined by the next words: καὶ ἀντιθέσεις τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως] It is to be observed that ἀντιθέσεις is closely connected with the previous κενοφωνίας, the article τάς belonging to both words and the genitive τῆς ψευδ. γνώσεως referring to both alike. Hence ἀντιθέσεις must here express some thought corresponding with κενοφωνίας. It is not therefore advisable to understand by it in general terms “the statutes of the heretics against the gospel” (Matthies, Wiesinger), or “the controversial theses of the heretics directed against the gospel” (so before in this commentary[210]); it is much more correct to understand it of the theses which the heretics sought to maintain against one another (Hofmann). Thus understood, the word corresponds to λογομαχίαι in 1 Timothy 6:4. It is possible that these had the character of dialectic proofs (Conybeare and Howson, quoted in van Oosterzee), but the word itself does not show this. Baur’s assertion is purely arbitrary, that the contrariae oppositiones are here meant which Marcion exerted himself to establish between the law and the gospel.

τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως] The expression is easily explained by the fact that the heretics boasted of possessing a knowledge, a φιλοσοφία (Colossians 2:8), in which there was a more perfect science of divine things than that presented by the gospel.

Paul was also acquainted with a γνῶσις, which, however, was rooted in faith, and was effected by the πνεῦμα Χριστοῦ. But the γνῶσις of the heretics did not deserve this name, and hence Paul called it ψευδώνυμος (occurring only here in the N. T.); on which Chrysostom aptly remarks: ὅταν γὰρ πίστις μὴ εἶ, γνῶσις οὐκ ἔστιν. Baur, without just ground, seeks to draw from the use of this word a proof for his hypothesis that the epistle was composed at the date of the heresy of Marcion.—1 Timothy 6:21. ἥν τινες ἐπαγγελλόμενοι] ἐπαγγέλλεσθαι stands here in the same sense as in 1 Timothy 2:10; Luther inexactly: “which some allege.”

τερὶ τὴν πίστιν ἠστόχησαν] The same construction in 2 Timothy 2:18; with the genitive, 1 Timothy 1:6. The ἐπαγγέλλεσθαι τὴν ψευδ. γν. includes (comp. 1 Timothy 1:6) the ἀστοχεῖν περὶ τ. πίστιν, “erring in regard to the faith.” This Wiesinger wrongly denies, with the remark that “the apostle did not consider the mere occupation with such things to be apostasy, but only a possible occasion for apostasy.[211] Ἐπαγγ. manifestly denotes more than merely being occupied with a thing. By τινες here, as in 1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 1:6 (1 Timothy 6:3), we must understand the heretics.

[210] Against these explanations there is also the relative clause ἣν κ.τ.λ. attached to γνώσεως, since, of course, the followers of a γνῶσις containing anti-evangelic doctrines had departed from the faith.

[211] Hofmann, coinciding with Wiesinger’s view, says: “The occupation with that which claimed, but did not deserve, the name of science, brought them unawares on the wrong track;” but the “unawares” is purely imported into the verse.

1 Timothy 6:20. As Ell. points out, this concluding apostrophe, like the last paragraph in 2 Cor. (2 Corinthians 13:11 sqq,), is a summary of the whole epistle.

On the intensity of the appeal in the use of the personal name see on 1 Timothy 1:18.

τὴν παραθήκην: depositum. The term occurs in a similar connexion with φυλάσσω, 2 Timothy 1:14, and also in 2 Timothy 1:12, where see note. Here, and in 2 Timothy 1:14. it means, as Chrys. explains, ἡ πίστις, τὸ κήρυγμα; so Vincent of Lerins, from whose Commonitorium (c. 22) Alf. quotes. “Quid est depositum? id est. quod tibi creditum est, non quod a te inventum; quod accepisti, non quod excogitasti; rem non ingenii, sed doctrinae; non usurpationis privatae, sed publicae traditionis … catholicae fidei talentum inviolatum illibatumque conserva.… Aurum accepisti, aurum redde: nolo mihi pro aliis alia subjicias: nolo pro auro aut impudenter plumbum, aut fraudulenter aeramenta supponas.” That the “deposit” is practically identical with the “charge,” ch. 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:18, “the sound doctrine,” 1 Timothy 1:10, “the commandment,” 1 Timothy 6:14, is indicated by the use of the cognate verb παρατίθεμαι in 1 Timothy 1:18, 2 Timothy 2:2, and the correlative παρέλαβες, Colossians 4:17, and even more by the contrast here between it and “the knowledge falsely so called”.

ἐκτρεπόμενος: turning away from, devitans.

τὰς βεβήλους κενοφωνίας: In 2 Timothy 2:16 the Vulg. has vaniloquia. The rendering vocum novitates found here in Vulg. and O.L. represents the variant καινοφωνίας. The term does not differ much from ματαιολογία, 1 Timothy 1:6, which is also rendered vaniloquium.

ἀντιθέσεις: In face of the general anarthrous character of the Greek of these epistles it is not certain that the absence of an article before ἀντιθ. proves that it is qualified by βεβήλους. The meaning of ἀντιθ. is partly fixed by κενοφωνίας, to which it is in some sort an explanatory appendix; but it must finally depend upon the signification we attach to τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως. The epithet ψευδων. is sufficient to prove that γνῶσις was specially claimed by the heretics whom St. Paul has in his mind. That it should be so is in harmony with the other notices which we find in these epistles suggestive of a puerile and profitless intellectual subtlety, as opposed to the practical moral character of Christianity. We are reminded of the contrast in 1 Corinthians 8:1, “Knowledge puffeth up, but love buildeth up”. Hort (Judaistic Christianity, p. 139 sqq.) proves that γνῶσις here and elsewhere in N.T. (Luke 11:52; Romans 2:20 sq.) refers to the special lore of those who interpreted mystically the O.T., especially the Law. Knowledge which is merely theoretical, the knowledge of God professed by those who “by their works deny Him” (Titus 1:16), is not real knowledge. The ἀντιθέσεις then of this spurious knowledge would be the dialectical distinctions and niceties of the false teachers. Perhaps inconsistencies is what is meant. For an example of ἀντίθετος in this sense, see Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, vii., 6:275. Something more definite than (a) oppositions, i.e., objections of opponents (so Chrys. Theoph. and von Soden, who compares ἀντιδιατιθεμένους, 2 Timothy 2:25) is implied; but certainly not (b) the formal categorical oppositions between the Law and the Gospel alleged by Marcion.

20, 21. A last Appeal. The keeping of the Deposit

20. See the summary above at 1 Timothy 6:3. This brief résumé, at the close, of the main anxiety of the whole Epistle is like the corresponding résumé, 1 Timothy 6:16, of the rule for widows, and v. 24 of the visitation of presbyters.

O Timothy] Previously, and in 2 Tim., when the address is less intense and solemn, ‘my child,’ ‘my child Timothy.’

keep] The stronger word guard. Compare 1 John 5:21, ‘Little children, guard yourselves from idols.’

that which is committed to thy trust] The mss. favour the simpler noun, compounded with only one preposition, here and in the only other places where the word occurs in N. T., 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:14, the latter place being exactly parallel. What is this ‘deposit?’ it has been thought to be (1) grace for his own spiritual life, ‘the commandment’ above 1 Timothy 6:14, (2) grace for the office of superintending the Church at Ephesus, ‘the charge’ above 1 Timothy 6:17 and elsewhere; and these are the two subjects pressed most closely upon Timothy, next to the great, the recurring and now all absorbing anxiety, that he may have (3) grace to maintain sound doctrine; the ‘charge’ of 1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 1:18, 1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 4:16, 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2 Timothy 2:2; 2 Timothy 2:16. The words which follow are alone sufficient to make (3) the certain reference. In effect, to use the words quoted from St Vincent of the island-school of Lerins (the author of the famous canon of Christian doctrine ‘quod semper quod ubique quod ab omnibus’), St Paul says to Timothy ‘Depositum custodi: catholicae fidei talentum inviolatum illibatumque conserva.’

avoiding profane and vain babblings] Lit. turning away from the profane babblings; the article with ‘babblings’ and not with ‘oppositions ‘shews that both go together, with ‘knowledge.’ ‘Babblings is another of the ‘Pastoral’ compounds recurring in 2 Timothy 2:16. The word is literally ‘empty voicings,’ vox et praeterea nihil, windbag; speculations and errors which are the complete opposite of the solid Church truth on its firm foundation and rock, ‘Thou art the Christ.’ For the accus. after this verb, cf. Winer, § 38, 2, 6.

oppositions of science falsely so called] Rather, as R.V. the knowledge which is falsely so called. ‘The knowledge falsely so called’ is in the Greek the well-known Gnosis, only used here in N. T. with direct reference to the heretical teaching, though the allusions, both with substantive and verb, imply that assumptions of superior knowledge were among the claims of the new theology. The ‘oppositions’ meant are probably the dualistic oppositions between the good and evil principle, see introduction, pp. 45, 46; though some explain them as the dialectical niceties and subtle rhetorical antitheses of the teachers. See Dr Hort’s interpretation, Appendix B. This peculiar ‘Pastoral’ word goes to make the Apostle’s biting ‘aculeus in fine.’

1 Timothy 6:20. Ὦ Τιμόθεε, O Timothy) He calls him familiarly his son, ch. 1 Timothy 1:18, with gravity and affection. What comes last in 1 Timothy 6:20-21, corresponds to the beginning of the epistle, and is to be explained from it.—τὴν παραθήκην, what is committed) 1 Timothy 1:18. So the commandment, 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:14, note. The opposite in this passage is vain babblings, emptiness of words.—τὰς βεβήλους κενοφωνίας, profane and vain babblings) LXX., τοὺς κενολογιῦντας for המצפצפים, Isaiah 8:19. Barbarous words were formerly used by the Magi, which are said to have a secret power, though they have in reality none, and are altogether vain. Paul seems to have had respect to this circumstance, as he has substituted the more significant term; for φωνὴ, a voice, an utterance, expresses vehemence; comp. 2 Timothy 2:15-16, note, [where τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας is opposed to κενοφωνίας; the φωνὴ, implying vehemence of voice, being opposed to temperate speech or word, λόγος]. Moreover, the word γνῶσις agrees with the Hebrew ידעוני, a wizard, in the passage quoted above, which the Greeks, in the books of Samuel and Kings at least, have interpreted γνώστην [as we use the term, “a wise man,” of a dealer in magic, a wizard]. And in this way, Paul calls the false teachers by the terms signifying magi and magic, to show how much he held them in abomination: comp. γόητες, 2 Timothy 3:13. Clemens Al., l. 2, Strom. f. 280, puts under these words of Paul the following: ὑπὸ ταύτης ἐλεγχόμενοι τῆς φωνῆς οἱ ἀπὸ τῶν αἱρέσεων, τὰς πρὸς Τιμόθεον ἀθετοῦσιν ἐπιστολάς, “the heretics being reproved by this word (voice), reject the Epistles to Timothy.”—καὶ ἀντιθέσεις, and oppositions) A false γνῶσις, knowledge, curiously set forth (puffed off) various oppositions taken from philosophy, pretending that there are two Gods opposed to each other as rivals (ἀντιτέχνους), the one good and the other bad; and in both, that there are wonderful ἀντιστοιχίας, corresponding oppositions. Paul notices these oppositions, and at the same time severely ridicules them by a play on the words; because their teachers oppose themselves to the truth, and their θέσεις, positions [taken out of ἀντιθέσεις, oppositions], are contrary to the ‘foundation’ already laid. See the conjugates, ἀντιδιατιθεμένους and θεμέλιος, 2 Timothy 2:25; 2 Timothy 2:19. On the other hand, Paul himself, in his epistles, especially to Timothy, handles most wise oppositions or ἀντιθέσεις: for example, 1 Timothy 1:7-8; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 4:6-7; 1 Timothy 6:2-3; 1 Timothy 6:5-6; 1 Timothy 6:10-11, where we have expressly, But thou [marking an antithesis]. Moreo1Tim 1 Timothy 6 :2 Timothy 2:15-23, in which again the phrase, But thou, is frequent; ch. 1 Timothy 3:10; 1 Timothy 3:14, 1 Timothy 4:5.—ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως, of science falsely so called) which in 1 Timothy 6:21 is to be referred to science, by separating it from its epithet. The Gnostics, who are here denoted by a Metonymy of the abstract for the concrete, boasted of and applied the name science to their teaching; but Paul says that it was so named falsely; they are without understanding, ch. 1 Timothy 1:7.

Verse 20. - Guard for keep, A.V.; unto thee for to thy trust, A.V.; turning away from for avoiding, A.V.; the profane for profane and vain, A.V.; the knowledge which is falsely for science, falsely, A.V. Guard that which is committed unto thee; τὴν παραθήκην (παρακαταθήκην, T.R.). Guard for keep is hardly an improvement. The meaning of "keep," like that of φυλάττω, is to guard, keep watch over, and, by so doing, to preserve safe and uninjured. This meaning is well brought out in the familiar words of Psalm 121, "He that keepeth thee will not slumber.... He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord himself is thy Keeper" (so too Psalm 127:1; Genesis 28:15, etc.). Παραθήκη or παρακαταθήκη, occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in 2 Timothy 1:12, 14, where the apostle uses it (in ver. 12) of his own soul, which he has committed to the safe and faithful keeping of the Lord Jesus Christ; but in ver. 14 in the same sense as here. "That good thing which was committed unto thee guard ['keep,' A.V.]." There does not seem to be any difference between παραθήκη and παρακαταθήκη, which both mean "a deposit," and are used indifferently in classical Greek, though the latter is the more common. The precept to Timothy here is to keep diligent and watchful guard over the faith committed to his trust; to preserve it unaltered and uncorrupt, so as to hand it down to his successors exactly the same as he had received it. Oh that the successors of the apostles had always kept this precept (see Ordination of Priests)! Turning away from (ἐκτρεπόμενος); only here in the middle voice, "turning from," "avoiding," with a transitive sense. In the passive voice it means "to turn out of the path," as in 1 Timothy 1:6; 1 Timothy 5:15; 2 Timothy 4:4. The profane babblings (see 1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 2:16); κενοφωνία; only here and 2 Timothy 2:16, "the utterance of empty words," "words of the lips" (2 Kings 18:20). Oppositions (ἀντιθέσεις); here only in the New Testament. It is a term used in logic and in rhetoric by Plato, Aristotle, etc., for "oppositions" and "antitheses," laying one doctrine by the side of another for comparison, or contrast, or refutation. It seems to allude to the particular method used by the heretics to establish their tenets, in opposition to the statements of the Church on particular points - such as the Law, the Resurrection, etc. The knowledge which is falsely so called. There is a very similar intimation of the growth of an empty philosophy, whose teaching was antagonistic to the teaching of Christ in Colossians 2:8, and with which St. Paul contrasts the true γνώσις in ver. 3. This was clearly the germ (called by Bishop Lightfoot "Gnostic Judaism") of what was later more fully developed as the Gnostic heresy, which, of course, derived its name from γνῶσις, knowledge or science, to which they laid claim (see Bishop Lightfoot's able 'Introduction to the Epistle to Colossians,' specially p. 100; and his notes on 1 Timothy 2:8, sqq.). 1 Timothy 6:20That which is committed to thy trust (τὴν παραθήκην)

Only in Pastorals. Comp. 2 Timothy 1:12, 2 Timothy 1:14. From παρὰ beside or with, and τιθέναι to place. It may mean either something put beside another as an addition or appendix (so Mark 6:41; Acts 16:34), or something put with or in the keeping of another as a trust or deposit. In the latter sense always in lxx. See Leviticus 6:2, Leviticus 6:4; Tob. 10:13; 2 Macc. 3:10, 15. Hdt. vi. 73, of giving hostages; ix. 45, of confidential words intrusted to the hearer's honor. The verb is a favorite with Luke. The meaning here is that teaching which Timothy had received from Paul; the "sound words" which he was to guard as a sacred trust, and communicate to others.

Vain babblings (κενοφωνίας)

Only in Pastorals. olxx, oClass. From κενός empty and φωνή voice.

Oppositions of science falsely so called (ἀνιθέσεις τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως)

Better, oppositions of the falsely-named knowledge. Ἁντίθεσις, N.T.o. olxx. Used here, in its simple sense, of the arguments and teachings of those who opposed the true Christian doctrine as intrusted to Timothy. Γνῶσις knowledge was the characteristic word of the Gnostic school, the most formidable enemy of the church of the second century. The Gnostics claimed a superior knowledge peculiar to an intellectual caste. According to them, it was by this philosophic insight, as opposed to faith, that humanity was to be regenerated. faith was suited only to the rude masses, the animal-men. The intellectual questions which occupied these teachers were two: to explain the work of creation, and to account for the existence of evil. Their ethical problem was how to develop the higher nature in the environment of matter which was essentially evil. In morals they ran to two opposite extremes - asceticism and licentiousness. The principal representatives of the school were Basilides, Valentinus, and Marcion. Although Gnosticism as a distinct system did not reach its full development until about the middle of the second century, foreshadowings of it appear in the heresy at which Paul's Colossian letter was aimed. It is not strange if we find in the Pastoral Epistles allusions pointing to Gnostic errors; but, as already remarked, it is impossible to refer these allusions to any one definite system of error. The word γνῶσις cannot therefore be interpreted to mean the Gnostic system; while it may properly be understood as referring to that conceit of knowledge which opposed itself to the Christian faith. Ψευδώνυμος falsely-named, N.T.o. olxx. It characterises the γνῶσις as claiming that name without warrant, and as being mere vain babbling. Comp. Colossians 2:8.

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