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1 Timothy 6:319comment (0)

April 4, 2013

By Dale Younce

Related Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:319

Explore the Bible 
Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile

Pursue Spiritual Gain

1 Timothy 6:3–19
Many adults highly value material possessions and wealth. This sort of materialism may result in a lack of generosity, which in turn makes it difficult for churches to fulfill their ministries. The Bible does not condemn wealth, but it does challenge believers to consider that greed is sinful and dangerous. This week’s lesson challenges us to value godliness above material wealth.

Watch Out for Greed (3–5)
The apostle Paul had mentioned false teachers previously. Here he points out three characteristics of false teachers. (1) Their teachings are inconsistent with and contradictory to God’s revelation. By rejecting the healthy doctrines of Scripture, they were rejecting the path leading to a godly life. (2) They were marked by conceit, arrogance and pride, when they had nothing to be proud of. (3) Their ignorant conceit filled them with morbid desires, envy, evil suspicions, quarreling and malicious talk. Their motive was their erroneous idea that godliness is the path to material riches. The term “godliness” here, does not mean true godliness which is holy living by the Holy Spirit’s power; it means their religious profession. They used their religious profession as a means to make money. Theirs was not a spiritual ministry; it was a religious business. Believers are to watch out for the temptation to use their religious devotion as a means for material gain or fame.

Be Content (6–10)
Apostle Paul was not opposed to individuals earning a living. He was not encouraging a lack of ambition. He did, however, issue warnings about wealth. (1) Money does not bring contentment, an inner stability which keeps the believer at peace regardless of external circumstances. True contentment comes from godliness in the heart, not from money in the bank. (2) Wealth does not last. We lose it all at death. Consequently, having the basic things in life (food, shelter and clothing) ought to make us content. Paul does not condemn having possessions, but he does condemn a self-indulgent desire for wealth. (3) The love for money, not money itself, is a (not “the”) root for all sorts of evil. Money can be a trap that leads into bondage. Those people who will to be rich are those who must have more and more material things in an attempt to be happy. The desire to be rich and the love of money draw them away from Christ and fill them with pangs of conscience, disillusionment and barrenness.

Fight the Good Fight (11–16)
As Paul turns to instruction for Timothy himself, he addresses Timothy as a “man of God,” who is distinctly different from the false teachers. The man of God is known for what he flees from, what he follows after and what he fights for. (1) Timothy is to separate himself from the sinful attitudes and actions of the false teachers. There are times when God’s servant must take a stand against ungodly practices and separate himself from them. However, he must act on the basis of biblical principle and not because of personal prejudice or selfish party spirit. (2) God’s servant must cultivate the elements of Christian character and conduct. (3) In addition, he must keep on fighting the kingdom of darkness which lies around him. He must defend the truth of God’s Word and lead people to faith in Jesus.

Use Wealth Wisely (17–19)
Paul counsels Timothy concerning what to teach those who are rich in material possessions. He calls them to be good stewards of their God-given resources. Those believers who have money must use it to meet the needs of others, unselfishly and generously. These verses demonstrate there is no necessary connection between wealth and greed. Although many readers of this lesson will probably not think of themselves as “rich in the present age” (v. 17), they should be reminded that, in comparison to the rest of the world’s people, most Americans are indeed wealthy. Living with eternity in view will help us pursue godliness by using our financial resources generously and wisely.

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