Lord, enhance my discernment for false teaching in our midst.
Read 1 TIMOTHY 6:3–10
3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 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 5 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.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 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. 10 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.
New International Version (NIV)
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Spend some time reflecting on the last time you were angry in (or about) church. Ask God to show you what you were really angry about and why.
The last sentence of verse 2 belongs with today’s passage in the Greek text. Bringing to an end the practical instructions on widows, elders and slaves, it introduces some reflections on the difference between true and false teachers. Given the warning that it takes time for the
character of some to emerge clearly, I think we should read these verses as aids to Timothy’s discernment.
The healthy instruction that is the Gospel comes from Jesus himself (3). It is both Jesus’ acts and words that constitute the source of truth and the basis of Paul’s authority. This justifies Paul’s repeated assurance that his words are trustworthy. If anyone teaches differently and doesn’t assent to the healthy teaching that leads to godliness, Timothy is to disregard them.
The signs to look for in a teacher who is missing the mark are set forth: a proud assertiveness that doesn’t submit to the Gospel but gets drawn into wrangling about words; a taste for controversy, leading to suspicious, malicious and envious attitudes; and a constant battle for one’s own way. These types seek position and gain through being a church leader. When you see teachers begin to display these traits, Paul suggests, be prepared to intervene.
Although teaching elders have a right to be paid so that they can devote themselves to spiritual duties, where money controls motive, all kinds of evil can follow (9,10). Timothy must guard against this within himself (11) as well as others, seeking the true riches that come from contentment in walking closely with God. Rather than finding such true riches, the false teachers have strayed to the point of becoming lost.
To what extent does a love of money affect your life? How might God want you to become more generous to others and trusting of him?
Lord, give to all of us the proper perspective on money and its legitimate use, especially when applied to Your kingdom.