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1 Timothy 6:1-21 Discussion Guide


1 Tim 6:3-20 

(Note: We will return to the first two verses in chapter 6 in the fall when we look at Paul’s letter to Philemon.)

In a Nutshell

Paul writes to his protegee, a young pastor in a difficult church and cultural situation. Timothy is in a tough spot…he has a lot of challenges. Paul understands; he is sympathetic…but he pushes Timothy nonetheless. Timothy has too much at stake to shrink back in fear or sit around and lick his own wounds…he just has to step up to the task God has given him.

Group Discussion Questions: As you reflect on the sermon this week, how did the Holy Spirit speak to your heart? Was there a verse/passage that stood out to you? Share why the verse or passage struck you.

Read and discuss vv. 3-5

  • What is Godliness? How would you describe it?

Note: Godliness is the total person’s orientation to God, a mind that knows the truth about God. A heart that is learning to love God. A lifestyle with actions that accurately demonstrate God’s character. Godliness is beliefs, values, and behavior that aligns accurately with the reality of God. These false teachers were confused about godliness. Godliness means that God is getting more and more of us. We exist for him. He does not exist for us. Godliness is a means to God. He is always the greatest end to all of our means.

  • What does Paul say about false teachers?
  • What did Terry say conceited meant?
  • Compare and contrast what is taught by false teachers with the aim of the gospel in 1 Tim 1:5, “5 Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” Share your thoughts with the group. What are the personal implications we can make from this passage?

Read and Discuss vv. 6-8

  • How would you describe contentment? How does the means for contentment described in verse 6 differ from how culture may view contentment?
  • Terry said, “Increasing godliness will increase contentment.” How does this happen? How have you experienced it in your own life?
  • How would you summarize verses 6-8? Terry summarized the verses like this. “What matters most at the end matters most now…Look at what you had when you were born…yeah, that is what you will take with you when you die.” How do these verses and Terry’s summary help to shape us? Does this help you to focus on what is important? How so?
  • How can we train ourselves to be content?

Read and discuss vv. 9-10

  • Terry said that “Paul has in mind those who have not grasped the riches of the sufficiency of Christ. Money is not their problem…the love of it is. What we wrap our minds around is what we will wrap our hearts around.” Why is money not their problem?
  • How do these verses help to orientate ourselves to the gospel?
  • What can happen if we allow wrong ideas to infiltrate our minds?

Read and discuss vv. 11-12

  • Verse 11 starts a marked change in direction and tone. How would you describe this change?

(Note: We fail to remember that we are in a fight whennit comes to our faith. We are continually surprised that the faith is a fight—don’t be surprised!)

  • “11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” Discuss what we are to flee from and pursue. How do we do this? What role do our own choices play? What can we do to be resolved to stand firm? What are the implications for you personally?
  • In verse 12, what does Paul mean by “take hold of”? What “hook” do we use when talking about fully engaging with your life now? (Note: Living a single-story life where every aspect of your life is shaped by the reality of your relationship with God.) 

Read and discuss vv. 13-16

  • What is a charge? What is Paul charging Timothy to do?
  • When you read verses 13-16, what role do our own choices play?
  • Terry said, “Paul is charging Timothy in very strong terms…step up, fight, choose, decide.” Are there any implications for us in these verses?

Read and discuss vv. 17-21

  • Paul circles back to give some more practical advice and tells Timothy not to favor or look down on the rich. He’s telling Timothy to mentor them. What was he to command the rich to do? Why?
  • What is godless chatter, and did you participate in it last week?
  • Friday’s devotion states, “‘Jesus said that it is from the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks.’ If you don’t like what you hear coming from your own mouth, then look to your heart.” Discuss this statement. How can you make an application for yourself personally?
  • In verses 20-21, Paul tells Timothy, “Guard what has been entrusted to your care.” Do you remember how Terry summarized these verses? (Note: What has been entrusted to him is spiritual authority in a congregation to preach the truth of the gospel…he must guard that trust. Don’t get sidetracked by side issues.)


Paul tells Timothy to stay focused on the truth and not get sidetracked. How do we do this? Let’s combine two challenges from the chapter and personalize them:

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world,
and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness,
godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

Question:  Have you replaced a theology of the cross with a sort of me-ology of selfishness?

We grow more selfish, more demanding, less patient…when our heart drifts from the cross of Christ. What do you want? Who do you want to be?

Application: How did the Holy Spirit speak to your heart today? What personal implications can you make? Ask yourself, “What do I need God to do in me or through me as a result of today’s discussion?”

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