Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
13 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;
14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
Masters and Servants
Servants are known for their faithful and loyal service, and even the slave who is most dutiful and respectful commands honor. It is therefore good and right that every believing servant accord his master honor, so that others might see these things and praise their father in heaven. This is even more important for those whose masters are brethren, for this transforms their service from merely profane (that is, worldly) into a service for a brother and, by extension, the Lord. A believing servant is brother to his believing master, and the believing master is likewise brother to his believing servants.
Godliness and Profanity
The things which Paul has instructed in this book are good and right. Any man who teaches otherwise and does not agree with that which is wholesome, in particular the words of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of godliness, is not godly but profane (that is, of this world). Such a man is proud and foolish, argumentative and obsessed with the mere appearance of wisdom, envious, contentious, prone to angry ranting and evil ideas. He argues from a corrupt mind and draws from corrupt ideas, is devoid of truth, and assumes that worldly gains are equivalent to godliness (that is, Prosperity Doctrine – apparently it’s older than I ever thought). Avoid such people.
The Love of Money
Godliness with contentment is a great gain. James wrote in his book, “I choose to be satisfied with what I have,” and this is a godly position. It is not evil to work after greater wealth, but it becomes evil when it is done from envy and dissatisfaction. We leave this world as we came into it – without a single possession, naked and penniless. Therefore, let us be content with what we have at all times. As Job said, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
The rich are tempted by their wealth and power. Stefan Molyneux argues that power is a physical addiction the same as a drug, and he makes a solid case that is in line with the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. The powerful and rich are drawn to all manner of perversions because of their wealth – pedophilia, subversion of the law of the land, destruction of others to benefit themselves (fiscally, emotionally, and even physically), attention-seeking, and many other things we could choose to name – and these things will destroy them in this life and the next.
The love of money is the root of all evil. Money is power, and the lust for power is at the heart of the original sin. Those who covet money do things abominable to the faith and suffer for it, in this life and the life in the world to come.
We who are of God must flee such things. We must covet righteousness, seek after godliness, cherish our faith, give and receive love, act out of patience, and live in meekness. These things are good and right, and such should always be our focus.
Fight the good fight
Godliness is a struggle, for the spirit within us wars against the sinful flesh and the corrupt world in which we live. We must fight the good fight of faith with our sights set on the eternal life to which we are called, professing godliness before all.
In the name of God, who gives life and existence to all of creation, and in the name of Jesus Christ, who is our savior, let us keep the Lord’s commands. It is a struggle, indeed, but we must set our sights on perfection before God and man, being unrebukable until the Lord comes again for us. For out Lord Jesus Christ is returning, the king over all kings, the lord over all lords, the highest and greatest ruler in all creation, the only immortal being (for he is truly God) who dwells in the pure and overpowering light of God on High which no man can see or approach. To our Lord Jesus Christ be all honor and power from eternity to eternity.
Final Instructions to the Rich
Command the rich in this world not to be haughty in their wealth and power, but rather trust in the living God over their riches. Our God gives generously to us, and his glory is beyond all comprehension. Let the rich do good and be rich in good works over their wealth. Let them give and speak generously, as our Lord has been generous with his gifts and speech to us. (This is the origin of noblesse oblige – the “duty of the noble” to do good to those who have less wealth and power instead of acting maliciously).
In doing good, we lay up stores in heaven. We are servants of our Lord, and he is not obligated to reward his servants for doing what he commands, yet he does so out of love and generosity which exceeds all imagining. We are assured, as believers who do good works following after our salvation, that we shall have great treasure in the life to come (which itself is a great treasure). And, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be, also.”
Keep all that which is committed to your trust, whether it be your family or a congregation or a spiritual gift or “merely” the word of our Lord. Preserve it from blemish through profanity and vain babblings, but rather seek to do the work of the Lord in all things that your charges multiply in all godliness. Reject the oppositions of what is falsely called “science” (for many claim the name of science to spread falsehoods and ungodly teachings, working not science in its true form but rather usurping its reputation of truth) and hold fast to that which is good.
And God’s grace will be with you, now and evermore, for our God is good and loves us.
Let us Pray
Blessed be the name of the Lord, for he has done wonderous things. His glory no man can approach, and no man can look upon him and live. In this glory dwelleth our Lord Jesus Christ, the king of kings, the lord of lords, the only potentate, the creator and sustainer of creation who has given us new life. This same Christ who rules over all things shall return to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom shall have no end. To our God be all power, and glory, and honor, from eternal past to eternal future.
Oh, Lord, we saints who yet live need you at all times. We are surrounded on all sides by profane teachings that oppose Your teachings, by temptations that call to our sinful flesh, by lusts that would draw us from you. We who are rich and powerful are tempted by evils beyond our understanding, and even we who are neither rich nor powerful are drawn to these same lusts by our culture and what we do possess. Many of us do not live any differently from our unbelieving neighbors, though we are commanded to be holy. Save us, Oh Lord, for apart from you we cannot be saved.
And we know that you will save us, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ who you have given as propitiation for us. Give us contentment in what we have, not that we should not continue to work and labor, but rather that we should be freed from the lust for possessions and power in this life. Let us be good stewards of what you have given us and will give us in the future, that we might show in all things the love that you have shown us. Make us such that those who see us would be compelled to praise You, our Lord, to whom rightly belongs all glory and honor.
Into your hands we commend all things, Lord, for they are yours before all others. You are the Lord who has created and sustained all of creation, and it is You who have given us all things.