1 Timothy 6:3
If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
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(3) If any man teach otherwise.—Without confining the reference strictly to what had just been taught respecting the duty of Christian slaves, there is little doubt but that some influential teaching, contrary to St. Paul’s, on the subject of the behaviour and disposition of that unhappy class was in the Apostle’s mind when he wrote the terrible denunciation contained in these three verses against the false teachers of Ephesus. Schismatic and heretical preachers and writers in all ages have sadly hindered the progress of true religion; but in the days of St. Paul, when the foundation-stones of the faith were being so painfully laid, there seems to have been a life-and-death contest between the teachers of the true and the false. In this passage St. Paul lays bare the secret springs of much of this anti-Christian doctrine. There is little doubt but that at Ephesus there existed then a school, professedly Christian, which taught the slave who had accepted the yoke of Christ to rebel against the yoke of any earthly lord. Hence the indignation of St. Paul. “If any man teach otherwise,” different to my interpretation of the rule of Christ, which bids us bear all with brave patience, with loyal fortitude.

And consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ.—The Apostle, no doubt, was referring to well-known sayings of the Redeemer, such as “Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s,” or “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” or “If any man will follow me, let him take up his cross daily, and follow me;” “But I say unto you, resist not evil,” “Love your enemies, pray for them which despitefully use you.” It was upon such sublime sayings as these—no doubt, current watchwords in all the churches—it was upon the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount that St. Paul based his teaching and grounded his advice to the slaves in the flock of Christ. But the false teachers, who would be Timothy’s bitterest and most determined foes at Ephesus, would not consent to these “wholesome words,” though they were the words of the Lord Jesus Christ.

To the doctrine which is according to godliness.—These self-willed men, in consenting not to the sublime words of Christ, at the same time refused to acquiesce in the doctrine which insisted upon a holy life: for Christian truth is inseparable from purity, single-heartedness, self-forgetfulness, brave patience.

1 Timothy 6:3-5. If any man teach otherwise — Than strict, practical holiness, in all its branches; and consent not to wholesome words Υγιαινουσι λογοις, literally, healing, or healthful words, words that have no taint of falsehood, or tendency to encourage sin; and the doctrine which is according to godliness — The sole design and direct tendency of which is to make people godly, and to promote the glory of God, while it secures the salvation of men; he is proud — Greek, τετυφωται, puffed up; which is the cause of his not consenting to this doctrine; knowing nothing — As he ought to know; but doting — Greek, νοστων, being sick, or distempered in his mind; about questions — Dotingly fond of disputes; an evil, but common disease, especially where practice is forgotten. Such contend earnestly for singular phrases and favourite points of their own; but every thing else, however like the preaching of Christ and his apostles, is all law and bondage, and carnal reasoning. And strifes of words, whereof cometh envy — Of the gifts and success of others; contention for the pre- eminence. Such disputants seldom like the prosperity of others, or to be less esteemed themselves; railings Βλασφημιαι, evil speakings, against those that differ from them; evil surmisings — Or unjust suspicions easily entertained against others; it not being their way to think well of those that hold opinions different from theirs. Perverse disputings

Carried on contrary to conscience, by men wholly corrupted in their minds, and destitute of the truth — Of the knowledge of, and faith in, the true doctrine of the gospel; supposing that gain is godliness — That what promises the greatest gain is the most worthy of their pursuit; or who reckon whatever produces most money to be the best religion. A far more common case than is usually supposed. From such withdraw thyself — Shun all society with them.

6:1-5 Christians were not to suppose that religious knowledge, or Christian privileges, gave them any right to despise heathen masters, or to disobey lawful commands, or to expose their faults to others. And such as enjoyed the privilege of living with believing masters, were not to withhold due respect and reverence, because they were equal in respect to religious privileges, but were to serve with double diligence and cheerfulness, because of their faith in Christ, and as partakers of his free salvation. We are not to consent to any words as wholesome, except the words of our Lord Jesus Christ; to these we must give unfeigned consent. Commonly those are most proud who know least; for they do not know themselves. Hence come envy, strife, railings, evil-surmisings, disputes that are all subtlety, and of no solidity, between men of corrupt and carnal minds, ignorant of the truth and its sanctifying power, and seeking their worldly advantage.If any man teach otherwise - Any otherwise than that respect should be shown to masters; and that a more cheerful and ready service should be rendered because they were Christians. It is evidently implied here that some might be disposed to inculcate such views of religion as would produce discontent and a spirit of insubordination among those who were held to servitude. Who they were is not known, nor is it known what arguments they would employ to do it. It would seem probable that the arguments which would be employed would be such as these: that God made all people equal; that all had been redeemed by the same blood; that all true Christians were fellow-heirs of heaven; and that it was wrong to hold a Christian brother in bondage, etc. From undeniable principles it would seem that they drew the inference that slaves ought at once to assert their freedom; that they should refuse obedience to their masters; and that the tendency of their teaching was, instead of removing the evil by the gradual and silent influence of Christian principles, to produce discontent and insurrection. From some of the expressions here used by the apostle, as characteristic of these teachers, it would seem to be probable that these persons were Jews. They were people given to subtle disputations, and those who doted about questions and verbal disputes, and who were intent on gain, supposing that that which conduced to mere worldly prosperity was of course religion. These characteristics apply well to Jewish teachers.

And consent not to wholesome words - Words conducing to a healthful state of the church; that is, doctrines tending to produce order and a due observance of the proprieties of life; doctrines leading to contentment, and sober industry, and the patient endurance of evils.

Even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ - The doctrines of the Saviour - all of which tended to a quiet life, and to a patient endurance of wrongs.

And to the doctrine which is according to godliness - Which tends to produce piety or religion; that is, the doctrine which would be most favorable to an easy and rapid propagation of the gospel. The idea seems to be, that such a state of insubordination and discontent as they would produce, would be unfavorable to the promotion of religion. Who can doubt it?

3. teach otherwise—than I desire thee to "teach" (1Ti 6:2). The Greek indicative implies, he puts not a merely supposed case, but one actually existing, 1Ti 1:3, "Every one who teaches otherwise," that is, who teaches heterodoxy.

consent not—Greek, "accede not to."

wholesome—"sound" (1Ti 1:10): opposed to the false teachers' words, unsound through profitless science and immorality.

words of our Lord Jesus Christ—Paul's inspired words are not merely his own, but are also Christ's words.

If any man teach otherwise; if there be any person who either more publicly or more privately shall take upon him to instruct people otherwise.

And consent not to wholesome words: what he means by wholesome words his next words show; they are called wholesome because they tend to prevent the sickness of sin, or to cure the soul of its spiritual distempers.

Even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; words either spoken by Christ, or from Christ, or tending to his honour and glory, or to the promoting of piety and godliness, or which are according to the rule of godliness.

If any man teach otherwise,.... Or another doctrine, as the Syriac version renders it; a doctrine different from what the apostle had now taught, concerning the duty of servants to their masters; as did the false teachers, who despised dominion or government; not only civil government, and so spoke evil of rulers and magistrates; and church government, and therefore reviled the apostles, elders, and pastors of churches; but family government, and encouraged disobedience to parents and masters; see 2 Peter 2:10

or teach another doctrine, from that of the Bible, of Christ and his apostles:

and consent not to wholesome words: such as the doctrines of the Gospel; they are food to the saints, milk for babes, and meat for strong men; they are sweet and savoury food to a spiritual taste; they are nourishing, and the means of a spiritual growth; they are salutary and healthful; they have no corruption, taint, or poison in them:

even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ; the doctrines which he preached when on each, who was anointed with the Spirit of God without measure, to preach the Gospel, and by whom all the doctrines of grace and truth came; or the doctrines relating to Christ, to his person, offices, grace, righteousness, sacrifice and satisfaction; to what he is, has done, does, and will do.

And to the doctrine which is according to godliness. The whole Gospel is the mystery of godliness; it is the truth that is after it, and it has a tendency to promote true godliness in heart and life: even such is the nature of the more distinguishing doctrines of it, which are charged with licentiousness; as the doctrine of eternal and personal election; for though it is not of works, but of grace, yet holiness is a means fixed in election, and an end secured by it; it is the source and spring of all real holiness; holiness of heart is an evidence of it to believers themselves; and holiness of life is an evidence of it to the world; nor can anything more powerfully engage men to it than the consideration that they are chosen of God to grace and glory. The covenant of grace, which is absolute and unconditional, provides for both internal and external holiness; and the promises of it, under the influence of grace, powerfully operate in the minds of believers, to the cleansing of them from all impurity of flesh and spirit, and to the perfecting of holiness in the fear of the Lord: and so the doctrines of free justification, by the righteousness of Christ, which does not make void the law, nor discourage good works; and of Christ's bearing the sins of his people, and making satisfaction for them, that they being dead to sin might live unto righteousness; and of redemption of them by the blood of Christ from sin, Satan, and the law, which is done that they might be a peculiar people, zealous of good works; and of the effectual calling of them, which is with an holy calling; and of their final perseverance in grace and holiness, are all of them doctrines according to godliness, and greatly encourage and promote it: now, whoever does not accede to these truths, and acquiesce in them, but differs from them, and teaches the reverse of them, he is a false teacher, and is all that the apostle says in the next words.

{5} If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

(5) He severely condemns and excommunicates or casts out of the Church as proud men, those who do not content themselves with Christ's doctrine, (that is to say, the doctrine of godliness) but weary both themselves and others, in vain questions (for all other things are vain), because they do not content themselves in Christ's doctrine. He condemns them as lying deceivers, because they savour or sound of nothing but vanity: as mad men, because they trouble themselves so much in matters of nothing: as evil plagues, because they cause great contentions, and corrupt men's minds and judgment. To be short, he condemns them as profane and wicked, because they abuse the precious name of godliness and religion, for the sake of wicked gain.

1 Timothy 6:3-5. Description of the heretics.

εἴ τις ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖ] On ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν, comp. 1 Timothy 1:3; εἴ τις often occurs in the epistle for ὅστις or the like; comp. 1 Timothy 3:5, 1 Timothy 5:8; the thought is given in its most comprehensive form.

καὶ μὴ προσέρχεται κ.τ.λ.] defines ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν more exactly, characterizing it as opposed to the pure doctrine of the gospel, as a preaching therefore of heresy (not merely “of a doctrine which has not the quality of being pious” (!), Hofmann).

προσέρχεσθαι is used of mental agreement, and is equivalent to “agree with” (de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee); comp. Philo, de Gigantt. p. 289: μηδενὶ προσέρχεσθαι γνώμῃ τῶν εἰρημένων. On ὑγιαίνουσι λόγοις, comp. 1 Timothy 1:10. Hofmann arbitrarily explains the word by: “devote oneself to a thing; employ one’s pains on it.” If προσέχεται is the correct reading, then it is to be explained: “and does not hold fast by sound words.” The genitive τοῦ κυρίου ἡμ. . Χρ. gives the source from which the λόγοι proceed. Καὶ τῇ κατʼ εὐσέβειαν διδασκαλίᾳ] an epexegetic addition to what preceded. The expression is not, with Leo and Wiesinger, to be explained by: doctrina ad pietatem ducens; κατά rather expresses the relation of correspondence, suitability (van Oosterzee). By εὐσέβεια is meant Christian piety.—1 Timothy 6:4. τετύφωται] comp. 1 Timothy 3:6.[199] With this word begins the apodosis, which Wegscheider, Mack, and others find expressed only in ἀφίστασο ἀπὸ τ. τοιούτων, which words we can hardly consider genuine. μηδὲν ἐπιστάμενος (comp. 1 Timothy 1:7), the participle is not to be resolved into “although;” all the more that τετύφωται conveys a suggestion of dumbness. Their knowledge, on which they, presume, is limited to fables, and does not penetrate into the truth.

ἀλλὰ νοσῶν περὶ ζητήσεις καὶ λογομαχίας] νοσῶν, in contrast with ὑγιαίνουσι λόγοις in 1 Timothy 6:3.

Περὶ ζητήσεις κ.τ.λ. gives the sickness of which he is ill (comp. Plato, Phaedr. p. 288: ὁ νοσῶν περὶ λόγων ἀκοήν; Winer, p. 379 [E. T. p. 506]). Luther, not clear: “diseased in questions;” Stier, correct: “diseased with.”

On ζητήσεις, comp. 1 Timothy 1:4; the addition of λογομαχίαι denotes more exactly the nature of the ζητήσεις. Calvin: λογομαχίας nominat contentiosas disputationes de verbis magis, quam de rebus, vel (ut vulgo loquuntur) sine materia aut subjecto. The word (occurring only in later Greek) is ἅπ. λεγ., the verb λογομαχεῖν, 2 Timothy 2:14.

Hitherto he has described the “condition of soul among the ἑτεροδιδασκαλοῦντες” (Wiesinger); the consequences of their ζητ. and λογομ., particularly the destructive tendencies, are given in what follows: ἐξ ὧν γίνεται κ.τ.λ.] φθόνος, ἔρις,[200] ΒΛΑΣΦΗΜΊΑΙ, form a climax. ΒΛΑΣΦΗΜΊΑΙ and ὙΠΌΝΟΙΑΙ ΠΟΝΗΡΑΊ are wrongly understood by Chrysostom of conduct towards God. On the latter expression, equivalent to “wicked suspicion” (Luther), see Wisd. 3:24; the word is ἍΠ. ΛΕΓ. in the N. T. Hofmann wishes to separate ΠΟΝΗΡΑΊ from ὙΠΌΝΟΙΑΙ, and to connect it with the next word, “because ὙΠΟΝΟΕῖΝ in itself means suspecting evil.” But, on the one hand, ὙΠΟΝΟΕῖΝ has often the simple meaning “conjecture” (e.g. Acts 13:25; also in classic Greek); and, on the other hand, “the suspicion of something evil,” and “the evil, wicked suspicion,” are by no means identical things.—1 Timothy 6:5. διαπαρατριβαί] This word and ΠΑΡΑΔΙΑΤΡΙΒΑΊ (according to the usual reading) are not equivalent, as Heydenreich thinks; see Winer, p. 96 [E. T. p. 126]. The distinction between ΠΑΡΑΤΡΙΒΉ and ΔΙΑΤΡΙΒΉ is to be maintained. ΔΙΑΤΡΙΒΉ means, in regard to time: “its consumption, pastime, occupation;” with the prefix ΠΑΡΑ there is added the idea of idle, useless, so that ΠΑΡΑΔΙΑΤΡΙΒΉ denotes the useless occupation of time. The word ΠΑΡΑΤΡΙΒΉ (only in later Greek) means: “wrangling, dispute;” ΔΙΑ serves to intensify the meaning, hence ΔΙΑΠΑΡΑΤΡΙΒΉ is equivalent to “continuous or violent wraingling” (de Wette). Luther translated it: “scholastic disputes.” As the idea of strife has been given already by ἔρις, we might be inclined to consider the Rec. to be the original reading, were the evidence for it not too weak. The same may be said of the reading διατριβαί, which Hofmann, without sufficient ground, maintains to be “what was originally written.” At any rate, the idea “continual wrangling” is not so identical with that of “strife” (ἜΡΙς) as to prevent them from being used together.[201] Reiche paraphrases the reading ΔΙʼ Ἃ ΠΑΡΑΤΡΙΒΑΊ as equivalent to per quae, nempe vitia morbosque animi vs 4, exoriuntur rixae et certamina, etc.; but ΔΙʼ Ἅ is not equivalent to per quae, and the previous ἐξ ὧν is against this construction.

ΔΙΕΦΘΑΡΜΈΝΩΝ ἈΝΘΡΏΠΩΝ ΤῸΝ ΝΟῦΝ] Regarding this accus., see Winer, p. 205 [E. T. p. 287]; comp. 2 Timothy 3:8 (Xenophon, De Exped. Cyri, iv. 259: διεφθαρμένοι τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς): “whose understanding is destroyed.”

καὶ ἀπεστερημένων τῆς ἀληθείας] “who have been robbed of the truth.” This and the previous participial clauses indicate that formerly the heretics had their understanding sound, and were in possession of the truth, but that they had lost both these jewels, according to 1 Timothy 4:1, by the influence of demons. It should never have been denied that they who are thus described were actual heretics.

The next clause adds another peculiar characteristic, which proves the διεφθαρμένων κ.τ.λ.: νομιζόντων πορισμὸν εἶναι τὴν εὐσέβειαν] πορισμός (only here and at 1 Timothy 6:6; comp. Sir 13:19; Sir 14:2) is equivalent to “means of gain,” i.e. a business bringing gain; Luther: “trade.”

Wegscheider wrongly explains εὐσέβεια as equivalent to Ἡ ΚΑΤʼ ΕὐΣΈΒΕΙΑΝ ΔΙΔΑΣΚΑΛΊΑ. The idea is to be kept in its proper meaning; although that which the heretics made to appear ΕὐΣΈΒΕΙΑ was not ΕὐΣΈΒΕΙΑ, but only the appearance of it (2 Timothy 3:5 : ΜΌΡΦΩΣΙΝ ΕὐΣΕΒΕΊΑς), by means of which they sought to make earthly gain (Titus 1:11).

As to the construction, it seems most natural to make the substantive at the beginning of the verse dependent on ἘΞ ὯΝ ΓΊΝΕΤΑΙ, 1 Timothy 6:4, along with the substantives before it. Hofmann, on the contrary, thinks it curious, “that besides the bad things already mentioned, there should also be named those with whom they occur;” and he wishes rather to regard ΠΟΝΗΡΑῚ ΔΙΑΤΡΙΒΑΊ (which he reads) as in apposition to ΖΗΤΉΣΕΙς ΚΑῚ ΛΟΓΟΜΑΧΊΑς, just as in Jam 3:8, where the nominative stands in apposition to the previous accusative as a kind of exclamation. This construction is possible, but it is by no means necessary, and from the structure of the sentence not even probable.

The last remark furnishes the apostle with an opportunity for a digression on Christian contentment.[202]

[199] Hofmann thinks that τετύφωται does not here, as in 1 Timothy 3:6, contain the idea of darkness, since “Paul means to express regarding the schismatics an opinion, not in regard to their moral, but in regard to their spiritual condition.” This opinion is contradicted by the fact that in what follows νοσῶν κ.τ.λ. manifestly denotes a moral fault.

[200] Clemens Al. Stromata, vii. p. 759: ὑπὸ δοξοσοφίας ἐπῃρμένοι ἐρίζοντες πελοῦσι.

[201] Oecumenius explains the expression ἀπὸ μεταφορᾶς τῶν ψωραλέων προβάτων, and Chrysostom says likewise: καθάπερ τὰ ψωραλέα τῶν προβάτων παρατριβόμενα νόσου καὶ τὰ ὑγιαίνοντα ἐμπίμπλησιν, οὕτω καὶ οὗτοι οἱ πονηροὶ ἄνδρες.—The meaning “provocations” (Mack), and this other: “wicked and hurtful meetings or clubs” (Heinrichs), can he assigned neither to παραδιατριβαί nor to διαπαρατριβαί.

[202] Hofmann’s opinion, that the deductions following are not occasioned by the conduct of the heretics, but by Timothy’s conduct, are not warranted by the exhortation in 1 Timothy 6:11 : ταῦτα φεῦγε.

1 Timothy 6:3-21. Thoughts about the right use of wealth are suggested by the slave problem, a mischievous attitude towards which is associated with false doctrine. If a man possesses himself, he has enough. This possession is eternal as well as temporal. This is my lesson for the poor, for you as a man of God (and I solemnly adjure you to learn and teach it), and for the rich.

3. teach otherwise] More fully R.V., teacheth a different doctrine, but even this does not completely give the force; for the ‘different’ is not so much ‘different from what has just been laid down,’ as ‘different from the one true deposit, the creed of all my gospel and all your life;’ and helps to form the meaning now attached to heterodoxy, lit. ‘opinions different from established truth.’ The close of the Epistle takes up the opening where this word has occurred before there has been time to lay down any teaching, 1 Timothy 1:3. Lewin renders here ‘if any man teach what is heterodox.’

wholesome words] Again taking up his opening phrase 1 Timothy 1:10, where see note. Sound is the best English equivalent, if we do not stay on the most modern and ‘cant’ sense of the word, but go back to its early vigour, so as to appreciate St Paul’s contrast here with the ‘sickly questionings’ of the false teacher, 1 Timothy 6:4. See Appendix, K.

our Lord Jesus Christ] This exact order of the words so familiar to us in St Paul’s other writings occurs only here and 1 Timothy 6:14 throughout these Epistles according to the true text. An imitator would surely, as we see by the various readings so often attempted, have taken pains to make the well-known formula a marked feature. It may be also noted that the aged saint, so near the end of his ‘good fight,’ does not presume familiarly on his Saviour’s intimacy, so as to use the one name ‘Jesus’ with tripping fluency. It is still ‘Christ Jesus,’ ‘Jesus Christ,’ ‘The Lord.’ See note on 1 Timothy 1:1.

the doctrine … according to godliness] Two characteristic words of these Epistles combined in a phrase which might be taken as their keynote—‘Holy Truth—True Holiness.’ See previous notes on the words and especially the note on the central doctrinal passage 1 Timothy 3:16.

3–10. A further warning against false Teachers. Their covetousness

From the 3rd verse to the 16th St Paul once again resumes two of the chief topics of the Epistle—false teachers’ perverted doctrine, and Timothy’s own true unswerving life; in each case with a new thought, (1) of the debasing motive of traffic in godliness, (2) of the inspiring motive of the Master’s appearing. He then, 1 Timothy 6:17-19, gives one further direction (suggested perhaps by 1 Timothy 6:10) of pastoral faithfulness towards the rich; and in a last abrupt and touchingly natural outburst throws himself upon his son Timothy, and gathers up all his fears and hopes on the one chiefest subject in the brief appeal of 1 Timothy 6:20-21, from which he can no longer keep back the misused name of the monster evil—‘knowledge—falsely named, Gnosisthe Misnomer,’ 1 Timothy 6:3-10, unsound teaching, especially for gain.

1 Timothy 6:3. Ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖ, teach otherwise) The antithesis is, teach, in 1 Timothy 6:2. The conclusion thus corresponding to the beginning of the discussion, ch. 1 Timothy 1:3.—μὴ προσέρχεται, accede [consent] not) Seneca has, “accedere opinioni,” to accede or consent to an opinion: and so others, as we find in Pricæus.

Verse 3. - Teacheth for teach, A.V.; a different doctrine for otherwise, A.V.; consenteth for consent, A.V.; sound for wholesome, A.V. Teacheth a different doctrine (ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖ); see above, 1 Timothy 1:3, note. Consenteth (προσέρχεται); very common in the New Testament, in the literal sense of "coming to" or "approaching," but only here in the metaphorical sense of "assenting to." The steps seem to he, first, approaching a subject with the mind with a view of considering it; and then consenting to it - coming over to it. The term προσήλυτος, a convert to Judaism, and the phrase from Irenaeus ('Fragm.,' 2.), quoted by Ellicott, Οὐ τοῖς τῶν Ιουδαίων δόγμασι προσέρχονται, "They do not fall in with, or agree to, the doctrines of the Jews," sufficiently illustrate the usage of the word here. Sound (ὑγιαίνουσι) see 1 Timothy 1:10, note. Godliness (ἐυσεβεία); see 1 Timothy 2:2, note. 1 Timothy 6:3Teach otherwise (ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖ)

See on 1 Timothy 1:3.

Consent (προσέρχεται)

Lit. draw nigh. To approach as one who confidingly accepts another's proffer. Hence, to assent to. Comp. Acts 10:28; 1 Peter 2:4; Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 10:22. Often in lxx, and habitually in the literal sense. The figurative sense, Sir. 1:27, 30; 4:15; 6:26. oP. The phrase only here.

Of our Lord, etc.

Either concerning our Lord, or spoken by him. Probably the latter, according to N.T. usage, in which word of the Lord or word of God commonly means the word that proceeds from God. The phrase words of our Lord Jesus Christ only here.

Doctrine which is according to godliness (τῇ κατ εὐσέβειαν διδασκαλίᾳ)

The phrase only here. See on 1 Timothy 1:10. For εὐσέβεια, on 1 Timothy 2:2.

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