The Rabbi Sha’ul’s view
of the PROSPERITY Gospel:
1 Timothy 6:3-5 (CJB)
3 If anyone teaches differently and does not agree to the sound precepts of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah and to the doctrine that is in keeping with godliness, 4 he is swollen with conceit and understands nothing. Instead, he has a morbid desire for controversies and word-battles, out of which come: jealousy,
dissension, insults, evil suspicions, 5 and constant wrangling among people whose minds no longer function properly and who have been deprived of the truth,
so that they imagine that religion is a road to riches.
The Greek word riches is πορισμός porismos. It means: gain, profit, dividend, means of gain, money-getting. In the secular or classical Greek, it means “to procure” through means of gain” or the “way to profit.”
It should be noted that in the Greek, the phrase is “νομίζω nomizō – πορισμός porismos – εἰμί eimi – ὁ ho – εὐσέβεια eusebeia.” In English, that would read:
holding gain to be the piety
Religion in the above translation is εὐσέβειαeusebeia which means piety or godliness.
Evidence from papyri and inscriptions indicate that eusebeia was a chief term for denoting religious piety in the Hellenistic world (Moulton-Milligan).
Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “2131. εὐσέβεια,” in The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Delta-Epsilon, (Springfield, MO: Complete Biblical Library, 1991), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “2131. Îµá½Ïƒá½³Î²ÎµÎ¹Î±”.
Most versions (NIV, NASB, CJB) leave out the last part of this verse that the KJV keeps (“from such withdraw thyself.”) because it is thought to be spurious and is not in the Coptic, Sahidic, Ethiopic, Vulgate, and Itala per Adam Clarke.
Now let’s look at the context – – –
1 Timothy 6:6 (CJB)
6 Now true religion does bring great riches, but only to those who are content with what they have.
If you make an assumption based on your understanding of riches, you will read into the text here (eisegesis) and see this as worldly wealth. However, that is NOT what is being said:
True riches – true wealth is SALVATION!
Is there anything of greater value than salvation?
Let’s get back to the context:
1 Timothy 6:7-8 (CJB)
7 For we have brought nothing into the world; and we can take nothing out of it;
8 so if we have food and clothing, we will be satisfied with these.
We brought no worldly wealth into the world – we will take none out. Food and clothing – these are important – these we should be satisfied with . . .
But in case you are having a hard time with your own theology or theological suppositions regarding wealth, let’s continue with context:
1 Timothy 6:9 (CJB)
those whose goal is to be rich
fall into temptation; they get trapped in many foolish and hurtful ambitions
which plunge them into ruin and destruction.
People always want to rationalize their dogmas – they want to show you how to look at the text with one eye open at a 35 degree angle so that you can kinda see how they came up with their supposition – how the text supports their dogma . . .
Let’s make no mistake here . . .Prosperity Gospel teachers teach that God wants you to have enormous material wealth (lots of money and lots of stuff) – that being rich is a result of true faith and true faithfulness . . .
However the text here is the antithesis of that teaching for “those whose goal is to be rich” using words like:
- fall and trapped (ἐμπίπτωempiptō: fall into – be entrapped by)
- trapped (παγίςpagis: a snare – trap)
- foolish (ἀνόητοςanoētos: foolish – senseless)
- hurtful (βλαβερόςblaberos: harmful – hurtful – injurious)
- ambition (ἐπιθυμίαepithumia: desire-longing – craving)
- plunge (βυθίζωbuthizō: sink – cause to sink)
- ruin (ὄλεθροςolethros: destruction – ruin – death)
- destruction (ἀπώλειαapōleia: perdition – destruction – ruin – waste)
This can’t be right can it?!? But Joel Osteen says . . . But Joyce Meyers says . . . But Creflo Dollar . . . But Kenneth Copeland says . . . there is a very long list of prosperity teachers such as these . . . Are they wrong? Surely the Rabbi Sha’ul will give us the answers and won’t leave it there, will he?
1 Timothy 6:10 (CJB)
10 For the love of money is a root of all the evils;
because of this craving, some people have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves to the heart with many pains.
Before you ignore the text above – before you ignore God’s word above – before you try and rationalize God’s word above and say that you don’t love money or try and explain this verse away so that you can keep your theology, more importantly:
Before you defend what men and women have said –
what prosperity gospel teachers have taught . . .
Before you defend their teachings
the text that refutes their teachings . . .
let’s continue in context:
1 Timothy 6:11 (CJB)
11 But you, as a man of God,
flee from these things; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love,
The Rabbi Sha’ul is telling Timothy to φεύγωpheugō – flee – escape – shun theses things . . . these teachings!
There is no way to misinterpret this unless you just flat don’t want to believe the text . . .
Timothy is told to pursue DIFFERENT THINGS: things different from money and being rich:
- righteousness, (δικαιοσύνηdikaiosunē: equity – justice)
- godliness, (εὐσέβειαeusebeia: piety – religion)
- faithfulness, (πίστιςpistis: trust – trustworthiness – confidence – conviction – belief – doctrine)
- love, (ἀγάπηagapē : benevolence)
- steadfastness, (ὑπομνήhupomonē: patience, endurance, perseverance)
- gentleness. (πραότηςpraotēs: gentleness – humility)
And the Rabbi does not forget those that already have wealth. He gives an encouragement which could also be view as a thinly veiled warning:
1 Timothy 6:17-19 (CJB)
17 As for those who do have riches in this present world, charge them not to be proud and not to let their hopes rest on the uncertainties of riches but to rest their hopes on God, who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment.
18 Charge them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous and ready to share. 19 In this way they will treasure up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may lay hold of the real life.
You many have noticed that it says: “rich in good deeds.” This the the Greek word ἔργον ergon. Yes! WORKS!
There is so much I could write to help you see some of the errors taught today but the Rabbi Sha’ul’s warning to Timothy concerning all of this is more than sufficient:
1 Timothy 6:20-21 (CJB)
20 Oh, Timothy! Keep safe what has been entrusted to you.
Turn away from the ungodly babblings and the argumentative opposition of what is falsely called “knowledge.”
21 For many who promise this “knowledge” have missed the mark, as far as the faith is concerned.
Grace be with you.