These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 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 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.
1 Timothy 6:2b-5
We have reached the part of this letter where Paul is wrapping things up and bringing it to a close. He has given Timothy a charge, and instruction in how to proceed and what he should teach the people to repair the damage that false teachers have caused, and now he is making a few final things very clear.
What Timothy has been told to teach, he must teach, and if anyone teaches otherwise, they have problems, and Paul is going to tell us what those problems are. They are “conceited” and “understand nothing”. In other words, they are lovers of themselves. They are interested in creating problems, arguments, quarrels: they are simply troublemakers.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 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. 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.
1 Timothy 6:6-10
This is an interesting little paragraph; notice how choppy the sentences are. Paul is a guy who can write sentences that are almost a chapter long, but here his style is quite different. He is making a point, but what point is he making?
Talking about money all of the sudden is quite fascinating, but we must resist the temptation to do what most people do with this paragraph and forget its context. Has anything been written here that would suggest to you that the context has changed from the previous paragraph to this one? No, this is a continuation of the same thought, the problems of the false teachers. Paul first tells Timothy that we should be content with what we have and not be lovers of money seeking to get rich. He goes on to make the point that people who seek great amounts of money are led into all sorts of bad things: Could he be implying that false teachers are motivated by money?
I’d be interested in your thoughts…