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Paul urges his fellow Christians to lay a good foundation for the future and to take hold of real life.

1 Timothy 6:19 Darby Translation

19 "laying by for themselves a good foundation for the future, that they may lay hold of [what is] really life."

Questions:

  1. What is the real life?
  2. What does real-life entail?
  3. What does Paul mean by "Laying a good foundation for the future, and how could this be achieved?

2 Answers 2

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The passage you've referenced from 1 Timothy 6:19 speaks to the importance of prioritizing eternal values and investing in things that truly matter.

What is the real life?

"Real life" in this context refers to spiritual life, eternal life, or life in Christ.

1 Timothy 6:19 NKJV

19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

This is not just about being alive. This is about meaningful relationship with God, this is about faith and obedience to His will.

What does real-life entail?

Real life entails a transformed heart and mind, characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). It involves living in alignment with God's purposes, seeking His kingdom above all else (Matthew 6:33).

What does Paul mean by "Laying a good foundation for the future, and how could this be achieved?"

Colossians 3:2 NKJV

2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Laying a good foundation for the future involves setting your mind on things above, on spiritual treasures that have lasting value. It means building one's life on the solid rock of Jesus Christ and listening to His words (Matthew 7:24-27).

An acronym I like to use (See this previous questions) for practically, laying a good foundation for the future is:

S.E.E.D. - Study, Examine, Evaluate, Discern

S - Study: Regularly engage in studying the Word of God. Seek to understand and apply its teachings. Psalm 119:105 NKJV

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

E - Examine: Take the time to carefully examine your beliefs and align them with God's Word. Examine areas where growth and change are needed. 2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV

5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

E - Evaluate: Evaluate your thoughts, choices, and behavior to ensure they align with God's truth and honor Him. The goal is to live in obedience to His will. Romans 12:2 NKJV

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

D - Discern: Develop the ability to discern between good and evil, truth and falsehood, by relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom found in Scripture. We can cultivate spiritual discernment through prayer and seeking God in all things. Hebrews 5:14 NKJV

14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

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The Darby translation of 1 Tim 6:19 give the appearance of being literal but is actually interpretive (a fairly constant characteristic of his version). So let me quote a truly literal version of 1 Tim 6:19 (BLB)

treasuring up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is indeed life.

Now to the OP's specific questions which I will answer in a different order.

  1. treasuring up for themselves a good foundation for the future

What is this? The answer is actually given in the previous verses which defines exactly what Paul intends:

1 Tim 6:17-19 - Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be conceited and not to put their hope in the uncertainty of wealth, but in God, who richly provides all things for us to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, and to be generous and ready to share, treasuring up for themselves a firm foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

This is part of a series of instruction to Timothy as a local church pastor in 1 Tim 6 which includes the following to create the treasure as a good foundation for true life:

  • V1, 2 - serve with honor
  • V3-5 - reject false doctrines
  • V6-10 - Godliness with contentment; reject covetousness
  • V11, 12 - pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness
  • V17, 18 - the materially rich should be generous and share

Thus, Paul encourages Timothy to set an example to live the virtuous Christian life as lays the foundation for the eternal life to come.

  1. "True Life"

The Greek phrase is ὄντως ζωῆς = "that which is indeed life". The word Paul uses here is ζωή (zoe) which almost always (with only a few exceptions) denotes eternal life, eg, Matt 7;14, 18:8, 9, 19:16, 29, 25:46, 9:43, 10:17, 30, etc. 1 Tim 6:19 is certainly discussing eternal life.

Thus, Paul is saying that the next eternal life is more important, more real, than the present, earthly, mortal life.

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