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1 Timothy 6:6 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— But godliness with contentment is great gain:
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— But godliness with contentment is great gain.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— But godliness [actually] is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— But piety with contentment *is* great gain.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Now it is a great means of gain—godliness, with a sufficiency of one's own;
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— but it is great gain—the piety with contentment;
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— But godlinesse with contentment is great gaine.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— For our gain is great which is the fear of Aloha, with the use of our sufficiency.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— But great is our gain, which is the fear of God, with the use of our competence.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
But 1161
{1161} Prime
A primary particle (adversative or continuative); but, and, etc.
godliness 2150
{2150} Prime
From G2152; piety; specifically the gospel scheme.
with 3326
{3326} Prime
A primary preposition (often used adverbially); properly denoting accompaniment; 'amid' (local or causal); modified variously according to the case (genitive case association, or accusative case succession) with which it is joined; occupying an intermediate position between G0575 or G1537 and G1519 or G4314; less intimate than G1722, and less close than G4862).
contentment 841
{0841} Prime
From G0842; self satisfaction, that is, (abstractly) contentedness, or (concretely) a competence.
is 2076
{2076} Prime
Third person singular present indicative of G1510; he (she or it) is; also (with neuter plural) they are.
<5748> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - No Voice Stated (See G5799)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 1612
great 3173
{3173} Prime
Including the prolonged forms, feminine μεγάλη [[megale]], plural μέγάλοι [[megaloi]], etc.; compare also G3176, G3187], big (literally or figuratively, in a very wide application).
gain. 4200
{4200} Prime
From a derivative of πόρος [[poros]] (a way, that is, means); furnishing (procuring), that is, (by implication) money getting (acquisition).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

1 Timothy 6:6

_ _ 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” (1 Thessalonians 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 (1 Timothy 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” (2 Corinthians 9:8). But the adjective (Philippians 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] (1 Kings 17:1-16; Psalms 37:19; Isaiah 33:6, Isaiah 33:16; Jeremiah 37:21).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

1 Timothy 6:6-12

_ _ From the mention of the abuse which some put upon religion, making it to serve their secular advantages, the apostle,

_ _ I. Takes occasion to show the excellency of contentment and the evil of covetousness.

_ _ 1. The excellency of contentment, 1 Timothy 6:6-8. Some account Christianity an advantageous profession for this world. In the sense they mean this is false; yet it is undoubtedly true that, though Christianity is the worst trade, it is the best calling in the world. Those that make a trade of it, merely to serve their turn for this world, will be disappointed, and find it a sorry trade; but those that mind it as their calling, and make a business of it, will find it a gainful calling, for it has the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come.

_ _ (1.) The truth he lays down is that godliness with contentment is great gain. Some read it, godliness with a competency; that is, if a man have but a little in this world, yet, if he have but enough to carry him through it, he needs desire no more, his godliness with that will be his great gain. For a little which a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked, Psalms 37:16. We read it, godliness with contentment; godliness is itself great gain, it is profitable to all things; and, wherever there is true godliness, there will be contentment; but those have arrived at the highest pitch of contentment with their godliness are certainly the easiest happiest people in this world. Godliness with contentment, that is, Christian contentment (content must come from principles of godliness) is great gain; it is all the wealth in the world. He that is godly is sure to be happy in another world; and if withal he do by contentment accommodate himself to his condition in this world he has enough. Here we have, [1.] A Christian's gain; it is godliness with contentment, this is the true way to gain, yea, it is gain itself. [2.] A Christian's gain is great: it is not like the little gain of worldlings, who are so fond of a little worldly advantage. [3.] Godliness is ever accompanied with contentment in a great or less degree; all truly godly people have learned with Paul, in whatever state they are, to be therewith content, Philippians 4:11. They are content with what God allots for them, well knowing that this is best for them. Let us all then endeavour after godliness with contentment.

_ _ (2.) The reason he gives for it is, For we brought nothing with us into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out, 1 Timothy 6:7. This is a reason why we should be content with a little. [1.] Because we can challenge nothing as a debt that is due to us, for we came naked into the world. Whatever we have had since, we are obliged to the providence of God for it; but he that gave may take what and when he pleases. We had our beings, our bodies, our lives (which are more than meat, and which are more than raiment), when we came into the world, though we came naked, and brought nothing with us; may we not then be content while our beings and lives are continued to us, though we have not every thing we would have? We brought nothing with us into this world, and yet God provided for us, care was taken of us, we have been fed all our lives long unto this day; and therefore, when we are reduced to the greatest straits, we cannot be poorer than when we came into this world, and yet then we were provided for; therefore let us trust in God for the remaining part of our pilgrimage. [2.] We shall carry nothing with us out of this world. A shroud, a coffin, and a grave, are all that the richest man in the world can have from his thousands. Therefore why should we covet much? Why should we not be content with a little, because, how much soever we have, we must leave it behind us? Ecclesiastes 5:15, Ecclesiastes 5:16.

_ _ (3.) Hence he infers, having food and raiment, let us be therewith content, 1 Timothy 6:8. Food and a covering, including habitation as well as raiment. Observe, If God give us the necessary supports of life, we ought to be content therewith, though we have not the ornaments and delights of it. If nature should be content with a little, grace should be content with less; though we have not dainty food, though we have not costly raiment, if we have but food and raiment convenient for us we ought to be content. This was Agur's prayer: Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me, Proverbs 30:8. Here we see, [1.] The folly of placing our happiness in these things, when we did not bring any thing into this world with us, and we can carry nothing out. What will worldlings do when death shall strip them of their happiness and portion, and they must take an everlasting farewell of all these things, on which they have so much doted? They may say with poor Micah, You have taken away my gods; and what have I more? Judges 18:24. [2.] The necessaries of life are the hounds of a true Christian's desire, and with these he will endeavour to be content; his desires are not insatiable; no, a little, a few comforts of this life, will serve him, and these may hope to enjoy: Having food and raiment.

_ _ 2. The evil of covetousness. Those that will be rich (that set their hearts upon the wealth of this world, and are resolved right or wrong, they will have it), fall into temptation and a snare, 1 Timothy 6:9. It is not said, those that are rich, but those that will be rich, that is, that place their happiness in worldly wealth, that covet it inordinately, and are eager and violent in the pursuit of it. Those that are such fall into temptation and a snare, unavoidably; for, when the devil sees which way their lusts carry them, he will soon bait his hook accordingly. He knew how fond Achan would be of a wedge of gold, and therefore laid that before him. They fall into many foolish and hurtful lusts. Observe,

_ _ (1.) The apostle supposes that, [1.] Some will be rich; that is, they are resolved upon it, nothing short of a great abundance will satisfy. [2.] Such will not be safe nor innocent, for they will be in danger of ruining themselves for ever; they fall into temptation, and a snare, etc. [3.] Worldly lusts are foolish and hurtful, for they drown men in destruction and perdition. [4.] It is good for us to consider the mischievousness of worldly fleshly lusts. They are foolish, and therefore we should be ashamed of them, hurtful, and therefore we should be afraid of them, especially considering to what degree they are hurtful, for they drown men in destruction and perdition.

_ _ (2.) The apostle affirms that the love of money is the root of all evil, 1 Timothy 6:10. What sins will not men be drawn to by the love of money? Particularly this was at the bottom of the apostasy of many from the faith of Christ; while they coveted money, they erred from the faith, they quitted their Christianity, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Observe, [1.] What is the root of all evil; the love of money: people may have money, and yet not love it; but, if they love it inordinately, it will push them on to all evil. [2.] Covetous persons will quit the faith, if that be the way to get money: Which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith. Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, 2 Timothy 4:10. For the world was dearer to him than Christianity. Observe, Those that err from the faith pierce themselves with many sorrows; those that depart from God do but treasure up sorrows for themselves.

_ _ II. Hence he takes occasion to caution Timothy, and to counsel him to keep in the way of God and his duty, and particularly to fulfil the trust reposed in him as a minister. He addresses himself to him as a man of God. Ministers are men of God, and ought to conduct themselves accordingly in every thing; they are men employed for God, devoted to his honour more immediately. The prophets under the Old Testament were called men of God. 1. He charges Timothy to take heed of the love of money, which had been so pernicious to many: Flee these things. It ill becomes any men, but especially men of God, to set their hearts upon the things of this world; men of God should be taken up with the things of God. 2. To arm him against the love of the world, he directs him to follow that which is good. Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness: righteousness in his conversation towards men, godliness towards God, faith and love as living principles, to support him and carry him on in the practice both of righteousness and godliness. Those that follow after righteousness and godliness, from a principle of faith and love, have need to put on patience and meekness — patience to bear both the rebukes of Providence and the reproaches of men, and meekness wherewith to instruct gainsayers and pass by the affronts and injuries that are done us. Observe, It is not enough that men of God flee these things, but they must follow after what is directly contrary thereto. Further, What excellent persons men of God are who follow after righteousness! They are the excellent of the earth, and, being acceptable to God, they should be approved of men. 3. He exhorts him to do the part of a soldier: Fight the good fight of faith. Note, Those who will get to heaven must fight their way thither. There must be a conflict with corruption and temptations, and the opposition of the powers of darkness. Observe, It is a good fight, it is a good cause, and it will have a good issue. It is the fight of faith; we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, 2 Corinthians 10:3, 2 Corinthians 10:4. He exhorts him to lay hold on eternal life. Observe, (1.) Eternal life is the crown proposed to us, for our encouragement to war, and to fight the good fight of faith, the good warfare. (2.) This we must lay hold on, as those that are afraid of coming short of it and losing it. Lay hold, and take heed of losing your hold. Hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown, Revelation 3:11. (3.) We are called to the fight, and to lay hold on eternal life. (4.) The profession Timothy and all faithful ministers make before many witnesses is a good profession; for they profess and engage to fight the good fight of faith, and to lay hold on eternal life; their calling and their own profession oblige them to this.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

1 Timothy 6:6

But godliness with content — The inseparable companion of true, vital religion. Is great gain — Brings unspeakable profit in time, as well as eternity.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

1 Timothy 6:6

(6) But godliness with contentment is great gain.

(6) He properly dismisses the name of gain and lucre, confessing that godliness is great gain, but in a far different manner, that is, because it brings true sufficiency.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
Psalms 37:16 A little that a righteous man hath [is] better than the riches of many wicked.
Psalms 84:11 For the LORD God [is] a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good [thing] will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
Proverbs 3:13-18 Happy [is] the man [that] findeth wisdom, and the man [that] getteth understanding. ... She [is] a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy [is every one] that retaineth her.
Proverbs 8:18-21 Riches and honour [are] with me; [yea], durable riches and righteousness. ... That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
Proverbs 15:16 Better [is] little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.
Proverbs 16:8 Better [is] a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
Matthew 6:32-33 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. ... But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Luke 12:31-32 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. ... Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Romans 5:3-5 And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; ... And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory; ... While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.
2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Philippians 1:21 For to me to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain.
Hebrews 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.


1 Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Exodus 2:21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.
Luke 3:14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse [any] falsely; and be content with your wages.
Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. ... I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
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Ex 2:21. Ps 37:16; 84:11. Pv 3:13; 8:18; 15:16; 16:8. Mt 6:32. Lk 3:14; 12:31. Ro 5:3; 8:28. 2Co 4:17; 5:1. Php 1:21; 4:11. 1Ti 4:8; 6:8. He 13:5.

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