1 Timothy 6:3-10
English Standard Version
3 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, 4 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, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 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. 10 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.
Sound doctrine will always lead to godliness. Paul here is most likely pointing to the preaching of the gospel. Not distorting the gospel for financial gain. When people are driven by the love of money it will corrupt what God is doing in their heart and mind. God will provide every need and we must learn to be content when our basic needs are provided. One of the battles we face in America is our love for stuff and materialism. We are constantly bombarded with messages that unless we have x, y, and z we will not be happy. But what people often find when they obtain those things is the emptiness still remains. The only way we can truly find peace and contentment is through a personal, intimate, relationship with Jesus Christ.
Those who advocate against sound doctrine are false teachers. Paul has been instructing Timothy throughout this letter of what it means to be a true minister of the gospel. When we desire to truly stand for Christ and proclaim the truth, there will always be Satanic opposition. They enemy will scheme and strategize to try to destroy what God is doing. The way he does this is targeting the minister of God’s word. If the enemy can tempt them to begin to compromise in very small ways, as they move forward it will lead to truly going off course.
The only way that godliness can be produced in the life of an individual is through sound doctrine. We shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free (John 8:32). Those who hold to sound doctrine will see in time the character and nature of Christ produced in those under their care. But here Paul is warning against those who would abandon truth often for the love of money and the love of this world. If we are truly growing in Christ, our only desire and aim will be His will and to glorify His name. but we must understand that there will indeed be opposition.
Those who were false teachers were conceited. Conceited in the Greek means puffed up or to be conceited. Those who were false teachers had their eyes on themselves and simply desired to elevate and keep the attention focused on themselves. God’s word tells us that pride comes before the fall. Because of the pride that lived within them, from their pride sprang a morbid interest in controversial questions. They would spend their time disputing over words and sadly in the end if they were allowed to continue without any correction or intervention by Timothy it would end and result in envy, strife, abusive language, and evil suspicions.
A minister of the gospel and a teacher of God’s word may be proactive when dealing with false teachers. Those who are false teachers are without a right understanding of God’s word. Satan is defeated, but his greatest weapon to try to destroy and disrupt what God is accomplishing on the earth is lie and deception. There is no greater disruption when false teaching is allowed to continue. Paul has already written about the importance of sound doctrine. When sound doctrine is the focus it is built upon the truth of God’s word and the truth of who Jesus Christ is. A minister who is committed to sound doctrine will see the kingdom of God produced in the hearts and mind of the people they shepherd. In time they will see true mature and intimacy developed in which those they shepherd are then able in time to shepherd and disciple others.
Those who are false teachers are people of depraved mind and deprived of the truth. Depraved means to destroy or corrupt. Those who were false teachers were not concerned with the truth or God’s kingdom. They simply saw the name of Jesus and godliness as a means to financial gain. Constant friction marked their lives. They are instruments of Satan simply to try and bring destruction, division, and discord to what God is building through the hearts and minds of His people.
God’s kingdom is advanced through the hearts and lives of people. Therefore Satan has targeted the mind and heart of humanity. If false teachers are given a platform through which to spew their falsehoods and it is not confronted and corrected by a true shepherd, it will leave in its wake incredible damage. But Paul gives these warnings to Timothy not that Timothy would be fearful, but that Timothy would be wise, and he would be a master builder. Paul most likely was one of the greatest servants of God’s kingdom. His life was not only committed to truth, but those he discipled and trained up where thoroughly equipped to accomplish the purposes of God. The Holy Spirit is not only giving Timothy the playbook for effective and successful ministry, all who would study the scriptures and hold to them will be equipped to be effective ministers of Jesus Christ.
Godliness in the Greek can also be translated piety. It is the character and nature of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the ultimate model and example of how our lives should look as we seek the Living God and surrender our lives to Him. Jesus said that if anyone would follow after Him, they must deny themselves and pick up their cross. If we are serving Jesus for financial gain, we will in the end make the focus about us and we will compromise and distort truth. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. The true minister of the word of God whose heart has been fully surrendered to Jesus knows and understand that He is all they need.
Contentment means sufficiency, enough, or self-sufficiency. The person who has come to truly know and follow Christ understand that Jesus will provide all that is needed. There is nothing we will face in this life that God is surprised by. There is no need we have that our Father in Heaven already doesn’t know. But He calls us to trust Him and understanding this will enable us to minister as God has directed us. We will not seek after and follow Jesus because of how wealthy we can become. We understand that He will meet our every need. We must simply seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and everything else will be added unto us. The secret of a life of peace and being content is to truly know Jesus. Not simply know about Him, but to know Him. This is where everything changes.
We have brought nothing into the world. All of us when we are born into this world are born as helpless babies. We need the help of those around us to provide for our needs and care for us. Sadly, the world is a cruel and wicked place and many today who are unborn are simply discarded and viewed as a mistake. But those of us who have come to know Christ understand that we have brought nothing into this world and therefore our focus should not be on obtaining and storing wealth. At the end of our lives, we will not be able to take anything with us. When we pass from this earth all that we possess will be left behind. It should be the desire of every Christian to be driven and motivated by generosity. When a minister of the gospel is simply focused on Jesus Christ, it is the Lord who will meet every need. It doesn’t mean that we won’t go through times of suffering and where we may be lacking because the apostle Paul knew this very well. But even in our suffering His grace is sufficient. When the pursuit of Christ becomes our only aim, His presence fills our lives. Regardless of the level of suffering we face, the Lord will strengthen us and His grace is sufficient.
Ultimately if food and clothing is provided there is nothing else that we physically need. The world that we live in constantly sends a message through advertising and other means that if we are to truly be happy that we need such and such. But happiness is simply fleeting, and it is fickle. There are many that chase after the material wants of this world and in the process their lives and families are destroyed. But it is God who will provide our every need according to His riches and His glory. He owns everything, has spoken all things into existence, and His power is without limit and without end. When we truly understand this truth, we will not worry, we will not chase after material wants, but we will understand that Jesus is more than enough. Even in ministry our identity and value is not determined by our impact or influence. It is simply found in Jesus. Knowing Him is the secret of true contentment. He knows every need, will provide every need, and no matter what we face His grace is sufficient.
The way that Satan destroys humanity is by trapping them with temptation. He sets a snare for those who would seek after the world and its desires and what seems appealing and good on the surface, carries with it destruction. Those who would seek after wealth and money will be destroyed by it. Their love for money will actually transform them from the inside out and their love of money will take over their heart and mind. Paul writes many foolish and harmful desires. That word desire in the Greek means desires, lust, or cravings. Those who pursue the love of wealth believe it will bring them contentment and happiness. But in the end, it simply brings ruin and destruction. Paul has given us the formula and kingdom principle for contentment. It is simply found in Jesus Christ. God will provide for our every need. We must be willing to surrender every want and desire unto God. For when wants and desires begin to drive us, they become and idol and the enemy gains a foothold into our lives.
The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil. Money itself is not wicked and being blessed financially by God is not evil. It is the Lord who gives us power to obtain wealth (Deut 8:18). There are those who are given the spiritual gift of generosity that God has greatly blessed financially. God places in their possessions resources and finances to accomplish the purposes of God’s kingdom. Often for God’s kingdom to be advanced on the earth it not only requires people, prayer, and the power of the Holy Spirit, it also includes finances. It is a false belief that God has called His people to live in poverty.
But if we have been overcome by the love of money itself, money has become an idol and this idol will destroy us from the inside out. We will begin to abandon biblical pursuit for materialism. Those who were false teachers were often driven by the love of money. When we look at the wickedness of our world today we can see at the root of many things is the love of money. Money in itself is not wicked, but if we have come to love and desire money above all else, wickedness has taken root and we must repent of it.
Paul points out the result of loving money. It is the root of all sorts of evil. These evils lead to people wandering from the faith and piercing themselves with all sorts of griefs. Paul is writing here of believers or false teachers who had abandoned the truth of the gospel. Paul states those who have abandoned the faith. If someone had abandoned the faith, they must first be in the faith. Jesus gave the parable of the four soils and in one He spoke of the plant that grew but was choked by the weeds that represented the desire for worldly riches (Matt 13:1-9). When the seed of God’s word is sown in our hearts, we must protect it. The enemy will use all that he can to destroy what God is doing in our lives. In America one of the greatest tools of the enemy to try to destroy the purposes of God is materialism and the love of money. The love of money is a wicked idol that carries with it a very steep price.
When God calls anyone into ministry and leadership, it is not easy or simple. God will take His time to mold and shape the individual to be prepared for all that they will face. The devil is highly intelligent and will any means necessary to try to destroy the life of any leader and teacher of God’s word. One of the great devices of the enemy for destruction is the love of money. We must guard against this wickedness and evil by pursuing Jesus with everything and making Him our sole desire and priority. True contentment is found in Jesus Christ alone.