1 Timothy 1:18 – This charge I commit to you, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies which led the way to you, that by them you may wage the good warfare;
1 Timothy 1:19 – holding faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust away made a shipwreck concerning the faith.
1 Timothy 6:13 – I charge you in the sight of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate testified the good confession,
1 Timothy 6:14 – that you keep the commandment [Greek, entole– “this thing given in charge”–this doctrine given by divine inspiration], without spot, without reproach, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ;
1 Timothy 6:15 – which [good confession or sound faith] in its own times he will show, who is the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who alone has immortality [Greek, athanasia], dwelling in unapproachable light; whom [Greek, HOS, which, refers to the unapproachable light] no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and eternal power. Amen.
— 1 Timothy 1:18,19; 6:13-16, World English.
Unless otherwise stated, all quotations from the Holy Bible are from the World English Bible translation.
(1) It is good that we pay attention to the earnest exhortations and careful instructions given to Timothy by the faithful Apostle Paul. While these instructions were applicable and profitable to Timothy in his day, they apply with still greater force to the church as a whole, of which Timothy was a member, and of which we have reason to believe he was a figure, or representative.
(2) Of this we have evidence in the general character of the letters addressed to Timothy, which implies either that Timothy, or some of the class which he represented and of which he formed a part (the church), would be living down into the end of the age. We believe, then, that in the person of Timothy as a representative, the entire church is here addressed by Paul, and we notice that the name Timothy signifies — “honor of God”, “honoring God”. The church honors God and is to have honor conferred upon her by God. In the present age the honor consists in the fact that so important a “charge” is committed to her trust. And those thus honored in this age, and who prove faithful to the trust, will in the next age be yet more highly exalted and honored.
(3) The apostle writes to young Timothy: “I charge you in the sight of God.” The charge was to keep the blessed gospel untarnished and “without spot,” to keep it in its glorious simplicity and purity, unmixed with human theories and false doctrines, which even then the enemies of truth were laboring to introduce. The rising errors must be guarded against, first, by maintaining a pure heart and conscience (1 Timothy 1:5; 3:9); and secondly, by faithful study of the word of God. To study the Word of God with a clear conscience is to study it with the single and only purpose of knowing and doing God’s will. (Matthew 7:21; Luke 11:28) This, Paul says, some in his day did not do (1 Timothy 1:19; Philippians 3:18,19; Hebrews 3:12; see also 2 Peter 2); they had theories and plans of their own, and endeavored to wrest the Scriptures to give their theories seeming support; and thus they made shipwreck of their own faith and turned others out of the way, indeed, bringing forth the foretold “falling away” from the true faith. (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Timothy 4:3,4) Yet, even though errors crept in, the pure Word of the Law and the testimony of the apostles has survived to nourish the saints here in the last days. But as the end of the age should approach Paul wrote that many false teachers were to multiply and gain great influence, and overthrow the faith of all who should not meekly and devoutly walk with God, trusting alone in his faithful word. (2 Timothy 3:1-7) Of such Jesus warned: “For there will arise false Christs, and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” — Matthew 24:24.
(4) Next to guarding ourselves thus — and those who thus do so have the power of God pledged to help keep them from falling (Romans 14:4; 1 Corintians 2:5; Hebrews 4:16) — is the charge to help others to stand (Galatians 6:1; James 5:19,20; Jude 1:22,23): to help them by earnestly contending for the faith (Jude 1:3); by pointing out the errors of the adversaries of the truth, and by calling attention boldly and fearlessly to every pitfall and placing the light of truth over it. — Ephesians 4:14.
(5) To preach this “gospel [good news] of the glory of the blessed God,” (1 Timothy 1:11) to present it in its purity and grandeur, to contend against the errors which friends and enemies seek to engraft upon it, is the charge given to and the duty devolving upon the church in the present time — the charge which we must keep and labor to sustain until the appearing (manifestation, or bright-shining) of our Lord Jesus Christ. Before the brightness and glory of his presence the darkness of ignorance and error shall flee away, and no hiding place shall be found for them; for the knowledge of Yahweh will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea, when his presence is fully revealed to all, and the sons of God are also made manifest. — Isaiah 11:9; Romans 8:19.
(6) Until finally relieved of this duty of guarding the truth, the church must wait for her victory, must watch against the dangers of abounding and wide-spreading error, and the seducing temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, must pray for and use divine strength in enduring hardness as good soldiers unto the end, and must boldly and nobly contend for the faith delivered in charge to the saints. “Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” Those not so doing may be counted amongst those needing greater discipline, and thus receiving a lesser reward in the kingdom. — Luke 12:43-47.
(7) It should be borne in mind also that in the days of his presence, before his manifestation to the world, there is even greater necessity for watching and contending for the faith than at any previous time, — since his presence is discerned by the church only by faith in the foretold indications, and since the perils occasioned by numerous false doctrines and many antichrists are greatly increased; so much so, that only those who have on the whole armor of God are able to stand and to contend for the faith in the face of such subtle and crafty opposition. (Ephesians 6:11-13) The charge is to stand well armed, and to contend for the faith until his manifestation to the world, in the close of the perilous times of the harvest.
(8) How solemn the obligation: “I charge you in the sight of God, who gives life to all things” — the great Life-giver or Father of all, Yahweh (Jehovah). We are Yahweh’s representatives in the earth; the honor of his name is to be vindicated in the presence of his enemies and before many of his deceived children; his glorious plan is to be published broadcast in opposition to all the worldly-wise schemes which men are and have been trying to invent. And his eye is upon us, marking how faithfully or unfaithfully we as his ambassadors represent him.
(9) Not only do we receive this charge in the sight of God, but also “before the anointed Jesus,” our great example and forerunner, through whom we have access to the Father, and who also bore witness to the truth, sacrificing all things for the privilege of witnessing to it — even until death.
(10) In reality, not many of the great numbers who claim the name of Christ in these last days are actually holding to the true faith. (Matthew 7:21-23) So scarce will “the faith” be, that Jesus stated, concerning his return: “nevertheless, though, the Son of Man do come, will he, after all, find the faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8, Rotherham) Jesus proclaimed that in the time of his return, “there will arise false Christs, and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” [Matthew 24:24; the word “very”, as meaning “true”, found in the KJV has no corresponding word in the Greek.) The true saints are generally also the humble poor of this world, who have little influence among men. Nevertheless their charge is an important one. They must “hold the fort” until the Lord himself shall in power and great glory establish the truth and exalt his church. He will complete what we in our present condition accomplish only in part: He will scatter all the mists and let in the broad sunlight of his truth, until none need say to his neighbor, “Know Yahweh; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” (Jeremiah 31:34) as represented in his plan, work and office. Already the light of his presence begins to dawn. Already he begins to lift the veil of error and to restore, with increasing beauty and clearness, the truths he first inculcated and afterward left to his church in charge.
(11) The substance of this sound faith left in charge at first was, “This is eternal life, that they should know you,” Yahweh, “the only true God”; — know his goodness, know his love, know his power and his justice; that knowing of God’s character as revealed by Christ they might delight to accept his proffered aid through Christ, and returning to God be abundantly pardoned; and, continuing to grow in knowledge and love and devotedness to God, be accepted as co-workers and co-heirs with Christ Jesus, their Redeemer and Lord. — John 17:1,3.
(12) Our Lord’s work at his second advent will be similar, the apostle assures us: He will take up the same truth, the same word, which he first taught, the same that was given into the church’s charge during his absence, and will show to all the world of mankind, the real character and plan of God the Father; — that is, he will cause all to know and appreciate the character and plan of Yahweh, when in its own times Jesus will show who is the blessed and only [lone] potentate (governor); King of of those who rule as kings, and Lord of of those who rule as lords; who alone among the rulers, at the time of the writing of the letter to Timothy, possessed immortality; who dwells in light unapproachable by humans, and which light no human has ever seen, not can see.
(13) While immortality originally only belonged to Yahweh, we are to remember that the apostle Paul declared that the entire church is called to seek “glory, honor and incorruption.” (Romans 2:7) Paul tells us that in the resurrection, “this mortal must put on immortality [Greek, athanasia].” (1 Corinthians 15:53,54) This implies, therefore, that the church of God at some time is to possess this attribute of immortality or deathlessness. But only our Lord Jesus had yet been made partaker of this quality at the time of the Apostle’s writing. The church was being called to be not only heirs of God, but joint-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17) The glorification of the joint-heirs with spiritual bodies and immortality is delayed until their due time, in the first resurrection, when they see him as he as he is and shall be like him, in glory, honor and immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach, etc. The statement here that our Lord will give this same immortality to his followers, is in agreement with the apostle’s assurance that all who attain the prize the high calling to joint-heirship are raised in incorruption and in immortality (1 Corinthians 15:52, 53), and remembering that it could have meant no less to him, the Head, than it is by and by to signify to the members of his body. — 1 John 3:2; Romans 6:4.
(14) Thus our Lord Jesus was the only man who had been raised from the dead at the time of the apostle’s writing (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5), and having been raised in the spirit (1 Peter 3:18), was dwelling in the light which no man can approach, possessing immortality, as viewed in harmony with the context and the rest of the Bible. The resurrection life given to Jesus is given to him by Yahweh. (Galatians 1:1; Acts 2:32; 3:26; 10:40; 13:30,33,34) It is claimed that Jesus is Yahweh, the Most High, yet if Jesus had always been the only one to possess immortality from eternity, then it would not have been necessary for Yahweh to give him the ability to have life in himself (John 5:26), that is, life to impart to others as a life-giving spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45), since he would have been the very source of life from the earliest times of any other life than himself. We are to remember the same apostle’s declaration that our Lord Jesus’ resurrection was as a ‘first-fruits,’ (1 Corinthians 15:20) that thus he became the ‘firstborn among many brothers.’ (Romans 8:29) We are to remember also that the apostle, in harmony with the above, expressed the desire that he might have a share in ‘his resurrection,’ ‘the resurrection,’ in which all the who receive the prize of the high calling are to share. — Philippians 3:10, 11; 1 Corinthians 15:20; Romans 6:5; James 1:18; Revelation 20:6.
(15) In Romans 2:7, the Apostle refers to those who seek for glory, honor and incorruption (while incorruption and immortality do not mean the exact same thing, one implies the other). This is in line with 1 Corinthians 15:53, which says that in the resurrection one would put on incorruption and immortality. But note that the church was called for the goal of sharing the likeness of Jesus’ resurrection — to be not just heirs of God, but to be joint-heirs with Jesus. (Romans 6:5; Philippians 3:10,11) If, therefore, sharing in ‘his resurrection’ is to bring his faithful members to immortality, our Lord’s own resurrection can have no inferior condition. That Jesus was mortal before he died can be seen from the fact that he did die, and needed to be raised from the dead by God.
(16) Additionally, Jesus Christ brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel. (2 Timothy 1:9, 10) Of course, Yahweh has always been incorruptible, so there was no need for this to brought to light on his behalf, but such was needed on behalf of mankind, who has been in bondage to corruption ever since Adam sinned. (Romans 5:15-19; 8:21) Thus Jesus, as a man, proved himself incorruptible by his unswerving obedience to his God and Father. — John 8:29; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5.
(17) That the passage relates to our Lord Jesus and designates him the only Potentate, King and Lord, does not imply any disregard or disrespect of the heavenly Father and his attributes, kingship, etc., as the same writer (the apostle Paul) elsewhere points out. When speaking in similar strain about Christ’s kingdom and the subjugation of all things under him, he says, ‘It is manifest that he is excepted who did put all things under him.’ In other words, comparisons which show dignity and honor pertaining to the Christ, Head and body, are never understood to be comparisons with Yahweh, of whom none is equal or greater. (1 Corinthians 15:27, 28; Psalm 89:6,8; Isaiah 40:18, 25; 46:5; Hebrews 6:13; Genesis 22:15-18) The comparison in 1 Timothy 6:14-16 is between Jesus and the church, with the given fact that there is none greater than Yahweh the God and Father of Jesus. — John 14:28; Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 11:31; Ephesians 1:3,17; 1 Peter 1:3.
(18) The apostle’s entire discourse in context is along the line of showing the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus, the servant of Yahweh (Isaiah 12:17-19), his humility and high exaltation and how servants and all of us should be likewise humble and lowly and faithful to the truth as servants of God, and in due time be exalted � manifested to the world � in glory, honor and immortality in the Kingdom. Thus of those who were yet to receive from Yahweh the glorious position of glory and immortality in the light in which no man can approach, only Jesus then had already received such immortality. As one amongst fellows (Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:9), only Jesus then dwelled in that light. Yet in the Kingdom it will be shown by God that only Jesus is the Potentate appointed by him as the King of kings and Lord of lords (Kyrios ton kyrieuonton literally means “Lord of those lording” or “having dominion”), for even the saints will still be submissive to Jesus as the King and Lord, although they will rule with Jesus — some as Kings (joint-heirs) with Jesus — (Revelation 5:10; 2 Timothy 2:12; 20:6) and the saints will be also lords (those having dominion – Daniel 7:22,27).
(19) Nevertheless, in view of the times, have courage, brothers! Our great Commander is even now upon the battle field. “Watch! Stand firm in the faith! Be men! Be strong!” (1 Corinthians 16:13) The fiercest part of the conflict is just before the shout of victory is heard; the darkest hour is just before the dawn of day. As triumphant conquerors, O faithful few, you shall soon wear the laurels of immortality and eternal glory!
(20) The witnessing of the church through the long dark centuries of the Gospel age has not been in vain. The object of her mission was not to convert the world before the Lord’s return, but to develop her own character and prove her worthiness of the high exaltation which she is called to share with her Lord, while bearing witness to the world of the facts of the glorious gospel, which shall be good tidings of great joy to all people, when in due time it is testified to all.
(21) Then continue to preach the word. “Continue steadfastly in prayer and in the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4) “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it.” (Colossians 4:17) Like the apostle Paul, we should be “preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. He spoke and disputed against the Grecian Jews.” (Acts 9:28,29) “Be urgent in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2); — when it suits your convenience and when it does not. Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all patience and doctrine, and study to show yourselves workmen approved unto God, properly handling the Word of Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) Thus, speaking the truth in love and growing up into Christ our living head (Ephesiasn 4:15), may we each be found in acceptable readiness to be gathered among Yahweh’s jewels. (Malachi 3:17) And to this end let us each see to it, that what faith we hold is held with a good conscience, — honestly held and honestly acted upon. — 1 Timothy 1:19.Click here for reuse options!
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