Monday, January 16, 2012

1 Tim 6:3-5 Godless Greed Refuted

Vs. 3-5  If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.

With the Apostle Paul’s strong language here (which we will look at later) he is drawing a clear demarcation line between those who truly serve God and those who only serve their own greed and interests. In 1 Tim. 5:22 the Apostle Paul warned Timothy not to share in other people’s sins, but to keep himself pure. Here Paul gives a direct command to withdraw from everyone who supposes godliness as a means of gain (vs. 5). From the false preachers and teachers who prey on their listeners own covetousness, by which they seek to profit themselves by exploiting (2 Peter 2:3). To those who heed them and likewise use the gospel (and or think of godliness) as a means to achieving a selfish and self-serving end (consider Phil. 3:18). All which distorts the gospel's message and Kingdom's true purpose. Which is likely why Jesus pronounced woes on those who are full and rich now *(Luke 6:24-26). For inevitably there will be some who will try to make following Him a means of gain for themselves; who are only seeking to satisfy their own selfish and self serving desires (consider Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Cor. 2:17; Titus 1:10-11). It must have been these types who were corrupting the minds of bondservants. Telling them to forsake their earthly masters and or responsibilities under the guise of "liberty" (vs. 1-2). Luring them (and others) through false and misleading promises of guaranteed wealth and prosperity, simply by following godliness. Which is rarely the case, for if love of mammon is driving your zeal for the Lord it is highly unlikely that you will find yourself in the end following either Christ or godliness (consider Matt. 6:24; 2 Peter 2:14-15; Jude 11; antithesis 2 John 3:2). Unfortunately the same situation exists today, where the prosperity gospel and profiteering from the gospel has become so ingrained in popular Christian culture, that some people rarely question it, or even recognize the dangers of doing so anymore.

Therefore the Apostle Paul is adamant in warning Timothy that if anyone teaches otherwise (eJterodidaskelevw);; meaning the doctrine that the Apostle Paul has already taught and has instituted for all the churches (1 Cor. 4:17); and does not consent to wholesome words (uJgiaivnw logo"); that is words which are healthy and bring health/wholeness to the entire person. Because they are not born out of ulterior motives, nor born out of the doctrines and commandments of greedy men, but are true and sound Biblically. Even the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ (the foundation of which the Apostle's own doctrine precedes from); and to the doctrine (didaskaliva) i.e. that which is taught, and which accords with true godliness (eujsevbeia); i.e. morally sound and ethically principled conduct born out of what God says in His Word is truly righteous, just, and holy. And thus is truly sound and profitable for everyone to live by. Therefore if anyone teaches otherwise the Apostle Paul says that such are proud; (tufovw lit. living in a state of extreme pride and by extension self delusion). Knowing nothing of Christ and less of Godliness; but are obsessed (nosevw lit. to be sick or unstable, i.e. having a morbid obsession) with disputes and arguments over words; the fruit of which the Apostle Paul describes as having an utterly negative and degenerating influence on others, producing nothing of godliness, but only envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions (vs. 4). All which is contrary to brotherly love and unity and peace; which the Apostle began advocating for at the start of chapter two, and continued to do so with his ongoing exhortations and commandments to bring it about. Therefore the Apostle’s exhortation here is to stop those unregenerate individuals whose corrupted (diafqeivrw lit. depraved) minds which are destitute of the truth, who argue and dispute over words to the profit of no one. Who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. Therefore the Apostle commands: "From such withdraw yourself."

Scripture Quotations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982

* In no way am I limiting the scope of the Lord Jesus Christ's Words; rather I'm just stating that they find a clear application in this context.

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