What Is the Context of 1 Timothy 6?
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“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be right fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:6-10).
Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, one of his best friends and brothers in the faith, however he intended the church at Ephesus (left in Timothy’s care) to hear the contents of the letter, too. “In this passage, the apostle Paul tells us to desire God and all the things of God,” wrote Jamie Rohrbaugh for iBelieve.com. “He instructs us to pursue holy things with great passion, rather than setting our hearts and affections on wealth and riches.”
The entirety of Chapter 6 addresses the church at Ephesus and their tendency to fall away from the true core of Christianity. Without a Bible to carry with them as we have today, they were swayed back and forth by different attributes of other faiths, Jewish law and their society.
Paul writes of obedience to God, contentment being rooted in God, fighting the good fight of faith, God as our provider, and false knowledge. He builds up and then scales down to de-root them of the evil and lopsided love of money, reminding them it is in Christ we find true contentment, and God provides for us – not only what we need, but He blesses us above and beyond!
“The modern reader who reads these 2300-year-old portraits of defective characters will find many familiar themes,” the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary of the New Testament explains, “and confirm Paul’s statement about money being at the root of broken friendships, shattered marriages, a bad reputation, and all kinds of evil.”
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