But you, O man of God, flee all that. Instead earnestly seek after right-standing, godly integrity, faith, love, persistence, meekness. Fight the good fight faithfully; from now hold on tight to the life that is coming [henceforth], to which you have been called and of which you have already uttered a good confession before many witnesses.
     I solemnly charge you before the God who gives all things their life and before Jesus Christ who made a good profession of faith before Pontius Pilate, to keep this commission unchanged, unsullied, spotless, without any cause for criticism until the appearing of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who in His own good time will show Himself to be the much blessed and only All Powerful, the King of all kings, the Lord of all lords, the only one having deathless life, living in light that is simply unapproachable for us, whom no man has seen, nor can see, to whom be all honour and might henceforth. Amen.
    Instruct those who are rich to give up any sense of their superiority and certainly not to trust in their uncertain riches, but to set their hope on God who extends to us the offer of enjoying all things bountifully. They are to do good work, to be rich in good projects, ready to distribute, generous, [and thereby] ensuring for themselves a genuine store for future use in order that they may with both hands take hold of the opportunities [given to them].
     O Timothy, keep with all vigilance the bequest, turning resolutely away from profane and empty discourse and opposing decisively those propositions erroneously called knowledge by which some, by confessing, have fallen short in the faith. Grace be with you. - I Timothy 6:11-21/transliteration by Bruce C Wearne

Letters2

Paul was writing to encourage Timothy to keep seeking the way of Christ. PICTURE: Joanna Kosinska/Unsplash.

Paul has indicated a path for Timothy, a life of "righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and with a spirit of gentleness".

He has indicated to Timothy his awareness of the deeply embedded opposition that lies in the hearts of those who capitulate to the adversary's temptations. It is a way of destruction and this has been a primary theme of the letter from the outset.

There are deep spiritual distractions that would divert the aspiring teacher of the Good News, let alone the congregation of believers who gather to be instructed.

Paul has indicated the potential ruin that will befall the congregation should they submit to the teaching that undercuts the unity of the members of the Body of Christ. The love of money is exposed as an idolatrous alternative to true religion.

Paul is summing up his letter of pertinent advice. He recalls the true confession of His Master before Pilate, the Roman Governor.

This confession bids Timothy hold firm to the faith, to Israel's Messiah - this, says Paul, is your life, your duty to Him.

Here is another of Paul's liturgical paeans:
"But you, O man of God, flee all of that.
And so seek right-standing and integrity,
For faith, and love, persistence and meekness are what count. Fight on faithfully in the good fight,
Holding on tight from now on to the life to come."

And then as an afterthought, as it were, Paul reckons with the might and splendour and power of the Lord, the One who is already blessing Timothy with such an exalted responsibility, such a high honour to represent the King of all kings, and he does so in the spirit of Psalm 2:10:
"Now you kings and masters of slaves
Be warned you rulers of all households..."

Those who are masters and wealthy within the congregation do have an important task as servants investing their time and resources so that the rule of Jesus Christ can truly flourish.

Paul's awareness of Timothy's calling in pastoral care, his responsibility for such wealthy members of the congregation prods him to be explicit in closing.

They are to be taught that they are by no means excluded by virtue of their wealth but they exclude themselves from active service in the household of God should they fail to rightly bow in their hearts and actions to the Lord. That would be to fail to lay hold on life and so be in danger of missing out on the true purpose of all the gifts that God has truly bestowed on them as members of Christ' church, His people, the sheep of the Good Shepherd's flock.

Paul concludes as he has begun. He has written enough. What you have invested in this work, Timothy, is nothing other than what the Lord Himself has bestowed upon you. Keep the faith!