World Wide Study Bible


a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

6Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

Select a resource above

6. But—Though they err in this, there is a sense in which "piety is" not merely gain, but "great means of gain": not the gaining which they pursue, and which makes men to be discontented with their present possessions, and to use religion as "a cloak of covetousness" (1Th 2:5) and means of earthly gain, but the present and eternal gain which piety, whose accompaniment is contentment, secures to the soul. Wiesinger remarks that Paul observed in Timothy a tendency to indolence and shrinking from the conflict, whence he felt (1Ti 6:11) that Timothy needed cautioning against such temptation; compare also the second Epistle. Not merely contentment is great gain (a sentiment of the heathen Cicero [Paradox 6], "the greatest and surest riches"), but "piety with contentment"; for piety not only feels no need of what it has not, but also has that which exalts it above what it has not [Wiesinger]. The Greek for contentment is translated "sufficiency" (2Co 9:8). But the adjective (Php 4:11) "content"; literally, "having a sufficiency in one's self" independent of others. "The Lord always supplies His people with what is necessary for them. True happiness lies in piety, but this sufficiency [supplied by God, with which moreover His people are content] is thrown into the scale as a kind of overweight" [Calvin] (1Ki 17:1-16; Ps 37:19; Isa 33:6, 16; Jer 37:21).

7. For—confirming the reasonableness of "contentment."

and it is certainVulgate and other old versions support this reading. The oldest manuscripts, however, omit "and it is certain"; then the translation will be, "We brought nothing into the world (to teach us to remember) that neither can we carry anything out" (Job 1:21; Ec 5:15). Therefore, we should have no gain-seeking anxiety, the breeder of discontent (Mt 6:25).

8. AndGreek, "But." In contrast to the greedy gain-seekers (1Ti 6:5).

having—so long as we have food. (The Greek expresses "food sufficient in each case for our continually recurring wants" [Alford]). It is implied that we, as believers, shall have this (Isa 23:16).

raimentGreek, "covering"; according to some including a roof to cover us, that is, a dwelling, as well as clothing.

let us be therewith content—literally, "we shall be sufficiently provided"; "we shall be sufficed" [Alford].

9. will be rich—have more than "food and raiment." Greek, "wish to be rich"; not merely are willing, but are resolved, and earnestly desire to have riches at any cost (Pr 28:20, 22). This wishing (not the riches themselves) is fatal to "contentment" (1Ti 6:6). Rich men are not told to cast away their riches, but not to "trust" in them, and to "do good" with them (1Ti 6:17, 18; Ps 62:10).

fall into temptation—not merely "are exposed to temptation," but actually "fall into" it. The falling into it is what we are to pray against, "Lead us not into temptation" (Jas 1:14); such a one is already in a sinful state, even before any overt act of sin. The Greek for "temptation" and "gain" contains a play on sounds—porasmus, peirasmus.

snare—a further step downwards (1Ti 3:7). He falls into "the snare of the devil."


hurtful—to those who fall into the snare. Compare Eph 4:22, "deceitful lusts" which deceive to one's deadly hurt.

lusts—With the one evil lust ("wish to be rich") many others join themselves: the one is the "root of all evils" (1Ti 6:10).

whichGreek, "whatever (lusts)."

drown—an awful descending climax from "fall into"; this is the last step in the terrible descent (Jas 1:15); translated "sink," Lu 5:7.

destruction … perditiondestruction in general (temporal or eternal), and perdition in particular, namely, that of body and soul in hell.

10. the love of money—not the money itself, but the love of it—the wishing to be rich (1Ti 6:9)—"is a root (Ellicott and Middleton: not as English Version, 'the root') of all evils." (So the Greek plural). The wealthiest may be rich not in a bad sense; the poorest may covet to be so (Ps 62:10). Love of money is not the sole root of evils, but it is a leading "root of bitterness" (Heb 12:15), for "it destroys faith, the root of all that is good" [Bengel]; its offshoots are "temptation, a snare, lusts, destruction, perdition."

coveted after—lusted after.

erred from—literally, "have been made to err from the faith" (1Ti 1:19; 4:1).

pierced—(Lu 2:35).

with … sorrows—"pains": "thorns" of the parable (Mt 13:22) which choke the word of "faith." "The prosperity of fools destroys them" (Pr 1:32). Bengel and Wiesinger make them the gnawings of conscience, producing remorse for wealth badly acquired; the harbingers of the future "perdition" (1Ti 6:9).