1 Timothy 6:3-5
If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ…
I. THE OPPOSITION TO APOSTOLIC TEACHING- ON THE DUTIES OF SLAVES. "If any one teacheth other doctrine, and does not assent to sound words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness."
1. The nature of this false teaching. It points, as the word signifies, to "a different doctrine" from that of the apostle. There were false teachers in Ephesus who, from a pretended interest in the class of Christian slaves, taught them that the gospel was a political charter of emancipation; for the yoke of Christ was designed to break every other yoke. They must have been of the class referred to elsewhere who "despised government" (2 Peter 2:10; Jude 1:8), and encouraged disobedience to parents. The tendency of their teaching would be to sow the seeds of discontent in the minds of the slaves, and its effects would be to plunge them into a contest with society which would have the unhappiest effects.
2. The opposition of this teaching to Divine truth.
(1) It was opposed to "wholesome words," to words without poison or taint of corruption, such as would maintain social relations on a basis of healthy development.
(2) It was opposed to the words of Christ, either directly or through his apostles. He had dropped sayings of a suggestive character which could not but touch the minds of the slave class: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's;" "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth;" "Resist not evil;" "Love your enemies, pray for them which despitefully use you."
(3) It was opposed to the doctrine of godliness. It was a strange thing for teachers in the Church to espouse doctrines opposed to the interests of godliness. The disobedience of slaves would commit them to a course of ungodly dishonoring of God and his gospel.
II. THE MORAL AND INTELLECTUAL CHARACTER OF THESE FALSE TEACHERS.
1. They were "besotted with pride." They were utterly wanting in the humility of spirit which the gospel engenders, but were puffed up with an empty show of knowledge.
2. Yet they were ignorant. "Knowing nothing." They had no true understanding of the social risks involved in their doctrine of emancipation, or of the true method of ameliorating the condition of the slaves.
3. They "doted about questions and disputes about words." They had a diseased appetency for all sorts of profitless discussions turning upon the meanings of words, which had no tendency to promote godliness, but rather altercations and bad feeling of all sorts - "from which cometh envy, strife, evil-speakings, wicked suspicions, incessant quarrels." These controversial collisions sowed the seeds of all sorts of bitter hatred.
4. The moral deficiency of these false teachers. They were "men corrupted in their mind, destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is gain."
(1) They had first corrupted the Word of God, and thus prepared the way for the debasement of their own mind, leading in turn to that pride and ignorance which were their most distinguishing qualities.
(2) They were "deprived of the truth." It was theirs once, but they forfeited this precious treasure by their unfaithfulness and their corruption. It is a dangerous thing to tamper with the truth.
(3) They heard that "godliness was a source of gain." They did not preach contentment to the slaves, or induce them to acquiesce with patience in their hard lot, but rather persuaded them to use religion as a means of worldly betterment. Such counsel would have disorganizing, disintegrating effects upon society. But it was, besides, a degradation of true religion. Godliness was not designed to be a merely lucrative business, or to be followed only so far as it subserved the promotion of worldly interests. Simon Magus and such men as "made merchandise" of the disciples are examples of this class. Such persons would "teach things which they ought not for the sake of base gain" (Titus 1:11). - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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;