The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand

September 1995



1) Cultivating godliness for gain


Cultivating Godliness
For Gain

     Those trying to remain true to the totality of Scripture are tempted to cast envious glances toward those who appear to have abundant finances to promote compromises and false doctrines. To complicate matters, many who have little or no Scriptural knowledge look at the many movements taking place under in the name of "Christianity" and their growths and say, "That must be godly, or it would not be attracting so many people and growing in the name of God." The goal of this pastor (and thus these mailings) has been to use God's Word to look past the outward appearances of surrounding events, including "Christian" events, in the light of Scripture.

     Something that should cause alarm in the hearts of those who love God's Word is that in spite of the many great, well-financed moves in the name of "Christ" that are drawing huge crowds, society appears to be continuing its headlong rush into the pit of self-destruction: R/X rated movies and trash TV sell because people want them; abortion clinics operate because people want them; drunkenness and drugs control the minds of multitudes because people want them; socialists welfare programs continue growing because people want them; 900 sex numbers and computer pornography proliferate because people want them; commercial establishments operate on the Christian sabbath because people want them; the divorce rates escalates among the "clergy" because people want them; emotional, feel-good messages of self- esteem, love and no responsibility attract church goers because people what them, and the list goes on to sickening length.

     Sure, prayer in schools may be reinstated, but without a change away from the militant, ANTI-CHRISTIAN curriculum (and away from many anti- Christ teachers), prayer will simply increase the double standard before the children, thus increasing society's instability, James 1:8 & 4:8. Where is the mass exodus from the statist school system by "Christians," in our area anyway, by the many who profess Christianity?

     Remember our Lord's words of Mt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven...? Why is it, therefore, that the vast majority of people readily accept anything and everything that comes along under the name of the Lord, when the Lord so clearly said that not everything is of Him that claims to be of Him?

     Great groweth and vast amounts of funds flow to "Christian" ministries, e.g. 60,000 men recently paid $50 per person to attend a "Christian" men's meeting not far from us, but, let us ask, where is the social change? What is going on? For those who are willing to diligently search Scripture at length, the light of God's Word shines clearly upon man's darkest deeds though done in the name of Christ. The root of the problem is found in 1 Ti 6:10, For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Not only can the "money trail" be followed among the pagans to the root of surrounding evils, but the Lord tells us that there is a "money trail" among professed Christians; following that trail will help us understand what is taking place in many modern, growing "Christian" movements.

     Why will not Christians heed the Spirit's ample warnings?

     1 Timothy 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

     God's people are warned of perverse men of corrupt minds who are destitute of the truth. These men connect gain with godliness; they connect numerical and/or material gain with godliness. What does the Spirit mean? Before we confront the statement, we should "work our way" toward it.

     First, the context of chapter 6, v. 1:

     Let as many servants [1401] as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and [his] doctrine be not blasphemed.

     Compare v. 1, with Mat 6:24,

     No man can serve [1398] two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

     Note the word Serve, Mat 6:24 & 1 Tim 6:1:

     Mat 6:24, serve, 1398 - from 1401. 1 Tim 6:1, serve, 1401 - from 1210. 1210 - a primary verb. AV - bind (37) - tie (4) - knit (1) - be in bonds (1) - wind (1) [used a total of 44 times in the NT, ed] I) to bind tie, fasten 1) to bind, fasten with chains, to throw into chains 2) metaphorically 2a) Satan is said to bind a woman bent together (Luke 13:16) i.e. by means of a demon, as his messenger, taking possession of the woman and preventing her from standing upright. 2b) to bind, i.e. put under obligation, of the law, duty etc.; to be bound to one, a wife, a husband 2c) to forbid, prohibit, declare to be illicit.

     Observe that both serves (Mat 6:24 & 1 Tim 6:1) come from the same root word, 1210. The word in Mat 6:24 is built upon the one in 1 Tim 6:1. Though 1398 in Mat 6:24 is one word removed from the root word, 1210, both words are basically the same - to bind as one would bind with a chain.

     According to The New Thayer's English Lexicon, 1 Timothy 6:1, servant, is found in 5 additional passages:

     Eph 6:5-8, Servants, be obedient to them that are [your] masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether [he be] bond or free. Col 3:22-24 Servants, obey in all things [your] masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. Col 4:1, Masters, give unto [your] servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. Tit 2:9, 10, [Exhort] servants to be obedient unto their own masters, [and] to please [them] well in all [things]; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Joh 15:14-17, Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.

     Note John 15:15: Being chosen as a friend of Christ does not relieve one of responsible obedience to the commands of Christ. After He chose us as friends, v. 16, He expects obedience to His command, v. 17.

     Christ's servant mentioned in Matthew 6:24 [1398] is used in 2 additional passages:

     Eph 6:7, 8, With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether [he be] bond or free. 1 Ti 6:2, And they that have believing masters, let them not despise [them], because they are brethren; but rather do [them] service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.

     Hence, 1 Tim 6:2 uses the same word for serve as does the Lord in Mat 6:24.

  •      Looking at all the passages using the three words for servant and their derivatives [1398 & 1401, both rooted in 1210], we find no reference to serving civil authority. The word used in referring to civil government is subject, 5293:

         Tit 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject [5293] to principalities and powers, to obey [3980] magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. Ro 13:1 Let every soul be subject [5293] unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 5 Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. [Obey, 3908, Acts 5:25, obey God rather than man, v. 32, obey God, 27:21, Paul said, You should have harkened unto me, and Titus 3:1. Thus one's first allegiance of obedience is always to the Word of the Lord.]

         In other words, we are not commanded to serve civil magistrates, as Paul was bound in the Spirit, Acts 20:22. Note Mt 5:41, And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. This referred to civil government compelling one to serve.


  •      The serve we are looking at is used in reference to service to God. The word is also used in reference to service to men (which might be considered slavery, or employer-employee relationship), service to the devil, service to the flesh, service to sin, &c.

  • Matthew 6:24 & 1 Timothy 6:1
  •      Accordingly, both Christ and Paul are saying essentially the same thing as they both deal with serving under the authority of another - neither are dealing with serving under civil authority in the texts, qv.

    [T]he word "serve" (Mat 6:24) does not signify to do an occasional act of obedience, but to be a bond-servant, a slave, the property of his master, constantly and entirely subject to his will. No one can thus serve two masters. (AW Pink.)

  • 1 Timothy 6:1:
  •      [I]ts [serve] proper meaning was slave (having its root in..., I bind-hence bondman), and as ordinarily used, the ... were those under yoke... the yoke as bondmen. (The Pastoral Epistles, Fairbairn.)

         Concluding this point: The context of 1 Timothy 6:5 starts with the servant of v. 1: The servant is basically the same as the servant to mammon Christ warned about in Matthew 6:24. Thus we see that in both cases, the basic meaning is bond-servant, and we will see that the service is to mammon: The man of 1 Tim 6:5, is a servant of mammon, and the man of Mat 6:24, is a servant of mammon.

  •      SERVE AND 1 PETER 3
  •      Before moving to the second point, Peter presents a thought worth mentioning. He gives an example of godly service, v. 6: Even as Sara obeyed Abrham, calling him lord... Both of Peter's books deal with godly "servanthood." It is interesting that 2 Pet 2:1. warns of false teachers giving pleasant sounding words because of covetousness, v. 3, viz. they found great worldly GAIN in giving the people what they wanted to hear. In the case before us, Peter warned that the words were leading people into a wrong attitude toward civil authority, v. 10, because there was profit for the speakers. "Patroits for Profit" is a phrase I am reminded of.

  •      REMEMBER
  •      We must also keep in mind that both preachers, Christ and Paul, preached contentment with one's station in life and against covetousness. Thus the essence of both messages, Mat 6 and 1 Tim 6, is strong against unions. We must also remember that Paul is giving "pastoral" instruction.

         Second, Paul opens his instruction of 1 Timothy 6 speaking about Christian bond-service. He tells the bond-servant that if Providence binds him under a pagan master, he must still honour that master, viz. he cannot "look down his nose" toward him. If he treats the pagan master with disrespect, he blaspheme[s] the name and doctrine of God, and he will be held accountable to God. On the other hand, if Providence binds him to a fellow believer, he cannot take advantage of that situation. Yes, the servant and master are brothers in Christ, but the master is still due proper respect, hard work and faithful service. Paul points out that a believing master is due godly service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. Accordingly, far from a common faith in Christ relieving the servant from responsibility, it increases responsibility.

         Service is to God, and He will see that the servant reaps what he sows in his relationship to authority. Maybe he will not reap on this side of death, but God will see to it that he answers for his attitude toward those in authority over him. We might mention that 1 Pet 2, also makes the same point: The godly life of the servant under evil authority, civil and/or otherwise, brings glory to God.

         Third, These things teach and exhort, v. 2. Who is to teach these things? Pastors and teachers of God's word. What things? Proper attitude toward authority.

         The period of time in which the New Testament takes place saw "bond-service" as a common practice. Evidently, upon conversion, the newly Christianized bondmen were under a false impression that conversion released them responsibility to their saved or pagan masters. Paul tells the first generation of Bible teachers to emphasize the truth he just gave concerning the servants' responsibility under the gospel:

         A general conclusion, that these things ought not only be simply taught, but must with exhortation, be diligently beaten into their heads. [Geneva]

         The false idea that salvation relieves the "servant" from obligation to his master did not die out, for many today not only feel that salvation releases them from the responsibility to work hard, but many times, from responsibility in general. [This pastor well remembers a fellow staff member at a former church who took full advantage of working for the church. But he was not unique in what he did.] Salvation increases responsibility because we are now serving God, not man.

         Fourth, v. 3 suggests that there were already false teachers going about saying what servants wanted to hear, viz. that they were now under a new dispensation and the old laws of servanthood, as mentioned in vv. 1 & 2, were no longer valid. Note 1:3: Within 30 years after Christ's death, Paul already had to deal with false teachers going around with their other doctrine, including science falsely so called, i.e. gnosticism. Thus Paul's letters to Timothy and to Titus were instructions on countering false teachers.

         Upon close examination, the reader of Timothy and Titus will probably find that the false teachers were teaching different doctrines for different dispensations, starting with the death of Christ. Typically, Paul, in Timothy and Titus, goes back to the Old Testament law to establish the basic doctrine for the new church. The false teachers evidently did not base their theories in the Word of God as given in the law and the prophets.

  •      Obviously, Paul had to deal with several type of false teachers: 1) the judaisers attempting to place the new Christians under the Old Testament rites, rituals and ordinances, e.g. Galatians; 2) the Gnostics, and 3) a new dispensation completely separate from the Old Testament law.

         Apparently, the ones Paul deals with in this "Pastoral Epistles" were presenting a new dispensation, freeing, so they taught, the Christians from the Old Testament's established laws and precepts. Vincent identifies Marcion as one of the three principal representatives of the Gnostic school. Marcion, about the second century, was the one primarily responsible for our modern separate the Old Testament from the New. Thus the "Theologians" who separate the Old from the New Testaments would fit under Gonstics. It is obvious where most modern theology fits.

         Fifth, Paul describes those teaching contrary to godly submission (vv. 1 & 2) as false teachers. Furthermore, Paul reveals why they teach contrary to the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness:

         He condemneth severally, and excommunicateth or casteth out of the Church as proud men, such as content not themselves with Christ's doctrine, (that is to say, the doctrine of godliness) but wearie both themselves and others in vain questions, (for all other things are vain) because they content not themselves in Christ's doctrine: and as lying deceivers, because they favour or found of nothing but vanitie: as madde men, because they trouble themselves so much in matters of nothing: as mischievous plagues, for that they cause great contentions, and corrupt men's minds and judgment: to be short, as prophane and wicked, because they abuse the precious name of godliness and religion to filthy lucre. [Geneva]

         They were thus men who taught neither according to the wholesome words of Christ nor to godly doctrine. Then Paul describes the ones who teach contrary to Godly bond-service. According to Fairbairn:

         he is carried with conceit (or besotted with pride; see at ch iii. 6), knowing nothing (that is, having no right sense or apprehension of anything), doting (as in a distempered and sickly condition, the opposite of a state adapted to receive the wholesome food of the gospel) about questions and word-fightings: things of little or no moment in themselves, but hurtful from the pugnacious spirit which they served to engender and exercise. For thence, as the apostle states, come envy, strife, blasphemies, evil surmisings, settled feuds: (...continued enmities, or conflicts of a more lasting kind). And these settled feuds are further characterized as pertaining to men corrupt in their mind (used... of the whole inner man, with respect to moral as well as intellectual qualities), and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is gain...

         Consequently, they corrupt the wholesome words of Christ for the supposed worldly gain available to them: They suppose they can gain worldly wealth and acclaim by corrupting the words of Christ concerning Godly servant and master relations. They see giving the people - servant/master relationship - what they want to hear as a means of worldly gain.


         Fairbairn gives three reasons for reversing these few words from supposing that gain is godliness to supposing that godliness is gain: First, the Greek makeup of the text; second, the fallacy of supposing gain is godliness is so obvious that the Apostle must be saying something else, and third, the idea that corrupt teachers use godliness to dupe certain semi-religious, speculative individuals for the teacher's gain. (Cf. Tit i. 11. Listening to the electronic media, one can easily hear attempts to dupe speculative individuals for the speakers gain. See EN1.)

         V. 5, according to Vincent Word Studies:

         Gain is godliness. Wrong. Rend. that godliness is a way (or source) of gain. ... only here and ver. 6, is a gain-making business. See Wisd. xiii. 19; xiv. 2. They make religion a means of livelihood. Comp. Tit. i. 11. [Emp added.]

         Peter and Jude confirm Fairbairn's and Vincent's understanding of the verse when they warned against false teachers professing godliness for gain:

         2 Pe 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 2 Pe 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam [the son] of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; Jude 1:11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

         Thus reading this text supposing gain is godliness is thoroughly Biblical. The context of the passage also strongly supports supposing godliness is gain - also thoroughly Biblical.

         Sixth, rather than telling pastors to confront these false teachers over their errors of preaching for profit what the people desire to hear, Paul simply says, From such withdraw thyself:

         That is, have no communication or fellowship with them as religious teachers; to not contenace their views. Timothy [Bible teachers of all time, ed] was in no way to show that he regarded them as inculcating truth, or to patronize their doctrine. From such men, as having any claim to the character of Christians, every man should withdraw with feelings of unutterable pity and loathing... [Barnes' Notes.]

         Seventh, v. 6 confirms Fairbairn's and Vincent's argument, contrasting supposing that godliness is [in itself a means of] gain with godliness with contentment is great gain:

         It is the mark of a base disposition to cultivate godliness for the sake merely of the temporal gain it may yield... (Fairbairn.)

         Paul warns of false teachers who cultivate godliness for their own personal gain; godliness must be "cultivated for its own sake, not as a stepping-stone to wealth or worldly consideration..."

         Contentment. Only here and 2 Cor ix. 8. The adjective self-sufficient, Philip. iv. 11. Comp. Sir. xl. 18. [{ow-tar'-kace}] an inward self-sufficiency, as opposed to the lack or the desire of outward things. ...a sufficiency proportioned to his needs. (Vincent.)


         1. Obviously, no matter which way of the two we read this verse, these false teachers whom Paul is warning against were in the ministry for the gain, i.e. It was little more than a occupation or trade to them.

  •      The Methodist Parsonage is right behind our Baptist Parsonage. When we first came to Linden, the Methodist Pastor at the time had formerly been a vacuum cleaner salesman. There is certainly nothing wrong with such a profession, but, from what we could gather about him, he considered preaching no more than a better occupation than vacuum cleaner sales. When we were in Louisiana, there was a young couple who drove several miles from Shreveport regularly. The husband had a very close friend with whom he had grown up. The friend was unsaved, and every aspect of him showed his unsaved condition. I was introduced to the unsaved young man, and he gave me this reason (excuse) for remaining unsaved and unchurched:

         There had been three boys who grew up very closely: the husband, the unsaved friend and a third boy. The third boy was now married and an assistant pastor at the largest Southern Baptist Church in that part of the state. The unsaved man asked the assistant pastor why he went into the ministry, telling him not to tell any lies because he knew him will enough to know if he was telling the truth. The assistant pastor told him that the reason he entered the ministry was for the money, i.e. gain. He now had two houses (home & vacation), new cars and an excellent paying job. He kind of mocked the unsaved man because he was a roofer: "While you are on that hot roof [Louisiana in the summer is hot], I am in my air-conditioned office. And you ask why I entered the ministry."

         This pastor must admit that he is highly suspicious of a great many very famous public Christian speakers: They have a very high standard of living while they carefully avoid anything that might offend their supporters. On the other hand, there are some very famous "Christian leaders" who attract funds and people by being (lacking a better word) "offensive." Only the Lord knows their hearts, but they sure appear to cultivate godliness for their personal gain. Love for worldly gain and avoidance of controversy is evidence that covetousness, not godliness, controls one. Was Paul's warning to Timothy for naught?

         Eighth, Paul develops the idea of covetousness in the hearts of the false teachers, causing them to "cultivate" godliness for gain. Thus the context of the passage would bear out Fairbairn's and Vincent's understanding, for it deals with covetousness. Paul's warning against covetousness actually started with his statement in v. 5: supposing that... Paul tells us why we should "cultivate" godliness for godliness' sake and not for gain:

         Heavenly vs Earthly treasure, v. 7.

         We brought nothing with us into the world, and we will take nothing out with us: Any earthly treasure one might be able to store up will be left behind. Thus "cultivate" godliness for godliness' sake, and store up treasure in heaven.

         Notice the close connection with Christ's words in Mat 6 (v. 20) concerning the foolishness of storing up earthly treasure. We should rather store it up in heaven.

         Contentment in Divine Providence, v. 8.

         Godliness with contentment is the great gain; therefore, let us be content with what Providence has provided in food and clothing. "Cultivate" godliness for godliness's sake, not for covetousness sake.

         The two words employed in the conditional clause... occur only here in the New Testament; and though the latter has sometimes been taken in the more general sense of covering, so as to include our dwellings as well as our clothes, yet the other is the more natural, as the apostle is speaking simply of what is proper to the individual man--to his proper life and being. (Fairbairn.)

         Paul uses a general statement to tell us to be content with the station in life the Lord has provided us and the supply He gives to us in that station. Cultivate godliness for godliness' sake, not in order to increase our station in life. (Actually, the only thing cultivating for gain will produce is trouble with the Lord, Ps 75:6, 7, For promotion [cometh] neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God [is] the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.)

         Though Paul's instruction is basically to pastors-teachers, it certainly applies to average Christians. The preacher is the one who is tempted to cultivate godliness for gain; the preacher is the one tempted to compromise for gain; the preacher is the one tempted to use (misuse) the Word of God to increase his following and his station in life (in the case Paul is dealing with, the preachers are compromising the Word of God concerning the bond-servant's responsibility to authority); the preacher is the one who is to cultivate godliness for godliness sake.

         The very real danger of drowning in destruction and perdition.

         v. 9, But they which would be rich describes the character of those opposed to v. 8, content with food and raiment. Notice their course of life, i.e. downward. They fall, then they drown. The comparison is of one getting too close to the bank of a swift river; he leans over to get something he sees and desires, and then he falls in. When one thus fall into temptation, the first thing he wants to say is that someone pushed him, but James gives us the truth of the matter: 1:13, 14, Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

         Those desiring to be rich will have many opportunities - temptations - to compromise the Word of God to gain their heart's desire. They then compromise - reach out for their desire, and are snared as a bird is snared in a trap. They are snared or caught by foolish and hurtful lusts (indicating that not all lusts are hurtful and foolish, cf. Mt 13:17; Lu 22:15, &c.). Finally, they drown in their own destruction.

         Notice the close connection with Christ's words concerning food and clothing, Mat 6:31. Both Christ and Paul warn about lusting for more than we have. We could define sinful lust or covetousness as a willingness to compromise the Word of God for worldly gain, e.g. cultivate godliness for gain.

         Ninth, the root of evil.

         The sentiment is, that there is no kind of evil to which the love of money may not lead men, when it once fairly takes hold of them... The passion is obviously identified by the apostle with its object - money as a thing loved and sought after; and some, he says, reaching forth in their desires after this, made a twofold shipwreck: first, of their Christian principles, departing from the faith; and second, of their happiness, piercing themselves through with many pangs. (Fairbairn.)

         The real destruction of the one seduced away from godliness by gain is an inner destruction: His outward appearance has been well cultivated to appear godly, "righteous before men," but he knows he sold his soul for gain.

         Notice the close connection with Christ's words that no man can serve two masters: God and mammon, Mat 6:24.

         Tenth, a Godly warfare.

         In the rest of the chapter, Paul exhorts the man of God, Timothy, to cultivate godliness and all its accompanying graces. Mark how Paul opens the rest of the chapter: But thou, O man of God, flee these things..., v. 11. Paul warns the man of God in the strongest possible terms of the danger of the desire for worldly gain.

  •      A Time To FLEE
  •      Flee! says Paul with the same force that the Wise Man in the book of Proverbs warned his son to flee from the strange woman. There is a time to flee; there are battles and people to flee from: FLEE from those who cultivate godliness for worldly gain; FLEE from those who connect godliness with gain, either supposing that gain is godliness or supposing that godliness is gain. Both suppositions connect worldly gain with godliness, and both suppositions and their promoters must be separated from by the man of God. Furthermore, if they must be separated from by the man of God, how much more must they be separated from by every Child of God? Keep in mind, however, that Paul's injunction is addressed specifically to the man of God. Hence, what Paul is warning against could well be so well concealed from the average Christian that only the man of God can see it. The man of God is to then warn the people.

          Paul points out that it is a fight of Christian faith (vv. 10-12) not to fall into the temptation to cultivate godliness for gain. Additionally, Paul tells the man of God (Timothy) to warn those who are already rich in this world's goods to be sure to use those riches for the Godly cause of the Kingdom. Paul points out that true riches mean to be rich in good works, &c., v. 18.

         Notice the close connection between Christ's words concerning heavenly treasure and Paul's words concerning heavenly treasure, 1 Tim 6:18, 19. Paul leaves no doubt as to how that treasure can be stored up in heaven: fulfilling Christian responsibility with one's money, v. 18. Hence, covetousness prevents our obedience to God's law-word concerning our relationship with worldly riches.

         Let us at this point mention 1 Tim 6:17-19: Paul does not condemn riches in any way, nor does he condemn "learning," nor "wisdom" as such. Rather, he warns not to trust in riches, but in the God Who provides the riches. Riches are highly volatile, and can depart without a moment's notice. The Wise Man in Proverbs said that riches have wings, enabling them to take flight at any moment. Paul instructs that God provides riches, in fact, all good things to enjoy. There is thus nothing wrong with enjoying the good things of life which worldly riches can purchase. The sin is the willingness to compromise the command-word of God to go beyond our station in life. Paul instructs how to lay up riches in heaven. Among other things, the rich man is to be as ready to distribute riches to the deserving needy as he is ready to distribute his riches upon his own desires. Godly willingness shows that he is not dependant upon his worldly riches, but that he is laying up treasure in heaven. And finally, Paul warns the rich man that he not get his attention off of his heavenly Father and his responsibility to the Father.

         V. 20 contains a word which we should deal with at this point: science, Gnosticism. [EN2] According to VINCENT, v. 20 is better understood thusly: oppositions of falsely-named knowledge... rather than of science falsely so called.

         Gnosticism: 1) emphasized knowledged and worldly wisdom over the Word of God; 2) sought to mix philosophy (Plato, Philo) with the Word of God; 3) sought superior knowledge, resulting in a superior salvation - evidently, extra-Biblical knowledge; 4) added much human speculation to God's Word, and 5) separated mankind into two parts- the masses and those endowed with ability to understand the "Greek Mysteries."

         In this pastor's opinion, we see far more Gnosticism promoted in Christianity than we see Biblical faith.

         Fairbairn makes an excellent comment on v. 20:

         So Chrysostom, who identifies the deposit with faith, on the ground that "where faith is not, there is no knowledge; when anything is produced of one's own thoughts, it is not knowledge:" in other words, the errors to be guarded against are the teachings of man; the safeguard against them is what is received by faith from the teachings of God.

         Fairbairn, accordingly, gives the death-blow to Gnosticism: The only weapon we have to combat the false teachings, i.e. Gnosticism, of man is unreserved faith in the inspired World of God. When one accepts God's Word as the final authority for all he say, does and thinks, when one brings every thought, word and deed into subjection to the Word of God, he cannot be deceived by science falsely so called. Not just Gnosticism, but false doctrines of all kinds gain increased hold when men refuses to accept the Word of God as the final rule for all action, life and thought, 2 Tim 3:16. V. 16 is interestingly placed in Paul's instruction to Timothy. Active faith in the Word of God is the death-keel against Gnosticism and every wind of false doctrine, Eph 4:14. Notice the context:

         And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

         In other words, one of the major responsibilities of a pastor is to study, develop and teach the Word of God in such a way as to prevent his flock from being swept away with Gnosticism and other false doctrines and false teachers. [False doctrines could be defined as anything that departs from what is clearly presented in the Word of God: e.g. much modern eschatology was developed from observing history, and then Scriptural support was sought for what was observed.]

         V. 14 does not mean we can knowingly seek to learn about the "deep things of Satan" and false doctrines; it does mean that the Word of God accepted by faith will prevent us from being swept around by false doctrines, cf. De 29:29; Eph 5:12.

         1 Tim 6:3, Paul refers to the wholesome words of the Lord Jesus Christ and His doctrine of godliness. Paul warns the man of God not to depart from Christ's doctrine of godliness (defined, v. 11) no matter how much temptation riches present to compromise the command-word of God.

         And finally, note the overall close connection between Christ's words of Mat 6 and Paul's words concerning the proper attitude toward one's master: The ultimate Master is Christ. Additionally, both Christ and Paul warn not to allow the love of money and earthly treasure to cause one to depart from his godly responsibility to his master.

         Though we have not dealt fully with the parallel between Mat 6 and 1 Tim 6, the similarities are far to great to dismiss lightly.

         "Thar's gold in them thar hills!"

         Cultivating godliness for gain seems to be a major Christian occupation today. Vast crowds flock after and finance an abundance of false teachers who have obviously departed from the clear teachings of God's Word- for great profit, we must add.

         The above "study" is lengthy, but we have been clearly and plainly commanded by the Spirit through Paul: Christians had best heed the Spirit's warning, and instead of flocking to those who depart from the Word of God for profit, THEY MUST FLEE FROM THEM.

         If Christian's would heed the Spirit's command, most of the "rich and famous" "Christian" movements of our day would not have enough funds for advertisement, let alone renting huge stadiums and purchasing TV and Radio time to propagate their departures from God's Word.

    Pastor Need


    EN1, godliness is gain

         The Geneva Bible leaves the verse alone, commenting on it as it stands in the King James. Both Fairbairn's and Vincent's arguments have merit, and will hold up in their contexts. Tit 1:11 does indeed say what they point out, Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. The World Bible gives Titus 1:11 as the only cross reference for this verse.

         Although Barnes (Barnes' Notes) holds to and develops the more traditional view of gain is godliness, he does say:

         The whole object of life with them is to make money; the rule by which they judge everything is by its tendency to produce gain; and their whole religion may be summed up in this, that they live for gain. Wealth is their real object of pursuit; but it is often with them cloaked under the pretence of piety.

         The Pulpit Commentary:

    Godliness is a way of gain. The A.V., that gain is godliness, is clearly wrong, utterly confusing the subject with the predicate, and so destroying the connection between the clause and ver. 6. A way of gain; only here in in ver. 6 in the New Testament, but found in Wisd. xiii. 19; xiv.2; Polybius, etc. It signifies "a source of gain," "a means of making money, or, in one word, "a trade." The same charge is brought against the heretical teachers (Titus i. 11)...


         destitute of the truth. They had had the truth, but through want of integrity and love of the truth they were misled by a pretended gnosis (knowledge) and higher ascetical holiness, of which they made a trade (Wiesinger). supposing, &c.--regarding the matter thus, that `godliness is a means of gain'...; not "that gain is godliness."

         Clark lets the passage stand as it reads in the KJV, but gives this understanding:

         Professing religion only for the sake of secular profit; defending their own cause for the emoluments it produces; and having no respect to another world.

         Likewise, MH: "making religion truckle to their secular interest."

         Meyer's (Meyer's Commentary on the New Testament) clears up the verse:

         It should never have been denied that they who are thus described were actual heretics. --The next clause adds another peculiar characteristic, which proves the ... is equivalent to "means of gain," i.e. a business bringing gain; Luther: "trade."...

         Before one accuses this pastor of being a "Bible Corrector/Corrupter," let him be aware that developer of a major portion of modern doctrine, J.N. Darby, was one of the greatest "Bible Correctors" of the 1800s: e.g. speaking of his newly developed doctrine of the imminent return of Christ to remove His people from this world of sorrow before He can judge wickedness upon this earth, he said:

         Now mark the practical effect of this looking for Jesus: it takes us clean out of the world up to heaven [i.e. makes one completely unconcerned about the social turmoil around him, ed]...

         To see the coming of the Lord Jesus for the Church changes the character of a thousand scriptures. Take the Psalms for instance- those which speak about judgments on the ungodly, such as "the righteous washing their feet in the blood of the wicked." We are not the persons who say this. It is the language of Jews, and of godly Jews too, who will be delivered through the rod of power smiting their enemies... But as for me, I am going straight up to Christ in heaven... When we have hold of this blessed centre, Christ, and wit Him, therefore, of God himself, then every scripture falls into its proper place; and we get a spiritual understanding by the Holy Ghost of things in heaven and our connection with them; and, above all, our hearts get into their proper place, for, being set on Jesus Himself, we are waiting for Him... [Collected Writings of J.N. Darby, edited by William Kelly, v. II, pp 493, 494. London: G. Morrish, 24, Warwick Lane, Patternoster Row, E.C. From lecture no. II, of seven Lectures on the Prophetical Addresses to the Seven Churches delivered in London, 1852. We must add, just waiting to Darby meant no responsibilities whatsoever; there could be no attempt to bring godliness into the social order.]

         Thus probably the greatest "Bible Corrector" of all times, with his doctrine of the imminent return of Christ, changed the historic, orthodox character of a thousand scriptures. Returning to Nimes, France, 25 years after first unsuccessfully presenting his new doctrine of the imminent return of Christ, Darby said, "The doctrine of the Lord's coming has spread everywhere astonishingly: all are aware of that; and the feeling that we are in the last days..." [Letters of J.N. Darby, v. II, p 261, 1874. 1971 reprint by Bible Truth Publishers, 239 Harrison St, Oak Park, Ill. 60304.] Writing from Vevey in 1874, Darby said, "Things are breaking up so fast in Europe, that it throws earnest persons on thuths and a path they once despised." [Ibid, p 263.] The reader might find it interesting that whether new or not, Darby considered his theories newly rediscovered Pauline doctrine. He was confident that he was breaking new ground from the time he departed the orthodox Christian faith in 1827 at the age of 27:

         One who may be very useful, got his soul all cleared, or rather filled with truth [i.e. the imminent return of Christ among other of Darby's ideas, ed], at our meetings. He told me he saw plainly that what brethren taught was the recovery of Paul's doctrine. So it really is. I am daily more convinced that evangelicalism with partial truth is the abandonment of what Paul taught... [Letters of J.N. Darby, v. I, p 398, from Toronto, 1865. Though we will not document it here, Darby worked hard to seperate Paul's teaching from the rest of Scripture for Believers.]

         Rediscovery, in other words, the Pauline truths had been lost. Brethren would never admit that what they developed was new; rather, it was rediscovered Pauline doctrine. Partial truth, that is, without the Pauline "truth" newly rediscovered by Darby. Multitudes of people who would never consider changing the KJV accept the theories put forth by one of the greatest "Bible Correctors" of all times, who not only changed the character a thousand scriptures, but changed words in his English translation to better support his ideas. His changes, however, were very minor compared to what the Jehovah's Witnesses have done to the English Bible. Darby's version can be found on Online Bible, CD-ROM, v. 6.13. His reasoning behind his changes can be found among his many hundrends of letters reprinted in his Letters, in three lengthy volumes of 1500+ pages.

         This pastor is attempting a major work, "The Death of Victory," tracing Darby from when he split from the Anglican Church, c. 1827, the many new theories he developed, where they went and HOW THEY EFFECT US TODAY. His theories can be found in the Scofiled Reference Bible. Therefore, as I read hundreds of Darby's documents, my mind is overwhelmed with them. Darby, though only one very busy and generally unknown man today, is no small figure in modern theology. We are now confronting the results of basically this one man's dreams and ideas.

         EN2, Gnosticism:

    1 Tim 6:20, 1108 gnosis {gno'-sis} from 1097; TDNT - 1:689,119; n f AV -knowledge (28) - science (1) [29] 1) knowledge signifies in general intelligence, understanding: the general knowledge of Christian religion, the deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of this religion, such as belongs to the more advanced, especially of things lawful and unlawful for Christians; moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living.

    1097 ginosko {ghin-oce'-ko} a prolonged form of a primary verb; TDNT - 1:689,119; vb AV - know (196) - perceive (9) - understand (8) - misc (10) [223] 1) to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel 2) to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of 2a) to understand 2b) to know 3) Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman 4) to become acquainted with, to know. To the Greeks, this meant to know facts, but these facts may or may not affect one's conduct. To the Jew, true knowledge always manifested itself in one's conduct. One did know not something until that fact had a practical outworking in his life.

         Vincent defines Gnosticism thsuly:

         [Knowledge-science] Used here, in its simple sense, of the arguments and teachings of those who opposed the true Christian doctrine as intrusted to Timothy. [K]nowledge was the characteristic word of the Gnostic school, the most formidable enemy of the church of the second century. The Gnostics claimed a superior knowledge peculiar to an intellectual cast. According to them, it was by this philosophic insight, as opposed to faith, that humanity was to be regenerated. Faith was suited only to the rude masses, the animal-men. The intellectual questions which occupied these teachers were two " to explain the work of creation, and to account for the existence of evil. Their ethical problem was how to develop the higher nature in the environment of matter which was essentially evil. In morals they ran to two opposite extremes--asceticism and licentiousness. The principal representatives of the school were Basilides, Valentinus, and Marcion. Although Gnosticism as a distinct system did not reach its full development until about the middle of the second century, foreshadowings of it appear in the heresy at which Paul's Colossian letter was aimed. It is not strange if we find in the Pastoral Epistles allusions pointing to Gnostic errors ; but, as already remarked, it is impossible to refer these allusions to any one definite system of error. The word [{gno'-sis}] cannot therefore be interpreted to mean the Gnostic system ; while it may properly be understood as referring to the conceit of knowledge which opposed itself to the Christian faith.,, It characterises the [{gno'-sis}] as claiming that name without warrant, and as being mere vain babbling. Comp. Col. 2.8.

    Gonsticism... According to ISBE:

         Dr. Orr writes, "Gnosticism may be described generally as the fantastic product of the blending of certain Christian ideas--particularly that of redemption through Christ--with speculations and imaginings derived from a medley of sources (Gr, jewish, Parsic; philosophies, religions, theosophies, mysteries) in a period when the human mind was in kind of ferment, and when opinions of every sort were jumbled together in an unimaginable welter. It involves, as the name denotes, a claim to 'knowledge,' knowledge of a kind of which the ordinary believer was incapable, and in the possession of which 'salvation' in the full sense consisted. This knowledge of which the Gnostic boasted, related to the subjects ordinarily treated in religious philosophy; Gnosticism was a species of religious philosophy" (The Early Church, 71). P. 1240.

         Gnosticism accordingly comprehends in itself many previously existing tendencies; it is an amalgam into which quiet a number of different elements have been fused. A heretical system of thought, at once subtle, speculative and elaborate, it endeavored to introduce into Christianity a so-called higher knowledge, which was grounded partly on the philosophic creed in which Greeks and Romans had taken refuge consequent on the gradual decay and breaking-up of their own religions, partly, as will be shown, on the philosophies of Plato and of Philo, and still more on the philosophies and theosophies and religions of the East, especially those of Persia and of India. P. 1240.

         "Gnosticism," says Dr. Gwatkin, "is christianity perverted by learning and speculation." (Early Church History, 73). The intellectual pride of the Gnostics refined away the gospel into a philosophy... To the Gnostic the great question was not the intensely practical one, "What must I do to be saved?" but "What is the origin of evil?" "How is the primitive order of the universe to be restored?" In the knowledge of these and of similar questions, and in the answers given to these questions, there was redemption, as the Gnostic understood it. P. 1241.

    ['Document Archive']   ['Home Page']   ['The Biblical Examiner']