A Contrast Between True and False Teaching
1 Timothy 6:3-5
If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ…

At the close of the second verse Paul urges Timothy not to be silent, but to "teach and exhort" the Christians in Ephesus on the subject in slavery.

I. THE WHOLESOMENESS OF CHRIST'S TEACHING. The apostle speaks of "wholesome words," a translation which we prefer to that given in the Revised Version ("sound words"), because it conveys the idea of imparting health to men and to society. Christ's teaching is the ozone of the moral atmosphere.

1. It concerned itself with practical questions. The Sermon on the Mount (which is the chief specimen given us of His teaching) proves this to demonstration. As Jesus Himself put it: a candle was not lighted by Him in order to be looked at or talked about; but that it might give light to all that were in the house. In other words, the Christian religion is to be used rather than to be discussed, and is meant to throw light upon all the obscurities of life's pathway until it leads up to the light of heaven.

2. His teaching was embodied in His perfect life. This made it the more helpful. These slaves, for example, to whom the apostle had been speaking, wanted to know what they were to do under the provocations and hardships of their lot. And nothing could help them more than the knowledge of Him whose gentleness was never at fault; who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.

3. His teaching, tended, to the increase of godliness. "The doctrine which is according to godliness, means the teaching which makes men more like God — in holiness and righteousness and love. But in sharp contrast with this is presented —

II. THE UNWHOLESOMENESS OF FALSE TEACHING, the effects of which were visible in the character of those who accepted and taught it.

1. Self-sufficiency was written on the forehead of each of them. As Paul says, "He is proud," literally "carried away with conceit," "knowing nothing." A footman is generally more awe-inspiring than his master. And this was true of pretentious teachers in Paul's days, of whom he says they are "carried away with conceit."

2. Love of verbal disputes was another characteristic of theirs. The word translated "doting" indicates a distempered and sickly condition, which turns away from the "wholesome" food of the gospel; just as a child with a poor appetite refuses bread-and-butter, and can only daintily pick and choose among delicacies, and the more he has of them the worse his appetite becomes. It is a bad sign when society has unwholesome appetites, caring more for art than for truth — more for manner than for matter; for these are signs of decadence such as preceded the fall of the Roman empire.

3. A carnal appetite was displayed by these opponents of our Lord's wholesome words. Our translation, "supposing that gain is godliness," is incorrect and misleading. No one supposes, or ever supposed, that worldly gain is godliness, or leads to it; but many in all ages have been guilty of what Paul suggests, namely, of "using godliness as a way of gain." In other words, these men, corrupted as they were in mind, in the whole inner life, and "bereft of the truth," only professed the Christian faith so far as it was serviceable to their worldly interests.

(A. Rowland, LL. B.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

WEB: If anyone teaches a different doctrine, and doesn't consent to sound words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness,

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