1 Timothy 6:2b-10

ICareTeach and urge these things.If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Observation

  • If anyone teaches anything different doctrine than the doctrine Timothy was taught they are conceited and understand nothing.
  • If anyone teaches anything that disagrees with the words of Jesus Christ they are conceited and understand nothing.
  • If anyone teaches anything that does not agree with godliness they are conceited and understand nothing.
  • Those who are ungodly crave controversy.
  • Those who are ungodly argue over semantics.
  • Seeking controversy produces
    • envy.
    • dissension.
    • slander.
    • evil suspicions.
    • constant friction between people.
  • Those seeking controversy see godliness as a mean of material gain.
  • Godliness with contentment is of great benefit
  • We brought nothing into the world.
  • We cannot take anything out of the world.
  • If we should be content if we have food and clothing.
  • Those who want to be rich fall into temptation.
  • Those who want to be rich fall into snares and many senseless and harmful desires.
  • The love of money is the basis of all kinds of evil.
  • The craving for money has led some away from the faith.

Interpretation

There is a consistent theme in almost all of Paul’s letters, his opposition of false teachers. Paul has no tolerance for false teachers. They have no place in the church. Paul’s usual concern is those who are overt in teaching false doctrine. Here Paul addresses not only the overt false teacher but subtle false teachers. They are like cancer in the church. They are easy to ignore until it is too late. He condemns those do not disagree with sound doctrine. He also condemns those who abuse a correct doctrine.

While Paul addresses the letter to Timothy, it is as if Paul had our post-modern culture in mind as well. Our culture is relativistic. Our culture condemns as narrow-minded anyone who does not accept all views as valid. (Except for the view that not all views are valid) Paul has no problem with the label “narrow-minded”. Why? All views are not valid. His concern is the cause of Christ. He suffered beating and imprisonment for his “narrow-mindedness”. There is no benefit in a doctrine that departs from the Gospel of Christ. Such a doctrine only causes harm.

Paul opposed those who like to argue over nonsense. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? It does not matter. There are those who like to argue for the sake of arguing. They like to keep their debating skills sharp. Paul tells Timothy to oppose them.

When Paul opposes the craving for controversy, he is not talking about honest questions. He is not talking about questions intended to improve understanding. Those are honest questions. Those questions aid us in our understanding and sanctification. But dishonest questions have no desire to understand. Those who engage in meaninglessness and dishonest questions engage in misdirection. They oppose the Gospel. They use an indirect opposition to the Gospel.

A doctrine does not edify if it does not aid or instruct us in the fear and worship of God. It does not edify if it does not benefit our faith. It does not edify if it does not teach us patience, humility and the duties of love toward our fellowman.

Paul warns Timothy to oppose those who are not benefiting the church. Such men are benefiting themselves. We have the same problem today. There are leaders in the church who are in the business of selling things rather than lifting up Christ. There are books on financial management, raising children, and even humor. None of these are bad. You can argue they are good. But they do not instruct us in the fear and worship of God. They do not oppose Christ, but they will use His name to sell a book, a course or some gadget.

But I have seen pastors use these books and topics as sermon topics and series. When that occurs we are to oppose these pastors and teachers. When that occurs our opposition should be strong.

Preaching things that do not teach us to fear and worship God turns the word of God into trivia. At best it is a philosophy or worldview.

We should oppose that type of preaching as one of the most destructive things in a church. Those who preach such meaninglessness are not in open resistance to the gospel. Nonetheless, they make a false profession of adhering to it. Additionally, they are infectious. Paul tells Timothy to avoid them like a dangerous plague.

They are not advancing the cause of Christ. Their interest is in preaching about what people want to hear. Those men are guilty of sacrilege. They are interested in keeping their pulpit and  acquiring money. They are interested in making godliness work for them. Ambition is the mother of envy.

To set it all in context Paul says we brought nothing into this world and we will take nothing from it. So the one who dies with the most toys wins…. nothing. All we need in this life is food and clothing. By mentioning this Paul excludes all luxuries and abundance.

Paul explains the danger in desire or ambition, especially for ministers in the Church. The love of money is not the cause of all evil but it is the cause of a lot of evil. Being rich is not evil. It is the desire or ambition to be rich that causes evil. Everyone who resolves to become rich gives himself over as a captive of the devil.

Crimes that spring from greed also spring from ambition, envy, and other sinful desires.

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