8/21/11 1 Timothy 6:17-21
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
WHAT TO DO WHEN THE ECONOMY BOTTOMS OUT
1 Timothy 6:17-21
In 6:3–10 Paul shoots down the idea that money is the answer to everything. In 6:17–19 he addresses people who already have wealth. The Bible teaches that wealth and property are not inherently evil. The first verse of this section tells us God wants us to enjoy His blessings. We can enjoy hoarding or gifting those blessings. The Bible warns against a “money buys happiness” approach. People can use prosperity for good or evil, for selfish or for unselfish causes.
Why did Paul include these paragraphs in a letter to a pastor just starting out?
In Bible times wealthy people usually got that way from owning land. They rented it out to tenant farmers or residents, or profited from crops off their property. Businessmen were a socially inferior but nevertheless wealthy class. One type of high-profile business leaders were ship owners. There were a number of career choices people could take that might lead to wealth.
Is wealth the problem, or is it the people who have or want the wealth (6:17)?
One of the Bible’s main messages is that people matter more than possessions. Our world has unending human needs. Compare to what we can hoard, the things we can do to help other people are more valuable and durable and long-term.
What does it take to qualify as rich to make this section applicable (6:17)?
What’s the difference between this world’s wealth and the kind God gives (6:17)?
God points out that the valuable things this world produces have a short life span.
How can Paul say wealth is so uncertain (6:17)?
Christians are not here simply to consume “the good life” selfishly. The greatest blessing we have to offer is to share what God gives with people who are in need.
What kind of treasure will generosity get a person (6:18-19)?
Paul spent his longest recorded period of missionary activity with the people in Ephesus (Acts 19:10), the city where Timothy now serves. Paul had enacted a comprehensive program of Bible instruction there (Acts 20:20). “Entrusted” (6:20) is the language of banking, when people deposit something valuable in a safe place. Places of safekeeping in Bible times were usually temples. The caretakers were under sacred obligation to keep people’s valuables secure. God has deposited sacred truths to us.
How can the group among which Paul did his most intense work be so susceptible to misleading teachings and useless arguments (6:20)?
The good-bye at the end, “Grace be with you,” is in the plural. That suggests that Paul was thinking about future readers, in addition to Timothy.
What was the stupid talk that sounded smart but really wasn’t that plagued people in Ephesus (6:20-21)?
Clutter can get in the way of contentment. So can greed. Even more so, the belief that collecting things and amassing money can make us happy. Look around you. See what God has given! The sky. The leaves. Today’s lunch. The clothes you wear. His Son. We can be content and busy for Him.
1. What does God say should be on the agenda of Christian people in the world’s wealthiest economy?
2. What are some ways Christians today can simplify and get rid of the clutter in their lives that keeps them at arm’s length from God and other people?
3. How does this section connect to Matthew 13: 44-52? What’s the connection to
1 Kings 3:5-12?