Tabletalk Subscription
You have {{ remainingArticles }} free {{ counterWords }} remaining.You've accessed all your free articles.
Unlock the Archives for Free

Request your free, three-month trial to Tabletalk magazine. You’ll receive the print issue monthly and gain immediate digital access to decades of archives. This trial is risk-free. No credit card required.

Try Tabletalk Now

Already receive Tabletalk magazine every month?

Verify your email address to gain unlimited access.

{{ error }}Need help?

As Paul exhorts Timothy to faithfully teach the Lord’s good Word, he points out an aspect of counterfeit Christianity. False teachers are motivated by a desire for personal gain (1 Tim. 6). Because he is living in suppression of the truth of God in unrighteousness, the false teacher doesn’t really “get” the gospel or godliness. Marked by selfish cravings and an argumentative spirit, the false teacher believes that somehow a pursuit of godliness will enable him to make personal gains in prestige or wealth (1 Tim. 6:4–5). This is what drives his teaching and outward acts of godliness. Paul’s sober analysis challenges us to examine our own hearts: What gain do we pursue? What benefit motivates us?

The true Christian who loves the Lord Jesus Christ sees the incredible blessing of salvation in Him and desires godliness, because to be godly is to live in communion with the living God (1 Tim. 6:3). He echoes the words of the hymn “And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood?” and is amazed by God’s love. This is what drives us when our hearts are right with the Lord. Matthew Henry puts it well when he says that the false teachers thought they could achieve personal gains by acting godly, whereas the Christian marvels at what he has gained in Christ and understands that godliness itself is gain. Paul is both firm and enthusiastic: “But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6). What could be greater than life in communion with God? What could be better than growing in likeness to Him?

Paul gives one more reason here in his epistle to Timothy as to why great gain is found in godliness: “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” (1 Tim. 6:7–8). Earthly gain will, at most, last through this life, and God will provide for our needs. But the gain of godliness will compound eternally. That is great gain.

The Apostle knows from experience the rest that comes from contentment in Christ. Having life in and with Christ, he has it for life and eternity. In his epistle to the Philippians, written from prison, Paul both rejoices in his readers’ generosity and encourages them to rest in the Lord’s goodness as he does: “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Phil. 4:11). The more we grow in godliness and life in communion with God, the more everything will fall into the right perspective: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31–32). Life with God is the beginning of an eternal inheritance that is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” (1 Peter 1:4; see Rev. 22:3–5). There is no greater gain.

The Pre-Tabernacle Altars

An Altar with No Steps

Keep Reading Misunderstood Biblical Words and Phrases

From the August 2022 Issue
Aug 2022 Issue