When Paul sent his first letter to Timothy who was serving in Ephesus, his main concern was the false teachers preaching for personal gain. He describes them this way in chapter 6 verse 5: “people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” How extraordinary it is to discover that this kind of thing started so early in the life of the church; and how sad it is to realize it continues to this day. We can all point fingers at men or women that we believe are sharing their version of the Bible purely for financial gain. Of course, there’s no way for us to know exactly what’s in the heart of anyone professing to be preaching and teaching God’s Word. This is why it is so critical to study the Bible yourself; so that you will know the difference between false teaching and the truth.
“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing.” 1 Timothy 6:3-4 (NIV)
There are some very eloquent speakers who write compelling books, professing to be preaching and teaching God’s Word, who are actually twisting the truth to entice those unaware into supporting them financially. Some of these people may have started out with good intentions and after some success allowed the devil to push them in deeper. Great financial reward can send you down the wrong road and into a dark place: “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (6:10). Everyone professing to be preaching and teaching God’s Word needs to be tested. Every follower of Jesus needs to take the time to carefully study the Bible from cover-to-cover so they will know truth from fiction.
“Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.” 1 Timothy 6:20-21 (NIV)
Keep in mind, there isn’t any man or woman worthy of our worship. Even those who are the most gifted by God, who are faithfully preaching and teaching the Word of God, are not worthy of our worship. There isn’t any individual who holds all knowledge. It’s a wise practice to listen to many teachers and consider many points of view while diligently pursuing your own personal study of the Bible.
“God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:15-16 (NIV)
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