1 Timothy 6:8
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
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(8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.—The Greek word rendered “let us be content” is better translated, we shall have a sufficiency. The argument will run thus: “All earthly possessions are only for this life; here, if we have the wherewithal to clothe us and to nourish us, we shall have enough;” if we have more than this, St. Paul goes on to show, we shall be in danger of falling into temptation.

There is no contradiction between this reading and that contained in this same Epistle (1Timothy 4:1-5). There the Apostle is warning the Church against a false, unreal asceticism, which was teaching men to look upon the rich gifts of this world, its beauties and its delights, as of themselves sinful, forgetting that these fair things were God’s creatures, and were given for man’s use and enjoyment. Here the same great teacher is pressing home the truth that the highest good on earth was that godliness which is ever accompanied with perfect contentment, which neither rejects nor deems evil the fair things of this life, but which, at the same time, never covets them, never longs for them. It was one thing to be rich, it was another to wish to be rich; in God’s providence a man might be rich without sin, but the coveting, the longing for wealth, at once exposed him to many a grave danger both to body and soul.

6:6-10 Those that make a trade of Christianity to serve their turn for this world, will be disappointed; but those who mind it as their calling, will find it has the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come. He that is godly, is sure to be happy in another world; and if contented with his condition in this world, he has enough; and all truly godly people are content. When brought into the greatest straits, we cannot be poorer than when we came into this world; a shroud, a coffin, and a grave, are all that the richest man in the world can have from all his wealth. If nature should be content with a little, grace should be content with less. The necessaries of life bound a true Christian's desires, and with these he will endeavour to be content. We see here the evil of covetousness. It is not said, they that are rich, but they will be rich; who place their happiness in wealth, and are eager and determined in the pursuit. Those that are such, give to Satan the opportunity of tempting them, leading them to use dishonest means, and other bad practices, to add to their gains. Also, leading into so many employments, and such a hurry of business, as leave no time or inclination for spiritual religion; leading to connexions that draw into sin and folly. What sins will not men be drawn into by the love of money! People may have money, and yet not love it; but if they love it, this will push them on to all evil. Every sort of wickedness and vice, in one way or another, grows from the love of money. We cannot look around without perceiving many proofs of this, especially in a day of outward prosperity, great expenses, and loose profession.And having food and raiment - Food and raiment, here, seem to be used to denote supplies for our needs in general. It is not uncommon to denote the whole by a part, and, as these are the principal things which we really need, and without which life could not be sustained, the apostle uses the phrase to denote all that is really necessary for us. We cannot suppose that he would forbid a desire of a comfortable habitation, or of the means of knowledge, or of conveniences for worshipping God, etc. The idea is, that having those flyings which meet the actual necessities of our nature, and save us from distress, we should not strive after "uncertain riches," or make wealth the object of our anxious pursuit; compare notes on Philippians 4:11-12. 8. And—Greek, "But." In contrast to the greedy gain-seekers (1Ti 6:5).

having—so long as we have food. (The Greek expresses "food sufficient in each case for our continually recurring wants" [Alford]). It is implied that we, as believers, shall have this (Isa 23:16).

raiment—Greek, "covering"; according to some including a roof to cover us, that is, a dwelling, as well as clothing.

let us be therewith content—literally, "we shall be sufficiently provided"; "we shall be sufficed" [Alford].

If therefore God gives us any thing more than is necessary for us, let us take it thankfully, and use it for God’s glory; but if we have no more than is just necessary for us, let us not repine, or murmur, but be content, without murmuring against God, or using any undue means, out of an inordinate desire to get more.

And having food and raiment,.... "Food" includes all things necessary to be ate and drank, of which there is a great variety, and is here expressed in the plural number; and "raiment" every necessary covering, as the word used signifies, and includes an habitation, which is a cover and shelter from the inclementencies of the weather. And now having all these comforts and necessaries of life, food to eat, and drink to extinguish thirst and refresh, raiment to put on, and a house to dwell in,

let us be therewith content: there is very good reason why the saints should be content; since more than these things cannot be enjoyed; and these they have with a blessing, and as a fruit and token of the love of God to them; these were all that Jacob desired, Agur petitioned for, and Christ directs his disciples daily to pray for; and which to have, is to have enough, a proper sufficiency and competency: the words may be rendered, "we shall be content with them"; which the apostle could say for himself, Timothy, and others, who had been content, even when they wanted these things. The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read, "we are content"; and the Syriac version, "food and raiment are sufficient for us"; and so the apostle sets himself, and others, as examples of contentment to be imitated and followed.

And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
1 Timothy 6:8. Ἔχοντες δέ] De Wette thinks that for δέ we should have had οὖν. This is certainly right; still the bearing of this verse on the previous one would have been different from what it is now. The apostle used δέ because he had in mind the contrast to those striving after earthly gain.

διατροφὰς καὶ σκεπάσματα] The same collocation in Sextus Empiricus, Book ix. 1; the two expressions only occur here in the N. T. (διατροφή, 1Ma 6:49). Σκέπασμα, the covering, hence both clothing and dwelling. Here it is to be taken in the former sense; de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, and others include both senses in it; but it is more than improbable that one word should be used to denote two different objects. Chrysostom: τοιαῦτα ἀμφιέννυσθαι, ἃ σκεπάσαι μόνον ἡμᾶς ὀφείλει καὶ περιστεῖλαι τὴν γύμνωσιν. In food and clothing the necessary wants of life are also elsewhere summed up; comp. Matthew 6:25; Jam 2:15; Genesis 28:20.

τούτοις ἀρκεσθησόμεθα] “we will be content with them.” Hofmann’s explanation is wrong: “so will we have enough of them.” The passive ἀρκεῖσθαι occurs as a personal verb only in the sense of “be content with;” comp. Luke 3:14; Hebrews 13:5; 3 John 1:10; 2Ma 5:16; 4Ma 6:22; so, too, continually in profane writers; comp, Pape, s.v.

The future is here taken imperatively by several expositors. It is well known that the imperative is often expressed by the future, but there is no passage which exactly corresponds with this (comp. Buttmann, p. 221). It is better, therefore, to take the future here in the sense of sure expectation (so de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Plitt; comp. Winer, p. 296 [E. T. p. 396]).

1 Timothy 6:8. ἔχοντες δέ: The δέ has a slightly adversative force, guarding against a too literal conclusion from 1 Timothy 6:7. It is true that “unaccommodated man” (Lear, iii. 4) is “a man for a’ that,” yet he has wants while alive, though his real wants are few.

σκεπάσματα: may include clothes and shelter, covering (R.V.), tegumentum ([297]), quibus tegamur, as the Vulg. well puts it; but the word is used of clothing only in Josephus (B. J. ii. 8. 5; Ant. xv. 9, 2). So A.V., raiment, [298], vestitum (so Chrys.).

[297] Cod. Frisingensis

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

Jacob specifies only “bread to eat and raiment to put on” (Genesis 28:20); but the Son of Sirach is more indulgent to the natural man (Sir 29:21; Sir 39:26-27).

ἀρκεσθησόμεθα: This future is imperatival, or authoritative, as Alf. calls it. He cites in illustration, Matthew 5:48, ἔσεσθε οὖν ὑμεῖς τέλειοι. From this point of view, the R.V., We shall be therewith content, cf. reff., is preferable to his rendering (which is equivalent to R.V. m.), With these we shall be sufficiently provided (cf. Matthew 25:9; John 6:7; 2 Corinthians 12:9).

8. And having food] Rather, but; the opposite, positive view of life. The words for ‘food’ and ‘raiment’ are both unused in N.T. except here; both are in the plural, indicating ‘supplies of,’ for each mouth to be fed, each household to be clothed.

raiment] A rather out-of-the-way word for ‘clothing,’ if we go by the use found once in Aristotle and once in Josephus, Ar. Pol. vii. 17; Jos. B. J. ii. 8. 5: literally, ‘covering;’ and so R.V., perhaps merely to keep an unusualness of phrase. But the meaning ‘shelter,’ tent or roof-covering, has been also assigned, from the root word having a more common turn towards this; and ‘covering’ may have been chosen to include this, if not to express it alone. But the immediate context in 1 Timothy 6:7 favours the reference to merely personal possessions such as dress.

let us be therewith content] The verb is future passive, we shall be therewith content, as R.V.; hardly an implied exhortation, but ‘we shall, if we are godly.’ This rendering is preferable to that in the margin of R.V. ‘in these we shall have enough’ from the similar use of the passive, Luke 3:14, ‘be content with your wages;’ Hebrews 13:5, ‘content with such things as ye have.’ The connexion of the word with ‘contentment’ above should also be maintained.

1 Timothy 6:8. Ἔχοντες, having) It is by implication affirmed, that we shall have them.—διατροφὰς) food (means of sustenance), by which we may in the meantime be nourished. This is the meaning of διά.—σκεπάσματα, clothing) also a covering or shelter.—τούτοις) with these, although money be wanting, 1 Timothy 6:10.—ἀρκεσθησόμεθα) we shall have enough in fact: why then not also in feeling?

Verse 8. - But for and, A.V.; covering for raiment, A.V.; ice shall be for let us be, A.V. Food (διατροφάς); here only in the New Testament, but common in the LXX., rare in classical Greek. Covering (σκεπάσματα); also a ἅπαξ λεγόμενον in the New Testament, not found in the LXX., and rare in classical Greek. The kindred words, σκέπη and σκέπας, with their derivatives, are used of the covering or shelter of clothes, or tents, or houses. St. Paul may therefore have used an uncommon word in order to comprise the two necessaries of raiment and house, though Huther thinks this "more than improbable." The use of the word "covering" in the R.V. seems designed to favor this double application. Ellicott thinks the word "probably only refers to clothing." Alford says, "Some take ' covering' of both clothing and dwelling, perhaps rightly." If one knew where St. Paul got the word σκεπάσματα from, one could form a more decided opinion as to his meaning. We shall be therewith content (ἀρκεσθήσομεθα). The proper meaning of ἀρκεῖσθαι followed by a dative is "to be content with" (Luke 3:14; Hebrews 13:5). There is probably a covert hortative force in the use of the future here. 1 Timothy 6:8Food (διατροφὰς)


Raiment (σκεπάσματα)

N.T.o. olxx. It means covering generally, though the reference is probably to clothing. von Soden aptly remarks that a dwelling is not a question of life with an Oriental.

Let us be content (ἀρκεσθησόμεθα)

More correctly, we shall be content. Once in Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:9. A few times in lxx. Comp. Ps. of Sol. 16:12: "But with good will and cheerfulness uphold thou my soul; when thou strengthenest my soul I shall be satisfied (ἀρκέσει μοι) with what thou givest me."

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