What does 1 Timothy 6:8 mean?
ESV: But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
NIV: But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
NASB: If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
CSB: If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.
NLT: So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.
KJV: And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
NKJV: And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
Verse Commentary:
Here Paul continues his teaching on contentment. This verse speaks of the most basic, necessary aspects of survival. These essentials were provided to highlight the contrast between essentials and wealth. Or, in a more common modern phrasing, the difference between "needs" and "wants." In this case, especially, Paul speaks from a position of personal experience. In fact, this ability to endure a lack of "wants," and even a scarcity of "needs," is the kind of trial for which Paul declares the Christian uniquely empowered (Philippians 4:10–13).

The next verse highlights the danger of being overly obsessed with obtaining desires, as opposed to simply meeting our needs. Those who desire wealth or love money fall in to temptation. As believers, our goal should be to focus on having daily essentials and living for God, not wealth and luxury. Jesus personally modeled this kind of simplicity in His years of ministry with His disciples. Rather than seeking power and fortune for His teachings, He depended on the financial support of others, even living without a home at times (Matthew 8:20).

This perspective cannot be separated from the teaching of verse 7. Nothing we "own" in this life is ours forever. We begin and end life with no material possessions. God neither owes nor promises us worldly success. Even as we give our best efforts to grow what God has entrusted to us, we need to be satisfied with what we have.
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.
Accessed 5/20/2024 8:20:25 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.