The systematic cross-section of 1 Timothy continues with Chet.
For a much more in-depth reference on numerical themes and how they correspond to the twenty-two Hebrew letters and are expressed on every level throughout Scripture (even in the books written in Greek), please see the original Bible Wheel book and site. Note that not every verse will thematically carry its numerical theme, but overall, the patterns are clear. If a verse doesn’t thematically carry it, and sometimes even if it does, it tends to have a secondary numerical characteristic that connects, which will also be noted.
Chet – Eighth letter of the Hebrew Alef-bet. Symbolizes a fence or wall, life, grace or mercy, renewal, binding together.
In 1 Timothy, there are six chet verses: the eighth verse of each chapter.
1:8 – But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
Some seem to think that there is a complete opposition between law and grace, that one cannot have grace if one is lawful, and one who is under grace need not have anything to do with the law. This could not be further from the truth. As Paul said in Romans 6:1-2: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” And the definition of sin: “…sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4b) So Paul is asking, “Should we deliberately continue transgressing the law just to receive more grace? No, definitely not.” Therefore the law is a fence around us, defining the righteous boundaries of what we do, and transgressing those boundaries is sin. The law is the manifestation of chet in this verse.
2:8 – I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
The chet connection here is not as strong as in some of the other verses, but there is a metaphorical connection in the concept of “lifting up”. Something that can lift itself or part of itself up has energy and life. Naturally that’s not a strict definition of what a living thing is, but it is a good indication of whether something that should be living is still. If someone falls down, we ask them, “Can you stand up?” We look at our plants to see if they are growing upward toward the sun, or wilting. Actually, the plant connection here is rather deeply meaningful if we also remember passages like John 15:5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches…” (spoken by the Messiah). Of course, the main vine will never wilt or wither, but if we are spiritually dying, we will wither and be removed from the vine. So the lesson of chet in this verse is that we must continue in prayer, lifting up our hands spiritually to be closer to the light of heaven and remain full of life, without the kind of negativity that will wither our hearts.
3:8 – Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
The influence of chet here is apparent more structurally than verbally. The first seven verses of the chapter were about the requirements for bishops/elders, and now the eighth verse begins again in a similar vein (“likewise”) but for deacons. The eighth of something is commonly the beginning of a new cycle, like the eighth note forming an octave in a musical scale, or the eighth day beginning a new week after the Sabbath.
4:8 – For bodily exercise profiteth little but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
This verse clearly displays chet by mentioning life, both our current physical life and our future spiritual life. Some translations say “bodily exercise profiteth a little” which indicates more clearly that physical exercise isn’t a bad thing, but it doesn’t do anything for our spiritual health, whereas godliness benefits our spiritual life. Also, the word for “godliness”, eusebeia, occurs exactly eight times in 1 Timothy, and this verse contains the fourth instance. Godliness is literally the state of being like God, which includes many virtues, but all lead directly or indirectly to eternal life.
5:8 – But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
There isn’t a strong chet theme in this verse because of the focus on the negative aspect of being worse than faithless. Interestingly enough, the standard value for “faith” (pistis) is exactly 800, while the object conjugation used in this verse (pistin) has a value of 650 (2x5x5x13) instead. The word for “infidel” – apistis – literally means “without faith” or “faithless” in the same way that “amoral” means “without morals”. So the last two phrases are actually very much in parallel. What is worse than being faithless? The Messiah lamented sometimes about “O ye of little faith!” (Matthew 8:26, etc) But usually this was to the disciples, who would later go on to be some of the most faithful men we have recorded in the Bible. But they weren’t even completely faithless at that time. They wanted to do the right thing, but they just didn’t have the spiritual power yet.
The next step down was the Messiah lamenting later about “O faithless and perverse generation…” (Matthew 17:17) This was referring to most of the people of Israel at the time, who were so shortsighted that they could not recognize the Messiah. But it wasn’t entirely their fault – they were deceived. They were more or less apathetic about what was actually right, wanting whatever would benefit them most at the time, whether that was free food or water, safety from tyrannical governments, etc. What is worse than that, then? Deliberate and knowing betrayal of something valuable, like Judas, who betrayed the Messiah for money, or Esau, who betrayed his birthright and gave it up for food. Those who betray their own families by failing to provide for them are counted in this same category.
6:8 – And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
This verse somewhat carries on the theme from 4:8 where once the physical needs of the body are met adequately (food, clothing, exercise), there’s no need to worry about physical life, and one should focus on spiritual life. In fact, according to the Strong’s dictionary, the Greek words here for “food” and “raiment” are both unique to this verse, and they mean literally more like “sustenance” and “covering”. The implication is that the minimum required to sustain physical life should be sufficient for us to be content, knowing that physical life is nothing compared to spiritual life.
The values of the chet verses in chapters 2, 3, and 4 are unique, while the values for chapters 1, 5, and 6 match at most 4 verses. The factors of 2 and 3 for these verses are very intriguingly arranged, considering that 8 = 2 ^ 3 and the dominant factor of the book is 6 = 2 * 3. Chapter 1 has a factor of 64 = 2 ^ 6. Chapter 2 has a factor of 4 = 2 ^ 2. Chapter 3 has a single factor of 3. Chapter 4 (which already is 2 ^2) has no factors of 2 or 3. Chapter 5 has a factor of 32 = 2 ^ 5, as well as a single factor of 3. And chapter 6 has a single factor of 6 = 2 * 3.