Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge”
This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book.
When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.
Let’s start in verse seventeen of the sixth chapter of First Timothy.
1st Timothy 6:17 (ESV) As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.
Paul gives Timothy his final command in this letter; he speaks to the rich in this present age and regardless of how many units of currency you have in your bank account at present, if you are living in the West, you are rich. There are many in the second and third world who would pray for the problems that you have in your worst day, so please bear this in mind before you discount this from your mind.
We get wrapped up a lot in our own wee situations and sometimes we look at things in relation to “poverty levels” and what our neighbor has, when in fact if we were to airlift our salary or what we bring in and we were to apply it to a situation where there is extreme poverty, we would see that we are living a rich life.
We have to be careful that we don’t allow money to occupy an unhealthy grip on our lives, whether we are “paycheck to paycheck” or whether we are at “lottery winner” status the money we have in our wallets can become unhealthy as it may become a god in our lives.
Paul deals with the rich man here, but speaking as a man who has lived on both sides of the curb when you are broke and have literally no money, money can be just as much of an idol when every penny is a prisoner. If this is not you then I would urge you to pray for those who you know who are living paycheck to paycheck as you have no idea the stress they are under and how they survive on a day to day basis with their finances.
Rich in this present age
He uses the phrase “rich in this present age” and it is a timely reminder that riches are temporary and that the blessings we have can be removed in the blink of an eye. There is a certain responsibility that God puts on the rich to be a good steward of his money. They are commanded to use their wealth wisely.
We have to be careful that with wealth comes pride and it is very much human nature to assess our worth based on what is in our bank account or the rich possessions that we have. We are no more or less of a man (or woman) because we have more than another man has.
Temporary wealth or everlasting?
Our riches are temporary but trusting in the LORD is security. Much as riches are temporary (well the ones in this life are) if we have riches in heaven they are everlasting. We have to put our future and our trust in him as opposed to some temporary wealth which can be removed in a heartbeat.
If we must boast then boast in the living God, in his grace, in the love that the father has that he sent his some Jesus Christ to die on the cross at Calvary. If we must boast then boast in the infallible, inerrant word of God, the Bible that gives us hope, instruction and is a timeless document of truth. We must not forget as Paul states that God is our provider.
Be generous and ready to share
18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
With that great wealth comes great responsibility; God expects those whom he has provided with in much abundance to be generous with their excess. Paul expects them to be as rich in good works as they are in currency, and speaking from a human perspective I have never not been blessed when I have been giving. Yes I may have given a meal or a few dollars, but I have been given more back in abundance.
It takes faith to give, if you have a lot it takes less faith but God knows us and knows our hearts, he made us this way with a need to be generous and to be a giver. God does not need our money and could provide for every eventuality even if we are not compliant, but God desires to bless us and this is my biggest growth area, letting go of the clenched fish and opening my hand to the LORD.
Would I survive without it?
We have to approach material things with an attitude of “if my house burned down, would I survive without it?” I remember this principle from a movie I watched once called “Leap Year” where the question was posed to the main character “Your house is burning down, what would you grab? Or what was important to you?” We can’t be so comfortable here with our stuff that it chokes out what God has planned for us.
Paul commends Timothy to leave that well alone! To be content in the calling that he has and seek the higher pursuits of ministry. I know that one myself as I have seen Pastors take jobs that were less money to fulfill a calling in order to do what God was calling them to do in their life. (In one case taking a job that was a Pastor) That takes faith and obedience.
V20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.
Paul cites Timothy by name in this closing of this letter. He commends Timothy to “guard the deposit entrusted to you” which basically means that he is to guard the ministry that he has been called to by God. God has entrusted you with this job, he can do it with our without you but isn’t it so cool that he involved his faithful child Timothy.
When we get into ministry, we can often times think, that’s my ministry, or this is my bible study and in truth we are simply custodians, God is allowing us to be part of something that really has very little to do with us. Paul trusts Timothy and would never have sent him to Ephesus had he not trusted him but Paul also knows that Timothy is a young man and what he is warning of (further in the sentence) is dangerous.
V20b Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,
Timothy, hold on to what is from God and avoid the babble of man! Really is what is being said here. When you teach the bible, you will have folks congratulating you in revealing truths to them please reject that Timothy, reject the talk of men who wish to court your good favor.
This is a word to the pastors also! Check the health of your assembly, if you look around your fellowship and you see those who aspire to be in ministry trying to flatter the leadership rather than serving or caring for the least of these. Obviously the Sunday assembly is only a minute part of the week, but if they are not caring for the ones who need it in the fellowship, do you think they will externally?
POP QUIZ TIME
Jesus said “By this you will know you are my disciples…”
A) If you love one another
B) If you are in tight with the Pastor, elders and deacons
Makes you think huh?
Paul is a careful spiritual father and his careful instructions are relevant to us today, because human nature has not changed, men will flatter those in leadership, we all have a desire to be liked, fit in and be accepted. We all want to be listened to if we have a ‘ministry idea”.
The consequences of this
V21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.
Are simple, Paul states that the ones who are in babble and are not staying true are strayed concerning the faith. It is a slippery slope when you are leaving the church. I know that when I left the church the first time as an 18 year old I was all mad that the church didn’t notice I had gone, when in truth I had tried so many different churches it would be difficult to assess which one would be regarded as my home church.
If your Christianity is based on being tight with the pastor, having a wee social club and not affecting the world outside then you will have no foundation to go on. Paul states that these people who were the worst offenders are no longer there.
For these folks, they have to be treated as unbelievers and we must do all that we can to win them back to the faith in love, teaching them the truth and sound doctrine. Paul closes with “Grace be with you” we cannot do this mission without the grace of God. This epistle speaks clearly on the need to rely on God.
Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.