1 Timothy 6:4
He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
Note 2 at 1Ti 6:4: The English word "proud" was translated from the Greek word "TUPHOO," and this Greek word means "to envelop with smoke, i.e. (figuratively) to inflate with self-conceit" (Strong's Concordance). Proud people are like smoke. They irritate others and seldom produce any benefits. People usually want to move out of their way. Those on fire with the Holy Spirit don't give off smoke--just heat.
Any people who would teach contrary to what Paul instructed about slavery in 1Ti 6:1-2 would do so because of pride. Pride can be defined as selfishness, or self-centeredness. Selfless people would agree with Paul's teaching. Those who think slavery is such an injustice that it warrants rebellion and discontent are placing self-interest above the furtherance of the Gospel. In Christ, there is neither bond nor free (Ga 3:28). The temporal situation isn't important. People's spiritual position in Christ is all that matters.
Note 3 at 1Ti 6:4: The word "doting" was translated from the Greek word "NOSEO." This Greek word means "to be sick, to be ailing, to have a morbid craving for something. The disease is intellectual curiosity about trifles" ("Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament" by Fritz Rienecker). The American Heritage Dictionary defines "dotage," which comes from the same root word as "doting," as "a deterioration of mind; senility." This is describing people who aren't well mentally. They aren't thinking straight.
In context, Paul was speaking about anyone who would oppose his teaching that slaves should joyfully submit to their owners (see notes 1-2 at 1Ti 6:1 and notes 3-4 at 1Ti 6:2). Most people would disagree with Paul's instructions today, so this says that most thinking today, about personal liberties and freedoms, is sick.
Note 4 at 1Ti 6:4: The New International Version translates this verse as "He is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions." This sounds like some of the Christian talk shows today. Controversies and quarrels about words draw big audiences. They wouldn't if Christians would follow Paul's instructions here.
Paul said that everything we do should be done unto edifying (1Co 14:26). He also told us to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Php 4:8). Agur said in Pr 30:33, "Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife."
People today wonder why they are so stressed out and discouraged. It's because they think on such discouraging things. Society has become the embodiment of what Paul was speaking against. There is a morbid craving for the weird and perverse (see note 3 at this verse). These things should be forsaken by turning off the sources of doom and gloom and turning to God's Word.
Note 5 at 1Ti 6:4: Jas 3:16 says, "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." Envy and strife are open doors to anything the devil wants to bring into our lives. This verse reveals that envy and strife come from pride, ignorance of God's Word, and unhealthy cravings for controversies. None of us will ever get free of envy and strife if we don't deal with these other issues.
Note 6 at 1Ti 6:4: The word "railings" means "speech injurious to another's good name" (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon). An Old Testament term for this is "slander." The Scriptures expressly forbid this.
Note 7 at 1Ti 6:4: Another indication that our modern society is living in the condition that Paul was speaking against here can be found in the phrase "evil surmisings." The New International Version translates this as "evil suspicions." There used to be a time when accusations didn't mold public opinion. It took hard facts. That day has passed. Society as a whole has become cynical. In our present day, all but the staunchest supports are swayed by the slightest innuendo.
This has probably happened because so many public figures, both secular and religious, have violated our trust. After a while, cynicism sets in and we fall into "evil suspicions." There is an antidote for this condition. It's looking at things through God's Word. Passages like Ps 37 tell us not to worry about the prosperity of the wicked and the apparent injustice. God will set everything aright. God will not be mocked.
If we have a morbid curiosity for controversy, which Paul spoke against here, "evil surmisings," or suspicions, will inevitably result. Therefore, we must shun the sensationalists who thrive on controversy, and stick to the truths of God's Word.
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