Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 Timothy 6:17-21

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Tell the rich - 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Tell rich. In this final subsection of a larger portion on relating to various groups in the congregation, Paul final focuses on 'the rich.' Having clearly identified greed or 'the love of money' as incompatible with Christian discipleship, Paul acknowledges that wealth in and of itself is not evil. However, it is a source of great temptation towards 'arrogance' when it is the object of hope for security against life's uncertainties. So, Paul would have Timothy 'urge the rich' to put their hope in God alone, and to use their riches as instruments of 'good works' or 'generosity' that benefits everyone in the community, and builds a foundation for life together in the age to come.

Paul's Closing Exhortation & Blessing to Timothy. - 1 Timothy 6:20-21

As he had in 1:18 (see note), and as he will again in his farewell letter (see note 2 Tim 1:14), Paul exhorts Timothy to 'guard what has been entrusted' to him for delivery to others. Like Paul, Timothy is a go-between, a representative of Jesus Christ and his gospel. The gospel or 'healthy words' or 'healthy teaching' about Jesus Christ (see notes 1:10-11 and 6:3) is set against the 'foolish talk' and 'conflicting ideas' of the 'false teachers,' who wrongly label their teachings 'knowledge.' Many commentators, who have held a later date for the Pastoral epistles, have identified this knowledge with the Gnostic teachings of the second century. As we have seen, however, the 'false teachers' at Ephesus are Jewish, who disputed aspects of the Law, and drew from a mix of Jewish and pagan wisdom traditions to oppose the gospel (cf. 1 Cor 1:10-4:21; 8:1-13; Col 2:1-10)

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