Read 1 Timothy 6
All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.
False Teachers and the Love of Money
These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Final Charge to Timothy
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.
Grace be with you all.
The theme of ungodliness versus godliness is prevalent throughout 1 Timothy 6. As we have seen throughout this book, there can be a slow, gradual drift away from what Scripture teaches and toward a life of ungodliness.
In teaching the Word to others, it is very dangerous to teach something that is not in line with Scripture. Sometimes there are people who claim to be teaching the Word, but it is slightly different from what the Bible actually says. “Teaching” in this way leads to conceit, envy, slander, evil, ungodliness, and friction; because false prosperity gospels provide imaginary means of gain. Just take a look at Matthew 4:1-11, where Satan twisted God’s Word to fit his own agenda. Jesus knew better than to listen to these lies. He knew the dangers of taking Scripture out of context and twisting it for personal gain. How did Jesus respond? By dismissing the false words and standing firm upon God’s true Word.
Another reminder in this chapter is that no matter how hard we try, we can never gain godliness by our own means. Can a perfect resume get us to heaven? What about giving all our money to the poor? Moving across the world to spread the gospel? The answer to each of these questions, apart from Jesus, is an emphatic NO! As Ephesians 2:8-9 states, salvation is a gift from God which cannot be earned. This chapter calls us to pursue godliness along with righteousness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness, good deeds, and generosity in order to take hold of what is truly life.
Imagine being content with only the things you needed in order to survive. When we start to pursue things we don’t need (but rather want), discontentment forms. Not having the right house, the right job, or the right status. All of these earthly things will be brought to nothing some day. Our discontent shines a light on the fact that we are not finding our full contentment in Jesus. So how do we fight? We flee these things. And we pursue the good life as defined by Jesus rather than the idea of the good life that the culture feeds us.
- What are some areas you have seen Scripture taken out of context? What Scripture can you find as a tool to counter these false teachings?
- What would it look like to pursue righteousness today?
- Are you discontent? Ask God to reveal to you where you haven’t yet trusted His sufficiency and turn to Him.
Did You Know?
The word “doulos” in the original Greek version of the Bible translates today to mean bondservant in 1 Timothy 6. However, doulos also means “slave” though it does not relate to the version of slavery we read about in 19th century America. The ESV defines a bondservant as, “someone in the Roman Empire officially bound under contract to serve his master for seven years… When the contract expired, the person was freed, given his wage that had been saved by the master, and officially declared a freedman.” A bondservant’s relationship with his or her master is best compared to an employee/employer relationship today.
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