I. WITH SLAVES UNDER THE YOKE
Let us now consider the logical connection between 6:2 and 3 and between 6:6 and 7. In 6:1 and 2 Paul charges those who are slaves under the yoke to count their masters worthy of all honor so that “the name of God and the teaching be not blasphemed.” The word blasphemed means ill spoken of, reproached. Furthermore, Paul charges the slaves who have believing masters to serve them in a proper way. Paul concludes verse 2 with the words, “These things teach and exhort.”
II. WITH MONEY LOVERS
A. Teaching Differently
Then in verses 3 and 4 Paul goes on to say, “If anyone teaches differently and does not consent to healthy words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the teaching which is according to godliness, he is blinded with pride.” To teach differently is to teach things that differ from the apostles’ teaching centered on Christ and the church. The “healthy words” here refer to the health of life. The sound teaching of the apostles ministers healthy teaching as the supply of life to people. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ are words of life (John 6:63); hence, they are healthy words. The healthy words of the Lord are the source of the teaching according to godliness. When the Lord’s words of life are taught, particularly in certain aspects, they become the teaching according to godliness. The living words of the Lord always bring forth godliness—a life that lives Christ and expresses God in Christ.
Paul’s word in 6:3 concerning teaching differently indicates that even his teaching concerning slaves was according to the healthy words of the Lord Jesus. Paul’s teaching was according to godliness. However, because some did not consent to healthy words, they taught differently. They did not teach according to godliness. Thus, there is definitely a connection between verses 2 and 3.
All our teaching must be according to the healthy words of God’s economy. Even those who care for the children in the children’s meeting should teach the children in principle according to the healthy words of the Lord Jesus. This means that the children should receive teaching which is according to godliness.
B. Blinded with Pride
In 6:4 and 5 Paul says that the one who teaches differently and who does not consent to healthy words is “blinded with pride, understanding nothing, but is sick with questionings and contentions of words, out of which come envy, strife, revilings, evil suspicions, perpetual wranglings of men corrupted in mind and deprived of the truth, supposing godliness to be a means of gain.” Teachings differing from the healthy words of the Lord always issue from people’s pride with self-conceit which blinds them. Paul and his co-workers taught in a certain way. But some who were blinded with pride deliberately taught differently. To them, it was humiliating to teach the same as others. I can testify that when I was in China, I was very happy to teach the same thing as Brother Nee. As much as possible, I even used the same terms Brother Nee used, for I realized that in this way I was carrying out the Lord’s ministry.
In verse 4 Paul uses the expression “sick with questionings.” To question and contend about words is a sickness. “Sick” here is in contrast to “healthy” in verse 3.
The word revilings in 6:4 literally means blasphemies. As in Colossians 3:8, it refers here to revilings, railings toward man, not blasphemies toward God.
We have seen that in verse 5 Paul speaks of “perpetual wranglings of men corrupted in mind and deprived of the truth, supposing godliness to be a means of gain.” The Greek for “perpetual wranglings” can also be rendered “incessant quarrels.” These wranglings are carried on by men corrupted and depraved in mind and deprived, bereft, destitute, of the truth. The Greek word for “deprived” implies that these are ones who once possessed the truth, but now it has been put away from them. Hence, they are destitute of the truth.
In verse 5 Paul refers to those who suppose “godliness to be a means of gain.” They make godliness a way of gain— material profit, a gain-making trade. The desire for material gain is another reason certain ones teach differently. Thus, because of pride and the desire for profit, for riches, some today are teaching differently. Pride is related to wanting a name and a good reputation, and gain is related to money and material profit.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)