Paul’s Charge to Timothy: Part 2 (1 Timothy 6:11-19)

fightthegoodfightToday, we will be looking at the final section of chapter 6, where the Apostle Paul continues his instructions to Timothy on ministering to the various kinds of believers in the church (if you missed Part 1, I encourage you to read it now).

The Pastor Himself (1 Tim. 6:11–16, 20–21)

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To Him be honor and might forever. Amen.

Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.

While caring for the needs of his people, Timothy needed to care for himself as well. “But you” indicates a contrast between Timothy and the false teachers. They were men of the world, but he was a “man of God.” This special designation was also given to Moses (Deut. 33:1), Samuel (1 Sam. 9:6), Elijah (1 Kings 17:18), and David (Neh. 12:24); so Timothy was in good company.

Paul gave four admonitions to Timothy that, if obeyed, would assure him success in his ministry and a continued testimony as “a man of God.”

Flee (v. 11a). There are times when running away is a mark of cowardice. “Should such a man as I flee?” asked Nehemiah (Neh. 6:11). But there are other times when fleeing is a mark of wisdom and a means of victory. Joseph fled when he was tempted by his master’s wife (Gen. 39:12) and David fled when King Saul tried to kill him (1 Sam. 19:10). The word “flee” that Paul uses here does not refer to literal running, but to Timothy’s separating himself from the sins of the false teachers.

Not all unity is good and not all division is bad. There are times when a servant of God should take a stand against false doctrine and godless practices, and separate himself from them. He must be sure, however, that he acts on the basis of biblical conviction and not because of a personal prejudice or carnal agenda.

Pursue (v. 11b). Separation without positive growth becomes isolation. We must cultivate these graces of the Spirit (“righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness”) in our lives or else we will be known only for what we oppose rather than for what we propose.

Fight (vv. 12–16). The verb means “keep on fighting!” It is a word from which we get our English word agonize, and it applies both to athletes and to soldiers. It describes a person straining and giving his best to win the prize or win the battle. Near the end of his own life, Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight” (2 Tim. 4:7).

This “fight,” however, is not between believers; it is between a person of God and the enemy around him. He is fighting to defend the faith, that body of truth deposited with the church (1 Tim. 6:20). Like Nehemiah, Christians today need to have a trowel in one hand for building and a sword in the other hand for battling (Neh. 4:17). It is sad when some Christians spend so much time fighting the enemy that they have no time to do their work and build the church. On the other hand, if we do not stand guard and oppose the enemy, what we have built could be taken from us.

What is it that encourages us in the battle? We have “eternal life” and need to take hold of it and let it work in our experience. We have been called by God and this assures us of victory. We have made our public profession of faith in Christ and others in the church stand with us.

Another encouragement in our battle is the witness of Jesus Christ our Savior. He “witnessed a good confession” before Pontius Pilate and did not relent before the enemy. He knew God the Father was with Him and watching over Him, and He would be raised from the dead. It is “God who makes all things alive,” who is caring for us, so we need not fear. Timothy’s natural timidity might want to make him shrink from the battle. But all he had to do was remember Jesus Christ and His bold confession, and this would encourage him.

Paul gave Timothy military orders: “I charge you” (also 1:3). He was to guard the commandment and obey it. Why? Because one day the Commander would appear and he would have to report on his assignment! The only way he could be ready would be to obey the orders “without spot or blame.”

It is impossible for a sinful human to approach the holy God. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can be accepted into His glorious presence. Why did Paul write so much about the person and glory of God? Probably as a warning against the “emperor cult” that existed in the Roman Empire. It was customary to acknowledge regularly, “Caesar is Lord!” Of course, Christians would say, “Jesus Christ is Lord!” Only God has “honor and power everlasting.” If Timothy was going to fight the good fight of faith, he had to decide that Jesus Christ alone was worthy of worship and complete devotion.

Take Hold (vv. 20–21). God had committed the truth to Paul (1 Tim. 1:11) and Paul had committed it to Timothy. It was Timothy’s responsibility to guard the deposit and then pass it along to others who would, in turn, continue to pass it on (2 Tim. 2:2). This is God’s way of protecting the truth and spreading it around the world. We are stewards of the doctrines of the faith and God expects us to be faithful in sharing His Good News.

Why should Timothy avoid the teachings of those who claimed to have special knowledge from God (the Gnostics)? Because some who got involved with them “wandered from the faith.” Not only will wrong motives (a desire for money) cause a person to wander from the faith (1 Tim. 6:10), but so will wrong teachings. These lies work their way into a person’s mind and heart gradually, and before he realizes it, he is wandering off the path of truth.

The Rich (1 Tim. 6:17–19)

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Paul had already written about the danger of the love of money, but he added a special “charge” for Timothy to give to the rich. We may not think this charge applies to us, but it does. After all, our standard of living today would certainly make us “rich” in the eyes of Timothy’s congregation!

Be humble (v. 17a). If wealth makes a person proud, then he understands neither himself nor his wealth. “But remember the Lord your God for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deut. 8:18). We are not owners; we are stewards. If we have wealth, it is by the goodness of God and not because of any special merits on our part. The possessing of material wealth ought to humble a person and cause him to glorify God, not himself.

It is possible to be “rich in the world” and be poor in the next. It is also possible to be poor in this world and rich in the next. Jesus talked about both (Luke 16:19–31). But a believer can be rich in this world and also rich in the next if he uses what he has to honor God (Matt. 6:19–34). In fact, a person who is poor in this world can use even his limited means to glorify God and discover great reward in the next world.

Trust God, not wealth (v. 17b). The rich farmer in our Lord’s parable (Luke 12:13–21) thought his wealth meant security, when really it was an evidence of insecurity. He was not really trusting God. Riches are uncertain, not only in their value (which changes constantly), but also in their durability. Thieves can steal wealth, investments can drop in value, and the ravages of time can ruin cars and houses. If God gives us wealth, we should trust Him, the Giver, and not the gifts.

Enjoy what God gives you (v. 17c). Yes, the word enjoy is in the Bible! In fact, one of the recurring themes in the book of Ecclesiastes is, “Enjoy the blessings of life now because life will end one day” (Ecc. 2:24; 3:12–15, 22; 5:18–20; 9:7–10; 11:9–10). This is not sinful “hedonism,” living for the pleasures of life. It is simply enjoying all God gives us for His glory.

Employ what God gives you (vv. 18–19). We should use our wealth to do good to others; we should share; we should put our money to work. When we do, we enrich ourselves spiritually and make investments for the future (Luke 16:1–13). Riches can lure a person into a make-believe world of shallow pleasure, but riches plus God’s will can introduce a person to life that is real and ministry that is lasting.

Paul’s final sentence was not for Timothy alone because the pronoun is plural: “Grace be with all of you.” Paul had the entire church in mind when he wrote this letter, not just Timothy. As the pastor and leader of the church, Timothy needed to heed the word of the apostle; but all of his church members had a responsibility to hear and obey as well.

And so do we today.

Stand FirmTo Think About and Discuss

1. In what practical ways do we “take hold of … eternal life”? How will it affect our attitude and order our priorities?

2. We live in a culture in which many false ideas about God and the Lord Jesus Christ exist. How do we “guard the gospel” in this context?

3. Read Ephesians 6:10–18 and identify the weapons God gives us to “fight the good fight of the faith.”

* This concludes our 6-week series in the book of 1 Timothy. I hope and pray you have enjoyed and benefitted from this study as much as I have.

Our next series will begin on Monday in the Book of James.


Published by Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr.

Pastor Joe has been serving in Christian ministry for 19 years. He is the author of "Back to the Basics: A Guide for Christian Living." Through a commitment to servant leadership, he proclaims relevant Bible truth, equips the saints for effective ministry, and builds up the body of Christ. Married thirteen years, Pastor Joe and his wife live in New Jersey and have two children.

17 thoughts on “Paul’s Charge to Timothy: Part 2 (1 Timothy 6:11-19)

  1. Another excellent word, I teach a class for men on saturday mornings (biblical manhood) and we have benefited from Paul’s writing to Timothy in relations to being a man of God. And what you shared today continues to strengthen our need to be men of biblical truth, instructed accurately by the word of God that we may be complete for every good work. Thank you for your faithfulness in sharing.

  2. I love to study and understand the Epistles of Paul. Timothy was his right hand man of God.
    I copied some of these statements from my bible commentary.
    Paul continues to instruct Timothy on ministering to various kind of believers.
    Christians were told to be humble, trust in God, not wealth, enjoy what God gives you and employ what God gives you.
    Timothy was instructed to supervise the worship; He is to regulate the apparel and conduct of the women; He is to instruct his fellow Christians and carry out the prescribed function of the church services; He is to instruct his fellow Christians and carry out the prescribed functions of the church service; He is to deal with old and young, both men and women;
    He is told to enroll in the widow’s group only those over sixty years of age who cannot otherwise
    be cared for; He is to rebuke elders who sin and be an example in his personal conduct of purity and holiness in all things.
    Paul called Timothy “My true child of faith.” Paul dealt with false teachings and he dealt with invented tales being taught by these teachers.
    Throughout the Epistles, Paul and Timothy by the grace of God had done what no other men
    accomplished in the New Testament. In Colossians 2:8, sums up what Paul and Timothy were doing in these Epistles. Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no man makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ, 9 For in Him, the whole fulness of Deity dwells bodily. 10 And you have come to fulness of life in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority. The scripture continues to verse 15.
    If you could please explain what the verse in Colossians 2:8 means, Pastor Joe, I would appreciate knowing. (what are elemental spirits of the universe) Thank you, and bless you Pastor Quatrone.

    1. After exhorting the believers to continue in Christ (2:6–7), Paul then condemned the Colossian heresy that was diverting them from Christ. In 2:8, Paul was concerned that no false teachers take the Colossian believers “captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy.” This was based “on human tradition and elemental spirits of the universe… rather than on Christ.” If a person loves man’s wisdom and not Christ (the Sum of all wisdom, Col. 2:3), he loves an empty idol. Such a person will “always be learning, but never able to acknowledge the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). This false philosophy is based on the world’s basic principles (“elemental spirits of the universe”; Col. 2:20). Such a philosophy is demonic and worldly, not godly or Christlike. Unless believers are careful, such philosophy may ensnare them, taking them “captive.”

      Does this help, Rita?

      1. It might also be helpful Pastor Joe if you explain to Rita the difference between worldly wisdom which is what you were referring to no doubt and Godly wisdom which as we can see confirmed in the Scripture below is the Principle thing for understanding God’s Truth and yes as you said Pastor Joe, it is found in Jesus, this is why He tells us to Seek, Ask and Knock, we were not Born with God’s wisdom and when King Solomon asked for it God was pleased. Yes as you said Pastor Joe, Carnal or worldly man thinks fleshy wisdom is what it is all about and so they don’t humble themselves and ask for God’s.

        Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

        James 15: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

        Colossians 2 :2 -3 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in Love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

        I need to talk to you Pastor Joe about the problem we are having with the e-mails although I feel it may be solved now, I need to give you the new address, I will try sending it, so please let me know if you receive my e-mail this time, I did not receive yours or the Audio.

        Blessings – Anne.

  3. It is impossible for a sinful human to approach the holy God. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can be accepted into His glorious presence….This is True Pastor Joe without heart repentance which shows we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and also means we turn away from evil and do good by the empowering of The Holy Spirit putting our carnal flesh to death which causes us to sin and seeking to be perfected in Love, this is what it means to be Born Again of God’s seed 1John3:9 and when we are, we no longer sin and can approach God confidently because we are as Jesus is in this world.

    1 John 4:16-18 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.(KJV)

    1 Corinthians 15:48-50 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy and as is the Heavenly, such are they also that are Heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the Heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.(KJV)

    Christian Love in Christ Jesus – Anne

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