Evening Bible Study
The book of Acts ends in AD 60 with Paul being in Rome under house arrest.
We believe Paul was later released, and visited various places, including
While traveling, Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to pastor the church.
Timothy had spent many years with Paul and was like a spiritual “son” to
This letter was written somewhere around AD 63, to guide Timothy to correct
the problems in Ephesus.
Timothy is in his mid-forties about now.
Timothy would pastor the church for 30 years, and
die a martyr in AD 97.
:1 Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters
worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be
:1 count their own masters worthy of all honor
In the Roman Empire, slaves made up anywhere from 15-35% of the population.
That’s about 5 million people in slavery.
The economy ran on the practice of slavery.
There were two main ways a person became a slave:
Conquered peoples became slaves.
Professional slave dealers followed the Roman armies, and
with each new conquest, people were captured and sold as slaves.
People were sold for their debts.
If you got too far into debt, you could be sold into
:1 that the name of God …may not be blasphemed
Jesus is concerned that His followers set a good example, even at being a
Christianity was quite a radical thing, proclaiming that all people slaves
or free were created in the image of God.
During the first couple of centuries, Christianity became known as the
religion of the slaves.
:2 And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them
because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are
benefited are believers and beloved. Teach and exhort these things.
:2 let them not despise them
Honor your boss
The boss was complaining in the staff meeting the other day that he wasn’t
getting any respect. Later that morning he went to a local sign shop and bought
a small sign that read, “I’m the Boss”. He then taped it to his office door. Later
that day when he returned from lunch, he found that someone had taped a note to
the sign that said. “Your wife called, she wants her sign back!”
We no longer have the institution of slavery, be we do have employers and
If the master was a pagan…
A Christian slave could understand showing respect to a pagan master
because after all … he could have him killed.
The Christian slave also learned to honor his master for more than that
though – the slave would be a witness to his master.
We want to be a good witness to the boss…
An ambitious, young executive is working late at corporate
headquarters one evening. As he comes out of his office about 8:00 PM he sees
the Big Boss standing by the shredder in the hallway, a piece of paper in his
hand. “Do you know how to work this thing?” the older man asks
“My secretary’s gone home and I don’t know how to run it.” “Yes, sir,” says the
young executive, who efficiently turns on the machine, takes the paper from the
other man, and feeds it in. “Great,” says his boss, “I just need the one copy...”
If the master was a believer …
The Christian slave was still to give the same respect to his master whether or not he was a believer.
A believing slave might think that he can now kick back
and take it easy because his master is a believer.
Don’t take advantage of your boss if they’re a believer,
work as hard as ever.
:3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even
the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with
:3 If anyone teaches otherwise
Paul is warning Timothy that there would be men who are going to come along
and want to teach something different.
Their teachings are not “wholesome” or “healthy”.
Their teachings do not agree with those of Jesus.
Their teachings do not promote a respect for God.
Paul warned the elders at Ephesus a few years earlier about these kinds of
(Acts 20:29–30 NLT)
—29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among
you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up
and distort the truth in order to draw a following.
Paul now describes who would teach these kinds of things…
:4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and
arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,
(1 Timothy 6:4 NLT)
who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a
person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs
up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions.
:5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and
destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
From such withdraw yourself.
:5 who suppose that godliness is a means of gain
They would say that you should follow Jesus and follow their teachings
because this will lead to wealth.
This is the central bad doctrine that Paul is zeroing in on.
I’m afraid the prosperity teachers sound awfully close to what Paul is
:5 From such withdraw yourself
Paul doesn’t want Timothy hanging around these fellows. He doesn’t want Timothy associated with these
:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
Paul’s going to take the phrase and turn it around a little.
He will use the same Greek words for “godliness” and “gain” and put a different
spin on it.
:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain
we can carry nothing out.
:7 it is certain we can carry nothing out
The old saying is “You can’t take it with you”.
People do try.
:8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
Paul says that as long as he has something to eat
and something to wear, he’s good.
:6 godliness with contentment is great gain
contentment – autarkeia – a perfect condition of life in which
no aid or support is needed; sufficiency of the necessities of life; a mind
contented with its lot
Our mistake comes from thinking that “contentment” comes from “gain”, when
it’s the opposite that’s true.
“Gain” comes from “contentment”.
Paul uses a related word for contentment when he writes to the Philippians:
4:11–13 NASB95) —11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in
whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to
live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of
being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all
things through Him who strengthens me.
The American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican
village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large
yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican
on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, only a little
while. The American then asked why
didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate
needs. The American then asked, “but
what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my
children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening
where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy
life.” The American scoffed, “I am a
Harvard MBA and could help you. You
should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With
the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you
would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a
middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own
cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would
need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then
LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.” The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long
will this all take?” To which the
American replied, “15-20 years.” “But
what then?” The American laughed and
said that’s the best part. “When the
time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the
public and become very rich, you would make millions.” “Millions.. Then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal
fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids,
take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you
could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
The real “gain” or “prosperity” we ought to be aiming for isn’t financial,
It doesn’t come from having “stuff” or “money”.
It comes from Christ.
(Hebrews 13:5 NKJV)
your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things
as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake
:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into
many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
If your life is focused on becoming wealthy, you’re setting yourself up for
:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which
some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and
pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
:10 the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil
Money isn’t the root of all evil.
It’s the love of money that leads to trouble.
When you make your life to be all about money, you will find yourself
“pierced” with many sorrows. You will be
Even if you achieve significant wealth, you will not be happy.
Discouragement comes when you try to start with what you wish you had but
don't have. And it intensifies when you
insist on trying to be in a position you are not in and probably never will be
-- Stuart Briscoe, Bound For Joy, Regal Books
1975, 1984, p. 95
6:11-16 The Good Confession
:11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness,
godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
:11 pursue righteousness, godliness, faith…
Paul uses language that gives the picture of running.
We need to “run away” from the “love of money”.
We need to be “running toward” things like righteousness, godliness, faith,
love, patience, and gentleness
:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you
were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many
:12 Fight the good fight of faith
fight – agonizomai – to enter a contest: contend in the
gymnastic games; to contend with adversaries
Our word “agonize” comes from this.
The life of a Christian is a “fight” of “faith”. It’s a life of learning to trust God at all times.
This life of faith isn’t easy. It’s
as tough as competing in the Olympics.
Paul used the same word here –
9:25–27 NKJV) —25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all
things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for
an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus
I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it
into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become
At the end of his own life, Paul declared,
(2 Timothy 4:7
NKJV) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I
have kept the faith.
We need to aim our lives at finishing well in this race of life.
:12 have confessed the good confession
The good confession is what you say about Jesus.
NKJV) —32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess
before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My
Father who is in heaven.
:13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before
Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate,
:13 who witnessed the good confession
Even Jesus made a “good confession” before Pilate about the truth of who He
(Matthew 27:11 NLT)
Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the
Jews?” the governor asked him. Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
:14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our
Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing,
:14 you keep this commandment
It probably refers to all that Paul has been telling Timothy through the
course of the letter.
The entire “charge” of 1Timothy.
Timothy is to keep serving Jesus until Jesus comes.
:15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed
and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
:15 the blessed and only Potentate
The next couple of phrases are set apart in the Greek to read as if they
are a grand title of an important person (through the word “Amen” in the next
Potentate – dunastes (“power”) – a prince, a potentate
The Romans did not like the Christians saying things like this about Jesus.
To Rome, the Emperor was the only one who deserved titles like this.
The Roman Emperor was a king above all kings. He was a lord over all lords.
:16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no
man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
:16 who alone has immortality
immortality – athanasia (“not” + “die”) – undying, immortality,
The Roman Emperors might have been a king above other kings, but even Roman
:16 dwelling in unapproachable light
Again, something beyond a human.
I think of the brightest light possible – light that shines right through
you, exposing everything hidden in your life.
I think of the power of the sun – who can get close to it and not burn up.
:16 whom no man has seen or can see
(John 6:46 NKJV) Not that
anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.
:16 to whom be honor and everlasting power
This is the amazing powerful God that we serve.
6:17-19 Instructions for the rich
:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor
to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all
things to enjoy.
:17 nor to trust in uncertain riches
trust – elpizo – to hope; to have an expectation of
Don’t expect your wealth to solve all your problems.
Are riches “uncertain”?
Ask anyone who has invested in the stock market.
It is not easy for a rich person to trust in God.
When Jesus was asked by a rich young man about going to heaven, Jesus
ultimately put His finger on the man’s wealth, and told the young fellow he
needed to get rid of his money and give to the poor (Mat. 19:21)
The young fellow just couldn’t do it.
He couldn’t let go of his money.
He would rather “hope” in his money than in God.
NKJV) —23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it
is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I
say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for
a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
At some of the city gates, there was a small opening to
allow a single person to come through after the gates were closed for the
The opening was called the “eye of the needle”.
It wouldn’t be impossible for a camel to get through it,
but it would be pretty difficult, especially if it was
carrying any kind of a load.
Jesus didn’t require every wealthy person to give up all their money, in
fact, Paul says…
:18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give,
willing to share,
:19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that
they may lay hold on eternal life.
:19 storing up for themselves a good foundation
storing up – apothesaurizo (“away” + “to put in the treasury”) –
to put away, lay by in store, to treasure away; to store up abundance for
It’s the idea of putting money in the bank.
How do we make deposits to our account in heaven?
:18 Let them do good
This is something that a believer can do who has been given wealth.
Anybody can do this, whether you have money or not.
NKJV) —19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and
rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up
for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and
where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
They say, “You can’t take it with you”, but you can send
it up ahead. You can lay up treasures in
heaven by doing good things on earth.
6:20-21 Protect good doctrine
:20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane
and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called
:21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be
with you. Amen.
:20 what is falsely called knowledge
knowledge – gnosis –
knowledge signifies in general intelligence, understanding
By this time, the heresy known as Gnosticism was beginning to raise its
Gnosticism claimed to have special secret knowledge about all sorts of
things, and if you paid the teachers, you were given access to this secret
knowledge and allowed to progress to the next level.
:20 avoiding the profane and idle babblings
Paul’s concern has been for Timothy to help make some corrections in the
church in Ephesus.
I’d say the thing Paul seemed most concerned about was regarding bad
(1 Timothy 1:3–4
NKJV) —3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that
you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give
heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly
edification which is in faith.
(1 Timothy 4:1
NKJV) Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart
from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…
(1 Timothy 4:7
NKJV) But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and
exercise yourself toward godliness.
(1 Timothy 4:16
NKJV) Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in
doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
And from tonight…
(1 Timothy 6:3–5
NKJV) —3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome
words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine
which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and
arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the
truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw
And now our current verses…
(1 Timothy 6:20–21
NKJV) —20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the
profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called
professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be
with you. Amen.
If you become a teacher in the church, be careful that you don’t get
carried away with looking for some new thing to teach.
Be careful about looking for some new, hidden meaning in a Scripture.
The best way to make sure you stay on track with your teaching is to simply
teach through the Scripture.
The simple, plain meaning of a verse is usually the best.