What does 1 Timothy 6:5 mean?
ESV: and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
NIV: and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
NASB: and constant friction between people of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
CSB: and constant disagreement among people whose minds are depraved and deprived of the truth, who imagine that godliness is a way to material gain.
NLT: These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.
KJV: Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
NKJV: useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
Verse Commentary:
Verses 4 and 5 give nine traits which are hallmarks of a false teacher. The first seven were found in the prior verse: arrogance, hard-headedness, bickering, envy, discord, slander, and suspicion. The final two flaws are found in this verse.

One of these final traits is described using a unique Greek word: diaparatribai. This is variously translated as "friction," "constant disputing," or even "perverse disputings." The related English word diatribe describes a harsh, bitter verbal attack on someone or something else. This is the exact opposite of the encouragement described in Hebrews 10:25. False teachers are wrong in the way they think, the conclusions they make about the truth, and the way they interact with others who might not agree.

The final character flaw associated with false teachers is their view of spirituality as a tool for material success. False teachers seek to make a profit—for the sake of profit—from their leadership role. Paul has just made it clear that those who primarily serve the church, as teachers and leaders, should be paid for this (1 Timothy 5:17–18). This allows them to focus more attention on the needs of the church family. However, this applies to those who serve in humility, sincerity, and with a mind to honor God.

In contrast, the false teacher sees spirituality as a business venture, or a money-making tool. This could include housing at the homes of Christians, eating food from those who hosted them, and money donated to them from Christians. Other New Testament authors noted the same thing, such as John: "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works" (2 John 1:10–11). Enabling the work of false teachers by supporting them is, in and of itself, a bad choice.
Verse Context:
First Timothy 6:3–10 describes the character flaws common among false teachers. Those who refuse to accept correct doctrines are often characterized by traits such as hard-headedness, greed, slander, and bickering. The core cause of these errors is an unwillingness to accept the truth, and an insistence on clinging to false teachings. Paul also gives a more extensive explanation of how and why greed can destroy a person's life.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter completes Paul's highly practical instructions to his friend and student, Timothy. The major focus of this passage is proper Christian conduct, and the avoidance of evil. Paul gives several character flaws common in those who teach false doctrine. He also provides a stark warning about the dangers of greed and materialism. Those who become obsessed with wealth open themselves to virtually any other sin one can imagine. Timothy is given a clear mandate to uphold his faith and testimony, along with Paul's blessings and encouragement.
Chapter Context:
The book of 1 Timothy is full of very practical advice, from Timothy's mentor, the apostle Paul. Chapter 6 rounds out the instructions given in the first five chapters. Building on the ideas laid down earlier in the letter, Paul reminds Timothy of the importance of godly living and avoiding the snares of evil and temptation. This chapter provides a strong encouragement for Timothy to apply the wisdom of this letter, both in his personal life and in the churches he is leading.
Book Summary:
First Timothy is one of Paul's three ''Pastoral Epistles.'' Paul's other letters, such as Romans, Ephesians, and Colossians, are meant for a broader audience. First Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus are written to specific people whom Paul is advising on how to best lead their local churches. These three letters present a close look at the form and function of church leadership. First Timothy, like 2 Timothy and Titus, is less formal and systematic, and more personal. This gives great insight into the way pastors, deacons, and elders ought to prioritize their time and energy.
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