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1 Timothy 6:4

ESV he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,
NIV they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions
NASB he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a sick craving for controversial questions and disputes about words, from which come envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions,
CSB he is conceited and understands nothing, but has an unhealthy interest in disputes and arguments over words. From these come envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions,
NLT Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions.
KJV He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

What does 1 Timothy 6:4 mean?

This begins a list of nine descriptions regarding false teachers, found in verses 4 through 5. Paul's point here is not that a person is only a false teacher when they display some (or all) of these traits. Rather, these are traits common to those who promote messages contrary to the gospel. Seven are included in this verse.

First, the false teacher suffers from arrogance. Pride is at the root of those who continue in false teaching. Rather than following all of God's Word to the proper conclusion, such people place themselves above the Scriptures.

Second, the false teacher is marked by being unteachable. They are so convinced of their own position they cannot understand the truth. This is a natural companion to the next flaw, since those who resist correction often go to great lengths to defend their errors.

Third, false teachers often drift towards bickering, arguments, and debates over non-essential issues. The false teacher enjoys arguing about the words of Scripture, for the sake of the words themselves, not for the sake of the truth. This is a similar issue to what Paul describes in Colossians 2:8. It also echoes the sentiment of Titus 3:9–11. Interestingly, this trend towards squabbling is said to produce the rest of the flaws Paul will mention.

Fourth, a false teacher is marked by envy. He or she desires what others have. Money and material issues will be mentioned explicitly later. So, this is most likely a reference to envy of others' spiritual respect, reputation, or image. The false teacher wants to be treated as a guru, or a sage, and envies others who are treated as spiritual teachers.

Fifth, a false teacher is filled with dissension. Dissension includes disagreement or controversy. This seems to be a broader issue than the arguments mentioned so far. An inability to "live and let live" is often a hallmark of the false teacher. Such persons often treat very poorly those who cannot agree with them on every point.

Sixth, a false teacher is a person who slanders others. This includes spreading misleading, dishonest, unfair, or blatantly false information. There are more ways to create division among Christian believers than just open arguments. Slander, whether literally verbal or simply through our actions, is that kind of dividing force. The false teacher is especially quick to speak about the problems of others while being sinful themselves (Matthew 7:1–5).

Seventh, a false teacher has evil suspicions about others. The type of suspicions are not specified here, but could include accusations or the attitude of someone consumed with conspiracy theories and thinks everyone else is out to get them. This makes sense in the context of a person who is totally unwilling to consider their own flaws. A person convinced their position cannot possibly be wrong may well assume all who oppose them do so as a personal vendetta. This, again, leads to the false teacher participating in further slander, bickering, and dissent.
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