Life-Study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemonby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 1:4 we read of God’s dispensation, and in 6:11 Paul uses the expression “man of God.” Hence, this book begins with God’s dispensation and concludes with the charge to a man of God. God’s desire is to produce men of God by dispensing Himself into those who believe in Christ. A man of God is one who partakes of God’s life and nature (John 1:13; 2 Pet. 1:4) and thus becomes one with Him in His life and nature (1 Cor. 6:17) and thereby expresses Him. This corresponds to the mystery of godliness, which is God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16).
First Timothy 6:11 says, “But you, O man of God, flee these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, meekness.” On the one hand, Paul charges Timothy to flee certain things and, on the other hand, to pursue certain other things. Timothy must flee the negative things previously mentioned in this Epistle. He should pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and meekness. It is significant that Paul does not tell Timothy to pursue power, gifts, miracles, and theological training. Furthermore, as we shall see, in verse 12 Paul does not charge him to fight for his theology or to lay hold on the doctrinal knowledge he has accumulated. However, many Christians today pursue power, fight for doctrines, and lay hold on theological knowledge, and they charge the younger generation to do the same. They also promote natural gifts, talents, and abilities. But in 1 Timothy very little is said of man’s ability. Concerning the eldership, Paul tells Timothy that an elder should be apt to teach. This refers to the ability to instruct others like a parent helping a child with homework. Paul’s emphasis in 1 Timothy definitely is not on power, gifts, or natural ability.
Paul charges Timothy to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and meekness. Righteousness is a matter of being right with people before God according to God’s righteous and strict requirements. If we would be those who carry out God’s dispensation for the building up of local churches as the expression of Christ, we must pursue righteousness. We must seek to be right with God and man.
In the second place, we should pursue godliness, the expression of God. In 4:7 Paul told Timothy to exercise himself unto godliness. A man of God should not pursue power or miraculous gifts. Instead, he should pursue righteousness and godliness; he should seek to be right with God and man in order to be a living expression of God in every way. This is to live a daily life which manifests God.
In verse 11 Paul lists faith after godliness. Faith is to believe in God and His word and to trust in Him and His word. As we have pointed out, faith involves an organic union by contacting God through the Word and in the Spirit. Faith, therefore, denotes a living union. Instead of pursuing a great work, we should pursue the organic union with the Triune God.
In 6:11 Paul goes on to mention love. We should be those who love others by the love of God (1 John 4:7-8, 19-21).
Paul also speaks of endurance and meekness. We should pursue endurance, the ability to bear sufferings and persecutions, and also meekness, which is a proper attitude in facing opposition. It is certain that if we live a godly life, we shall suffer. The world opposes God. If we live God and also live out God, expressing Him, we shall be opposed and attacked by the godless world. Thus, we should pursue endurance, and we should also pursue meekness.
In verse 12 Paul continues his charge: “Fight the good fight of the faith.” To fight for the faith means to fight for God’s New Testament economy. In particular, it is to fight for Christ as the embodiment of God and for the church as the Body of Christ.
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