Thursday, February 16, 2023

2023.02.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Timothy 6:1–2

Read 1 Timothy 6:1–2

Questions from the Scripture text: To which bondservants does 1 Timothy 6:1 apply? Which master is the bondservant to count worthy? Of what? So that what two things would not be blasphemed? What type of master will some of them have (1 Timothy 6:2)? Why might they have disregarded to honor them? Why would they serve them all the more? What is Timothy to do with all of the teachings from 1 Timothy 4:12 to 1 Timothy 6:2?

Besides mature widow prayer-warriors and elders who rule well, whom else must believers honor? 1 Timothy 6:1–2 looks forward to the second reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that believers ought to honor whomever God’s providence sets over them. 

1 Timothy 6:2 ends with a general “teach and exhort these things” that caps everything since the previous, similar statement in 1 Timothy 4:11. Timothy was to count his own office honorable (1 Timothy 4:12–16), to treat all believers with honor (1 Timothy 5:1–2), and to lead the congregation in that honor which included full financial support for the prayer-warrior-widows (1 Timothy 5:3–16), and doubly so for elders who rule well (1 Timothy 5:17–25). Now, in these two verses, the theme of honoring goes outside the church to authorities whom God’s providence has set over us—especially in the workplace, or “the yoke of slavery,” as the text puts it.

Believers are to treat all masters as worthy of all honor1 Timothy 6:1a. Since 1 Timothy 6:2 differentiates believing masters, we need to understand 1 Timothy 6:1 as including all of them. So, the weight of the application is on masters who are not good and not believing. This is important, because it’s not just believing slaves who find themselves in such difficulty. Believing citizens and employees often have hard or unbelieving authorities and bosses. What are the slaves in this particular example to do?

“Count their own masters worthy of all honor.” The financial aspect of “honor” from 1 Timothy 5:31 Timothy 5:17 continues here. It can be embittering to work hard while someone else seems to reap all the benefit. But believers already have God Himself, His Name, and His teaching. These are worth more than any money, and thinking or conducting oneself poorly would dishonor the Name that is on us or the doctrine that we believe. 

Because their Master and His gospel are worthy of whatever honor they can bring it1 Timothy 6:1b. If instead, we work as those who are willing for our master or employer or others to be enriched instead of ourselves, we lay hold of God and the gospel as of greater value and simultaneously bring honor to God and to His teaching. We have a heavenly Master, and we ought to desire to do whatever we can to bring honor to His Name.

And brother-love adds to this honor rather than taking away from it1 Timothy 6:2. Finally, because believers are one in Christ, and equal in grace, they may be tempted to withhold honor in the workplace or the household. After all, we are all brothers in Christ, right? But the relation in the Lord does not diminish the respect that is due in our various places and positions in other spheres. If anything, we ought to show more honor, since it’s a brother that we are honoring. And this includes especially working all the harder for those who belong to Christ as believers—those whom Christ has loved by laying down His life, and whom He has commanded us to love as He has loved us (cf. John 13:34–35, John 15:12–15).

What authorities are you under in the home? In the workplace? In the state? What, specifically can you do to honor them more in those spheres? To Whom are you really bringing honor when you do?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for giving to us Yourself, Your Name, and Your teaching. Truly, You have already honored us and enriched us more than earthly position or wealth could ever obtain. Forgive us for when we are embittered against those who are over us. Grant unto us to consider them worthy of all honoring for Your own sake. And especially, when those over us are believers, we ask that You would stir up our love for them. For, You have loved them and us with the greatest of love, and You have called us to imitate that love with them. So give us that fruit from Your Spirit that will enable us to do so, we ask, in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear the Lord” or TPH128B “Blest the Man That Fears Jehovah” 

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