1 Timothy 6:4
He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof comes envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) He is proud.—St. Paul, with righteous anger, flames out against these perverse men, who, using the name of Christ, substitute their short-sighted views of life for His, throw doubt and discredit upon the teaching of His chosen Apostles and servants, stir up discord, excite party spirit, barring, often hopelessly, the onward march of Christianity. The true Christian teaching is healthy, practical, capable of being carried out by all orders in the state, by every age or sex, by bond and free. The spurious Christian maxims of these men deal with subtle, useless, unpractical questions, which have no influence on ordinary life, and only tend to stir up strife and useless inquiry, and to make men discontented and rebellious. These unhappy men he first characterises as “proud:” literally, blinded with pride.

Knowing nothing.—Better rendered, yet without knowing anything; having no real conception of the office and work of Christ in the world.

But doting about questions.—While so ignorant of the higher and more practical points of Christian theology, the false teacher is “mad upon” curious and debatable questions, such as the nature of the ever blessed Trinity; God’s purposes respecting those men who know not, have not even heard of the Redeemer; and the like—problems never to be solved by us while on earth—questions, the profitless debating of which has rent asunder whole churches, and individually has broken up old friendships, and sown the seeds of bitter irreconcilable hatred.

And strifes of words.—Verbal disputes, barren and idle controversies about words rather than things; such wild war as also has raged, not only in the days of Timothy and of St. Paul, but all through the Christian ages, on such words as Predestination, Election, Faith, Inspiration, Person, Regeneration, &c.

St. Paul was writing, then, in the spirit of the living God, and was warning no solitary pastor and friend at Ephesus of the weeds then springing up in that fair, newly-planted vineyard of his, but was addressing the Master’s servants in many vineyards and of many ages; was telling them what would meet them, what would mar and spoil their work, and in not a few cases would break their hearts with sorrow.

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.He is proud - That is, he is lifted up with his fancied superior acquaintance with the nature of religion. The Greek verb means, properly, "to smoke, to fume;" and then to be inflated, to "be conceited, etc." The idea is, that he has no proper knowledge of the nature of the gospel, and yet he values himself on a fancied superior acquaintance with its principles.

Knowing nothing - Margin, "a fool." That is, that he does not understand the nature of religion as he supposes he does. His views in regard to the relation of masters and servants, and to the bearing of religion on that relation, show that he does not understand the genius of Christianity. The apostle expresses this in strong language; by saying that he knows nothing; see the notes on 1 Corinthians 8:2.

But doting - Margin, "sick." The Greek word - νοσέω noseō - means properly to be sick; then to languish, to pine after. The meaning here is, that such persons had a sickly or morbid desire for debates of this kind. They had not a sound and healthy state of mind on the subject of religion. They were like a sickly man, who has no desire for solid and healthful food, but for that which will gratify a diseased appetite. They desired not sound doctrine, but controversies about unimportant and unsubstantial matters - things that bore the same relation to important doctrines which the things that a sick man pines after do to substantial food.

Questions and strifes of words - The Jews abounded much in disputes of this sort, and it would seem probable that the persons here referred to were Jewish teachers; compare 1 Timothy 1:6-7 notes, and Acts 18:15 note.

Whereof cometh envy - The only fruit of which is to produce envy. That is, the appearance of superior knowledge; the boast of being profoundly acquainted with religion, and the show of an ability for subtle argumentation, would produce in a certain class envy. Envy is uneasiness, pain, mortification, or discontent, excited by another's prosperity, or by his superior knowledge or possessions; see the notes on Romans 1:29.

Strife - Or contentions with those who will not readily yield to their opinions.

Railings - Harsh and abusive language toward those who will not concede a point - a common effect of disputes, and more commonly of disputes about small and unimportant matters, than of these which are of magnitude. Such railings often attend disputes that arise out of nice and subtle distinctions.

Evil surmisings - Suspicions that they are led to hold their views, not by the love of the truth, but from sordid or worldly motives. Such suspicions are very apt to attend an angry debate of any kind. It might be expected especially to exist on such a question as the apostle refers to here - the relation of a master and a slave. It is always very hard to do justice to the motives of one who seems to us to be living in sin, or to believe it to be possible that he acts from right motives.

4. He is proud—literally, "wrapt in smoke"; filled with the fumes of self-conceit (1Ti 3:6) while "knowing nothing," namely, of the doctrine which is according to godliness (1Ti 6:3), though arrogating pre-eminent knowledge (1Ti 1:7).

doting about—literally, "sick about"; the opposite of "wholesome" (1Ti 6:3). Truth is not the center about which his investigations move, but mere word-strifes.

questions—of controversy.

strifes of words—rather than about realities (2Ti 2:14). These stand with them instead of "godliness" and "wholesome words" (1Ti 6:3; 1Ti 1:4; Tit 3:9).

evil surmisings—as to those who are of a different party from themselves.

He is proud; tetufwtai, he is swelled or blown up, i.e. with pride swelling in opinion and conceit of himself, he is a fanatic.

Knowing nothing solidly and truly,

but doting about questions and strifes of words; is brain sick about questions of no use, but to make a contention about words.

Whereof cometh envy; when he once comes to perceive that others are wiser than he.

Strife; for an ignorant person, if proud, can never yield that another knows more than he doth.

Railings are commonly the revenges of ignorant sciolists, that would be thought something and are nothing; when they perceive they are outdone by others, then they rail.

Evil surmisings, uponoiai when they can in truth say no evil of others, they will uncharitably surmise and suspect evil of them. He is proud,.... Or swelled and puffed up with a vain conceit of himself and his own notions, and treats with an haughty air the faithful ministers of the word. The doctrines of grace are of an humbling nature, especially when they are spiritually and experimentally understood and received; but notional knowledge, knowledge of natural things, and the doctrines of men, such as are of their own invention, fill the mind with pride and vanity:

knowing nothing; as he ought to know; not anything that is solid and substantial; nothing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: he may have knowledge of natural and civil things, but not of spiritual ones; he may have collected a medley of knowledge together, but what will be of no real use either to himself or others:

but doting about questions and strifes of words: or he is "sick or diseased"; his mind is distempered; he is like one in a fever, that is delirious; his head is light and wild; his fancy is roving, and he talks of things he knows not what; his head runs upon "questions"; foolish and unlearned ones, about the law and works, and the necessity of them to justification and salvation; concerning genealogies, and other fruitless and unprofitable subjects:

and strifes of words; mere logomachies; contending and quarrelling more about words than things, which tend to no profit, but to the subverting and confounding of hearers. The ill effects of which are as follow:

whereof cometh envy: at the superior gifts and talents of others; at their success, and any little degree of honour and respect they have from others; which shows that such men, in whom this vice is a governing one, are carnal men, for this is a work of the flesh; and that they are destitute of charity, or the grace of love, which envieth not: also from hence comes

strife; contention, quarrelling; the peace and comfort of particular persons, and even of whole communities, are broken and destroyed hereby; for foolish and unlearned questions gender strifes, 2 Timothy 2:24 which are very unbecoming the servants of the Lord, and very uncomfortable to the churches of Christ: yea, these also produce

railings; at one another, and especially at the faithful ministers of the Gospel; for when the false teachers cannot overcome them by Scripture and argument, they fall to railing and reviling of them: or entertain

evil surmises; groundless suspicions: or from hence follow, as the words may be rendered, "wicked opinions": concerning the being, perfections, purposes, and providence of God; concerning the person and offices of Christ; concerning the law and Gospel, grace and good works; and so the Syriac version renders it, "an evil opinion of the mind".

He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and {b} strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

(b) Strivings about words, and not about matter: and by words he means all those things which do not have substance in them, and by which we can reap no profit.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Timothy 6:4. τετύφωται: inflatus est ([290], [291]50, [292]); superbus est (Vulg.). See on 1 Timothy 3:6.

[290] The Latin text of Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[291] Speculum

[292]
Cod. Frisingensis

νοσῶν: morbidly busy (Liddon), languens (Vulg.), aegrotans ([293]50). His disease is intellectual curiosity about trifles. Both doting and mad after (Alf.) as translations of νοσῶν, err by excess of vigour. The idea is a simple one of sickness as opposed to health. See on 1 Timothy 1:10.

[293] Speculum

περὶ: For this use of περί see on 1 Timothy 1:19.

ζητήσεις: See on 1 Timothy 1:4.

λογομαχίας: It is not clear whether what is meant are wordy quarrels or quarrels about words. The latter seems the more likely. There is here the usual antithesis of words to deeds. The heretic spoken of is a theorist merely; he wastes time in academic disputes; he does not take account of things as they actually are. On the other hand, it is interesting and suggestive that to the heathen, the controversy between Christianity and Judaism seemed to be of this futile nature (see Acts 18:15; Acts 23:29; Acts 25:19).

φθόνος, ἔρις are similarly juxtaposed Romans 1:29, Galatians 5:20-21, Php 1:15.

The plural ἔρεις is a well-supported variant in Romans 13:13, Galatians 5:20. In Titus 3:9 it is the true reading; but in other lists of vices (1 Corinthians 3:3, 2 Corinthians 12:20, Php 1:15) the singular is found.

βλασφημία also occurs in a list of sins, Ephesians 4:31, Colossians 3:8.

ὑπόνοιαι πονηραί: ὑπόνοια (only here in N.T., but ὑπονοέω in Acts 13:25; Acts 25:18; Acts 27:27, all in neutral sense, to suppose) has sometimes the sense of suspicion. See examples given by Ell. The phrase here does not mean wicked or unworthy thoughts of God—the class of mind here spoken of does not usually think about God directly, though an unworthy opinion about Him underlies their life—but malicious suspicions as to the honesty of those who differ from them.4. he is proud, knowing nothing] ‘Puffed up,’ R.V. The word occurs only here and 1 Timothy 3:6; 2 Timothy 3:4; and goes towards composing the strong vocabulary of the Epistles: ‘filled with a blind “inflated ignorance” ’ (to quote from Dr Farrar’s strong modern vocabulary) may represent the force. The perfect expresses the state in which he is; the particular negative his relative, not absolute, ignorance, according to the tendency of N. T. usage.

doting about questions] ‘Diseased’ or ‘mad’ on points of subtle disputation. The word in other writers has both meanings, and the opposition to ‘sound’ would hold equally good with both; but the moral responsibility for this state is clearly implied, and points rather to the former: ‘full of a diseased disputatiousness.’ For ‘questionings,’ see note on 1 Timothy 1:4.

strifes of words] Our own derived ‘logomachies.’ The corresponding verb occurs 2 Timothy 2:14, ‘otherwise only in ecclesiastical writers,’ Alford.

railings] Clearly as in Ephesians 4:31, ‘anger, and clamour, and railing;’ Judges 9, ‘durst not bring against him a railing judgment,’ not blasphemy against God, but slanderous reviling of one another.

evil surmisings] Our ‘suspicions;’ this word again is new to N.T. usage. Altogether we have four peculiar words in this verse, puffed up, doting, strifes of words, surmisings, indicating the new region of the Church’s experience and of the Apostle’s feeling.1 Timothy 6:4. Τετύφωται, μηδὲν ἐπιστάμενος) Harpocration: τετύφωμαι, ἀντὶ τοῦ ἐμβεβρόντημαι, ἐξω τῶν φρενῶν γέγονα, κ.τ.λ. τετύφωμαι for ἐμβεβρόντημαι, I am gone out of my senses. Compare Raphelius ad Polyb.—μηδὲν ἐπιστάμενος, knowing nothing) although he claims knowledge to himself: comp. ch. 1 Timothy 1:7.—νοσῶν περὶ, sick [‘doting’], or morbid, about) The antithesis is wholesome, 1 Timothy 6:3. Plut.: νοσεῖν περὶ δόξαν, περὶ σφραγίδια πολυτελῆ, to be sick for glory, for expensive seals (signets).—λογομαχίας, strifes of words) 2 Timothy 2:14, note.[47]—ἐξ ὧν γίνεται, from which cometh) Ib. 2 Timothy 2:23.—ἔρις, contention) Titus 3:9.—ὑπόνοιαι πονηραὶ, evil surmisings) by which those who do not at once agree to all things, are regarded as enemies (objects of odium).

[47] Not as Engl. Vers. of 2 Timothy 2:14, “Strifes about words,” but “strifes in (i.e. by means of) words about” most momentous subjects.—ED.Verse 4. - Puffed up for proud, A.V.; questionings for questions, A.V.; disputes for strifes, A.V. He is puffed up (τετύφωται); see 1 Timothy 3:6, note. Doting (νοσῶν); here only in the New Testament, but found occasionally in the LXX. Applied in classical Greek to the mind and body, "to be in an unsound state." Here it means "having a morbid love of" or "going mad about." In this morbid love of questionings and disputes of words, they lose sight of all wholesome words and all godly doctrine. Questionings (ζητήσεις); see 1 Timothy 1:6, note. It corresponds nearly to our word "controversies." Disputes of words (λογομαχίας); found only here. The verb λογομαχέω is used in 2 Timothy 2:14. Would that the Church had always remembered St. Paul's pithy condemnation of unfruitful controversies about words! Surmisings (ὑπόνοιαι); only here in the -New Testament. In classical Greek it means "suspicion," or any under-thought. The verb ὑπονοέω occurs three times in the Acts - "to deem, think, or suppose." Here the "surmisings" are those uncharitable insinuations in which angry controversialists indulge towards one another. He is proud (τετύφωται)

See on 1 Timothy 3:6.

Knowing nothing (μηδὲν ἐπιστάμενος)

Although he knows nothing. oP. Very frequent in Acts. Comp. 1 Timothy 1:7.

Doting (νοσῶν)

N.T.o. Lit. sick. Comp. ὑγιαίνουσι healthful, 1 Timothy 6:3.

Questions (ζητήσεις)

oP. olxx. Quite often in Class. Lit. processes of inquiry; hence, debates. Comp. 1 Timothy 1:4.

Strifes of words (λογομαχίας)

N.T.o. olxx, oClass. One of the unique compounds peculiar to these Epistles. The verb λογομαχεῖν 2 Timothy 2:14.

Surmisings (ὑπόνοιαι)

N.T.o. See Sir. 3:24. Ὑπὸ under and νοῦς mind, thought. A hidden thought. The verb ὑπονοεῖν to suppose, only in Acts. See Acts 13:25; Acts 25:18; Acts 27:27.

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