1Timothy 6:13: I charge you in the presence of God, Who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, Who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: In the presence of God, Who preserves alive all living things, and of Christ Jesus, Who in His testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I [solemnly] charge you (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
ESV: I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,
KJV: I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;
Moffatt: In the presence of God who is the Life of all, and of Christ Jesus who testified to the good confession before Pontius Pilate,
NET: I charge you before God who gives life to all things and Christ Jesus who made his good confession before Pontius Pilate,
NLT: And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: I charge you in the sight of God who gives us life, and Jesus Christ who fearlessly witnessed to the truth before Pontius Pilate, (Phillips: Touchstone)
TLB: I command you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a fearless testimony before Pontius Pilate
Weymouth: I charge you—as in the presence of God who gives life to all creatures, and of Christ Jesus who at the bar of Pontius Pilate made a noble profession of faith—
Wuest: I am giving you a charge in the presence of God who is constantly preserving in life all things, and Christ Jesus, the One who in His testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good profession,
Young's Literal: I charge thee, before God, who is making all things alive, and of Christ Jesus, who did testify before Pontius Pilate the right profession,
I CHARGE YOU IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD, WHO GIVES LIFE TO ALL THINGS: paraggello (1SPAI) [soi] enopion tou theou tou zoogonountos (PAPMSG) ta panta:
- Charge: 1Ti 5:21
- Gives life: Dt 32:39 1Sa 2:6 Jn 5:21,26 14:25,26 14:6 Acts 17:25 Rev 21:6 Rev 22:1
- 1 Timothy 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
A CHARGE TO
LIVE CORAM DEO
I charge you in the presence of God - A solemn responsibility to Timothy, one which is given in the presence of "two Witnesses", of Whom there are no greater (God the Father and God the Son). One wonders if Timothy felt any "pressure" as we often say today? Paul acting much like a military general, commands his young protégée with the reminder that the Commander in Chief, while not visibly present, is still able to watch his conduct. This charge was clearly calculated to motivate Timothy to strive for perfect obedience to all the instructions and commands which the apostle Paul had issued in this epistle. This truth reminds me of Peter's sobering words to all of us who name the Name of Christ as the Captain of our salvation…
And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear (sense of reverential awe, a fear of doing anything that might displease God's holiness - see 1Pe 1:14, 15, 16) during the time of your stay upon earth; (1Peter 1:17)
Comment: What impact would it have on our thoughts, words and deeds, if we truly conducted ourselves "in fear during the time of (our) stay upon earth"? How might this truth serve to impede our willful, rebellious sins, if prior to committing them we soberly recalled the impartial judgment of our Father regarding what we were making provision to carry out (cp Ro 13:14)? How much more quickly would we be motivated to confess and repent our sins and transgressions against our Father? The Latin phrase is Coram Deo, before the face of God! May God work a work of mercy and grace in our rebellious hearts, which causes us to live daily, moment by moment with a "Coram Deo" mindset, knowing that one day we will stand before the One Who alone is Holy, Holy, Holy. Amen.
Newport J D White says that…
Paul far away… feels impelled to remind his lieutenant that there are Witnesses of his conduct whose real though unseen presence is an encouragement as well as a check. (1 Timothy 6 Commentary - Expositor's Greek Testament)
This charge echoes the earlier charge to Timothy and repeated in the second pastoral epistle…
I solemnly charge (diamarturomai in the (present tense) you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles (Ed: regarding sinning elders) without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality (Ed: No one receives preferential treatment! Make no effort to protect those who are specially gifted, popular, etc). (1Ti 5:21)
Remind (present imperative) them of these things, and solemnly charge (present tense) them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless, and leads to the ruin of the hearers. (2Ti 2:14-note)
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: (2Ti 4:1-note)
I charge (3853) (paraggello from para = side + anagello = announce, tell, declare) literally means to "announce besides". To transmit a message. The idea is to make an announcement from one to another or to transmit a message or order from one to another.
Paraggello often was used in the context of a military command and demanded that the subordinate obey the order from the superior (2Ti 4:1-note) and required unhesitating and unqualified obedience. (cp Lk 5:14, 8:29, Lk 9:21KJV, Acts 1:4, 4:18; 5:28KJV; Acts 15:5KJV; 1Th 4:11). It is like a mandate (an authoritative command) or a call to obedience from one in authority.
In other contexts the main idea was that the announcement was in the form of an instruction (cp Lk 8:56, 1Cor 7:10, 11:17). Instruction can simply represent the impartation of knowledge as to how something should be done, but when this English word translates paraggello, it indicates directions calling for compliance. For example in this same letter Paul writes to Timothy…
As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines (1Timothy 1:3, cp use in 1Ti 6:17)
Every use of paraggello includes the inherent idea of binding the hearer or recipient in a way that they make the proper response to the charge or instruction.
MacArthur adds that in all the uses of parangello…
the idea of binding a person to make the proper response to an instruction. The soldier was bound to obey the orders of his superiors; a person involved in a legal matter was bound by the court’s orders; a person of integrity was bound by moral principles; a patient was bound to follow his doctor’s instruction if he wanted to get well; and a successful writer or speaker was bound by the standards of his craft. (MacArthur, John: Matthew 8-15, Matthew 16-23, Matthew 24-28 or Logos)
Vincent adds that paraggello was…
A strong word, often of military orders. Aristotle uses it of a physician: to prescribe. Originally (paraggello meant) to pass on or transmit; hence, as a military term, of passing a watchword or command; and so generally to command.
Paraggello in some contexts was like our modern subpoena, and to disregard it made a person liable to severe punishment. It was used for a doctor’s prescription or instruction to their patient. Every use of paraggello includes the inherent idea of binding the hearer or recipient in a way that they make the proper response to the charge or instruction.
Paraggello was used 5 times in 1Timothy (1Ti1:3 4:11 5:7 6:13,17) and therefore is clearly a key word (see discussion of importance of recognizing/observing key words), one that Paul wants Timothy to understand and to obey implicitly…
1 Timothy 1:3 As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,
1 Timothy 4:11 Prescribe (present imperative) (command 1Ti 4:11KJV) and teach these things.
John MacArthur: Everything God commanded Timothy to be he was to command others to be. The excellent minister’s preaching is to be authoritative, done in a command mode. Such preaching imitates God Himself, of whom Paul wrote in Acts 17:30, “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent.” Jesus commanded His hearers to repent and believe, as John the Baptist had done. The Father commanded all to hear His Son and obey. Every call to believe the gospel with repentance is a command. Every call to saints to obey the Word is a command that is to come with authority. To Titus Paul wrote, “These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you” (Titus 2:15). (MacArthur, John: 1Timothy Moody Press )
1 Timothy 5:7 Prescribe (present imperative) (command 1Ti5:7KJV) these things as well, so that they may be above reproach.
1 Timothy 6:17-note Instruct (present imperative) those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
In the presence of (1799) (enopion from en = in + ops = face, eye, countenance.) means literally to be positioned in front of the Almighty God (the One Who is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent!) In the face of, in the sight of God. Before the face of God, a perfect description of Coram Deo! Some see this phrase (in the presence of God and Christ Jesus) as an "oath formula". The UBS Handbook explains that…
In the Pastorals, however, the oath formula is used to strengthen certain commands and instructions and to put the stamp of divine authority on them.
Towner adds that…
it is standard to remind Timothy (and other readers) of God’s intimate presence in the midst of his people (For the technique, see 1Ti 2:3; 5:4, 21; Ro 14:22; 1Co 1:29). In another context this truth might be a source of comfort (Lk 12:6; Acts 2:25), but the presence of God is typically invoked to ensure veracity (Luke 1:19), or, as here (5:21), to strengthen the sense of obligation contained in an apostolic command. (The Letters to Timothy and Titus. The New International Commentary on the New Testament).
God Who gives life to all (or "God Who preserves [sustains] the life of all") - Paul demolishes the atheistic "big bang theory" stating that God is the Source of all life. This phrase could be rendered "God Who preserves life" which would be an important truth to Timothy in view of the fact the there would be bitter opposition to his proclamation of the Gospel. We see a similar thought in Peter's encouragement to those who were aliens and strangers in a hostile world that they were
protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1Peter 1:5).
The writer of Hebrews echoes the Lord's ever present hand of sustenance and help to the afflicted Hebrew believers…
Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU," so that we confidently say, "THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT SHALL MAN DO TO ME?" (Heb 13:5, 6).
Gives life (2225) (zoogoneo compare zoogonos = life giving. From zoos = living + gegesthai = aorist middle infinitive of ginomai = to become, to come into existence) means to make alive or keep alive, to "give birth" to living creatures, to preserve alive. In short God is the Giver and Preserver of all life!
In medical letters zoogoneo was commonly used in the sense of "to endue with life" or "to produce alive."
Here are the other 2 (of 3 total) NT uses of zoogoneo (and no uses in the Septuagint)…
(1) Jesus used it in the sense of preservation of life in Luke 17:33.
Whoever seeks to keep his life shall lose it, and whoever loses his life shall preserve it.
(2) In Acts 7:19 Luke uses it also with the sense of preservation of life in describing the exposure of the Jewish infants as commanded by the evil Pharaoh…
It was he who took shrewd advantage of our race, and mistreated our fathers so that they would expose their infants and they would not survive. (would not be preserved alive)
Zoogoneo - used 10x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Ex 1:17, 18, 22; Lev 11:47; Jdg 8:19; 1Sa 2:6; 27:9, 11; 1Ki 20:31; 2Ki 7:4
Timothy had just been charged to fight the good fight of faith, and this fight would be against powerful adversaries, and it might cost him his life. So Paul explains that God is the Giver of life, which would have blunted any fear of death Timothy (cp 2Ti 1:7) might be experiencing. Indeed, because God is the Author of life, death has lost it's sting for believers (1Cor 15:55, 56, 57) and even provides the "doorway" through which we enter into eternal life with Christ!
As Paul said to the saints at Rome…
“If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Ro 8:31KJV)
Comment: As the Roman historian Tacitus tells us below, these Roman Christians would soon experience the evil hand of Nero who would accuse them of burning Rome and in turn end up using them as human torches! How black and dark and evil is the heart without Christ!
Adam Clarke says it this way…
God, Who is the fountain of life, and who is the resurrection; and who will raise thee up at the last day to a life of ineffable glory, if thou be faithful unto death. And should thy life fall a sacrifice to the performance of thy duty, all will be safe; for thy life is hid with Christ in God, and when he who is thy life shall appear, then shalt thou also appear with him in glory!
White agrees writing that zoogoneo has…
has the sense preserve alive… A good example from OT (Septuagint - Lxx) is 1Sa 2:6, "The Lord kills and makes alive (zoogoneo)". The word has here a special appropriateness. Timothy is stimulated to exhibit moral courage by an assurance that he is in the hands of One whose protective power is universal, and by the example of One who, as Man, put that protective power to a successful test, and was “saved out of death” (Heb. 5:7-note).
Jamieson agrees writing that Paul…
He urges Timothy to faithfulness here by the present manifestation of God’s power in preserving all things
John Gill… writes that God
quickens (makes alive) all His people, at first conversion, when dead in sin, and afterwards when dull and lifeless; and who will quicken the dead at the last day. This seems to be mentioned to strengthen Timothy against the fears of death, that should he die in fighting the Lord's battles, he was able to raise him from the dead, and would do it.
In Greek zoopoieo, like zoogoneo, is used from the time of Aristotle. and Theophrastus in the sense of “to make alive,” usually of the birth of animals or in the med. of the growth of plants. In this sense it is also used of the Godhead.
Comment: The Greek Textus Receptus uses zoopoieo (make life), but the better manuscripts favor zoogoneo.
Steven Cole sees this truth that God gives (and preserves) life as an encouragement to ministry in difficult circumstances, writing…
I read about a pastor in India who felt God’s call to go to the second most sacred site for a Hindu pilgrimage and plant a church there. His wife chose to go with him, taking along their children, even though the last missionary who tried to live there had been murdered and his head placed in the temple. They went and lived in poverty, in filthy conditions, with no human means of support. In the fifteen years he has been there, this man of God has been beaten many times, he has been threatened with being skinned and thrown into the sea, his oldest son has been beaten and threatened with crucifixion for preaching, and the schools he has built for pastors have been burned to the ground, and he has built them again. But he perseveres, willing to lay down his life for Christ, because he trusts in the God who gives life to all and he knows that Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate is with him. (Reference)
AND OF CHRIST JESUS, WHO TESTIFIED THE GOOD CONFESSION BEFORE PONTIUS PILATE: kai Christou Iesou tou marturesantos (AAPMSG) epi Pontiou Pilatou ten kalen homologian,:
- Who testified: Mt 27:11 Jn 18:36,37 19:11 Rev 1:5 3:14
- 1 Timothy 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
And of Christ Jesus - This combined name signifies His divinity about which the OT prophesied (Christ = the promised Messiah - Mk 12:35, Mk 14:61, 62, Lk 3:15, 4:41, 9:20, 24:26) and His humanity (Jesus - Mt 1:21, cp Jn 1:1, 14, 17).
W E Vine has some additional thoughts on these names noting that…
The order of the titles Jesus Christ and Christ Jesus is always significant: “Christ Jesus” describes the one who was with the Father in eternal glory, and Who came to earth, becoming incarnate; “Jesus Christ” describes Him as the One who humbled Himself, who was despised and rejected, and endured the Cross, but who was afterwards exalted and glorified. “Christ Jesus” testifies to His preexistence; “Jesus Christ” to His resurrection and exaltation.
Christ Jesus describes the Exalted One who became incarnate and testifies to His preexistence; Jesus Christ describes the despised and rejected One Who was afterwards glorified (Php 2:11), and testifies to His resurrection. “Christ Jesus” suggests His grace, “Jesus Christ” suggests His glory. (see "glory" and "grace" in Jn 1:14)
In the epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude, men who had companied with the Lord in the days of His flesh, “Jesus Christ” is the invariable order of the name and title, for this was the order of their experience; as “Jesus” they knew Him first; that He was Messiah they learnt finally in His resurrection. But Paul came to know Him first in the glory of heaven (Acts 9:1–6), and, his experiences being thus the reverse of theirs, the reverse order, “Christ Jesus,” is of frequent occurrence in his letters, but, with the exception of Acts 24:24, does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament.
Who testified (witnessed) (3140)(martureo from mártus = witness = one who has information or knowledge of something and can bring to light or confirm something. English = martyr) in its most basic sense refers to a legal witness. Thus the verb martureo means to be a witness, to testify, to give evidence, to give testimony, to bear record, to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something. The words testified related to fact, not opinion, as in a courtroom setting.
White has an interesting thought which might explain why Paul's description of Jesus' confession utilizes a different verb (martureo) compared to that used to describe Timothy's confession (homologeo) in 1Ti 6:12…
The utterances and acts of Jesus, as Man, are human; yet He spoke and acted as no other man ever did. Matt. 17:27 (“That take, and give unto them for Me and thee,” not “for us”) and John 20:17 (“I ascend unto My Father and your Father,” etc. not our Father or our God) illustrate very well this difference between Jesus and His brethren in relations which they share alike. This is why Paul does not here use homologeo homologia of Christ, but employs instead the unusual martureo homologia. Jesus is the "faithful (pistos) witness (martus - root of martureo) in Rev 1:5, and the "faithful (pistos) and true Witness (martus) in Rev. 3:14.
It is also significant that the root noun of martureo is martus which was used to describe the death (martyrdom) of Stephen (Acts 22:20) and of Antipas (Rev 2:13). Therefore is possible that Paul's use of martureo of Christ is an allusion to His death based on Pilate's decree following His good confession.
Christ Jesus bore witness before Pilate based on His personal, perfect (omniscient) knowledge affirming that He is Who He and others said He was (is and forevermore will be)!
Why would Paul remind Timothy of the good confession of His Lord? He had just stated in 1Ti 6:12 that Timothy had confessed the good confession in the present of many witnesses. The writer of Hebrews gives us a clue writing that we are called to
run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1, 2)
It is as if Paul is encouraging him, challenging him on saying "Dear Timothy, fix your eyes on Jesus, even as I did in my race (1Cor 4:16, 11:1, cp 1Peter 2:21, 1Jn 2:6) Watch how He ran. Recall how He finished, unafraid to give the good confession, even though it would cost Him His life. Finish strong like your Lord, young Timothy, so that you too will be able to declare after the last lap of that
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. in the future there is laid up for me (2Ti 4:7, 8)
In light of God's life giving power and Christ's willingness to give a witness which cost Him His life, Timothy should be deeply motivated (cp Pr 23:7KJV) to "keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Ti 6:14), at which time he like Paul would receive the "the crown of righteousness, which the Lord… will award to… all who have loved His appearing." (2Ti 4:8) And how would Timothy demonstrate that he "loved His appearing?" By keeping His commandments of His Lord (Jn 14:15, 21, 23, 24 cp 1Ti 6:14).
W E Vine feels that Christ's confession was meant to encourage Timothy…
by reason of the example set by his Master before Pilate in view of the terrible death which would inevitably issue from the confession He was making. Such faithfulness has provided, and should ever provide, an incentive to His servants to face danger and death in the same way, with the higher motive of unswerving fidelity to Christ Himself.
The good confession - The beautiful, noble confession (see good = kalos) Other renderings - "fearlessly witnessed to the truth" (Phillips); "Gave a fearless testimony" (TLB). What was the "good confession?" Surely this is Jesus' affirmative reply to Pilate's question…
Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” (Mt 27:11).
Comment: Jesus did not deny He was a King but His kingdom was not of this world, which would encourage Timothy to "Keep disentangled from all earthly things, live to and for God, and all will be well." (Adam Clarke)
Confession (3671)( homologia from homoú = together with + légo = say) means literally the statement of the same thing and thus expresses agreement with another. It represents the open expression of one's allegiance to a proposition or a person. Such a confession is the effect of deep conviction regarding the facts (Truth). This word group (verb - homologeo, noun = homologia) has strong legal connotations. And so a person can confess to a charge in court and thus openly acknowledge guilt. Or one may agree with a court order and thus make a legally binding commitment to abide by it.
Robert F Horton comments on Jesus' confession…
His confession before Pilate became the model, the motive, and the power of all the confessions which His followers make for Him. (The pastoral epistles Timothy and Titus - Robert Forman Horton - Page 136)
Before Pontius Pilate (see note for more detail)- His name "Pilate" means "armed with a spear." Smith writes that he was "the sixth Roman procurator of Judea, and under him our Lord worked, suffered and died, as we learn not only from Scripture, but from Tacitus (Ann. xv. 44)."
HISTORICITY OF PILATE VERIFIED…
BY SECULAR HISTORY
Pontius Pilate was a real historical person, just as was Christ Jesus. See the discussion of archaeological discovery of the name of Pontius Pilate in 1961 - Pontius Pilate
The secular Roman historian Tacitus records this note in the context of the burning of Rome under evil Nero's rule, writing that…
all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted (Ed: Tacitus is referring to Christians who were brutally murdered by Nero and yet blessedly martyred by God! Mt 5:11, 12-note), not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. (The Annals by Tacitus XV).
OF CHRIST'S CONFESSION:
Do not listen to those who say Jesus never said He was God. He clearly made the good confession, not only in front of Pilate, but before many witnesses, especially witnesses who should have known exactly Who He was (see Mk 15:1, 3, Lk 23:1, 2, 4, 5). The "Christus" of Tacitus is a clear secular record of the God Man Jesus Christ! Dear reader, I assume that if you are reading these notes, you have most likely recognized and received Christ, the prophesied Messiah, as your Savior Jesus (Jn 1:12, 13), but if you have not then you must consider the evidence presented above and answer the question and sober warning from the very lips of Christ Jesus Himself…
Who do you say that I am?
(Mt 16:15-17, Mk 8:29-30, Lk 9:20-22)
"I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins,
for unless you believe that I am He,
you shall die in your sins."
Do not rationalize or procrastinate or intellectualize, etc, etc…
we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain--for He says, "AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU"; behold, now is "THE ACCEPTABLE TIME," behold, now is
"THE DAY OF SALVATION"
There is salvation in no one else,
for there is no other name under heaven
that has been given among men,
by which we must be saved.
"Believe in the Lord Jesus,
and you shall be saved."
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and
believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,
you shall be saved;
for with the heart man believes,
resulting in righteousness,
and with the mouth he confesses,
resulting in salvation.
(Ro 10:9, 10)
See related topic - Romans Road - The Bridge Illustration on Salvation
1Timothy 6:14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: To keep all His precepts unsullied and flawless, irreproachable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
ESV: to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
KJV: That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Moffatt: I charge you to keep your commission free from stain, free from reproach, till the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ—
NET: to obey this command without fault or failure until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ
NLT: hat you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: to keep your commission clean and above reproach until the final coming of Christ. (Phillips: Touchstone)
TLB: that you fulfill all he has told you to do so that no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ returns.
Weymouth: that you keep God's commandments stainlessly and without reproach till the Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Wuest: preserve this commandment intact, unsullied, irreproachable, until the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Young's Literal: that thou keep the command unspotted, unblameable, till the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ
THAT YOU KEEP THE COMMANDMENT WITHOUT STAIN OR REPROACH UNTIL THE APPEARING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST: teresai (AAN) se ten entolen aspilon anepilempton mechri tes epiphaneias tou kuriou hemon Iesou Christou:
- keep: 1Ti 6:20 4:11-16 1Ch 28:9,10, 1Ch 28:20 Col 4:17
- without: Song 4:7 Eph 5:27 Heb 9:14 1Pe 1:19 2Pe 3:14
- Without reproach: Php 2:15 Col 1:22 Jude 1:24
- until: 1Co 1:8 Php 1:6,10 1Th 3:13 5:23 2Th 2:1 2Ti 4:1 Tit 2:13 Heb 9:28 1Pe 1:7 1Jn 3:2 Rev 1:7
- 1 Timothy 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
OBEDIENCE IN THE PRESENT
IS MOTIVATED BY
HOPE IN THE FUTURE
In this passage Paul emphasizes the blessed hope of every believer, the future return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul links Timothy's behavior in the present with his belief in the truth about the future, a pattern we see repeatedly in the Scriptures. Indeed, belief in God should always birth godly behavior. If our conduct does not match our creed, we best examine either the truthfulness of our creed or the genuineness of our belief (cp 2Cor 13:5-note)..
Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1Pe 1:13-note)
Comment: Observe how present actions are anchored in one's future hope.
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1Jn 3:2-note, 1Jn 3:3-note)
Comment: Remember that in Scripture "hope" (noun and verb) signifies (with only rare exception) the absolute assurance of future good (that God will do good to me in the future). Observe how our future hope, the absolute certainty that we shall one day be like Christ, serves to motivate one to purity in this present life. In other words, the certainty of Christlikeness in the future age is a strong motive for Christlikeness in the present life. Future hope motivates present obedience. See related study on the Sanctifying Effect of our Blessed Hope
Finally, in one of my favorite passages, Paul writes…
For the grace of God has appeared (A description of the incarnation of Christ), bringing salvation to all men, instructing (Who instructs us? Examine the preceding context. It is the grace of God who is our "instructor" and in the context of other NT passages, this is the Spirit of Christ [Ro 8:9], the Spirit of grace [Heb 10:29] Who is our Teacher [cp Spirit as Helper/Guide/Teacher Jn 7:37, 38, 39,14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7; 1Jn 2:20, 27]) us to deny ungodliness (Observe that if grace were not our "instructor", we could easily fall into the deadly trap of legalistic denial!) and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for (prosdechomai in the present tense = looking with an attitude of expectancy and acceptance) the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus (Titus 2:11-note, Titus 2:12-note, Titus 2:13-note)
Comment: Observe how Paul artfully links "looking for" the return of Christ in the future with the call to live like Christ in the present. What one believes will always impact how they behave.
And so here near the end of his first epistle to Timothy, Paul exhorts his young disciple to God honoring conduct in light of the sure appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Keep the commandment without stain or reproach - As discussed in more detail below, there are two ways this phrase is interpreted: (1) Timothy guard over the commandment in such a way that it is kept intact, unsullied, irreproachable. (2) Timothy keep the commandment by living your life without spot and in such a way that your life is above criticism. There is a way to resolve these two interpretations for Timothy could hardly keep the commandment unsullied if he were to live in disobedience to the commandment, so that one interpretation does not exclude the other. In other words, Timothy could keep the commandment without reproach by keeping the commandment so to speak (which would be living above reproach). In short, Timothy was to live in such a way that no one would be able to criticize his lifestyle and thereby discredit (or bring reproach on) the Gospel which he preached.
You keep (5083)(tereo from teros = a guard) means to keep an eye on, keep something in view, to attend carefully, or to watch over it. Tereo speaks of guarding something which is in one’s possession (in context think of your character or integrity as your "possession"). Tereo means to watch over something as one would watch over that which is very precious!
Why would Paul choose this verb in this context? What does it imply? Surely it implies that keeping the commandment without stain or reproach will take some effort and continual alertness to fend off those things that might cause stain or bring reproach. If you consider something to be precious, you will make every effort to guard it and defend it from intruders, thieves and robbers. In context Paul is speaking of the saint's integrity and character and unsullied state of their soul which in turn will keep the commandment above criticism. Guard over it carefully dear soldier, for there are many adversaries that are actively, aggressively waging war against your soul (cp 1Peter 2:11-note). Solomon's words of wisdom are a fitting parallel…
Watch over (Qal imperative - a command not a suggestion!) your heart (the "control center" of our being) with all (not some) diligence, for (Why? See discussion of value of always interrogating this term of explanation) from it flow the springs of life (Take a moment and meditate on that phrase "springs of life"! E.g., "From where do those springs originate? What might impede their flow or contaminate those springs? What benefit do those springs bring?, etc). (Proverbs 4:23-note)
Comment: The Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew phrase "watch over" uses the same verb (tereo) which Paul uses here in 1Ti 6:13 to alert his young soldier Timothy. In the Septuagint tereo is in the present imperative which is a command calling for one to be on "high alert" at all times, lest he or she be caught off guard by the subtle wiles of the world, the flesh (Gal 5:17-note where "sets its desires" is present tense = continuous warfare taking place. Where? Within our bodies!!!) or the devil (cp 1Pe 5:8-note). In short, Fight (present imperative) the good fight of faith (1Ti 6:12-note)
Tereo is used one other time in this letter where Paul commands Timothy to "keep (present imperative = do this as your habitual practice, your "lifestyle") yourself free from sin." (1Ti 5:22)
Paul gives a very similar charge to Archippus at the end of his epistle to the Colossians…
And say to Archippus, "Take heed (aorist imperative = command like a general to his troops, because Archippus [and to us dear soldier and minister of Christ - you do know you are a "priest" [1Pe 2:9-note] and possess a gift allowing you also to minister [1Pe 4:10-note where "serving" = "ministering"] don't you? You are not squandering your gift are you, dear child of God?] to give earnest contemplation and appropriate concern) to the ministry which you have received in the Lord (You don't seek it! God gives you your specific ministry - it is a gift! Is your ministry His ministry or your ministry?), that you may fulfill it (Pleroo means to fill it up to the brim! Does that describe His ministry to and through you? Observe the little word "may" [subjunctive mood] which implies that you might live your life and fail to fulfill your ministry! May God grant each of us His grace, thereby enabling us not to waste our life, but instead to redeem the time [Eph 5:16-note] and fulfill His ministry in and through us in Christ and for His great glory. Amen)." (Col 4:17-note)
The commandment - The natural question is "What commandment?" First, note that the definite article precedes "commandment" which indicates Paul is referring not just to any commandment to a specific commandment. There are several possible explanations of the identity of "the commandment", and it is difficult to be dogmatic.
Wuest draws on the context of this epistle to help answer the question "what commandment?" writing that…
The commandment here is probably to be explained by reference to the commandment spoken of in 1Ti 1:5KJV (Ed: KJV has "commandment" but the Greek is not entole but paraggelia which was used to mean commandments especially in a military setting). There it referred to the responsibility Paul laid upon Timothy to charge certain ones not to teach any other doctrine, etc.
John MacArthur feels that commandment refers to…
The entire revealed Word of God, which Paul charged Timothy to preach (2Ti 4:2). Paul also repeatedly encouraged Timothy to guard it (1Ti 6:20; 1:18,19; 4:6,16; 2Ti 1:13,14; 2:15-18).
John Stott comments that…
There is a difference of opinion whether this command refers to the threefold appeal which Paul has just made in verses 11 and 12, or to the ethical instruction of the whole letter, or—more widely still—to ‘the whole law of Christ, the rule of faith and life enjoined by the gospel’. (Guard the truth : the message of 1 Timothy & Titus)
Based on context and the overall thrust of the letter, Steven Cole feels that commandment…
means that Timothy maintain his personal integrity and that he discharge his ministry above reproach (so Calvin, Matthew Henry; see 1Ti 4:16, “pay close attention to yourself and your teaching”; 1Ti 6:20, “guard what has been entrusted to you”). He is charging Timothy before God that he live in such a manner that neither his personal life nor his ministry would bring any blot on the name of Christ. (Reference)
The USB Handbook suggests other ways commandment could be interpreted noting that…
What the commandment refers to is not specified in the letter nor is it clear from the context. Some possibilities mentioned are: (1) the gospel message itself; (2) the whole Christian faith understood as a new law; (3) a baptismal or ordination charge to Timothy; (4) a reference to 1Ti 6:11–12; (5) a command to Timothy to remain faithful in the faith and in his ministry (see, for example, 1Ti 4:16); (6) all the instructions contained in the letter (The United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series)
George Knight gives one of the best summaries of the various considerations of the commandment writing that it refers to…
(1) “the commandment” given at Timothy’s baptism (Bernard, Dornier, Parry, G. B. Wilson);
(2) one given at his ordination (Barrett, Brox, Ridderbos);
(3) the injunction given in 1Ti 6:11–12 (Bürki, Easton, Guthrie, van Oosterzee, Weiss);
(4) the commandment to persevere in his faith and ministry, as in 4:16 (Fee);
(5) the whole charge delivered in this letter (Gealy, H. von Soden);
(6) all that Timothy has been enjoined to do with respect to the ministry of the gospel and the government of the church (Calvin, Hendriksen);
(7) everything entrusted to Timothy, by analogy with the “deposit” in 1Ti 6:20 (Dibelius-Conzelmann, Hanson); or
(8) the Gospel viewed as a rule of life (Alford, Ellicott, Freundorfer, Huther, Kelly, Liddon, Lock, Spicq, N. J. D. White, Wohlenberg)
Some commentators’ views are broader than these simple categories might imply, and some of the categories bring together commentators whose views are not quite in agreement). (Knight, George W.: The Pastoral Epistles: A Commentary on the Greek Text. W. B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press. 1992)
Comment: After extensive discussion of the pros and cons of several of the above possible interpretations, Knight feels that view #8 is the most likely.
Commandment (1785) (entole) refers to that which is given as an order or injunction usually by someone in authority. Vincent comments that entole was "The word for a single commandment or injunction, but used also for the whole body of the moral precepts of Christianity (Ed: This latter sense in as 2Pe 2:21; 3:2)." The phrase keep the commandment is repeated used by the Apostle John (Jn 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1Jn 2:3, 4; 3:22, 24; 5:3)
"SAINT" & "STAIN"
DON'T SHUFFLE THE LETTERS!
Without stain (784)(aspilos from a = without + spílos = spot) is an adjective which literally means without spot, blemish or defect (outward condition). Figuratively (in a moral sense) aspilos describes one who is pure in regard to their inward character. Paul is calling for Timothy (and by application all believers) to manifest flawless integrity, untainted character and uncompromising holiness (separation from that which is profane, common and defiling of one's character). Paul is not implying Timothy (or we) will attain perfection, but he is calling for him (and us) to make this the general "direction" of one's life (as enabled by the Holy Spirit [cp Ro 8:13-note] and the amazing grace in which we stand [1Pe 5:12-note]). The only reason it is even possible for believers to keep themselves without stain (and reproach) is because Jesus was truly and fully without stain or reproach, Peter describing His blood which redeemed us (1Pe 1:18-note) (redeemed = paid the price to set us free from bondage to Sin which indwells us in the form of the flesh) as the…
precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless (aspilos), the blood of Christ. (1Pe 1:19-note)
Based upon the Victory of our Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary (where Christ as our "Substitute" sacrificially shed His precious, unblemished blood on our behalf, providing eternal atonement for our sins and completely propitiating the wrath of the Father) believers have everything necessary (cp 2Pe 1:3, 4-note) to fulfill commands like those from the apostle Peter to be spotless…
Therefore (term of conclusion), beloved, since you look for (prosdokao - expectantly, with great anticipation and sure hope) these things, be diligent (aorist imperative = command like a general to his troops to make every effort, to be eager) to be found by Him in peace, spotless (aspilos) and blameless (2Peter 3:14)
Comment: You did ask the questions didn't you? Why the "therefore?" "What things?" In context, this is a reference to the , a prophetic certainty that should radically impact our present conduct ("be diligent… "), in the same way as the truth of the soon "appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ!" Notice the powerful spiritual dynamic that what (Who) you are looking for will determine what (Who) you are living for (self or Savior)! And notice that Paul uses the same motif to encourage young Timothy to keep the commandments. The idea is to remember that Jesus is coming back (soon), so live accordingly! Indeed, "Take hold (aorist imperative) of the eternal life to which you were called! (1Ti 6:12)
James gives us a Biblical description of real religion from God's perspective, writing that…
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained (aspilos) by the world (kosmos - which is simply but accurately described as "Society apart from God!"). (James 1:27-note)
Comment: How can a saint become a stain? (Notice these two words differ only by the placement of one letter) What is the stain producing culprit according to James?
Without… reproach (423) (anepileptos from a = without + epilambáno = to seize, to lay firm hold) is an adjective which literally describes that which cannot be seized. It is one who cannot be laid hold upon, so to speak, which metaphorically describes one who is inculpable, cannot be criticized (above criticism), inviolable (i.e., not tarnished, eg, as to one's honor, character, etc), unassailable (i.e., not liable to personal attack or question of character), irreprehensible (i.e., not to be blamed or censured; free from fault). The anepileptos individual is one who has nothing in their words, actions or deeds upon which an adversary could seize to make a charge. This person demonstrates conduct which is irreproachable, above criticism, without fault. He has a higher morality on which no blame can be found to base an accusation. Do not attempt to obey this lofty charge in your own strength! Cast off any sense of self reliance and rely wholly on the Spirit of Christ to give you the desire and the power to live without… reproach (cp Php 2:13NLT-note).
There are only 2 other uses of anepileptos in the NT…
1Ti 3:2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
1Ti 5:7 Prescribe (paraggello in the present imperative) these things (remember when you see the phrase "these things", stop and interrogate with the 5W/H'S, taking time to check the context for answers) as well, so that they may be above reproach.
It should be noted at this point that some commentaries interpret without stain or reproach as actually modifying the commandment rather than "you" (Timothy), so that it is not Timothy per se who should be without stain or reproach, but it would be the commandment that should be so characterized.
John Stott comments that…
Commentators also differ whether the words without spot or blame apply to Timothy or to the command. Perhaps the Revised English Bible is best: ‘I charge you to obey your orders without fault or failure.’ (Guard the Truth : the message of 1 Timothy & Titus)
George Knight comments that…
The two adjectives seem to refer to the clause keep the commandment considered as a whole, Timothy’s keeping of the commandment, rather than any one word within it. Aspilos may refer to transgressions of the commandment, and anepileptos to failures in keeping its positive aspects. (Ibid)
The Pulpit Commentary has a good argument that the context (the subsequent mention of the appearance of Christ) favors the two adjectives modify a person (Timothy) not the commandment per se…
the consideration that the idea of the person being found blameless in, or kept blameless unto, the Coming of Christ, is a frequent one in the Epistles (Jude 1:24; 2Pe 3:14; 1Co 1:8; Col 1:22; 1Th 3:13; 5:23).
Comment: In other words the fact of the Second Coming is repeatedly seen as a truth (incentive) which motivates a person to godly conduct (without stain or reproach), favors these adjectives as describing Timothy rather the commandment per se.
Newport J D White seems to resolve the difficulty by combining the two ideas explaining that…
If Timothy “keeps himself unspotted” (Jas 1:27) and “without reproach,” the commandment, so far as he is concerned, will be maintained flawless. (1Timothy 6 Commentary)
Thomas Lea also combines the two interpretations writing…
The keeping of the command was to be unspotted by the contaminations of the heretics and was to be a type of obedience not exposing God’s commands to fault or blame. (New American Commentary)
Until the appearing - Until is an important "time phrase" in Scripture (Study the section on expressions of time) and deserves our "undivided attention." One should always interrogate (Study the section on interrogating Scripture using the "5W/H'S") time phrases with questions like "What will happen then?", "What difference does this make?", "How should I respond in light of the truth revealed by this time phrase?" "How long would Timothy need to keep the commandment without spot or stain?" Until Christ returned!
Conscious contemplation of Christ's coming would help Timothy fight a good fight, finish the course and keep the faith, even as it had motivated his mentor who in his final words declared…
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing (epiphaneia) .(2Ti 4:7, 8)
Until means "up to the point in time or the event mentioned." The idea is "up to a stipulated time." What "time" is stipulated by Paul in this passage? Obviously in context the time referred to is the blessed appearing of Christ, Who will return to bring an end to the evil of this present, passing world. Notice the text does not say "when" He will return but clearly promises that He will return. What happens when He appears? Among a number of things that will transpire when Christ returns, the apostle John informs us…
BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen. (Revelation 1:7-note)
Comment by Tony Garland (reference): The OT Scriptures predicted a “coming one” (Dt 18:15-18; Ps. 2:1-12-see Garland's study of "Why do the Nations Rage"; Ps 22:1-31; 118:26; Isa 9:6-note; Isa 48:16; 53; 61:1; Jer. 23:5-8; Da 9:25-note; Mic. 5:2; Zec. 2:8-11; 6:12-15; etc). This was the expectation of those among whom Jesus ministered (Jn 1:21; 1:45; 6:14; 7:40). John the Baptist knew of these predictions and sent his disciples to Jesus inquiring, “‘Are You the Coming One (ho erchomenos = defines a specific "Coming One"), or do we look for another?’” [bolding added] (Mt 11:3; Lk 7:19). Peter and Stephen explained that it was Jesus who fulfilled these predictions (Acts 3:22; 7:37).
Yet this Coming One represented a Scriptural enigma. At times, He was said to be victorious King who would reign forever (Nu 24:17; Isa 9:6-7-note). But He was also forsaken, despised, rejected, and crushed (Ps 22:1-31; Isa 53:1-12). How could these seeming contradictions be reconciled? Some chose to apply these passages to two different individuals, a “suffering Messiah” (Messiah ben-Joseph) and a “victorious Messiah” (Messiah ben-David ["ben" is the Hebrew word for "son"]). Others held that the fulfillments were mutually exclusive and which would eventuate depended upon the obedience of Israel.
The key which unlocks this mystery is the resurrection of Messiah (Ps. 16:10; Isa. 53:1-12). He would come once, die for the sins of the world, be resurrected back to life, and come a second time in judgment. His First Coming, death, and resurrection are now past. All that remains is His reappearance as described to John here and elsewhere in the NT.
It has been estimated that one out of every twenty-five verses in the New Testament refers to the Second Coming. (John MacArthur)
|THE TWO COMINGS
|FIRST APPEARING||SECOND APPEARING|
|In Humiliation||In Exaltation|
|To be killed||To kill His enemies|
|To serve||To be served|
|As Suffering Servant||As Conquering King|
The challenge of the book of the Revelation
to every person is to…
BE READY FOR HIS RETURN!
He is coming (present tense) and every eye will see Him (future tense). The grammar places the event on the edge between the present and the future—the futuristic present. It is ‘about to occur.’ It is imminent (See discussion on imminency):
The verb form (of "coming" in Rev 1:7) is erchetai (Ed: Parsing of the verb = erchomai which means coming) is an example of the futuristic use of the present tense, the future connotation being provided by the word’s meaning.
The idea is that Christ is already on His way, i.e.,
He is in the process of coming and hence will arrive.
This use of the present tense enhances emphasis on the imminence of that coming (Ed: Compare the same verb erchomai in the present tense in Jesus' prophecy that He would return again in John 14:3).
This same verb (erchomai) is used directly or indirectly eleven more times in this book in reference to the return of Christ (cf. Rev. 1:4, Rev 1:7; Rev 1:8, Rev 2:5, Rev 2:16; Rev 3:11; Rev 4:8; Rev 16:15; Rev 22:7, Rev 22:12, Rev 22:20 [twice]), seven coming from the lips of Christ Himself (Rev. 2:5, 16; 3:11; 16:15; 22:7, 12, 20). The current verse obviously is the theme verse for the whole book.
Comment: In light of the fact that the return of Christ is such a clear key word in the Revelation, what truth (and what application) do you think the Holy Spirit is trying to convey to the church in these last days?
May God grant His children, who compose His body, the church, ears that have been opened and hearts that are tender to and tremble at His Word, so that we might be able to hear clearly and obey immediately what the Spirit is saying regarding the imminent appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen (cp Rev 2:7, Rev 2:11, Rev 2:17, Rev 2:29, Rev 3:6, Rev 3:13, Rev 3:22)
THE DAY OF HIS APPEARING
THE DAY OF RECKONING
In the mid-1800's the godly self taught Lutheran saint, Joseph A Seiss penned one of the most literal interpretations of the book of the Revelation (The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation) and in that commentary, he addressed one of the practical aspects of the Second Coming…
Brethren, I do not wonder that worldlings and "half-Christians" (Ed: Not sure what Seiss means by this description.) have no love of this doctrine, or that they hate to hear about Christ’s speedy coming. It is the death knell of their gaieties and pleasures—the turning of their confidence to consternation—the conversion of their songs to shrieks of horror and despair. There is a day coming, when “the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of man shall be made low;” [Isa. 2:11-note, Isa 2:17-note] when there shall be "upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;" when "all the tribes of the earth shall mourn;" when men shall "go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth," "into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty;" when men "shall seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them." And that day is the day of Christ's coming, and those dismayed ones are such as love not his appearing. Fear and dread shall fall upon the wicked; trouble and anguish shall make them afraid; and men's hearts shall fail them for fear, and for looking after those things that are coming on the earth. The saints will then have been caught away to their Lord. From the same field, the same shop, the same bed, one shall have been taken and the other left. And on those remaining ones, who had not watched, neither kept their garments, nor made themselves ready, shall the terrors of judgment fall, and not a family or tribe of all that live shall escape. (The Apocalypse: comment from bottom of page 57)
Why would Paul mention the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in this context? What has he just written to Timothy? Paul had just exhorted Timothy to keep the commandment. Clearly, the fact that Christ will return and that His return is imminent and was imminent even in Paul's day (See discussion of Imminency), serves to motivate one to discipline themselves for godliness and keep the commandment without stain or reproach. If one is continually mindful that they might see Christ at any moment, it will (or should) effect a "high level" of (Spirit enabled) ethical behavior!
Hiebert underscores the sense of Christ's imminent return writing…
The word “appearing” or “manifestation” emphasizes the visibility and glory of the coming Lord Who is now hidden and invisible to human sight in Heaven. This statement of the termination of the charge shows that the writer did not conceive of the return of Christ as some event in the remote future. Like the other New Testament writers, Paul kept the truth of the Lord’s return in the foreground of his thinking and hopes. While Paul eagerly looked for that event, he never pretended to know the date of the return. The overwhelming magnitude of the Second Coming made it seem near and shrivel up all intervening time, like some vast mountain, which, as it rears its gigantic peak above the horizon, seems near, though actually a long distance away.
MacArthur adds that…
When the Lord returns to earth in glory (cf. 2Ti 4:1,8; Titus 2:13) to judge and to establish His kingdom (Mt. 24:27,29,30; 25:31). Because Christ’s return is imminent, that ought to be motivation enough for the man of God to remain faithful to his calling until he dies or the Lord returns (cf. Acts 1:8-11; 1Cor 4:5; Rev. 22:12). (MacArthur, J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word)
Johann Bengel comments that…
Believers, in regulating their practice, used in that day (of Paul and Timothy) to set before themselves the day of Christ as near at hand: we are accustomed to set before us the hour of death. (Bolding added for emphasis)
A STRONG INCENTIVE
TO KEEP THE COMMANDMENT
The appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ - Another way to describe the blessed and glorious the Second Coming of Christ. "The bright, clear, or radiant appearing." (Trapp)
The truth that we might see Christ today should be a strong incentive for holy living…
When was the last time you seriously considered that Christ might return today? And you did so, not as one those folks who see "prophecy" in everything on the news, but with the idea that an awareness of His return would have a practical impact on the choices you make - what you think about, what you purchase and how you handle your finances in general, what genre and rating of movies or television shows you watch, where and what you search for on the internet, how much time you spend on talking to others on the "social networks" on the web versus how much time you talking to God, how you might demonstrate agape love to others, how you might humbly serve others, how bold you are to share the Gospel with others with whom God gives an open door, how quickly you confess to God your sins against Him, how quickly you forgive those who have offended you, and the list goes on and on… ? May God grant us Spirit enabling grace to "filter" all our thoughts, words and deeds through the "grid" of the imminent appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
As Bob Utley agrees that "The Second Coming has always been a strong incentive to live the Christian life." (1Timothy Commentary)
Listen to some of the resolutions of the greatest of all American theologians, Jonathan Edwards…
Resolved, never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can. (I would add the prayer Ps 90:12)
Resolved: To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
Comment: Read a longer list of Jonathan Edwards' resolutions - if you dare! They are very convicting! However, be careful! Remember that resolutions must be read with a strong reliance on grace and a trust in the power of the Spirit to obey or otherwise they can become legalistic burdens (cp Ro 7:5-note) In fact read Edwards' prayer that prefaces the resolutions…
Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.
Preacher's Homiletical Commentary comments that Paul is reminding Timothy
that, whatever perils gathered round the warrior for truth, an unseen shield should cover his head in the day of battle.
Matthew Henry adds that Paul is saying to Timothy…
"Keep this commandment until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; keep it as long as thou live, till Christ come at death to give thee a discharge (Ed: Until you get your "discharge papers" from active service, so to speak! cp 2Ti 2:3,4). Keep it with an eye to His Second Coming, when we must all give an account of the talents we have been entrusted with,'' Lk 16:2. Observe, The Lord Jesus Christ will appear, and it will be a glorious appearing (Mt 24:30, 25:31, 26:64, 16:27, Mk 13:26, 14:62, Lk 21:27, 2Th 1:7), not like His first appearing in the days of his humiliation (Php 2:5, 6, 7, 8).
Ministers should have an eye to this appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ in all their ministrations, and, till His appearing, they are to keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable.
Mentioning the appearing of Christ, as one that loved it, Paul loves to speak of it, and loves to speak of Him Who shall then appear. The appearing of Christ is certain (he shall show it), but it is not for us to know the time and season of it, which the Father has kept in his own power: let this suffice us, that in time he will show it, in the time that he thinks fit for it.
Matthew Poole writes that…
there is no motive more powerful to a zealous and faithful discharge of our duty, no excitation more rousing from the security and carelessness of the flesh, than the serious believing consideration of the glorious reward to be dispersed by our Saviour to his faithful servants in that day (of the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ).
Gromacki comments that…
The mention of Christ’s return rather than the death of Timothy reveals the apostolic expectation that the Savior could have returned during their lifetimes. (Stand True to the Charge: An Exposition of I Timothy)
Appearing (2015)(epiphaneia from epi = upon + phaino = to shine; verb = epiphaino; source of our English epiphany = manifestation of a supernatural or divine reality or any moment of great or sudden revelation) literally means to shine upon ("a shining forth") and in practice describes a manifestation or appearance (See notes below for interesting secular uses of epiphaneia). Epiphaneia can convey ideas such as "brightness" or "startling appearance."
Behold He comes, riding on the clouds,
Shining like the Sun at the trumpet call;
Lift your voice, it's the year of Jubilee,
And out of Zion's hill Salvation comes.
Play "Days of Elijah"
See related word Revelation (apokalupsis) - literally conveys the idea of "taking the lid off" and means to remove the cover and expose to open view that which was heretofore not visible and so to make manifest or reveal that which was previously hidden from view.
Paul used epiphaneia of the first coming in 2Ti 1:10, Titus 2:11, but of the Second Coming in 1Ti 6:14, 2Th 2:8, 2Ti 4:1, and Titus 2:13. In describing the Second Coming Paul more often uses parousia ("coming") and may be using epiphaneia in this passage because of the emphasis this word places on the suddenness of the glorious appearing.
Paul combines epiphaneia, parousia and apokalupto (verb from of apokalupsis) in his description of the Lord's return to utterly defeat the Antichrist…
And then that lawless one (Antichrist) will be revealed (apokalupto) whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance (epiphaneia) of His coming (parousia); (2Th 2:8)
Comment: Here we see parousia depicts Christ's physical return and epiphaneia His physical manifestation.
CHRIST'S SUDDEN APPEARING
TO BRING "HELP" TO THE EARTH
The sudden appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ to bring help (as implied by the use of epiphaneia) brings to mind Nebuchadnezzar's dream interpreted by Daniel…
(Daniel speaking) You (Nebuchadnezzar) continued looking until a STONE was cut out without hands (Ed: Therefore, not human but "superhuman", and more specifically Divine, the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ!), and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the STONE that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. (Ed: Clearly not a literal mountain but a picture of the worldwide rule of the Kingdom of Messiah as He takes His rightful throne and begins His Millennial reign) (Da 2:34, 35-note)…
And in the days of those kings (Ed: Remember to interrogate with the 5W/H'S- Answer? The "toe stage" which symbolizes 10 kings [cp Da 7:7-note, Da 7:24-note] in a loose confederation, an entity that has yet to be seen in human history, but will come to pass in the last days.) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed (Messiah's Millennial Kingdom), and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms (Ed: The "Stone", the Lord Jesus Christ, will appear suddenly and put an end to all godless human governments in a moment of time! compare Revelation 19:11-15-note, Rev 19:16-note), but it will itself endure forever. Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true, and its interpretation is trustworthy. (Da 2:44, 45-note)
Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and did homage to Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and fragrant incense. The king answered Daniel and said, "Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries (Ed: After Nebuchadnezzar's humiliation, God lifts him up and he now gives praise not to Daniel but to God, and indeed I think we shall see Nebuchadnezzar in heaven! cp Da 4:34, 35, 36, 37-note), since you have been able to reveal this mystery." (Da 2:46, 47-note)
Comment: In His first "manifestation" (epiphaneia) (2Ti 1:9, 10) Christ abolished death, and His second "manifestation" (Da 2:34-35, 44-45), He abolishes the enemies of God.
The following secular uses of epiphaneia present striking parallels to the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ…
Epiphaneia was used in secular Greek writings to describe a glorious manifestation of the gods, especially their coming to help (which they could not in truth! Read Isa 44:8, 9, 10, 17, Isa 36:19, 20, 37:18).
Epiphaneia described the accession of the emperor to the throne of the Empire (compare Mt 25:31 which describes the accession of the King of kings to His rightful throne).
Epiphaneia was used of a visit by the Emperor to any province or town. The emperor’s appearance in any place was his epiphaneia. Obviously when the Emperor was due to visit any place, everything was put in perfect order” (compare 1Jn 2:28, cp 2Cor 7:1-note) Her in 1Ti 6:14 Paul in essence reminding Timothy “You know what happens when any town is expecting the epiphaneia of the Emperor. You are expecting the epiphaneia of Jesus Christ, so keep the commandment without stain or reproach! Beloved, we should all live and work for Christ and in Christ (Jn 15:5) as if this were our last day on earth! We should so order our life that at any moment we are ready for His Return. Let it be so Lord. Amen
Epiphaneia was used to describe the dawning of light upon the darkness and also conveyed the idea of a sudden appearance upon the scene, which is significant in light of the fact that the NT epiphaneia is used only of the appearing of Christ. (Compare description of the appearing in 2Th 2:8)
NLT Study Bible has a good summary noting that…
An epiphany is a divine intervention in a particular historical moment. The church is positioned between these past and future appearances of Christ. Christ’s first, saving epiphany made possible a new life; his future epiphany will achieve final salvation. Though the present is evil (the “last days,” 1Ti 4:1–3; 2Ti 3:1–9), our anticipation of Christ’s appearance creates accountability for living a godly life in the present. By contrast, the false teachers advocated sinful behaviors because they assumed the resurrection had already occurred (2Ti 2:18). In response, Paul makes clear that salvation has begun but is not yet complete. The conduct of God’s household requires responsible living in the light of Christ’s past, present, and future saving work (3:15–16; Titus 2:11–14). (NLT Study Bible)
As noted above, but it bears repeating, that careful observers of Scripture have estimated that almost one of every 20 verses in the New Testament speaks either directly or indirectly about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! God has clearly gone to great "effort" to make the point that His Son is returning and His return is imminent! What difference should this truth make in our lives?
WHAT ONE IS LOOKING FOR
WHAT ONE IS LIVING FOR!
The following comment in the excellent Moody devotional Today in the Word helps us understand why prophecy, instead of being a source of antipathy among believers, as it so often is, should be a source of anticipation for all believers…
Biblical prophecy provides some of the greatest encouragement and hope available to us today. Just as the Old Testament is saturated with prophecies concerning Christ’s first advent, so both testaments are filled with references to the Second Coming of Christ. One scholar has estimated that there are 1,845 references to Christ’s Second Coming in the Old Testament, where 17 books give it prominence. In the 260 chapters of the New Testament, there are 318 references to the Second Advent of Christ—an amazing 1 out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event. For every prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ’s First Advent, there are 8 which look forward to His Second!
Knute Larson writes that…
The coming of Christ has sustained the church for centuries. It is to our shame that we do not have the same anticipation, the same high expectancy of the Lord's return. Such a glorious prospect keeps the difficulties as well as the temptations of this life in proper perspective. (Holman New Testament Commentary)
Pastor Steven Cole sees keeping the commandment without stain or reproach as descriptive of a life of integrity. He then summarizes how several of the truths Paul states about God and Jesus Christ should serve to motivate us to a life of integrity.
(1) "In the presence of God" (1Ti 6:13) - The awareness of God’s presence will motivate us to a life of integrity.
(2) "The appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Ti 6:14) - The awareness of Christ’s coming will motivate us to a life of integrity. Cole gave this illustration…
The 20th Century Fox company once advertised for a sales-man and got this reply from an applicant: “I am at present selling furniture at the address below. You may judge my ability as a salesman if you will stop in to see me at any time, pretending that you are interested in buying furniture. When you come in you can identify me by my red hair. And I will have no way of identifying you. Such salesmanship as I exhibit during your visit, therefore, will be no more than my usual workaday approach, and not a special effort to impress a prospective employer.” (In “Bits & Pieces,” 3/85.) I don’t know if he got the job, but his attitude was what ours should be as we conduct ourselves in this world. We don’t know when our Lord will return; we just know He’s coming. So we ought always to live without stain or reproach, ready to meet Him.
(3) "(The return of Christ) which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign" (1Ti 6:15) - The awareness of God’s sovereign supremacy will motivate us to a life of integrity. (For more detail see sermon)
See Related Study - Integrity - A Few Thoughts