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 MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:13-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 5, 2015

This post opens with a summary analysis of all of 1 Tim 6, followed by commentary on verses 13-16. Text in purple indicates Fr. MacEvilly’s paraphrase of the verses he is commenting on.


As a Bishop is charged with the superintendence of his entire flock. Hence, in this chapter the Apostle instructs Timothy in the duties he owes even the most destitute and lowly among his people, viz., the Christian slaves. He should instruct them in the duty of obedience, as well to their unbelieving, as to their Christian masters (1, 2). He denounces the men who taught a different doctrine (3); these he declares to be corrupt in heart, making piety the means for obtaining gain (5). He treats of the dangers of avarice (8, 9), and cautions Timothy, and through him, all the ministers of the Gospel, against this damning vice, and implores them to observe the precepts delivered in this Epistle (13, 14–16). He points out the duties of the rich (17–19), and finally, through Timothy, exhorts all Bishops to guard the deposit of faith, and fly foolish novelties originating in the vain opinion of false science.

‎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.


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