The Scriptorium

Rich in Good Works

In the Kingdom of God, grace is the coin of the realm. 1 Timothy 6.17-21

The Pastoral Epistles: 1 Timothy 6 (6)

Pray Psalm 140.12, 13.

I know that the LORD will maintain
The cause of the afflicted,
And justice for the poor.
Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name;
The upright shall dwell in Your presence.

Read and meditate on 1 Timothy 6.17-21.


1. Lots of riches mentioned here. How does Paul want us to think about them?

2. What was Timothy to guard? What is that? 

Paul explains that our true treasury is in heaven, and that, in preparation for realizing that great boon, we need to spend wisely in this time. 

We must spend our material riches wisely, not trusting in them or making a god out of them, but using them to meet needs (cf. 1 Tim. 5.8; Eph. 4.28). God gives us the true riches, which are spiritual in nature, investing us with power for doing good and holding fast to our confession. Here’s where we may expect to know the joy of true wealth (v. 17).

Paul says that by making good use of these riches, we’re laying a good foundation for the glorious inheritance which is yet to come (vv. 18, 19). That’s not to say we’re earning that inheritance; it is ours by grace alone. But as the foundation of a home gives shape to everything built upon it, so a foundation of good works shapes our lives in the direction of what we will know forever when we see Jesus and are like Him. Our enjoyment of those works, and of our great salvation, will grow in direct proportion to our continuing to build on that foundation accordingly (1 Cor. 3.11-15).

Paul’s final admonition to Timothy is that he should guard what has been entrusted to him (v. 20). That includes everything he has written about in this epistle. Pastors and church leaders need to make sure they are building the Lord’s church the Lord’s way, and not just any way they choose. False knowledge – even about how to grow a church – can turn the entire enterprise into something profane. Only churches built on truth, issuing in love, overseen by faithful shepherds, and bearing witness to the world by their good works and their good confession – only such churches can have the assurance that the Lord is at work within them, willing and doing of His good pleasure (Phil. 2.13).

1. In the divine economy, where good works are the true wealth, grace – not money – is the coin of the realm. Explain.

2. Paul does not condemn material riches. What does he condemn? How can we guard against our material prosperity being a stumbling block to us or others? 

3. When it comes to church leaders and members, who are those who are profane, idle, contradictory, false, and straying? How can believers help one another to avoid such drift (Heb. 2.3)?

What is “the deposit” that each one of the faithful receives? For my part I think that we receive our soul itself and the body as a deposit from God. And do you want to see another greater “deposit” that you received from God? God entrusted “his own image and likeness”
to your own soul. That deposit, therefore, must be restored by you just as intact as it was received by you. Origen of Alexandria (185-254), Homilies on Leviticus 4.3

I know, Lord, that you have stocked my account with a multitude of heavenly riches. Help me to spend them wisely today as I…

Pray Psalm 140.1-13.

Ask the Lord for strength and salvation to serve Him faithfully, and to stand firm against all opposition.

Sing Psalm 140.1-13.
Psalm 140.1-13 (Old Rockingham: O Lord Most High, with All My Heart)
From evil, violent men, I pray, deliver me, preserve me, Lord!
Their hearts they bend to evil ways, and serpent’s venom is their word.

Guard me, O Lord, from wicked hands, from violent men preserve my life!
They sow my path with wicked plans, with nets and snares and cords of strife.

You are my God, O God, my Lord! Give ear, show mercy to my pleas!
Salvation grant by Your strong Word; grant not their wicked, evil schemes.

As for the head of all my foes, let all their evil bring them down.
Let burning coals and endless woes on all their sland’rous words abound.

The Lord, I know, my cause shall take, and justice for me surely do.
The righteous will thanksgiving make, the upright e’er shall dwell with You.

T. M. Moore

Whatever our calling in life, we are sent to bring the joy of Christ to the people around us. Our book, Joy to Your World!, can show you how to fill your Personal Mission Field with more of the Presence, promise, and power of Christ and His Kingdom. Order your copy, as a supplement to our study of 1 Timothy, by 
clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.