Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 Timothy 6:3-19

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Reliable instruction - 1 Timothy 6:3

reliable instruction. See note on 1:10-11. In Greek hugiainousi logois literally means 'healthy words.' The genitive phrase which follows can be read as a genitive of source, "healthy words from our Lord Jesus Christ," but the use of the phrase 'healthy words' or 'sound doctrine' elsewhere in Paul's letters to Timothy (1:10; 2 Tim 1:13; 4:3) and Titus (1:9; 2:1) is shorthand for the gospel. Paul provides a two-fold test for the church at Ephesus, orthodoxy and orthopraxy. 'Sound words' about Jesus Christ produce 'godliness' in those who hear and obey them.

Controversies and arguments about words. - 1 Timothy 6:4

controversies and arguments about words. The false teaching at Ephesus is identified by arguments that produced strife and envy, instead of godliness (see note 6:3). Instead of being characterized by their gentleness and self-control, as is required of church officers (see 3:1-11), the false teachers are marked by contentiousness (cf. 1:4; 2 Tim 2:14, 23; Titus 3:9).

True motive of false teachers is money - 1 Timothy 6:5

they think that godliness is a way to get more money. Paul points here to the true motive of the false teachers, financial gain. Most likely, they charged for their teaching like lecturers who were hired to speak at elaborate dinner parties called symposia. It is possible they also taught that law-keeping would produce financial prosperity necessarily. While the Scriptures teach that God will provide for those who trust Him (cf. Ps 1:1-2), that material provision is focused on daily necessities like food, clothing and shelter. Again, Paul's reading of the Law closely parallels that of Jesus (cf. Matt 6:25-34; 1 Tim 6:8).

Godliness with contentment is great gain - 1 Timothy 6:6

godliness with contentment is great gain. Paul contrasts 'those who want to become wealthy' (6:9) with 'those who are satisfied or content' (6:6). The former is motivated by greed; and, the latter by godliness. Already, in 4:7-8 (see note), Paul instructed Timothy to reject the content of the false teachers and their call to asceticism, then to replace that sort of physical training with training in godliness. For Paul, godliness is cultivated through 'good works' (see note 2:10) of service to God and neighbor that benefit others in the community, not just one's self.

The love of money - 1 Timothy 6:10

the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. With two sharply contrasting proverbs or wisdom sayings, Paul illustrates the results of lives motivated by a desire to become rich and those who are motivated by a desire to become godly (see note 6:6). As Jesus taught, the two desires cannot co-exist. No one can serve both God and money (Matt 6:24). The result of loving money is 'wandering from the faith' and 'much grief,' because it produces 'all kinds of evil.' Whether possessing great wealth or not, the path to life is to "be rich in good deeds" (6:18), which benefits everyone.

Timothy's Responsibility - 1 Timothy 6:11-19

Paul Charges Timothy to be an exemplary disciple of Jesus, pursuing life. Throughout his letter to Timothy, Paul has offered three vital elements of a remedy to false teachers, who have arisen from within the church. First, they must be confronted and commanded to stop (see note 1:3). Second, 'healthy teaching' about Jesus Christ must replace their 'false teaching.' And, third, 'good works' offered in corporate worship before God and in social witness before neighbors will contrast the contentious, greedy lives of false teachers who are aimed at their own gain. As Paul's chosen delegate, Timothy has been charged to lead and exemplify this remedy, but his 'good confession' points to that of Jesus Christ (6:12-6:13).

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