Thursday, 8 February 2018
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, 1 Timothy 6:3
Paul is referring to what he has just said about bondservants honoring their masters, especially if they are believers. However, his words are certainly not limited to this. He is using it as a springboard to identify miscreants within the greater umbrella of “Christianity.” In this, he is probably referring all the way back to his words of verse 4:1 where he speaks of people departing from the faith, giving heed to doctrines of demons, etc. Again though, the immediate context is that of the honoring of masters by bondservants. This is what brought the greater subject to mind.
With this thought fresh from his pen, he then says, “If anyone teaches otherwise.” He has shown that there is to be orderliness in master/bondservant relations, and there is to be submission by the slave to the master. To teach otherwise would be to promote insubordination and disobedience in what was an established hierarchy within the culture. Insubordination would lead to strife; strife would lead to an unhealthy situation between believers which is contrary to what the Lord expects in such matters. But instead of being obedient to the command given by Paul, there may arise someone who teaches something contrary, “and does not consent to wholesome words.”
The Greek word translated as “consent” signifies “to draw near.” In other words, such a person stays far from what is wholesome. Instead, he teaches words which divide the church, causes division between believers, and upsets the hierarchies which have been legally established within the society. His teaching then is disobedient even to “the words of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The words of Christ teach a life of harmony, peace, and patience. Insubordination, leading to rebellion cannot be found in His doctrine, nor can it be found in the writing of the apostles inspired by the Holy Spirit. This body of writings, on the contrary, contain “the doctrine which accords with godliness.”
The words of Scripture, Old Testament and New, reflect a humble attitude towards others, obedience to duly established law, and honor of God. These things are lacking in those who would teach words contrary to the precepts Paul has laid down. He will continue with this thought for the next few verses, and then, in contrast to what false doctrine produces, he will show what sound doctrine concerning godliness produces.
Life application: The words of the Bible are given to lead believers into godliness. The problem with humanity is that understanding what true godliness is has been so marred by sin, that it is literally impossible for us to pursue it apart from God’s special revelation. In our natural selves, we align godliness with all kinds of things which are completely ungodly. Some of the time, this may be intentional, sometimes it might just be because we are completely confused about the nature of God. No matter what the reason, we need to study Scripture, and apply it to our lives in order to truly live in a godly manner.
Lord God, the world has so many ideas about how to be godly that without Your word it is simply impossible to determine what is correct. But You are God, and You have shown us directly what You expect. Thank You that we don’t need to guess, we don’t need to listen to various opinions, and we don’t need to be misled by false teachers. All we need to do is pick up Your word and study it. In this, we find what it means to live a godly life. And in following Your word, we will then be pleasing to You. And as all Scripture points to Christ Jesus our Lord, then we have the ultimate example set before us to emulate! Thank You for Christ our Lord, and the word which reveals Him to us! Amen.