Saturday, 10 February 2018
…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. 1 Timothy 6:5
Paul continues his list concerning those who do not consent to teach the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ. This verse begins with teachings which lead to “useless wranglings.” The Greek word is based on a root which gives the sense of rubbing away or constant friction. It is only found here in the Bible, and the sense is that of someone who wears away time, arguing over minutiae. This perverse attitude demonstrates someone who consumes his time, and the time of others, arguing over things that have absolutely no practical value at all. This, and the other things which Paul has already described in the previous verse, come from “men of corrupt minds.”
The meaning of this is that these people have hearts which are wicked and they focus on evil, teach what is evil, and spread any falsehood which suits their depravity. They are men who are “destitute of the truth.” Vincent’s Word Studies says that the meaning of this indicates that they once knew the truth, but they put it away from themselves. Thus, they have nothing but that which is false to pass on to their hearers. This type of person doesn’t look to Christ for godliness at all. Instead, Paul says they “suppose that godliness is a means of gain.”
To grasp the meaning of this, all one needs to do is think of the modern day “prosperity gospel” preachers. They live lavishly, they have expensive cars, they have planes, and they have large houses. But more, they teach that by giving them your money, you too will prosper and become wealthy. Thus, Jesus becomes to them a cosmic ATM – put money in, and money will come out – but with interest added. When someone has attained wealth, it is attributed to godliness. The more godly a person is, the more gain they have. Paul says to Timothy that, “From such withdraw yourself.”
He is saying that Timothy (and indeed all true Christians) are to have nothing to do with such people. We are to withdraw from them, not be a party to their depraved state of mind, and not support their views at all. They are to be exposed and shown for the frauds that they are.
Life application: Godliness has nothing to do with one’s bank account, and it cannot be said that a godly person will find material gain in this world. To even hint at this is a complete departure from the truth of Scripture. The prosperity gospel, which has enriched many TV evangelists and others of their ilk, is a poisonous lie which is not to be tolerated by those who call themselves followers of Christ.
Lord God, many teachers say that godliness is a means to gain. They teach that if you are living a godly life, that prosperity will naturally follow. They also then instruct their audience that by sending money to their ministry, a person is showing obedience to the gospel, and they will be blessed for that. Lord, it will be good when people realize the lies of such a message, and it will be even better if these false teachers are vaporized for their lies. Help us to realize such false teachings, and to be sound, faithful followers of Christ, regardless as to our state of wealth in this world. Amen.