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Do not put your trust in worldly riches alone

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Today’s bible study is 1 Timothy 6:17: Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

Today’s scripture passage is from the first letter of Paul to Timothy. The two letters to Timothy and the letter to Titus are similar in content and style, and are often treated together as the Pastoral Letters. This is Paul’s final exhortation to Timothy, following those containing advice to shun all this, the good confession, how Jesus Christ made the good confession, an exhortation to keep the commandment that He alone has immortality.

It is helpful to pick this verse up beginning with 6:16 which preceded it. Gnostics taught that the souls of elite Christians were immortal, had existed before their birth in the divine realm to which they will return at the death of the body, in which they are presently trapped. The Pastor affirms the biblical theology that humans are mortal, only God is immortal, and humans’ only hope is in the immortal God, who raises the dead. An excellent distinction between immortality and resurrection can be found in the Gospel of Luke. This important distinction is applicable to all humans who believe and all who trust in the immortality of God and the promise of Jesus Christ for resurrection.

In our verse today, Paul speaks of everything for our enjoyment. The Pastor is not anti-enjoyment, but anti-ascetic. In contrast to the Gnosticizing opponents, the Pastor celebrates the goodness of the created world. Another reference to this can be found earlier in 1 Timothy. A rabbinic dictum states: We shall give account to the Almighty for every good thing in creation we have not enjoyed.

Grant, O most merciful God, that we may heed this powerful injunction and truly appreciate all of God’s glorious creation. Let us savor each moment of ou8r days, glorying in the wonder of the earth. Help us to see more clearly each tiny petal and hear more distinctly the tiny chirp of every bird. And, above all else, dear Lord, we pray not for immortality but for resurrection in Your kingdom when we are finally called home to rest.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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