1 Timothy

Lesson 7 w/Answers1 Timothy 6:1-21

Timothy the Apostle

In this lesson, we conclude our study of 1 Timothy by looking at Chapter 6 and Paul’s final instructions to Timothy. Paul briefly addresses three subjects in this closing chapter, (1) masters and slaves and their relationship to each other, (2) the negative effects of seeking after money and wealth, and (3) personal instructions to Timothy himself.

Let’s briefly examine each of these three in the following verses:

  1. In 1 Timothy 6:1-2, what Paul is writing would seem foreign to us today, but yet was life-changing in Timothy’s day. Paul’s instruction was surely seen as a radical approach, because a relationship between master and slave that was unheard of at the time. What is this new approach, this new relationship, that Timothy was to proclaim and teach to the followers of Christ in Ephesus? Why is this also pertinent to us today?
    1. ANSWER 1: There are two unusual aspects of this teaching. First, Paul is directly addressing the slaves—and not the masters. In his other teachings about masters and slaves, Paul addresses both the master and the slave, but not so in this letter.
    2. ANSWER 2: Secondly, Paul’s most radical piece of instruction is that both masters and slaves are now to be seen on equal footing in terms of their relationship to Christ. Neither the Master nor the Slave is to be elevated; and, in both cases, they are to be treated respectfully. The slave who has a Christian master is specifically told to treat his master with respect. For the first time, the church is to be seen as a meeting place where all who enter in are equals. No one is above anyone else. In Christ’s eyes, we are all servants or slaves to him, because it is he who redeemed us. This would have been a very radical teaching in Timothy’s day, and even more so in the eyes of the slave or servant, who now must not only serve his or her master, but also respect them.
    3. ANSWER 3: This applies to us and the church, today. All are seen equally through God’s eyes, and we are to have that same vision and respect. No one is to be elevated above another. All of us are to treat each other, regardless of our station in life, with respect.
  2. In 1 Timothy 6:3-10, Paul warns of the evils of pursuing after wealth, among other things. He addresses those within the church who pursue teaching false doctrine, those who intentionally stir up divisive conversations and quarreling, and those who are motivated by financial gain. Even today we see this behavior embedded with the church. Arguing over theories, bad doctrine, half-truths, and positioning oneself for recognition and even gain within the kingdom Christ can be readily seen. What are some of the ways we see people do this?
    1. ANSWER 1: There are, for example, entire "ministries" that play off of fear, financial difficulties, and world crises. They encourage people to follow them; because they "know" the truth and have the special insight. They advise people not to adhere to sound doctrine, and they make people believe that they, as the "enlightened ones" are indeed the true source of all teaching. These people seek out those with "itching ears," telling them what they want to hear instead of what they should be hearing.
    2. ANSWER 2: in addition, many will focus on "old wives’ tales," various strange theories, and even esoteric end-time scenarios as a way to grow their following and increase their wealth. Arguing over the Rapture, identifying the anti-Christ, setting a date for Christ’s return, endless speculations about Israel, the Jews, and so on; these groups lead many astray and amass large amounts of wealth in the process.
  3. In 1 Timothy 6:7-10, Paul warns Timothy about people who pursue wealth and get caught in its snare. (See also Luke 16:19-31.) List below what Paul specifically warns Timothy about regarding these people, and what he warns about in terms of pursuing wealth in general.
    1. ANSWER 1: The desire to get rich leads people to fall into "temptation and a trap," resulting in "many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." Surely we have seen this playout in our day as well. How many stories have we seen regarding people getting so caught up in their pursuit of wealth that they become cold to the world and to those around them. Suddenly, they are thinking thoughts and acting in ways that, in the end, destroy them. Drugs, alcohol, and even sex, all become addictions to be pursued—either as a path to wealth, or a result of it. Their hearts grow cold, they live for only one reason—to accumulate more and more wealth. Their lifestyles become dictated by the wealth; and, once that wealth is gone, they are emotionally and physically destroyed. Along the way, their hearts are hardened against the Gospel; they either turn from Christ, or reject Him completely. The parable of Lazarus the beggar and the rich man illustrates this. Having wealth as your primary desire leads to complete destruction; because you literally cannot take your wealth with you when you die. An obsessive desire for wealth effects a person to the point that, even when in Hades, they have not repented and still expect special treatment. Wealth has the power to blind us.
    2. ANSWER 2: Paul further admonishes us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Note that he does not tell us that money is evil; rather, it is the love or desire of it that brings all kinds of evil. We must always be on guard that—no matter our financial condition—we do not become fixated on money; thereby believing that it will solve all of our problems, provide the security we seek, or that it will finally provide the pleasures that we have been pursuing. Money is useful and is not to be avoided; and people who have wealth are not evil unless their desire to have it, and to have more and more of it, blinds them to the truth of the Gospel. At that point, it leads to all sorts of evil.
  4. In 1 Timothy 6:11-21, Paul concludes his letter with some very personal instructions to Timothy. In doing so, he provides us with a solid and dependable spiritual compass. His words to Timothy are as true for us today as it was for Timothy. If we just follow what Paul tells Timothy in 6:11-16, we will stay on the narrow path and please God in all that we do. What are the specific things that Paul tells Timothy—and, by extension, us—to do? List them below:
    1. ANSWER 1: Flee from evil. We cannot be productive in the kingdom of God if we cannot flee from evil. We need to be mindful of temptation and how easily it can slip into our spiritual life and cripple our walk with Christ; at all costs, we are to flee evil. Furthermore, James 4:7 tells us to "resist the Devil, and he will flee from you."
    2. ANSWER 2: Pursue righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. We can do this because the Holy Spirit lives within us and will lead us to do each of these things. As Psalm 23 records, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside still waters, he restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake." (KJV)
    3. ANSWER 3: Fight the good fight of faith. Paul elsewhere tells all of us not to grow weary, not to give up, and to run the race that is set before us as though we were running to win the prize. (Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 9:24; and Hebrews 12:1.)

Paul concludes his instructions to Timothy by reminding him of two important instructions. First, Timothy is to warn the wealthy about the snares that wealth can bring and remind them to focus on laying up treasure in heaven—just as today we are to have that same approach. Rather than accumulating and hoarding wealth and treasure in this world, we are to lay up treasure in heaven. We are to invest in the Kingdom of God, advance the Gospel, and to be good stewards of all that God has entrusted to us.

Secondly, Paul is concerned about Timothy’s continued spiritual health and ministry. He warns Timothy one last time to be on guard, not to get caught up in "godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge." Paul knows that such things could defeat Timothy’s efforts at spreading the Gospel and fighting the false teaching within the new body of believers at Ephesus. Today as well, we should be watching constantly for those who teach false doctrine and prevent others from hearing the true Gospel. As the time of Christ’s return grows closer, false teachers and false teaching will abound. Be on guard that you do not get caught in their lies and half-truths.

I pray that this study has helped you grow in Christ, and that it has opened your eyes to other opportunities to serve in His Kingdom, as we work toward the day of His coming again. What a day of rejoicing that will be!

In Christ,



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