1 Timothy 6
Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
The apostle next proceeds to deal with the distinctions of civil duty, and takes up the case of a very numerous But miserable class which appears to have been largely attracted to the gospel in primitive times.

I. THE HONOR DUE TO PAGAN MASTERS. "Whoever are under the yoke as bondservants, let them reckon their own masters worthy of all honor."

1. The condition of the slaves was one of much hardship. There was practically no limit to the power of the masters over the slaves. They might be gentle and just, or capricious and cruel. The slaves had no remedy at law against harsh treatment, as they had no hope of escape from bondage.

2. Yet their liberty had not been so restricted that they had not the opportunity of hearing the gospel. There were Christian slaves. Their hard life was ameliorated, not merely by the blessed hopes of the gospel, but by the privilege of spiritual equality with their masters which was one of its distinguishing glories.

3. The gospel did not interfere with the duty of obedience which they owed to their masters. They were to give them all honor - not merely outward subjection, but inward respect. Christianity did not undertake to overturn social relations. If it had done so, it would have been revolutionary in the last degree; it would have armed the whole forces of the Roman empire against it; it would itself have been drowned in blood; and it would have led to the merciless slaughter of the slaves themselves. Yet Christianity prepared the way from the very first for the complete abolition of slavery. The fact that with the great Master in heaven "there was no respect of persons," and that "in Jesus Christ there was neither bond nor free, but all were one in Christ," would not justify the slaves in repudiating their present subjection, while it held out the hope of their eventual emancipation. They must not, therefore, abuse their liberty under the gospel.

4. Yet there was a limit to the slave's obedience. He could only obey his master so far as was consistent with the laws of God and his gospel, consenting to suffer rather than outrage his conscience. Cases of this sort might arise, but they would not prejudice the gospel, like a simple revolt against existing relationships.

II. THE REASON FOR THE DUE HONOR GIVEN TO THEIR PAGAN MASTERS. "That the Name of God and his doctrine may not be blasphemed."

1. There would be a serious danger of such a result if slaves were either to withhold due service to their masters or to repudiate all subjection. God and his doctrine would be dishonored in the eyes of their masters, because they would be regarded as sanctioning insubordination. Thus a deep and widespread prejudice would arise to prevent the gospel reaching their pagan masters.

2. It is thus possible for the meanest members of the Church to do honor to God and the gospel. The apostle contemplates their adorning "of the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" (Titus 2:10).

3. The same considerations apply to the case of domestic servants in our own day. The term translated here "slaves" is used with some latitude in the Scripture. It applies sometimes to persons entirely free, as to David in relation to Saul (1 Samuel 19:4), to Christians generally (Romans 6:16; 1 Peter 2:16), to apostles, prophets, and ministers (Galatians 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:24), and to the higher class of dependents (Matthew 18:23; Matthew 21:340. Thus the term implies a relation of dependence without legal compulsion. Christian servants must yield a willing and cheerful service that they may thus honor the gospel. - T.C.


1. Toward unbelieving masters. "Let as many as are servants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the Name of God and the doctrine be not blasphemed." Paul had to legislate for a social condition which was, to a considerable extent, different from ours. In the early Christian Churches there were not a few whose social condition was that of slaves. They are pointed to here as being under the yoke as servants. To service there was added the oppressive circumstance of being under the yoke. That is, they were like cattle with the yoke on them - having no rights, any more than cattle, to bestow their labor where they liked, but only where their masters liked. It was a degradation of human beings, for which no apology could be made. Under Christianity the eyes of Christian slaves could not be altogether closed to the flagrant injustice inflicted on them. They would also see that, in this sonship and heirship of glory, they were really exalted above unbelieving masters. It would have been easy, with such materials, to have inflamed their minds against their masters. But Paul, as a wise legislator, understood better the obligations of Christianity. No inflammatory word does he address to them; he tells them, not of rights, but of duties. Their masters, notwithstanding their being identified with injustice, were still their own masters, i.e. men to whom in the providence of God they were subordinated. Let them be counted worthy of all honor, even as he has already said that the presbyters, or ecclesiastical rulers, are to be counted worthy of honor. And we need not wonder at this; for still, at the basis of things, they are the representatives of Divine authority. As such - and who are wholly entitled to be called worthy representatives? - let them be counted worthy of all proper honor. Let them be treated thus, that the Name of God and the doctrine be not blasphemed. There was involved in their conduct the Name of God, i.e. of the true God, as distinguished from the false gods which their masters worshipped. There was also involved the teaching, i.e. what Christianity taught about things. If they were insubordinate, both would be evil spoken of. The heathen masters would think of Christianity as upturning the fundamental relations of things. We are apt to forget how much the Divine honor is involved in our conduct. We should give such a living representation of our religion as will give none occasion to blaspheme.

2. Toward believing masters. "And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but let them serve them the rather, because they that partake of the benefit are believing and beloved." Men might be despotic masters, holders of slaves, and yet be Christians, their conscience not being educated upon that point. It was not said to them that they were to go and liberate their slaves. It was better that they should receive the essence of Christianity without their prejudices being raised on that point; correction on it, from the working of Christian influences, was sure to follow, with a slowness, however, that might leave many unenlightened of that generation of them. It seems to be implied that, though unenlightened, they gave their slaves Christian treatment, i.e. treated them as not under the yoke, in the avoidance of harshness and unreasonable exactions often associated with the yoke. This was rightly to be interpreted as a homage rendered to brotherhood in Christ. But let not slaves be led into a mistaken interpretation of brotherhood. It did not mean that respect was no longer due to their masters. The earthly relation, though not so deep as the new relation in Christ, still stood, as giving form to duty. Let them not despise them, i.e. refuse the respect due to superiors. And, instead of giving them less service, let it be the other way. Give more service, because they that get the benefit of it are of the same faith, and beloved as masters that have learned front Christ the law of kindness. Emphasizing what has been said. "These things teach and exhort." There was to be both direction and enforcement.


1. Standard in relation to which they are heretics. "If any man teacheth a different doctrine, and consenteth not to sound words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness." The other doctrine is that which departs from the standard. This is contained in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Truth, and has the right to rule all minds. There is a healthy vigor in his words, not the sickliness that there was in the words of the heretical teachers. The doctrine contained in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ is that which is according to godliness. There is grounded in our nature, apart from all teachings, a certain religiosity. That is, we are made to have certain states of our soul toward God, such as reverence. As we cherish these states we are pious, godly. What our Lord taught was in accordance with the norm of godliness in our original constitution, and was fitted to effect godliness as a result. The condemnation of the heretics was, that in not consenting to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ they were going away to doctrines which were not fitted to promote piety.

2. Moral characterization.

(1) From the inflatedness of ignorance. "He is puffed up, knowing nothing." It is only in Christ that we have the right point of view. If, therefore, we are not taught by him, we know nothing aright. Those who have true knowledge are humbled under a sense of what they do not know. The heretics who had not even a smattering of true knowledge were puffed up with conceit of the multitude of things which they knew.

(2) From the morbidness of sophistry. "But doting about questionings and disputes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, wranglings of men corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth." Not consenting to sound words, they have diseased action. That in which they show themselves diseased is in busying themselves, not, like Christian inquirers, around realities, but, like the sophists with whom Socrates had to do, around questionings which become disputes of words. This disease of hair-splitting is attended with various evil consequences: envy toward those who evince superior skill, strife with those who will not admit the value of the distinctions, railings where there is not reason, evil surmisings where there is not charity, and frequent and more bitter collisions where the truth, not honestly dealt with, is forcibly taken away.

3. The special obnoxiousness of their teaching.

(1) This was in asserting that godliness was a way of gain. "Supposing that godliness is a way of gain." This was evidently a stratagem on the part of the heretics. Suspected of a worldliness that was unbecoming their religious pretensions, they got over it by taking up the position that godliness was a gainful trade. They appealed to men to be religious for the sake of the worldly gain it would bring to them. It can be seen that the apostle regards the heretical maxim with contempt. It is a maxim from which many act who would not like to admit it in words. They keep up religious appearances, not because they have any love for religion, but because it would be damaging to them to appear irreligious.

(2) Godliness is a way of gain if associated with contentment. "But godliness with contentment is great gain." "Elegantly, and not without ironical correction to a sense that is contrary, he gives a new turn to the same words" (Calvin). Godliness (what we have in relation to God) is great gain; but its gain lies in its producing a contented mind (in relation to ourselves). Where a man is contented it is as though he owned the whole world.

(3) Reasons for contentment. Our natural bareness. "For we brought nothing into the world, for neither can we carry anything out." The same thought is expressed in Job 1:21 and in Ecclesiastes 5:15. Viewed at two points we are absolutely poor. There was a time when earthly good was not ours, and there will come a time when it will cease to be ours. We are not, then, to make an essential of what only pertains to our earthly state. We can do with little. "But having food and covering we shall be therewith content." Something added to our bare natural condition we need while we are in this world, and it will not be wanting; but it does not need to be much. Food and covering, these will suffice for us. We can do with less than we imagine. Shakespeare tells us that

"The poorest man
Is in the poorest thing superfluous,
Demands for nature more than nature claims." The wreck of our present day is that no one knows how to live upon little; the great men of antiquity were generally poor. The retrenchment of useless expenditure, the laying aside of what one may call the relatively necessary, is the high-road to Christian disentanglement of heart, just as it was to that of ancient vigor. A great soul in a small house is the idea which has always touched me more than any other (Lacordaire). The sad result of the opposite state. "But they that desire to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition." By them that desire to be rich we are to understand those who, instead of being contented with what they can enjoy with God's blessing and what they can use for God's glory, make riches their object in life. They fall into a state of mind that is seductive and fettering. And this unnatural craving for possession does not stand alone, but has many affiliated lusts, such as love for display, love for worldly company, love for the pleasures of the table. Of these no rational account can be given, and they are hurtful even to the extent of drowning men in misery, expressed by two very strong words - destruction and perdition. Confirmation of the last reason. Proverbial saying. "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." The proverb is intended to have a certain startling nature. Desire of money is not certainly the only root of evils, but it is conspicuously the root of evils. We need only think of the lies, thefts, oppressions, jealousies, murders, wars, lawsuits, sensuality, prayerlessness, that have been caused by it. The victims. "Which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows." The apostle thinks of the ravages wrought on some he knew. Within the Christian circle, they unlawfully reached after gain. This led to their wandering from the faith, and to their being pierced through, as with a sword, with many sorrows; bitter reflections on the past, disappointment with what they had obtained, apprehensions of the future. These he would point to as beacons, warning off the rock of avarice. - R.F.

This relationship would be less common than the other.

I. THE RESPECT DUE TO CHRISTIAN MASTERS. "And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but the rather serve them." The duty is presented in a twofold form.

1. Negatively. "Let them not despise them." The false teachers might tell the slaves that their servitude was inconsistent with Christian liberty. The slaves might thus, especially in the case of Christian masters, regard them as fully their equals on the ground of the common brotherhood of believers, and refuse them the respect due to their position.

2. Positively. "But the rather serve them." The best way of effecting a partial amelioration of their condition was by rendering a service all the more faithful, because it was rendered to a brother in Christ. Servants must never under any circumstances be disrespectful.


1. Because their master's are brethren. The slaves ought, therefore, to treat them with Christian respect and generosity, knowing that such a service is showing kindness to "brethren."

2. Because those who were "to receive the benefit of their hearty and willing service were faithful and beloved." This thought ought to dignify as well as ameliorate the position of the slave. Such masters were willing to receive such service.

III. THE NECESSITY OF ENFORCING THESE DUTIES. "These things teach and exhort."

1. It was necessary for the comfort of the slave himself as well as for the interests of the master.

2. It was necessary for the credit and honor of the gospel, which would be gravely compromised by restiveness or insubordination on the part of the great subject class.

3. The gospel is not vulgarized by such counsel. It rather dignifies human life in its meanest respects by infusing into it a new beauty and a new generosity of feeling. - T.C.

I. THE OPPOSITION TO APOSTOLIC TEACHING- ON THE DUTIES OF SLAVES. "If any one teacheth other doctrine, and does not assent to sound words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness."

1. The nature of this false teaching. It points, as the word signifies, to "a different doctrine" from that of the apostle. There were false teachers in Ephesus who, from a pretended interest in the class of Christian slaves, taught them that the gospel was a political charter of emancipation; for the yoke of Christ was designed to break every other yoke. They must have been of the class referred to elsewhere who "despised government" (2 Peter 2:10; Jude 1:8), and encouraged disobedience to parents. The tendency of their teaching would be to sow the seeds of discontent in the minds of the slaves, and its effects would be to plunge them into a contest with society which would have the unhappiest effects.

2. The opposition of this teaching to Divine truth.

(1) It was opposed to "wholesome words," to words without poison or taint of corruption, such as would maintain social relations on a basis of healthy development.

(2) It was opposed to the words of Christ, either directly or through his apostles. He had dropped sayings of a suggestive character which could not but touch the minds of the slave class: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's;" "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth;" "Resist not evil;" "Love your enemies, pray for them which despitefully use you."

(3) It was opposed to the doctrine of godliness. It was a strange thing for teachers in the Church to espouse doctrines opposed to the interests of godliness. The disobedience of slaves would commit them to a course of ungodly dishonoring of God and his gospel.


1. They were "besotted with pride." They were utterly wanting in the humility of spirit which the gospel engenders, but were puffed up with an empty show of knowledge.

2. Yet they were ignorant. "Knowing nothing." They had no true understanding of the social risks involved in their doctrine of emancipation, or of the true method of ameliorating the condition of the slaves.

3. They "doted about questions and disputes about words." They had a diseased appetency for all sorts of profitless discussions turning upon the meanings of words, which had no tendency to promote godliness, but rather altercations and bad feeling of all sorts - "from which cometh envy, strife, evil-speakings, wicked suspicions, incessant quarrels." These controversial collisions sowed the seeds of all sorts of bitter hatred.

4. The moral deficiency of these false teachers. They were "men corrupted in their mind, destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is gain."

(1) They had first corrupted the Word of God, and thus prepared the way for the debasement of their own mind, leading in turn to that pride and ignorance which were their most distinguishing qualities.

(2) They were "deprived of the truth." It was theirs once, but they forfeited this precious treasure by their unfaithfulness and their corruption. It is a dangerous thing to tamper with the truth.

(3) They heard that "godliness was a source of gain." They did not preach contentment to the slaves, or induce them to acquiesce with patience in their hard lot, but rather persuaded them to use religion as a means of worldly betterment. Such counsel would have disorganizing, disintegrating effects upon society. But it was, besides, a degradation of true religion. Godliness was not designed to be a merely lucrative business, or to be followed only so far as it subserved the promotion of worldly interests. Simon Magus and such men as "made merchandise" of the disciples are examples of this class. Such persons would "teach things which they ought not for the sake of base gain" (Titus 1:11). - T.C.

Wholesome words. There is no word more representative of the spirit of the gospel than this word "wholesome." It shows us that the gospel means health.

I. THEY ARE WHOLESOME BECAUSE THEY ARE HEALING WORDS. They heal breaches in families; they heal the division between God and the soul; they heal the heart itself. And in the vade-mecum of the Bible we find a cure for all the diseases of the inner man.

II. THEY ARE WHOLESOME WORDS AS CONTRASTED WITH OTHER LITERATURES. With much that is good in the best of authors, there is much that is harmful. All is not wholesome in Dante, or Goethe, or Shakespeare. It requires an infinite mind to inspire words that shall always and ever be wholesome; and it would be difficult to speak of any human literature that is wholesome every way. Some has in it too much romance and sentiment; some has too great a power upon the passions; some feeds the intellect and starves the heart.

III. THESE WORDS ABE WHOLESOME IN EVERY SPHERE. It is not too much to say of the gospel of Jesus Christ that it saves and sanctifies body, soul, and spirit. It has no word of encouragement to the unwashed monk, or to the ascetic who neglects the care of the body. It supplies a true culture to the mind, and feeds and nourishes all the graces of the heart. So it becomes a doctrine according to godliness. - W.M.S.

The apostle, after his manner, expands his idea beyond the immediate occasion that led to it.

I. THE GAIN OF GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT. "But godliness with contentment is great gain."

1. Godliness is a gain in itself, because it has "the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." Godly men come into happy and thriving circumstances, for they are taught to pursue their callings with due industry, foresight, and perseverance.

2. Godliness, allied to contentment, is great gain.

(1) This does not mean that contentment is a condition necessary to the gainful character of godliness, but is rather an effect of godliness and part of its substantial gain. It is a calm and sedate temper of mind about worldly interests. It is God's wisdom and will not to give to all men alike, but the contented mind is not disquieted by this fact.

(2) The godly man is content with what he possesses; submits meekly to God's will, and bears patiently the adverse dispensations of his providence. The godly heart is freed from the thirst for perishing treasures, because it possesses treasures of a higher and more enduring character.

II. THE REASON FOR THIS SENTIMENT. "For we brought nothing into the world, because neither are we able to take anything out of it."

1. We are appointed by God to come naked into the world. We may be born heirs to vast possessions, but they do not become ours till we are actually born. Rich and poor alike bring nothing into the world.

2. This fact is a reason for the statement that we can carry nothing out of the world. It is between birth and death we can hold our wealth. The rich man cannot carry his estates with him into the grave. He will have no need of them in the next life.

3. There could be no contentment if we could take anything with us at death, because in that case the future would be dependent upon the present.

4. The lesson to be learned from these facts is that we ought not eagerly to grasp such essentially earthly and transitory treasures.

III. THE TRUE WISDOM OF CONTENTMENT. "But if we have food and raiment, with these let us be satisfied." These are what Jacob desired, Agur prayed for, and Christ taught his disciples to make the subject of daily supplication. The contented godly have these gifts along with God's blessing. The Lord does not encourage his people to enlarge their desires inordinately. - T.C.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. We learn from these words -

I. THAT MEN ARE RICH IN WHAT THEY ARE. It is a mistake to think of riches as belonging merely to the estate. We may catalogue the possessions of the outward life, but they are only "things." How many men learn too late that they are not rich in what they have! Godliness is the truest riches, because it is God-likeness; the image which no earthly artist can produce! The highest good conceivable is to be like God.

II. MEN ARE RICH IN WHAT THEY CAN DO WITHOUT. "With contentment." Let us study, not so much what we may secure, as what we are able to enjoy existence without. Men multiply their cares often as they multiply their means; and some men, with competency in a cottage, have not been sorry that they lost a palace. "Contentment is great gain;" it sets the mind free from anxious care; it prevents the straining after false effect; it has more time to enjoy the flowers at its feet, instead of straining to secure the meadows of the far-away estate.

III. MEN MUST LEAVE EVERYTHING; THEY CAN CARRY NOTHING AWAY. That is certain; and yet the word must be read thoughtfully. Nothing save conscience and character and memory. Still the words are true, that we can carry nothing out; for these are not "things," but part of our personality. The body returns to the dust, but the spirit - to the God who gave it. Let this cheek all undue anxiety, and cure our foolish envy as we look around upon all the coveted positions of men. "We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." - W.M.S.

I. THE EAGER PURSUIT OF THE WORLD IS TO BE SHUNNED. "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare."

1. The apostle does not condemn the possession of riches, which have, in reality, no moral character; for they are only evil where they are badly used. Neither does he speak of rich men; for he would not condemn such men as Abraham, Joseph of Arimathsea, Gains, and others; nor such rich men as use their wealth righteously as good stewards of God.

2. He condemns the haste to be rich, not only because wealth is not necessary for a life of godly contentment, but because of its scrim and moral risks.

II. THE DANCERS OF THIS EAGER PURSUIT OF WEALTH. They "fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition."

1. There is a temptation to unjust gain which leads men into the snare of the devil. There is a sacrifice of principle, the abandonment of conscientious scruples, in the hurry to accumulate wealth.

2. The temptation in its turn makes way for many lusts which are "foolish," because they are unreasonable, and exercised upon things that are quite undesirable; and which are "hurtful," because they injure both body and soul, and all a man's best interests.

3. These lusts in turn carry their own retribution. They "drown men in destruction and perdition."

(1) This is more than moral degradation.

(2) It is a wreck of the body accompanied by the ruin of the immortal soul - T.C.

For the love of money is the root of all evil. This almost proverbial saying is intended to support the statement of the previous verse.


1. The assertion is not concerning money, which, as we have seen, is neither good nor bad in itself, but concerning the love of money.

2. It is not asserted that there are not other roots of evil besides covetousness. This thought was not present to the apostle's mind.

3. It is not meant that a covetous man will be entirely destitute of all virtuous feeling.

4. It means that a germ of all evil lies in one with the love of money; that there is no kind of evil to which a man may net be led through an absorbing greed for money. It is really a root-sin, for it leads to care, fear, malice, deceit, oppression, envy, bribery, perjury, contentiousness.

II. UNHAPPY EFFECTS OF THE LOVE OF MONEY. "Which some having coveted after have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

1. It led to apostasy. They made shipwreck of their Christian principles. They surrendered the faith. The good seed of the Word was choked by the deceitfulness of riches, and, like Demas, they forsook the Word, having loved this present world.

2. It involved the Tangs of conscience, to the destruction of their own happiness. They felt the piercings of that inward monitor who forebodes the future destruction. - T.C.

The apostle now turns from his warning to those desiring to be rich to the practical exhortation to strive for the true riches.


1. It was the familiar title of the Old Testament prophets, and might appropriately apply to a New Testament evangelist like Timothy.

2. But in the New Testament it has a more general reference, applying as it does to all the faithful in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:17). The name is very expressive. It signifies

(1) a man who belongs to God;

(2) who is dedicated to God;

(3) who finds in God, rather than in riches, his true portion;

(4) who lives for God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

II. THE WARNING ADDRESSED TO TIMOTHY. "Flee these things." It might seem unnecessary to warn so devoted a Christian against the love of riches, with its destructive results; but Timothy was now in an important position in a wealthy city, which contained "rich' men (ver. 17), and may have been tempted by gold and ease and popularity to make trivial sacrifices to truth. The holiest heart is not without its inward subtleties of deceit.

III. THE POSITIVE EXHORTATION ADDRESSED TO TIMOTHY. "And follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meek-spiritedness." These virtues group themselves into pairs.

1. Righteousness and godliness; referring to a general conformity to the Law of God in relation to the duties owing respectively to God and man, like the similar expressions - "live righteously and godly" - of Titus 2:12.

(1) Righteousness is

(a) not the "righteousness of God," for that had been already attained by Timothy; but

(b) the doing of justice between man and man, which would be for the honor of religion among men. Any undue regard for riches would cause a swerve from righteousness.

(2) Godliness includes

(a) holiness of heart,

(b) holiness of life, in which lies the true gain for two worlds.

2. Faith and love. These are the two foundation-principles of the gospel.

(1) Faith is at once

(a) the instrument of our justification,

(b) the root-principle of Christian life, and

(c) the continuously sustaining principle of that life.

(2) Love is

(a) the immediate effect of faith, for "faith worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6);

(b) it is the touchstone of true religion and the bond of perfectness;

(c) it is the spring of evangelical obedience, for it is "the fulfilling of the Law" (Romans 13:8);

(d) it is our protection in the battle of life, for it is "the breastplate of love" (1 Thessalonians 5:8).

3. Patience, meek-spiritedness. These represent two principles which ought to operate in power in presence of gainsayers and enemies. - T.C.

The gladiator was one who fought, in the arena, at the amphitheatre of an ancient city, such as the Colosseum at Rome, for the amusement of the public. It made life real and earnest to be compelled to enter the lists, in which the issue was generally victory or death.

"And now
The arena swims around him - he is gone?
Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hailed the wretch who won.
He heard it, but he heeded not - his eyes
Were with his heart, and that was far away;
He recked not of the life he lost or prize,

But where his rude hut by the Danube lay;
There were his young barbarians all at play -
There was their Dacian mother! he, their sire,
Butchered to make a Roman holiday."

I. NEED OF PREPARATION. "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." We know what can be undergone by men of the lowest order, when they put themselves in training for entering the prize-ring. Accustomed to spend the greater part of their time in the public-house, they are found rigorously foregoing their pleasures and entailing upon themselves hard employment. In what these pugilists forego and endure, do they not put to blush many Christians, who cannot be said to forego much, or to give hard service for their religion? There is, we are here taught, what becomes the man of God, i.e. the highest type of man - the man who tries to work out the Divine idea of his life and to come to he God-like in his character. "O man of God, learn from these men of a low order. They flee their wonted pleasures; flee thou," says the apostle in earnest address, "these things," i.e. as appears from the context, those habits of mind which we call worldly, tendencies to sink higher things in the pursuit of worldly ends, money, enjoyment, position for ourselves, and for our children. Christians who may have no taste for what are regarded as coarse pleasures, may yet he worldly in their ideas and habits. Such worldliness is unworthy of the man of God; vulgar, demeaning in him. O man of God, flee thou worldliness, as thou wouldst a wild beast. Flee it, as certain to eat up thy true manliness. It may he said that more havoc has been wrought in the Church by worldliness than by intemperance. And the one is not so easily dealt with as the other. The intemperate man may be laid hold on, and aided out of his intemperance. But the worldly man may be in position in the Church; and who is likely to succeed in aiding him out of his worldliness? And so, while the one may be rescued, the other may continue to he the prey of destructive habits that are growing upon him. The other side of duty refers to the acquiring of good habits of mind that are required for the fight. And as the word for worldly habits is flee, so the word for good habits is pursue. It is implied that worldliness seeks us, and we need to get out of its way, to flee from it as from a wild beast. Good habits, on the other hand, retreat from us; they are apt to evade us, and we need to pursue them with all the keenness with which a ravenous wild beast pursues its prey. It is hard for us to come up to them, and to have them as our enjoyed possession. The good habits, so ill to grasp, which are needed for the fight by the man of God are particularized. First of all he must have righteousness, or the habit of going by rule. And along with this he must have godliness, or the habit of referring to God. Then he must have faith, which covers his defenselessness. Along with this he must have love, which supplies him with fire. He must also have patience, which enables him to hold out to the end. And along with this he must have meekness, which makes his spirit proof against all accumulation of wrong. In the eye of the world, these habits may seem unmanly; but, O man of God, be true to thyself, and pursue them; let them not escape from thee; by God's decree they shall reward thy eager pursuit.

II. NATURE OF THE FIGHT. "Fight the good fight of the faith." He that has the faith of a Christian is necessitated to fight, There is revealed to his faith a God in the heavens, who hates sin, and who also seeks the salvation of souls. In the light of this, which ought to be an increasing light, there is presented an exposure. He comes to see that there are in his flesh tendencies which are against God. He comes also to see that there is in the world, in its opinion and custom, much that is against God. As, then, he would stand by God, he must fight against the flesh and the world - against what would tempt to sin, from within and from without. It is a good fight, being for the cause of God, which is also the cause of man in his establishment in righteousness and love. It is a good fight, being grounded in the victory of Christ and carried on hopefully under his leadership. It is a fight into which the man of God can throw his undivided energies, his warmest enthusiasm. Many a fight which receives the plaudits of men has, in the strict review, only a seeming or superficial goodness. But the fight into which the man of God throws himself can stand the severest tests of goodness. Be it thine, then, O man of God, to fight the good fight of the faith.

III. THE PRICELESS PRIZE. "Lay hold on the life eternal, whereunto thou wast called, and didst confess the good confession in the sight of many witnesses." The prize for which the gladiator fought was not all unsubstantial. It was life. It meant the enjoyment of liberty, return to his rude hut, his young barbarians, and their "Dacian mother." Still that life had in it elements of unsatisfactoriness and decay. It was savage life, below the level of civilized life. Such as it was in its rude delights, it was not beyond accident and death. But the prize for which the Christian gladiator fights, is life eternal. This is not to be confounded with perpetuity of existence, which may be felt to be an intolerable burden. The importance of existence lies in its joyous elements, experience of healthful activity, and of communion with those we love. So the life, which is here presented as the prize, is that kind of existence in which there is a free, unrestrained play of our powers, and in which we have communion with the Father of our spirits and with the spirits of the just. And the life has such a principle in it, such subsistence in the living God, as to be placed above the reach of death, as only to be brought forth into all its joyousness by death. The counsel of the apostle is to lay hold on this priceless prize. O man of God, do not let it escape thee. Stretch forward to it with a feeling of its supreme desirableness. It is worthy of all the strain to which thou canst put thyself. The counsel of the apostle is supported by a reference to a marked period in the past - apparently entrance on the Christian life, or that which was expressive of it to Timothy, viz. his baptism. It was a period in which Divine action and human action met. It was God calling him to life eternal It was at the same time Timothy confessing a good confession - apparently saying that life eternal was his aim. Come persecution, come death, life eternal he would seek to gain. This confession he made in the sight of many witnesses, present on the occasion of his baptism, who could speak to the earnestness of spirit with which he entered on his Christian career. O man of God, fight, remembering thy Divine calling and thy solemn engagements.

IV. THE WITNESSES. "I charge thee in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and of Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed the good confession; that thou keep the commandment, without spot, without reproach." The many witnesses just mentioned call up such a scene as was to be witnessed in the Coliseum. There was an assemblage of eighty-seven thousand people, tier above tier all round. As the gladiator stepped into the arena, he might well be awed by so vast and unwonted a crowd. But this would quickly give way to the feeling of what depended on the way in which he quitted himself. And there would not be absent from his mind the thought of the applause which would reward a victory. O man of God, thou art now in the arena, and there are many onlookers. They are watching how thou art quitting thyself in the fight of the faith - whether thou art realizing the seriousness of thy position, thy splendid opportunity. Their approval is worthy of being considered, worthy of being coveted by thee, and should help to nerve thee to the fight. But there was one pre-eminent personage who was expected to grace a Roman gladiatorial festival, viz. the emperor. As the gladiator entered, his eye would rest on the emperor and his attendants. And he would have a peculiar feeling in being called upon to fight under the eye of the august Caesar, to whom he would look up as to a very god. So, O man of God, there is one great Personage who is looking down on the arena in which thou art, and under whose eye thou art called upon to fight. It is not a Caesar - a man born and upheld and mortal like other men; but it is God, who quickeneth all things - the Substratum of all created existence, the almighty Upholder of men, the almighty Upholder of the universe with all its forms of life. There is another Personage, and yet not another. This is Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate wirelessed the good confession. "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a King then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a King. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness of the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." "In these words we see the majesty and fearless exposure of Jesus. 'I cannot and will not deny that I am a King. It is my office to declare the truth; it is by the influence of truth that I am to reign in the hearts of men, and I cannot shrink from asserting this most important truth, that I have the power and authority of a sovereign at once to rule and to defend my people. Let not this doctrine offend. Every one who is of the truth, who loves the light, and whose mind is open to conviction, heareth and acknowledgeth this and all my doctrines.' These words, spoken at so interesting and trying a period, discover to us the elevation of our Savior in a very striking light. We see his mind unbroken by suffering. We see in him the firmest adherence to the doctrines he had formerly taught. We see in him a conscious dignity, a full conviction of the glory and power with which he was invested. He asserts his royal office, not from ostentation, not amidst a host of flatterers, but in the face of enemies; and when he made this solemn declaration his appearance bore little conformity, indeed, to the splendor of earthly monarchs." There is a difference between the good confession of Timothy and the good confession of Christ indicated in the language. Timothy confessed his good confession, i.e. in the way of saying beforehand what he would do in the trial. Christ witnessed his good confession, i.e. authenticated it by making it in the immediate prospect of death. He went forth from Pilate's judgment-hall and sealed his confession with his blood. He was thus the first and greatest of confessors. It adds much in the way of definiteness, that we can thus think of him. It also adds much in the way of bracing. There is a halo around the great Onlooker from his past. The presence in a battle of the hero of a hundred fights, of a Napoleon or Wellington, is worth some additional battalions. So, O man of God, be braced up to the fight, by the thought that thou art fighting under the eye of thy God, under the eye of thy Savior. And do not think of getting the prize surreptitiously, but only by fair means, keeping to the rules of the contest, what is here called keeping the commandment, so that no little spot is made on it, no little dishonor done to it. For, however little, it means so much taken away from the value of the prize. I charge thee, then, says the apostle, in these great presences keep the commandment.

V. FINAL EVENT. "Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in its own times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power eternal. Amen." The final event of the day, on the occasion of a great gladiatorial show, was the coming forward of Caesar, in circumstances of pomp, to crown, or otherwise reward, the victors. So the final event of time will be the coming forward of our Lord Jesus Christ (as from looking on) to crown the victors in the good fight of the faith. There is reference to the same event in 2 Timothy 4:7, 8. It would be the proudest moment of a man's life when he was called forth to receive the prize from the hand of his emperor. So it will be a moment of greatest satisfaction to the believer when he is called forth (as by the herald proclaiming his name before a great assemblage) to receive the crown from the hand of his Lord. He will not certainly be filled with self-satisfaction. He will feel that he is only a debtor to Christ, and his first impulse will be to cast his crown at the feet of his great Benefactor. This appearing God is to show, i.e. to effect and to bring forth into view. He is to show it in its own times - at present hidden, but clear to the mind of God, and to be shown when his purposes are ripe. He who is to effect the appearing is appropriately adored as the Potentate (the Wielder of power). Not less appropriately is he adored as the blessed or (better) the happy Potentate, i.e. self-happy, having all elements of happiness within himself, no void within his infinite existence to fill up, but not therefore disposed to keep happiness to himself, rather prompted, in his own experience of happiness, to bestow it on others, first in creation and then in redemption. It is the happy Wielder of power that is to bring about an event that is fraught with so much happiness to believers. He shall show it, for he is the only Potentate; none can dispute the name with him. There are Towers under him as there were rulers, with different names, under the emperor; but he is the King of kings and Lord of lords - sovereign Disposer of all human and angelic representatives of power. "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord as the rivers of water: he turns it [however impetuous] whithersoever he will." He shall show it in its own times; for, however distant those times, he shall live to do it, being the only One who hath immortality from himself, essential imperviousness to decay. He shall show it, who is himself inaccessible within a circle of light, and not only never seen by men but necessarily invisible to men, i.e. in the unveiled brightness of his glory. All honor and power eternal, then, be to this God. We may judge of what the appearing is to be that is to be effected by One in whose praise the apostle breaks forth in so lofty a strain. We may conclude that it is to be the grandest display of the honor and power of God. And what a privilege that the humble believer - victor in the battle of life - is to be called forth before an assembled universe, under the presidency of Christ and by the hand of Christ, to be crowned with the life eternal! Let every one add his Amen to the ascription of honor and power to God, as displayed in the appearing of Christ. - R.F.

Instead of the struggle of the covetous for wealth, there ought to be the struggle of the faithful to lay hold on the prize of eternal life.

I. THE CHRISTIAN STRUGGLE. "Fight the good fight of faith."

1. The enemies it, this warfare. The world, the flesh, and the devil; the principalities and powers; the false teachers, with their arts of seduction.

2. The warfare itself. It is "a good fight."

(1) The term suggests that Christian life is not a mystic quietism, but an active effort against evil.

(2) It is a good fight, because

(a) it is in a good cause - for God and truth and salvation;

(b) it is under a good Captain - Jesus Christ, the Captain of our salvation;

(c) it has a good result - "eternal life."

3. The weapons in this warfare. "Faith." It is "the shield of faith" (Ephesians 6:16). This is not a carnal, but a spiritual weapon. Faith represents, indeed, "the whole amour of God," which is mighty for victory. It is faith that secures "the victory that overcometh the world" (1 John 4:4, 5).

II. THE END OF THE CHRISTIAN STRUGGLE. "Lay hold on eternal life."

1. Eternal life is the prize, the crown, to be laid hold of by those who are faithful to death.

2. It is the object of our effectual calling. "To which thou wast called" by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.

3. It is the subject of our public profession. And didst confess the good confession before many witnesses." Evidently either at his baptism, or at his ordination to the ministry, when many witnesses would be present. 4. This eternal life is to be laid hold of.

(1) It is held forth as the prize of the high calling of God, as the recompense of reward.

(2) But the believer is to lay hold of it even now by faith, having a believing interest in it as a possession yet to be acquired in all its glorious fullness. - T.C.

As he nears the end of the Epistle, the apostle, with a deeper solemnity of tone, repeats the charge he has given to his young disciple.

I. THE NATURE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHARGE. "I charge thee... that thou keep the commandment without spot and without reproach."

1. The commandment is the Christian doctrine in its aspect as a rule of life and discipline.

2. It was to be kept with all purity and faithfulness - "without spot and without reproach" so that it should be unstained by no error of life, or suffer from no reproach of unfaithfulness. He must preach the pure gospel sincerely, and his life must be so circumspect that his ministry should not be blamed by the Church here or by Christ hereafter.

II. THE SOLEMN APPEAL BY WHICH THE CHARGE IS SUSTAINED. "I give thee charge in the sight of God, who keepeth all things alive, and Christ Jesus, who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate." The apostle, having referred to Timothy's earlier confession before many witnesses, reminds him of the more tremendous presence of God himself, and of Christ Jesus.

1. God is represented here as Preserver, in allusion to the dangers of Timothy in the midst of Ephesian enemies.

2. Christ Jesus is referred to as an Example of unshaken courage and fidelity to truth in the presence of death.

III. THE CHARGE IS TO BE KEPT WITHOUT SPOT OR REPROACH TILL CHRIST'S SECOND COMING. "Until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ." He was to be "faithful unto death," yea, even unto the second advent.

1. It is according to apostolic usage to represent the end of Christian work as well as Christian expectation as terminating, not upon death, but upon the second advent. The complete redemption will then be fully realized.

2. It is not to be inferred from these words that the apostle expected the Lord's coming in his own lifetime. The second Thessalonian Epistle, written many years before, dispels such an impression. The words in ver. 15, "in his own times," imply a long succession of cycles or changes.

3. The second advent is to be brought about by God himself. "Which in his own times he shall manifest, who is the blessed and only Potentate, King of kings, and Lord of lords." This picture of the Divine Majesty was designed to encourage Timothy, who might hereafter be summoned to appear before the little kings of earth, by the thought of the immeasurable glory of the Potentate before whose throne all men must stand in the final judgment.

(1) He who is possessed of exhaustless powers and perfections is essentially immortal - "who only hath immortality" - because he is the Source of it in all who partake of it; for out of him all is death.

(2) He has his dwelling in the glory of light ineffable - "dwelling in light unapproachable, whom no man ever saw or can see."

(a) God is light (1 John 1:5). He covereth himself with light as with a garment (Psalm 104:4); and he is the Fountain of light.

(b) God is invisible. This is true, though "the pure in heart shall see God" (Matthew 5:8), and though it be that without holiness "no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). God is invisible

(α) to the eye of sense,

(β) but he will be visible to the believer in the clear intellectual vision of the supernatural state.

4. All praise and honor are to be ascribed to God, "to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen." The doxology is the natural ending of such a solemn charge. - T.C.

The counsel carries us back to what he had been saying in previous verses.

I. THE RICH ARE WARNED AGAINST A TWOFOLD DANGER. "To those who are rich in this present world give in charge not to be high-minded." It is implied that there were rich men as well as poor slaves in the Church at Ephesus.

1. The danger of high-mindedness. A haughty disposition is often engendered by wealth. The rich may be tempted to look down with contempt on the poor, as if they, forsooth, were the special favorites of Heaven because they had been so highly favored with worldly substance.

2. The danger of trustiest in wealth. "Nor to set their hope upon the uncertainty of riches."

(1) It is a great risk for a rich man to say to gold, "Thou art my hope; and to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence" (Job 31:24),

(2) Our tenure of wealth is very uncertain. It is uncertain

(a) because riches may take to themselves wings and flee away;

(b) because we may be taken away by death from the enjoyment of our possessions;

(c) because riches cannot satisfy the deep hunger of the human heart.

3. The safety of trusting in God. "But upon the living God, who giveth us all things richly for enjoyment."

(1) God is the sole Giver of all we possess.

(2) He giveth to us all richly according to our need.

(3) He giveth it for our enjoyment, so that we may take comfort in his rich provision.

(4) As the living God, he is an unexhaustible Fountain of blessings, so that no uncertainty can ever attach to the supply.


1. "That they do good."

(1) Rich men may do evil to others by fraud or oppression, and evil to themselves by habits of luxury and intemperance.

(2) They are rather to abound in acts of beneficence to all men, and especially to the household of faith, after the example of him who "went about every day doing good" (Acts 10:38).

2. "Rich in good works," as if in opposition to the riches of this world. They are to abound in the doing of them, like Dorcas, who was "full of good works and almsdeeds." Wealth of this sort is the least disappointing both here and hereafter, and has no uncertainty in its results.

3. "Ready to distribute." Willing to give unasked; cheerful in the distribution of their favors; giving without grudging and without delay.

4. "Willing to communicate." As if to recognize, not merely a common humanity, but a common Christianity with the poor. The rich ought to share their possessions with the poor.

III. ENCOURAGEMENTS TO THE DISCHARGE OF THESE DUTIES. "Laying up in store for themselves as a treasure a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold upon the true life."

1. It is possible for rich believers to lay up treasure in heaven. This treasure is a foundation against the time to come.

(1) Not a foundation of merit, for we are only saved by the merits of Christ;

(2) but a foundation in heaven, solid, substantial, and durable - unlike uncertain riches of earth; good in its nature and results - unlike earthly riches, which often are the undoing of men. "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness" (Luke 16:9).

2. Our riches may have an influence on our true life hereafter. "That they may lay hold on the true life."

(1) Not in the way of merit;

(2) but in the way of grace, fro' the very rewards of the future are of grace;

(3) the end of all our effort is the true life, in contrast to the vain, transitory, short-sighted life of earth. - T.C.

I. WARNING TO THE RICH. "Charge them that are rich in this present world, that they be not high-minded, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." The apostle's fear of worldliness in the Church still possesses him. He does not now regard those who wish to be rich, but those who are rich. He at once reminds them of the relative value of their riches, as extending only to this present world. He warns them against the danger of being high-minded, i.e. lifted up above others under a sense of their importance on account of their riches. He warns them also against the kindred danger, which separates, not so much from men as from God, viz. their setting their hope on their riches. "Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answered again, and said unto them, "Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God? The difficulty of the rich is that they are tempted to set their hope on their riches. One reason for their not doing so, is that their hope should not be set on an uncertainty such as riches is. The true Object of our hope is God, who is of a liberal disposition. He giveth us not merely the necessaries of life, but he giveth us richly all things. In his disposition we have a better guarantee for our not wanting, than in clutching to any riches. He giveth us things to enjoy, not to draw us away from our fellow-men, not to draw us away from himself, but to enjoy as his gifts, through which he would tell us of the kindness of his heart.

II. THE RIGHT COURSE FOR THEM. "That they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate." They were to seek to promote the happiness of others. As they were rich, they had it in their power, above others, to do beautiful actions. They were to be free in making distribution of what they had. They were to be ready to admit others to share with them. In a word, they were to counteract worldly habits of mind by cultivating habits of benevolence. There is the duty of giving the Lord the first fruits of our substance, a proportion of our income; there is here inculcated the cultivation of the disposition toward others that is to go along with that.

III. ADVANTAGE OF THE RIGHT COURSE. "Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on the life which is life indeed." What they took from their plenty and gave for others they were not to lose, but were to have it as a treasure laid up for them. "Their estates will not die with them, but they will have joy and comfort of them in the other world, and have cause to bless God for them to all eternity" (Beveridge). The treasure is thought of as a good foundation, by resting on which they would lay hold on the life which was life indeed. The time is coming when this world will be taken away from beneath our feet. What have we sent before us into the next world, so as to keep us from sinking in the new condition of things, to bear us up so that we shall not earn, but receive, from Christ's hand and through Christ's merit, the life indeed? The answer here is - what we have denied ourselves, what we have unselfishly sacrificed for others.


1. What he was to keep. "O Timothy, guard that which is committed unto thee." The deposit is the doctrine delivered to Timothy to preach, as opposed to what follows. "We have an exclamation alike of foreknowledge and of fondness. For he foresaw future errors, which he mourned over beforehand. What does he mean by guarding the deposit? Guard it, says he, on account of thieves, on account of enemies who while men sleep may sow tares amidst the good seed. What is the deposit? It is 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 the same remain with thee; let that same be handed down by thee. Gold thou hast received, gold return. I should be sorry thou shouldst substitute ought else. I should be sorry that for gold thou shouldst 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 faith. Let the intelligence of the whole Church and its individual members increase exceedingly, provided it be only on its own head, the doctrine being still the same."

2. What he was to avoid. "Turning away from the profane babblings and oppositions of the knowledge which is falsely so called; which some professing have erred concerning the faith." The errors are called profane babblings, similarly to the characterization of them in 1 Timothy 1:6 and 1 Timothy 4:7. They are also called oppositions of a falsely named gnosis, i.e. to the true gnosis in the gospel. There were some defections on account of Gnostic tendencies even in the apostle's day; and it was very much the design of this letter to warn his pupil against them.

V. BENEDICTION. "Grace be with you." It seems better to regard the benediction for Timothy alone. He has been so busy in laying down ecclesiastical rules for the direction of Timothy as superintendent, that he has no space left for personal references, but closes abruptly with the briefest form of benediction. - R.F.

The parting counsel of the apostle goes back upon the substance of all his past counsels. It includes a positive and a negative counsel.

I. A POSITIVE COUNSEL. "O Timothy, keep the deposit" entrusted to thee. This refers to the doctrine of the gospel. It is "the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

1. The doctrine of the gospel is thus not something discovered by man, but delivered to man.

2. It is placed in the hands of Timothy as a trustee, to be kept for the use of others. It is a treasure in earthen vessels, to be jealously guarded against robbers and foes.

3. If it is kept, it will in turn keep us.

II. A NEGATIVE COUNSEL. "Avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called: which some professing erred concerning the faith."

1. The duty of turning away from empty discourses and the ideas of a false knowledge.

(1) Such things were utterly profitless as to spiritual result.

(2) They were antagonistic to the doctrine of godliness; for they represented theories of knowledge put forth by false teachers, which ripened in due time into the bitter Gnosticism of later times. It was a knowledge that falsely arrogated to itself that name, for it was based on ignorance or denial of God's truth.

2. The danger of such teachings.

(1) Some members of the Church were led to profess such doctrines, perhaps because they wore a seductive aspect of asceticism, or pretended to show a shorter cut to heaven.

(2) But they lost their way and "erred concerning the faith." This false teaching undermined the true faith of the gospel.

(3) As the tense implies an event that occurred in the past, these persons were not now in the communion of the Ephesian Church. - T.C.

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