The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:13-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 5, 2015

To help provide context this post opens with Fr. Callan’s summary of 1 Tim 6:3-21 followed by his comments on verses 13-16.

A Summary of 1 Timothy 6:3-21

In the closing section of his letter (ver. 3-21) St. Paul utters renewed warnings against the false teachers (ver. 3-5), speaks of the vanity and perils of wealth (ver, 6-10), personally exhorts Timothy to the practice of virtue and the preservation of the teachings he has received (ver. 11-16), issues a charge to the rich of Ephesus (ver. 17-19), and terminates by recalling to Timothy the principal thought of the Epistle and imparting his blessing (ver. 20-21).

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:
1 Tim 6:14. That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,

St. Paul now charges Timothy before God, the Creator, “who quickeneth all things” (better, “who preserveth all things in life”) and before His Son Jesus Christ, “who gave testimony, etc.” (i.e., who made the good confession of His divine Kingship and Sonship in the presence or at the time of Pontius Pilate, Matt 27:11; Mark 15:2; Luke 23:3; John 18:33 ff.), to practice, profess, and defend the faith; it is this divine example of our Lord that will enable Timothy to “keep the commandment without spot,” i.e., the commands and precepts, implied or expressed, which were laid on him at the time of his baptism or ordination (ver. 12).

Unto the coming, etc., i.e., till the Second Coming of the Lord in glory. The Greek word for “coming” here is found again in the New Testament only in 2 Thess. 2:8; but it occurs often in the LXX. On the other hand, St. Paul uses a great variety of expressions to describe the Second Advent (cf. 1 Thess. 2:2; 1 Cor. 1:8, 5:5; Phil. 1:10; 2 Tim. 1:12, etc.).

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;
1 Tim 6:16. Who only hath immortality, and inhabiteth light inaccessible, whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honor and empire everlasting. Amen.

The Second Coming or final manifestation of Jesus Christ will occur “in his times,” i.e., in the season known only to him.

Who is the Blessed and only Mighty, etc. It is probable that these words and those of verse 16, which constitute a magnificent doxology, belonged to a primitive hymn. The phrase “King of kings and Lord Lord of lords” is found also in Dan. 4:34 (cf. Deut. 10:17; Ps. 136:3). God alone has essential and underived immortality; He dwells in light because He is light; and He cannot be seen as He is in Himself by mortal man in this life, nor in the life to come save as the human soul is elevated and strengthened by the light of glory.


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