1 Timothy 6:11
But you, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
The apostle now turns from his warning to those desiring to be rich to the practical exhortation to strive for the true riches.
I. THE TITLE BY WHICH TIMOTHY IS ADDRESSED. "O man of God."
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.
Parallel VersesKJV: But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.