Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:11-16
Posted by Dim Bulb on September 23, 2013
Text in purple indicates the Bishop’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.
1 Tim 6:11 But thou, O man of God, fly these things: and pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness.
But thou, O man of God, fly this vice of avarice, and all these other sins which follow in its train, and zealously cultivate Christian sanctity and its concomitant virtues, viz., piety, faith, love, patience, meekness.
“O man of God,” Every minister of religion is like Timothy, “a man of God,” wholly devoted to him, enlisted in his service, his representative before men, consequently, entitled to the utmost respect. But he should, at the same time, fly avarice and its attendant vices, so opposed to the exalted disinterestedness, which should distinguish the man who, at his first entrance into the sanctuary, had chosen God for his inheritance, and practise “justice,” i.e., Christian justice or sanctity, and its concomitant virtues of “piety” towards God; “faith,” which points out to us heavenly goods; “charity” towards our neighbour, which inspires us with liberality towards him, so opposed to cupidity; “patience,” in adversity, and when in want of temporal goods; “mildness,” even when offended and maltreated by those, whom we served on former occasions.
1 Tim 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called and be it confessed a good confession before many witnesses.
Engage bravely in the glorious struggle for the faith, grasp the prize of eternal life to which thou hast been invited, and in pursuit of which thou hadst made a glorious confession in presence of many witnesses.
In order to incite Timothy to labour with greater zeal in shunning vice, and practising virtue, the Apostle alludes to the Grecian exercises of the gymnasium, of which the people of Asia Minor were so fond, and particularly to the exercises of the racecourse, to which he so often assimilates the course of a Christian life (1 Cor. 9; Philip. 1:29; Hebrews 12:1), and compares the struggle in which Timothy is engaged for the faith, in which struggle faith alone can insure success, to these different bodily exercises. “Lay hold on eternal life.” This is the prize held out by God, as master of the course, to such as gain the victory. “And hast confessed a good confession before many witnesses,” and in pursuit of which Timothy made this public confession, which some understand of the profession of faith, which he publicly made at his baptism; others, of that which he made at Ephesus on the occasion of the tumult referred to (Acts, 19:25); and a third class, of the public promise, which he made at his Episcopal consecration, of faithfully discharging the duties of a bishop.
1 Tim 6:13 I charge thee before God who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate, a good confession:
I command and conjure thee before God, who vivifies all things, and before Christ Jesus who rendered publicly under Pontius Pilate a glorious testimony to truth,
He conjures him in the presence of God, who gives life to every creature that lives, and of Christ, who sealed with his blood the testimony which he bore to truth, and gave him the example of declaring the truth at the risk of his life.
1 Tim 6:14 That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
To observe, in their full integrity, without any admixture of error, or without incurring any reprehension for their violation, all the precepts delivered to thee in this Epistle, until the final coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“The commandment,” is commonly understood of all the precepts given in this Epistle, “without spot,” “blameless,” can, according to the Greek, ἄσπιλον, ἀνεπιληπτον, affect either Timothy, or the commandment; “without spot,” is commonly understood of the precepts, which should be kept without the alloy of falsehood or error; “blameless,” of Timothy, who should not incur reprehension, by violating the commandments given him. “The coming (in the Greek, της ἔπιφανείας, unto the Epiphany or manifestation) of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Writing to Timothy, he wishes to instruct all bishops, that to the end of time these precepts are obligatory. And he also, by reference to the coming of Christ, which will virtually take place for all at the hour of death, wishes to remind Timothy and all bishops, that they will be judged for the observance of the precepts which he is after delivering.
1 Tim 6:15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the Blessed and only Mighty, the King of kings and Lord of lords:
Which glorious coming of Christ, he shall display at the proper time, who alone is essentially happy, and alone enjoys of himself sovereign sway, the King of kings, and the Lord of those that rule.
“Which” i.e., apparition or coming, “in his time,” i.e., at the period he has destined and decreed. “He shall show,” i.e., openly and publicly reveal. “Who is the blessed and only Mighty,” i.e., who is alone essentially happy, and alone, of his own nature, possesses absolute sway. “The King of kings, and the Lord of lords,” who, of himself, enjoys absolute, independent authority, of which all created power is but a mere emanation and dependent participation.
1 Tim 6:16 Who only hath immortality and inhabiteth light inaccessible: whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and empire everlasting. Amen.
Who alone is, of his own nature, unchangeably immortal, and inhabits light inaccessible to mortals, whom no man ever saw in this life, or ever can see by the sole aids of nature, to whom belong honour and empire for endless ages. Amen.
“Who only hath immortality,” i.e., has life essentially of himself, with perfect incorruptibility and immutability. “And inhabiteth light inaccessible,” which light is God himself; for, God exists in himself. Hence, the words mean, that God is an uncreated, immense, infinite light, and so, “inaccessible” to mortals. “Whom no man hath seen or can see,” i.e., in this life, or ever can see, since this vision of God is reserved as the great reward of the life to come; and even there, the sole aids of nature will not suffice, nor the grace of this life; the light of glory must elevate created faculties, to the power of seeing God. What an idea of God, alone immortal and invisible, alone sovereignly powerful, alone supremely happy! To serve him is to reign. He alone is capable of satisfying the desires of our hearts; he has made us for himself, nor can our hearts find rest until they rest in him.—St. Augustine.
- Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
- Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:12-16 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
- Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:14-16 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
- Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:2c-12 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)