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Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 8: The Path of our Plight
In our last presentation of Paul’s first epistle to Timothy, which discussed 1 Timothy chapter 5, we saw the apostle address the issue of “younger widows” who were apparently not “really widows”, referring to unmarried women who must have been married at one time, but who no longer had husbands. Paul advised such women to find husbands, and to have children and raise families, explaining that doing so, they would not be a burden on the assembly while being tempted into acting wantonly towards married men. Here it is evident that Christian mercy invites even those who may have had a sinful past to return to a natural role within the Christian community.
So if a woman who had been previously married, but who was not really a widow, has found herself alone then it is not necessarily a sin for her to remarry. Rather, it is a greater sin, as Paul explained in that same chapter, for her to turn to a lewd lifestyle because of her natural urges and her unmarried condition. Even the Law supports this to some degree, in spite of the fact that Yahweh our God despises divorce, and Yahshua Christ had indeed professed that those remarrying after divorce are committing adultery.
This is evident because in Leviticus while it is explicitly commanded that a priest may only marry a virgin, there is no such requirement for the balance of men in the community. Then in passages such as Deuteronomy chapter 24 where we see the law of divorce it is evident that men have the option of marrying a woman who was formerly married. Moreover, in the laws of marriage in Deuteronomy chapter 22 it is implicit that a man may take a woman who is not a virgin to wife, and if that is agreeable to him he simply need not protest, thereby choosing to keep her. Customarily, men had an expectation to marry a virgin, but they did not have to keep themselves bound to such an expectation.
Our discussion of these things relating to 1 Timothy chapter 5 beckoned a question concerning unmarried women with children, and whether it was appropriate for them to remarry as well. As we also explained in that presentation, our modern culture is so far removed from the laws of our God that it is difficult to reconcile the two: our culture is hopelessly corrupted. In ancient times, it was probably rare to find a man who would devote himself to a woman who was not a virgin, as that alone is a digression from the societal expectation. However it was probably much more difficult to get a man to raise another man’s children. But this was very likely not a common issue.
As we have explained here before, in the ancient world, whether it were Hebrew, Greek or Roman, children were the property of their fathers. A divorced woman was simply put out of the house, and had no rights to any property at all. In Biblical law and in early Greek society a woman had no evident option to sue for divorce. Except in Athens during the Classical period as well as under the Romans, women could sue for divorce, but could only recover dowry money and had no claim to children. There were no custody battles in courts, and not even so-called “visitation rights”. Concerning all of these things, she was at the mercy of her former husband. Therefore the “young widows” which Paul was referring to, who were not “really widows”, most likely did not have any children with them.
Roman society being slightly more liberal than the Greek, women had some property rights under Roman rule that they did not enjoy under Greek rule or in Biblical Kingdom period, and in the first century world of the Bible our subjects are all under Roman rule. We are not passing judgment upon that here, but merely stating the fact. So while there is an example of a woman who had a business and was able to support her house without a husband, referring to that Lydia who is mentioned in Acts chapter 16, such a woman would certainly seem to have been an exception. Many women who could not find husbands and who had no male family member to take them in would have to sell themselves to a pagan temple or to a wealthy man as a prostitute or a slave in some other capacity, and if indeed she had any children, the children would go along with her into that same fate.
An example of a man selling himself into slavery is in the parable of the Prodigal Son, who squandered his inheritance and who was no longer able to support himself, so he was compelled to resort to slavery in exchange for his necessities. While it was possible for a woman to sell herself into labor, if she had any children they would have had to go with her and that would very much complicate the economic viability of her remaining a slave. But the temples of the ancient pagan world had thousands, or tens of thousands, of younger and even child slaves acting as prostitutes, both male and female. The children in a divorce would be fortunate to remain in the care of their father. But the fact that children were the property of their fathers precluded the necessity of Paul’s having to discuss them in his instructions on “widows” who were not “really widows”.
So a divorced woman – or a widow who was not really a widow – would have one of four choices: to turn to Christ and seek the support of a Christian community, which Paul’s instruction reserves only for women who were truly widows and who had led exemplary lives, or to find a private individual to support them – and Paul mentioned that possibility as well, or to be a prostitute or some other sort of slave, or to find a man who would have her and remarry, which is the solution Paul presents as the most preferable. The role of temple prostitute is fornication, and both Paul and the law warn his readers not to commit fornication, so of course that is not a viable option for a Christian.
However while slavery for the purpose of fornication is unlawful, other forms of slavery were not condemned either by the law, by Christ, or by His apostles. Rather, they were seen as either the inevitable outcome of defeat in war or rebellion, where for many slavery may have been preferable to death, or as a simple economic necessity for a man or woman with no means of support of their own.
In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the man who was the example of the allegory sold himself into slavery because he was destitute, and was evidently free to leave once he imagined that a better opportunity had come along. That form of slavery is very much like what we may call corporate employment today. But in the epistle of Philemon, it is evident that the slave Onesimus was indentured to Philemon by one means or another, and was considered his property. Paul requested as a favor that Onesimus be released, but not even Paul took the liberty of making such a demand of Philemon – the choice of whether or not to free Onesimus was left to Philemon entirely.
So Christianity does not condemn the institution of slavery, but rather sees it as a political or economic inevitability, and sometimes even as a necessity, and Paul makes an example of that here as well, where he begins 1 Timothy chapter 6 by stating:
1 As many servants as are under the yoke, they must esteem their own masters worthy of all honor, in order that the name of Yahweh and the doctrine not be blasphemed.
The King James Version often fails to make a proper distinction between a διάκονος, which is a servant of any sort, a word which is also often translated as minister, and a μίσθιος which is strictly a hired servant, and a δοῦλος, which is a servant that is a slave, and originally the word was used in Classical Greek to designate one who was born a slave, as opposed to one who was made a slave some point or other in his own lifetime. In the first century, the word δοῦλος was used more generally of either a bondman (which may describe an indentured servant) or a slave, who was not indentured by agreement but made a slave for some other reason. Other words with different connotations describing servants appear elsewhere in the New Testament in different contexts, and they too are often not properly distinguished.
Throughout His parables and exemplary discussions, Yahshua Christ Himself made frequent reference to servants, or slaves, using this word δοῦλος or its plural form, δοῦλοι. He praised such slaves who did well, and He condemned such slaves who did poorly. But He never criticized or condemned the institution of slavery or the condition of men who fell into such a state. In fact, on two occasions in the Gospel Christ had strongly criticized men who were δοῦλοι ἀχρεῖοί, or unprofitable slaves. Finally, throughout the Gospel and the later books of Scripture, even in the Revelation, the followers of Christ and Christians in general were considered the δοῦλοι, or slaves of God and Christ.
Concerning such δοῦλοι slaves, Paul had said in chapters 3 and 4 of his epistle to the Colossians: “3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. 4:1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. 2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving….”
Likewise the apostle Peter, speaking of δοῦλοι slaves, said in the second chapter of his first epistle: “18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”
In this same manner Paul continues speaking of δοῦλοι slaves here and says:
2 And they must not despise those masters having the faith, because they are brethren. Rather they must serve still more, because those assisting with good services are trusted and beloved. You teach and encourage these things.
So here we see that Christians can own slaves, and they can even own their fellow Christians as slaves, as Paul refers to “masters having the faith”, and that is an economic position which is not hostile to Christian law and deportment. Christian slave-owners are only encouraged to treat their Christian slaves well, by both Peter and Paul, and also by Yahshua Christ in His parables. This we see, for example, in the parable of the wicked servant in Matthew chapter 18, or in the parable of the servants and the talents in Matthew chapter 25. So the good slave would want to be an even better slave to his faithful Christian master.
So we read in Matthew chapter 25: “14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants [δοῦλοι], and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
It may be argued that this is a parable of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it nevertheless stands as an example of what Christ expects of us in this life. As Christ had asked in John chapter 3, “12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” Then in Luke chapter 16 we read where Christ is speaking of an unjust earthly steward and says “11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” Here he is speaking of the Kingdom of Heaven. If we do not handle well what we are given in our earthly lives, we cannot expect to be entrusted with much in our future position in the Kingdom of God. So even if our lot is to be a master or a slave, we should excel at the righteous execution of either position. Therefore Paul said in Titus chapter 2: “9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”
Now Paul gives a warning related to this same thing:
3 If anyone teaches differently and does not capitulate [א has “adhere”] to sound words: those of our Prince Yahshua Christ, and to the doctrine in accordance with piety 4 he is conceited, standing upon nothing, but is mad for inquiries and arguments over semantics from which come envy, strife, [D has “from which are born envies, strifes,”] blasphemies, wicked suspicions, 5 constant contentions corrupting the minds of men and defrauding them of [D has “and turning away from”] the truth, supposing piety to be a means of gain.
The Majority Text appends the phrase “from such withdraw thyself” to the end of this verse; our text follows the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus (א), and the 5th century Codices Alexandrinus (A), Claromontanus (D) and Vaticanus Graecus 2061 (048).
The Greek word λογομαχία (Strong’s # 3055) appears only here in the New Testament, and, according to Joseph Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon, it is a “dispute about words, [a] war of words, or about trivial and empty things”, and it is “not found in professional authorities”, which to him are apparently the profane, or secular, authors. Neither is the corresponding verb, λογομαχέω (Strong’s # 3054), which is found in Paul’s writing in 2 Timothy 2:14 where Thayer defines it as a “dispute about words…” and Liddell & Scott define λογομαχέω more literally as “to war about words.” So here, where λογομαχία appears in the plural, it is rendered “arguments over semantics”, where the term is interpreted as it refers not to the words themselves, but to the meanings of words, which we are surely convinced was Paul’s original intention.
In our experience, at the core of many disputes over Scripture there are contentions over the meanings of words, and especially in modern times where men frequently insist on interpreting English words with their modern meanings, rather than going back to the original Hebrew or Greek words of Scripture and understanding them as the ancients had actually used them. So by mingling evil intentions with poor or dishonest methods of interpretation, common people are easily led astray by wicked churchmen.
Here, where Paul lists the sort of contentions which arise when men “teach differently”, he may more remotely be referring to things which he has said in the earlier parts of this epistle, but he is immediately referring to the things which he had just said about slavery, “that the doctrine of Yahweh not be blasphemed.” He also imagines that those who teach differently about such things and cause such strife between men suppose that piety is a means of gain – they promote false doctrines under a false sense of piety so that they can enrich themselves.
In the Middle Ages, a major catalyst for the Reformation was the selling of indulgences by the Church. The Roman Catholic clerics would forgive sins for money, the sins of both the living and the dead, and they held people in bondage to fear and guilt so that they could extract even greater sums from them. When reformers strove for change within the Church, they were countenanced by these very things: arguments over the meanings of words. For the Popes and bishops and their minions, piety certainly was a means of gain, and they were so zealous to hold onto it that the resulting Thirty Years War decimated nearly half of Germany and the German people.
Another striking example of how much strife and contention a false teaching over this very issue could cause is the American so-called Civil War, which was actually a war of northern aggression. Pious-sounding abolitionists contrived all sorts of anti-Biblical arguments to deprive a small percentage of Southerners of their property, thereby blaspheming the doctrine of Christ. Then they used their unscriptural diatribes against slavery as a pretense to interest common Northerners in fighting a war for what were truly unjust causes, whereby they sought only to enrich themselves or their masters – the plutocrats and industrialists who had the greatest economic interests in the outcome of the issue. Using the issue of slavery as a moral cause, they destroyed the South and they elevated beasts to the status of men. The resulting contention is ongoing to this very day, by which the entire country is divided one man against another over the beasts that should have by all rights remained in bonds forever… or should have been removed from the nation entirely. The plutocrats are still profiting from the outcome.
These are only two examples – albeit major examples – where men pretending to be Christians but “teaching differently” than the laws of God and the Gospel of Christ have caused great strife and contention. But this is the path of our plight. Contrary to Christ, the Popes sold indulgences for the forgiving of sins and the resistance which resulted cost at least eight million German lives, and probably more. Contrary to Christ, the northern abolitionists helped to spark a war where over a half million White Americans were killed at the hands of their own kinsmen, for the ultimate benefit of an alien race, a race of beasts. As a result, White Americans are being raped, robbed and murdered every day since 1861, and the list of casualties is far from complete.
Next Paul compares this unjust gain to Godly gain and says:
6 But a great means of gain is piety with self-sufficiency.
Christian brethren should help one another, but they should never deprive one another, and they should be willing to work to provide for themselves, as Paul had told the Thessalonians, “...if any would not work, neither should he eat.” The dishonest teacher supposes piety to be a means of gain, and teaches lies unto men for his own sake, causing division and pitting brother against brother. The honest man clings to the doctrine of Christ and would rather provide for himself than ever despoil or defraud his brother. Paul is writing to Timothy and speaking primarily of Church leadership, and we see that doing things such as selling indulgences or aligning themselves with abolitionists and so-called “civil rights” proponents, Church leadership has only sought to despoil and defraud men, of both wealth and of truth.
So in conclusion Paul says:
7 For we have brought nothing into this order, because neither are we able to take anything out. 8 But having sustenance and shelter, in these we should be satisfied.
The Codex Claromontanus (D) has the final clause of verse 7 to read “truly it is that neither are we able to take anything out”; the Majority Text has “it is evident that neither are we able to take anything out”; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A) and Vaticanus Graecus 2061 (048).
No matter our station in life, while we live we need nothing more than our basic necessities, because we can not take anything with us when we die. Having these, we should all be able to continue our work for the greater good of the Body of Christ. Therefore all Christians should make certain that each of us have those basic necessities, and all Christians should be able to work in order to help secure them, and not seek to defraud one another to gain anything beyond what is required. As Paul had said in the previous chapter of this epistle: “Now if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially of kin, he has denied the faith and is inferior to one of the faithless.” But if any Christian works harder, or is more successful at his labor and as a result has accumulated greater wealth, he is entitled to that, although as we shall see here, that is also a responsibility as much as it is a blessing. However becoming wealthy through success at an occupation and wishing for oneself to be wealthy are different things, and now Paul addresses the later:
9 Now those wishing themselves to be wealthy fall into a trial and a snare [D interpolates “of the False Accuser”, for which cf. v. 3:7] and many brash and hurtful desires, which sink men into ruin and destruction.
The Greek word ἀνόητος (Strong’s # 453) is “not thought on, unheard of...not understanding, [or] unintelligent...” according to Liddell & Scott, where in the context in which it appears here I have taken liberty to write brash according to the first sense, upon which Liddell & Scott elaborate further on in their definition by adding “not within the province of thought”. The Merriam-Webster English dictionary defines brash to mean, in part, “done in haste without regard for consequences”, which we would assert is something done without having first taken any thought in regards to the consequences.
From Proverbs chapter 21: “6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death. 7 The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.”
Those who wish for themselves to be wealthy often contrive scams and schemes in which they hope to acquire wealth by taking undue advantage of others. Acting without regard for the consequences of others, they cause harm, ruin and destruction to come upon their brethren for the sake of their own gain. Speaking to the children of Israel, the Word of Yahweh says in Jeremiah chapter 17: “10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. 11 As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.”
Thus Paul warns further:
10 For the love of money is a root of all evil, of which some striving for have been led astray from the faith and have pierced themselves with many sufferings [א and H have “various sufferings”].
As we read in Ecclesiastes chapter 5 that “10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” In other words, the lover of money never has enough.
But money itself is not evil, money is just a tool by which we trade goods and services. However the love of money is evil, because it causes us to sin against both our God and our brethren. The love of money leads men away from the faith because they cease to edify the Body of Christ, wishing only to edify themselves. This is the path of our plight: that we have allowed the love and the lovers of money to control our entire society. It started when kings and bishops employed Jewish usurers hoping to make gains for themselves, and now the Jewish usurers have come to rule, eliminating the kings and marginalizing the bishops. The Thirty Years War, the War of Northern Aggression, these were storms on the course to the dominance of global capital made possible because certain Christians supposed piety to be a means of gain, and arguing over the meanings of words they managed to contrive their own piety in order to acquire undue wealth for themselves or their masters.
The apostle James, in chapter 5 of his epistle, warns of those who would plot to enrich themselves at the expense of their fellows, and in the example he makes, they use their own servants to do so: “1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.” This could easily be a condemnation of corporate-based capitalists.
In other words, certain men enrich themselves by defrauding the needy who labor for them of a fair wage for their services, and for that in the end they are condemned, their own riches becoming a testimony against them, their riches will not help them. We see a similar warning in Jeremiah chapter 22: “13 Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work; 14 That saith, I will build me a wide house and large chambers, and cutteth him out windows; and it is ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion. 15 Shalt thou reign, because thou closest thyself in cedar? did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him? 16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know me? saith the LORD. 17 But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.”
So Paul continues his admonishment:
11 But you, O man of Yahweh, flee from these things, and pursue righteousness, piety, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 You must struggle the good struggle of the faith; you must lay hold of the eternal life to which you have been summoned and profess the good profession before many witnesses.
As Christ had said in the Gospel, from Matthew chapter 6: “31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Nations seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” So Christians should not worry about wealth, or spend their time pursuing money, and these words apply to every Christian, without exception. Christians should do honest work to provide for themselves and their kin, as Paul advised in chapter 5 of this epistle, and they should seek to do those things which edify the Kingdom and Body of Christ, and doing so, in turn Christians may trust that Yahweh their God will see to their needs.
13 I command you [א wants “you”; the text follows A, D, H, and M] before Yahweh who brings to life all things, and Christ Yahshua who testified the good profession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this commandment spotless, irreproachable until the manifestation of our Prince Yahshua Christ.
Even though it was the lot of Pilate to condemn Christ, Pilate had announced Him blameless, saying “I find no fault in this man.” Paul uses this as an example of the fact that Timothy should conduct his own ministry in a manner just as faultless, and also teach others to do so. Furthermore, when Christ did speak to Pilate, He told him “My kingdom is not of this world,” and Christians likewise should act in a manner that benefits them in the world to come, but not for their gain in this world.
Christianity does not change. Christ said to keep His commandments, which are the laws of Yahweh our God, and they do not change. As Paul had attested in Hebrews chapter 13: “8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” So if the world around them changes, Christians should not change. If the culture changes, Christian morals and ethics should remain the same. From Proverbs chapter 24, from the New American Standard Bible: “21 My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those who are given to change; 22 For their calamity will rise suddenly, And who knows the ruin that comes from both of them?” [The ruin is the judgment which may come from either the Lord or the King, and here there is an error in the interpretation which is found in the King James Version.]
Continuing, Paul refers to the expected manifestation of Christ:
15 Which He will show in His own time: the Blessed and Only Ruler, the King of Kings and Sovereign of Sovereigns, 16 He alone having immortality, a Light dwelling unapproachable, which not one man has seen, nor is able to see, to whom is honor and power forever. Truly.
Paul again informs us, albeit indirectly, that Yahshua Christ is one with Yahweh, where he is speaking of Christ and says “he alone” has immortality. While the Adamic man was made to be immortal, as it says in chapter 2 of the Wisdom of Solomon that “God created man to be immortal”, that immortality is dependent on God, and is a gift from God, as Paul explains in Romans chapter 5. So only Christ Himself possesses immortality, as the immortality of the Adamic race depends on Him.
Here Paul also refers to Yahshua Christ as “the King of Kings and Lord of Lords”, or as we translate it, “Sovereign of Sovereigns”, and this is written perhaps about 35 years before the same phrases appear in reference to Christ in the Revelation recorded by John. In the Old Testament, the phrase “king of kings” appears only in reference to earthly emperors, in the writings of Daniel, Ezekiel and Ezra, and the phrase “lord of lords” was used of Yahweh once each in Deuteronomy and in Psalms. So in our Scriptures, Paul was the first to use both of these phrases together in reference to Christ, and later Christ used them in reference to Himself in Revelation chapters 17 and 19. Yet it is evident in Scripture, that only Yahweh should have been King, and only Yahweh should have been Lord, until the children of Israel sinned and demanded an earthly king, as it is described in 1 Samuel chapter 8. In the restoration which is in Christ, Yahweh God is once again the ultimate and only King and Lord in Israel. The children of Israel may be a nation of kings and priests, but when Christ is King, all men in Christ are kings and priests alike, for we can only truly rule with Him.
Paul continues his warning in reference to the wealthy:
17 To those who are wealthy in this present age, you exhort neither to be high-minded nor to have hope in uncertain riches, but in Yahweh [A and the MT interpolate “who lives,” where the text follows א, A, and I] who provides for us richly all things for enjoyment: 18 to do good work, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous, sharing, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the future, in order that they would obtain the true life.
The Majority Text has the end of verse 19 to say “in order that they would obtain eternal life.” Our text follows the Codices Sinaiticus, א, Alexandrinus (A), and Claromontanus (D). Eternal life is a promise of Scripture to all of the race of Adam, but the true life is described, in part, in Daniel chapter 12 where it is said “2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt”, or in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 where Paul explains that “14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” So the true life appears to be a life of reward which is void of “shame and everlasting contempt.” Paul mentions that same “good foundation” in that same place in 1 Corinthians where he says “12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble…” where it is evident that those who build with wood, hay and stubble have no reward. But those who lay gold and silver down to edify the Body of Christ shall evidently have great reward.
Throughout these presentations, we have often discussed the responsibility of the wealthy, citing Deuteronomy chapter 8. There we read a warning to the children of Israel who are being brought into a land of plenty, and the Word of Yahweh says: “11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: 12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; 16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; 17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”
So when we have wealth, it is a blessing from Yahweh that His covenant may be established with us, that we in turn can establish the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. In turn, we are commanded later in Deuteronomy to provide for the lesser of our brethren, where we read in Deuteronomy chapter 15: “7 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: 8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.” Note that here it says we should “lend him sufficient for his need”. There is no provision in the law, that the poor have an expectation to continually live off the wealthy. But we should lend our needy brethren without usury so that they would not be left destitute. So we read further on, in Deuteronomy chapter 23: “19 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: 20 Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.”
Yahweh gives us increase, and we become good stewards of our wealth when we lend our brethren for their needs. But without work, they cannot expect to eat, as Paul said to the Thessalonians that “if any would not work, neither should he eat.” So we lend to our brethren and they are expected to work in order to repay their debt. Forgiving debt is noble, but not if it encourages sloth. State-sponsored welfare programs are evil, because they encourage sloth and they give to sinner and Christian alike. They too are scams, set up under the pretense of piety they are used to despoil and defraud men. Slavery would be a better alternative.
Now Paul concludes:
20 O Timotheos, keep that which is entrusted, avoiding profane empty speech and opposition of falsely labeled ‘knowledge’, 21 which some proclaiming have failed concerning the faith. Favor is with you.
So we see in Proverbs chapter 8: “10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. 11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” But of course, the knowledge of which both Paul and the author of Proverbs speaks is that knowledge which comes from the Word of God, as we read in Proverbs chapter 2: “1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” So knowledge which does not come from God is falsely labeled as ‘knowledge’.
The Majority Text appends the word ἀμήν, which is amen or truly, to the end of this verse; the text follows א, A, and D.
This concludes our presentation and commentary on Paul’s first epistle to Timothy.
We hope to travel to Tennessee this coming week, and attend activities with the League of the South in Shelbyville, as well as spending a few days visiting kin. So next Friday and the following we plan to present parts of Clifton Emahiser’s Special Notices to All Who Deny Two-Seedline, and for the Saturday programs we have not yet determined what we may present, but we will make announcements as we can. When we return from Tennessee, we will commence with the last portion of our presentations of Paul’s epistles, with his second epistle to Timothy, which was written several years after this one and under entirely different circumstances.