1 Timothy 6:13-16 / The Divinity of Jesus

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Grant

Puritan Board Senior
13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

Particularly verse 16 gave me some pause and pondering. Matthew Henry takes this collection of verses as being descriptive of God the Father and God the Son, 2 persons of the Godhead. Maybe this is an obvious answer, but I was thinking if these verses are more pointed towards showcasing the divinity of the God-Man. The disciples did see Jesus in his bodily form (v.16) and I think naturally this might raise questions for readers both young and old. My family also learned a new word this week...”Potentate”. I guess I have not read 1 Timothy 6 since changing from ESV to NKJV, I liked the word after doing some defining. I took the route of explaining to my family that these verses in 1 Timothy 6 support the divinity of Jesus. Any thoughts?


Here is Matthew Henry on the section:
1. Concerning Christ and God the Father the apostle here speaks great things. (1.) That God is the only Potentate; the powers of earthly princes are all derived from him, and depend upon him. The powers that exist are ordained of God, Rom. 13:1. He is the only Potentate that is absolute and sovereign, and perfectly independent. (2.) He is the blessed and the only Potentate, infinitely happy, and nothing can in the least impair his happiness. (3.) He is King of kings, and Lord of lords. All the kings of the earth derive their power from him; he gave them their crowns, they hold them under him, and he has a sovereign dominion over them. This is Christ's title (Rev. 19:16), upon his vesture and his thigh; for he has a name higher than the kings of the earth. (4.) He only has immortality. He only is immortal in himself, and has immortality as he is the fountain of it, for the immortality of angels and spirits derived from him. (5.) He dwells in inaccessible light, light which no man can approach unto: no man can get to heaven but those whom he is pleased to bring thither, and admit into his kingdom. (6.) He is invisible: Whom no man hath seen, nor can see. It is impossible that mortal eyes should bear the brightness of the divine glory. No man can see God and live.
 

Von

Puritan Board Sophomore
Just as an observation (if I understand your question correctly), Jesus is being mentioned in verse 13 in a very grounded, historical and earthly manner ('witnessing before Pilate'). So I would agree that the divinity of Christ is being showcased here - and to the extent that it is the same as that of the Father (cf Hebrews 1:3).
 

Von

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think the divide between man and God and the incomprehensible nature of hypostatic union should fill us with an overwhelming urge to worship.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Verse 16 is speaking of God the Father. It has a reference to the "He" spoken of at the beginning of verse 15. The Son is the Revelation of God, but "the Father has revealed him" (John 1:18). And it is the office of the Father to reveal him on the last day. The perfections attributed here to Father certainly belong to the Son according to his divine nature, but it is the Father and not the Son whom the Apostle is speaking of in verse 16.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Verse 16 is speaking of God the Father. It has a reference to the "He" spoken of at the beginning of verse 15. The Son is the Revelation of God, but "the Father has revealed him" (John 1:18). And it is the office of the Father to reveal him on the last day. The perfections attributed here to Father certainly belong to the Son according to his divine nature, but it is the Father and not the Son whom the Apostle is speaking of in verse 16.
So your stance would be that once v.15 begins the “He”s are more directed towards God the Father? That is most helpful.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
So your stance would be that once v.15 begins the “He”s are more directed towards God the Father? That is most helpful.

Yes. Matthew Poole is helpful here:

Which in his times he shall show; on Which Christ coming the second time, God in his time, his proper seasons, (so it is in the Greek), will show. Or: Which appearing of our Lord Jesus God in his time will show; for some Greek copies read the article in the feminine termination, to distinguish the order of the Trinity’s working; as the first coming of Christ is made to be from the Father’s sending, so is also the second coming.​
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
I agree that it does not work for verses 15 and 16 to be speaking of the person of the Son, for it would not work to say of Jesus as a person that no one has seen or can see him. Most likely then, Paul has begun speaking of the Father.

But... could it be that he has begun speaking of God generally, without respect to any particular person of the Godhead? That would fit the phrases "only Potentate" and "who alone has immortality." And since Revelation uses King of kings and Lord of lords as a title for Jesus, that adds some weight to the idea that here Paul may have the entire Godhead in mind, speaking of what is true of God (and in the case of the Son, what is according to his divine nature).

I don't know if that works in light of verse 13, where the broad word "God" seems to refer specifically to the Father since Christ is mentioned separately. But I still wonder if we ought to have the entire Godhead in mind. I'm not sure about that, but I wonder.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
I agree that it does not work for verses 15 and 16 to be speaking of the person of the Son, for it would not work to say of Jesus as a person that no one has seen or can see him. Most likely then, Paul has begun speaking of the Father.

But... could it be that he has begun speaking of God generally, without respect to any particular person of the Godhead? That would fit the phrases "only Potentate" and "who alone has immortality." And since Revelation uses King of kings and Lord of lords as a title for Jesus, that adds some weight to the idea that here Paul may have the entire Godhead in mind, speaking of what is true of God (and in the case of the Son, what is according to his divine nature).

I don't know if that works in light of verse 13, where the broad word "God" seems to refer specifically to the Father since Christ is mentioned separately. But I still wonder if we ought to have the entire Godhead in mind. I'm not sure about that, but I wonder.
Those were some of my same thoughts Jack. This is truly a beautiful passage to ponder with regards to the doctrine of the Trinity.
 
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