Slaves and Masters
1 Timothy 6 addresses three more specific groups within the church and Timothy himself again. First, Paul gave instructions for slaves (1 Timothy 6:1-2). Similar to the instructions in Ephesians 6:5-7 (written just a couple of years earlier), Paul told Timothy that Christian slaves should respect their masters and work well for them because this glorifies God and keeps a good reputation in the community. For those who have “BELIEVING MASTERS,” this is true “ALL THE MORE.” Sadly, it appears that it was common then as it is now for Christians to treat unbelievers better than their fellow believers in the business world.
Second, Paul addressed those who would spread “FALSE TEACHINGS AND . . . NOT AGREE WITH SOUND WORDS . . . AND WITH THE TEACHING THAT ACCORDS WITH GODLINESS” (1 Timothy 6:3-10). It seems that then, like now, “health and wealth” theology (the “Prosperity Gospel”) was prevalent. Paul warned Timothy not to get involved with it and to warn the believers to stay away from it as well. It is nothing more than idolatry, loving money more than God, and it always destroys one’s faith.
Third, Paul returned to his original encouragement to Timothy, that he should not give up (1 Timothy 6:11-16). It would be a struggle, one that Paul was familiar with, but Timothy – and we – could do it when we place our full trust in Christ and rest in him.
Finally, Paul closed with a few words to those “WHO ARE RICH IN THIS WORLD’S GOODS” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). His comments about the “Prosperity Gospel” were not intended to be a condemnation on wealth itself or those who have it. Money is a tool, and Paul made sure to tell wealthy believers to use it to help build God’s Church and enjoy what God has allowed them to have. What we do in this life is the foundation for our relationship with God and reward in the next.
Each Thursday DPH runs a Chapter-by-Chapter blog by Daniel Goepfrich, progressing readers chapter-by-chapter through the New Testament. This series is taken from New Testament Chapter-by-Chapter, published by Trust House Publishers, a division of DPH. Daniel serves as Pastor of Oak Tree Community Church in South Bend, Indiana, and blogs at www.TheologyIsForEveryone.com
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