Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: Return to Kadesh, part 3; Moses' failure. Num 20:1-13; 1Ti 6:3-16.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: Return to Kadesh, part 3; Moses' failure. NUM 20:1-13; 1TI 6:3-16.


What about all the evil that is around us and the failings of so many to walk in faith before their Creator? Paul addressed this issue for Timothy.


1TI 6:3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness,


"sound" is u`giai,nw[hugiaino] = to be sound, to be well, to be healthy. Christian doctrine is free from evasive arguments, quibbles, and from arbitrary or unnatural restrictions.


Our word "hygiene" comes from this Greek word. Expositors says, "Healthy, wholesome, admirably describe Christian teaching, as Paul conceived it…


The doctrines of the Bible are not like any other knowledge. They are not based on speculation. They are not theories that are set down by persuasive arguments. They are not abstract but concrete.


Conforming to godliness means that the doctrines lead to a life that is reverently and respectfully well devoted to God in thinking, ethics, and conduct.


1TI 6:4 he is conceited [proud; perfect tense] and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions,


The perfect tense of the verb conceited indicates that pride has been allowed to run its course and now it has come to fruition and settled in.


Morbid interest is an ailment of the mind. The word literally means to be sick. This would be the direct opposite of our first word from verse three, "sound" or "wholesome."


Sound doctrine leads to the life of godliness while pride or conceit leads to a life of sickness of mind.


The sick mind full of pride wants to argue words and controversies. The Greek word literally means a war of words. Arising from this are other painful sins of envy, strife or contention, slander, and evil speculations. This is far from a peaceful and tranquil soul from sound doctrine.


1TI 6:5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth [no unity or harmony], who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.


The use of the word deprived would indicate that these men once had the truth but it was taken away from them. Truth was once theirs but through pride they have disinherited themselves. Pride has accomplished it full gain in them and so they understand nothing and are in constant friction. Their minds are the opposite of wholesome (vs. 3).


"godliness is a means of gain" - they make religion a source of their livelihood.


They teach, they write books, they are professors and pastors and involved in ministries as a job only. One cannot trust the words of everyone who professes to be a Christian.


1TI 6:6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment.


Contentment, the Greek word autarkeia, means an inward self-sufficiency. 


Paul's teaching here is that the possession of a godly piety makes a person independent of outward circumstances, and self-sufficient, enabling him to maintain a spiritual equilibrium in the midst of both favorable circumstances and those which are adverse.


1TI 6:7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so [Gr: hoti = because] we cannot take anything out of it either.


The Greek conjunction hoti presents more of an argument of reason and so should be translated "because." The conclusion is at the first - we have brought nothing into this world and the reason is the second - because we cannot take anything out of it. ("either is added by the translators)


When a person dies nothing goes with them so the conclusion is that they obviously brought nothing with them.


Nothing the world can give is any addition to the man himself.


ECC 5:15

As he had come naked from his mother's womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand.


PSA 49:16-17

Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich,

When the glory of his house is increased;

For when he dies he will carry nothing away;

His glory will not descend after him.


LUK 12:15

"Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."


1TI 6:8 And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.


We come into the world naked and in need of things to keep us alive. All the additional things are icing on the cake and, as we have studied, should be enjoyed in the proper way, but contentment is exhibited by being fully sufficient with the necessities of life.


Of course there are things that we take with us when we leave this world that can't be seen. The soul, human spirit, the truth, and the divine good, which is eternal, all goes with us. Therefore, these are the most important things.


1TI 6:9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.


Expositors comments: "The warning applies to all grades of wealth: all come under it whose ambition is to have more money than that which satisfies their accustomed needs. We are also to note that what is here condemned is not an ambition to excel in some lawful department of human activity, which though it bring an increase in riches, develops character, but the having a single eye to the accumulation of money by any means."


1TI 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.


1TI 6:11 But flee [present tense] from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness [practical righteousness], godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.


Expositors says that "love of money in ministers of religion does more to discredit religion in the eyes of ordinary people than would indulgence in many grosser vices."


We know the words practical righteousness (God's way), godliness (well devoted piety), and agape love.  


perseverance - hupomone = "in the N.T., the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings." [Thayer]


We're not used to the word piety. It has gotten a bad reputation as some sort of legalistic way. It is not. We will see its beauty in a passage coming up.


Trench in defining the Greek word for meekness (praotes) says, "It is that temper of spirit in which we accept God's dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting ... This meekness, however, being first of all a meekness before God, is also such in the face of men, even of evil men, out of a sense that these, with the insults and injuries which they may inflict, are permitted and employed by Him for the chastening and purifying of His elect."


Gentleness is towards God in accepting all His dealings with us as good and so without disputing or resisting. It is towards men in not harboring mental attitude sins towards them.


Flee from the things Paul first mentions, which is the heart of the prideful, evil people, and pursue these things, divine virtues of the Christian way of life.


Reminder of why we are here:

What about all the evil that is around us and the failings of so many to walk in faith before their Creator?


Get your eyes off of them and…


1TI 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.


Obviously we see here that fleeing the one way and pursuing the other way is a good fight of faith.


In Kenneth Wuest's Word Studies of the Greek New Testament he writes a wonderful commentary on this verse. We quote the verse frequently, and I think since we are here now we should look at it in a richer depth.


Fight the good fight is a reference to the Greek athletic games.


In the exhortation to Timothy, "Fight the good fight of faith," we have a reference to the Greek athletic games. Paul was educated so far as his Greek training was concerned, at the University of Tarsus, at that time the foremost Greek university in the world, outstripping, according to Strabo, the University of Athens, in its zeal for learning. The great apostle shows a firsthand acquaintance with Greek athletics in his writings, where he frequently uses them as illustrations of spiritual truth, for instance, 1CO 9:24-27 and Php 3:12. All the churches Paul founded were composed of Greeks. Here he was writing to Timothy, whose father was a Greek. One of the chief activities of Roman life was the Greek games, held all over the empire. It was part of the atmosphere the Romans breathed. When Rome conquered Greece in a military sense, Greece conquered Rome in a cultural one.


"fight" - agonizomai [present imperative = continuous command] was used in pagan Greece to refer to the place of a contest, the lists, race course, the assembly at the national games, a struggle, or battle. The verb means, "to contend in the athletic games for the prize, to fight."


When we find that the gloves of the Greek boxer were fur lined on the inside, but made on the outside of ox hide with lead and iron sewed into it, and that the judges enforced the rules by beating the offender with a switch, we come to some appreciation of what a Greek athletic contest consisted of.


Thus the word agonizomai had a very definite meaning for Timothy. The verb is present tense, imperative mode, commanding a continuous action. It showed Timothy the necessity for the continuous nature of the Christian's warfare against evil, and of his desperate effort to live a life pleasing to God.


The word "good" is not agathos, referring to intrinsic goodness, but

kalos, speaking of goodness as seen from the outside by a spectator.


"good" - kalos = goodness as seen from the outside by a spectator. In the games it would refer to beauty of technique. It is a life that is pleasing to God.


ROM 8:8

and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.


GAL 1:10

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.


1TH 4:1

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more.


HEB 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.


"good" - kalos = goodness as seen from the outside by a spectator. In the games it would refer to beauty of technique. It is a life that is pleasing to God.


The Holy Spirit didn't use agathos here, which refers to intrinsic good, and so He is emphasizing the beauty of technique of the Christian life.


Paul, writing to Timothy just before his martyrdom, says, "The desperate, straining, agonizing contest, marked by its beauty of technique, I, like a wrestler, have fought to a finish, and at present am resting in its victory".


2TI 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;


The phrase, "marked by its beauty of technique," refers to the beautiful display of his art which the Greek athlete presents to the thousands in the stadium, and in Paul's sentence, to the beautiful technique inspired by the Holy Spirit, which he used in gaining victory over sin and in the living of a life pleasing to God. Paul therefore exhorts Timothy, "Be constantly engaging in the contest marked by its beauty of technique."


Now, this is just an analogy. We certainly display beautiful technique in front of others, but not for the purpose to be noticed. Much of the time people don't notice it anyway, but when they do we become the tools that God uses to display Himself through us. This is the function of an ambassador for Christ.


"the faith" = the body of doctrine with its corresponding ethical responsibilities.


The word "faith" is preceded by the definite article in the Greek text, "the faith." It is not "faith" in general as exercised by the Christian, to which reference is made here, but to the Faith as consisting of a body of doctrine with its corresponding ethical responsibilities, namely, Christianity and the Christian life.


"take hold of" - struggle to obtain eternal life [Thayer]. The experience of eternal life in time. Aorist imperative: emphasizing the result over the process.


Thus, the act of fighting the good fight is the same act as seen in the words, "lay hold of." The verb is in the aorist imperative, referring to a single act rather than a process. It refers to the habitual act of fighting the good fight, but takes no note of the process, rather emphasizing the result. Grammarians call it the culminative aorist, viewing the action from its existing results. Now, when Paul exhorts Timothy to lay hold of eternal life, he does not imply that he does not possess it. Timothy was saved, and possessed eternal life as a gift of God. What Paul was desirous of was that Timothy experience more of what this eternal life is in his life.


"the life" - a particular life; the life of Christ.


The definite article appears before "life," marking it out as a particular life which the Scriptures say God gives the believer.


1TI 6:12

Be constantly engaging in the contest of the Faith, which contest is marked by its beauty of technique. Take possession of the eternal life, into a participation of which you were called and concerning which you gave testimony to your agreement with the good profession in the presence of many witnesses. [Wuest - expanded]


1TI 6:13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to [preserves alive] all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate,