But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.1 Timothy 6:6(NASB)
Disunity within the Church generally emanates from a disagreement of doctrine. Too often when there is discord among believers, it is connected with an alternative interpretation of the Scriptures.
Throughout his writings, we recognise that many of the false doctrines that Paul needed to correct, stemmed from proud people reading into God's Word what they wanted it to say. Instead of interpreting the Word of God literally and in context (exegesis), they would read into the text (eisegesis) what they wanted it to say, to fit in with their worldview or individual biases.
Just as a proud person who denies the existence of God is labelled 'a fool' by the Psalmist, so Paul designates a proud person in the Church who distorts the gospel of Christ, as 'knowing nothing' – even though they may consider themselves to be so important and clever!
Here in this passage, Paul is showing the vast difference between true 'spiritual' wealth and a false 'worldly' wealth. The world's view of great gain is connected with money, material possessions, power, and prestige, whilst godliness with contentment is considered as great gain by the apostle.
Paul was very critical of the prosperity teachers of his day, and of anyone who advocated a religious dogma which did not agree with sound words of the Lord Jesus Christ, or teachings which conformed to godliness.
He labelled them as conceited and as people who understand nothing... having a morbid interest in controversial questions and engaging in disputes about words. Paul accused such people as giving rise to envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved minds who are deprived of the truth.
Such were the people who caused disunity in the Church in Paul’s day, and such were the people who supposed that godliness was a means of gain. Sadly, this same proud attitude is prevalent in the Church today, which causes similar disunity and disagreement. Sadly, it gives rise to division in the Body and brings dishonour to God’s holy name.
But Paul is quick to point out that true godliness with contentment is great gain. The combination of a godly man or woman with a contented heart, is of far greater value than all the money, material possessions, power, and prestige in the world.
Godliness, combined with an inner contentment which is rooted in the sufficiency of Christ to provide all that is needed, according to His riches in glory, surpasses anything that this world can provide.
May we recognise that godliness with contentment is, indeed, a great gain and ensure that we stand on this truth 'til our life's end.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I have passed from death to life. I am no longer in the power of the evil one, but have been brought out of the darkness of worldly values into the glorious light of Your eternal family. May my life, from this day forward, be one of godliness with contentment, for Your eternal praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.