Teach & Urge
Warren E. Berkley
“Teach and urge these things” is one of those key statements, well identifying the work of the gospel preacher. Not only must he deliver the right instruction (from God), he is to urge, challenge, implore his listeners to respond as directed by God.
The person who teaches “a different doctrine” is “puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.” This isn’t about the sincere, growing learner who is humble and willing to stand corrected. This is the deliberate, conceited mindset of the false teacher who suffers from an “unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,” etc. The godly person who seeks to avoid these negatives will simply teach and urge only what God has revealed. The kind of false teacher Paul describes here has in view, the carnal motive: godliness as a means of gain. Sincere devotion to truth is the path away from this wickedness.
Speaking of gain – Paul wants Timothy to know that “there is great gain in godliness, with contentment.” If you are looking for real, lasting gain – it is found with God, not money or false teaching.
The godly person – the person who lives toward God – enjoys the highest and purest gain a human being can have. There is no money that is any better. There is no celebrity status that tops this. There just isn’t anything better, higher or purer than being godly, and being content with that way of life!!
Verse 7 says “for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” You leave with exactly what you had when you came! When you were born, you had nothing; not even pockets! When you leave, your body may be well dressed – but even if there is something in the pockets – you won’t be able to do anything with it. (See also Job 1:21; Eccl. 5:14,15).
“But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” It isn’t wrong to have more than food and clothing, but what you have is not what makes you godly and content. Those with the minimum necessities can enjoy the contentment of godliness.
The spiritual killer is: “..the love of money…” Paul does not say, THERE IS A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF MONEY – and once you have more than that – you are spiritually dead. Paul doesn’t say – ONCE YOU HAVE MORE THAN OTHER PEOPLE, at that point – you are guilty. There is nothing like that here.
The spiritual killer here is desire and love for money. The point is not that money, in and of itself, causes you to wander away from the faith. The verse doesn’t read that way. It is the desire and love for money; that’s the problem identified.
Three phrases make this clear: “those who desire to be rich…” and “the love of money” and “through this craving.” So – it is conceivable and more than hypothetical, people who live in relative economic poverty – can be guilty of this craving, this love and this desire – that ruins their relationship with God.
From Hendriksen & Kistemaker
Sin never walks alone. The desire to become rich causes the man who, in today’s terminology, is “an incarnation of fat dividends” to fall into numerous cravings. One kind of craving easily leads to another. The person who craves riches generally also yearns for honor, popularity, power, ease, the satisfaction of the desires of the flesh, etc. All spring from the same root, selfishness, which, being the worst possible method of really satisfying the “self,” is both senseless and hurtful (cf. Matt. 20:26–28; see N.T.C. on John 12:25, 26).
Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953-2001). Vol. 4: Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles. New Testament Commentary (199–200). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.