1 Timothy 6:1-5
1 Tim 6:1 (KJB)
Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
Paul now turns to the subject of slaves and masters. Those slaves who have become saved but work for masters who are not saved, may tend to adopt an attitude of superiority. Slaves in many parts of the ancient world were regarded as nothing more than cattle and chattel. Many cruel slave owners would have them tortured for entertainment but many also knew the value of their slaves who were educated and raised their children and tutored them. Paul is stating that if any slave become saved, they must never bask in the evil satisfaction that if the slave owner does not become saved, they will burn in hell for eternity (Ezek 33:11 KJV) Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? If God doesn’t have pleasure in the death of the wicked, neither should we!
They must continue to work for their masters, even going the extra mile, because this way they will see that the Gospel of salvation is real and that God is real. If the saved slaves do not treat their masters properly and slack off, then people will blaspheme Christianity by stating it is a cult of laziness and fraudulence. Unfortunately, we see this same situation in the workplace with some Christian employees who do less work than the unbelievers, and it should be the other way around. If we are getting paid for doing a job and we slack off, then we are stealing from that employer. Unfortunately over the years I have heard testimonies of employers who would not hire a Christian because they are lazy and a bad investment. That is a blasphemy of God and Christianity, but it is also an assessment of the attitudes some unbelieving employers have witnessed and unless they see otherwise, they will maintain that mindset and make it bad for Christians who will do a better job.
1 Tim 6:2 (KJB)
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.
Despise - To think against or think down upon
Partakers - Receive in return - implies enjoyment
Benefit - Good deed or good service
Now Paul speaks to those saved slaves who have saved masters. They are not to think or look down upon them. An attitude may arise among them such as “Well I am saved too, how come he has so much” and that wrong point of view may cause the saved slave to do less or even attempt to do nothing. Just because both are saved and they are brethren, is no reason to elicit an evil mindset about their master. If they both belonged to the same church, they are both equal in the sight of God as His children, but that does not mean that there is no social order on this earth. There are always going to be those who have, those who have some, and those how have not, but material possessions is not the criteria for being an obedient Christian. It is interesting that the church never took up the mantle against slavery, this was because about half of the Roman Empire were slaves. The Gospel took a slave and a wealthy person and made them equal for eternity. When it speaks of “partakers of the benefit,” just as the slaves who were saved were partakers of the benefit of salvation, likewise the masters also were partakers of the benefit of salvation. Each were also partakers of the benefits, the master from the conscientious work of the slave and the slave in the benevolence of the master, knowing they are both brothers in the Lord. Paul wanted Timothy to stress this teaching because a rift between slaves and masters could rip the Christian community apart and destroy the local church.
1 Tim 6:3 (KJB)
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;
Teach otherwise - Teaching another doctrine (heresy)
Consent - Agree with
Wholesome - Be sound or correct
Paul is now pointing to the fact that there are false teachers who will not consent to wholesome words, even the words of the Lord Jesus Christ will be anathema to them. They will disregard the true doctrines of Christ which brings godliness into the life of a saved person. Wherever the true gospel is taught, the false gospel will not be far behind to refute the truth and cause confusion. Paul is warning Timothy to be on the guard for false teachings which will invade the assembly he is pastor of.
1 Tim 6:4 (KJB)
He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
Doting - An unhealthy desire or craving for something, a morbid interest
Surmisings - Opinion based on scant evidence
In verses four and five, Paul gives the characteristics of false teachers.
Proud - Pride is the one thing which cuts off the Holy Spirit from doing any teaching to the believer. (Mat 11:25 KJV) At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Pride in an unbeliever will be his driving force just as the pride of Satan is his driving force.
Knowing nothing - The false teachers will create their own theological systems and the result of them is that they will destroy a person’s soul because their teachings are void of the truth.
Their pride and their lack of true biblical knowledge only lead to an unhealthy desire to create more questions as in philosophy. Paul ran into this same situation on Mars Hill. (Acts 17:21 KJV) (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
False teachers never get tired of creating questions and making simple things complex, this way, they are the only ones who can unravel their system. When this happens, it leads to four other evil characteristics:
Envy - A jealous attitude is created. This is on the part of the false teacher who may be envious of the true teacher and has a following. False teachers always crave followings and will stop at nothing until they achieve that.
Strife - False teachers always sow discord and strife among the people wherever they go. When they manage to gather to themselves followers, those followers will attempt to bring the false teachings to others and this will cause strife.
Railings - This word can also be understood as blasphemies. Wherever false teachings occur, there will always be some type of blasphemy against God because false teachings are all satanic and an enemy of God.
Evil Surmisings - May also be understood as evil suspicions and those suspicions will be aimed at the true Gospel and those who bring it. Suspicions always lead to false accusations and this Paul was very familiar with.
1 Tim 6:5 (KJB)
Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
Perverse disputings - Constant friction, useless wrangling, obstinate contests
Destitute - Deprived or defrauded
Paul states that there is no peace within these people and wherever they show up and start preaching, they exude a consistent friction among the people because false gospels cannot be tolerated by those who are of the truth. Their minds have been corrupted by Satan and false teaching, so they attempt to disseminate those teachings which result in friction. They do not possess the mind of Christ. Since they are not saved, they have been deprived of the truth, so they amalgamate false teachings and try to make them palatable, yet they are false teachings. One of the false teachings which has never gone away is the belief that wealth is godliness or it means you have the favor of God. We have this idea today in the charismatic movement that wealth is an inherited right in our salvation. If that is the case, how come we all don’t live in 40 room mansions? Paul then commands, not suggests, that when these people show up, true Christians are to withdraw or depart from these people. Since they have not the truth, there is no benefit for the true believer to even give them a hearing. For example, a Jehovah’s Witness starts teaching in a public place, what benefit does a believer gain from the teaching of a man who denies the very person by whom they are saved? None whatsoever, and that not only goes for cults, but even false teachers within Christianity must also be avoided.