Godliness and Contentment


Godliness bears the fruit of contentment in our lives. If we are discontent, then we still have much to learn about the meaning of godliness.

“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (vv. 6–7). - 1 Timothy 6:6-8

A few passages in the New Testament imply that the early church dealt with the problem of false teachers aiming to enrich themselves. Peter’s instructions to the elders warn against using the ministry “for shameful gain” (1 Peter 5:1–2). Acts 8:9–25 records the story of one Simon Magus who sought to buy the power of the Holy Spirit, presumably to get people to pay to see his own wonderworking abilities. The church fathers say that Simon was one of the founders of the Gnosticism that threatened God’s people in the second century AD.

In Ephesus, Timothy confronted heretics who sold their falsehoods for the sake of worldly wealth. These men mingled error with the teachings of godliness to earn money, and so Paul rightly warned Timothy against those who use godliness as a means for gain (1 Tim. 6:5). Yet even though some desire godliness only to steal from the church, the apostle does not disagree that there is great gain in godliness, but the gain of which he speaks is not financial (v. 6). Instead, the gain from godly living is its promise “for the present life and also for the life to come” (4:8). With godliness comes the confidence that God will indeed take care of His holy people (Ps. 37:25) and confirmation that the new life in Christ wrought in us by the Spirit now will endure forever in a new heavens and earth (Eph. 1:11–14; 2 Peter 3:13). John Calvin comments, “Godliness is a very great gain to us, because, by means of it, we obtain the benefit, not only of being heirs of the world, but likewise of enjoying Christ and all his riches.”

Godliness also bears the fruit of contentment in our lives (1 Tim. 6:6). In light of eternity we understand that the material possessions we have now are worthless compared with the glories of the age to come. We brought nothing with us when we were born and we will take nothing with us when we go. Therefore, we can be content with the basic necessities of life (vv. 7–8). Of course, we may gratefully receive and enjoy whatever gifts go beyond food, clothing, and shelter, all of which is subsumed under the Greek word for “clothing” in verse 8. Nevertheless, any such extras are not necessary, and we should never demand them from the Lord or covet those luxuries that He gives to other people.  

Coram Deo

One commentator says, “Godliness is not about acquiring better and more material things; it is instead an active life of faith, a living out of covenant faithfulness in relation to God, that finds sufficiency and contentment in Christ alone whatever one’s outward circumstances might be.” One way we can measure our godliness is to see if we are content with our lives. If we are discontent, we still have much to learn about the meaning of godliness.

Passages for Further Study

Psalm 65
Proverbs 19:23
2 Corinthians 12:10
2 Peter 1:3–11

Get more encouragement and spiritual direction for your life with iDisciple

Non-registered users are limited to 10 articles per month.
This is your 8th discipleship resource viewed within 30 days. Create a free account today to remove the limit

Already a member? Login to iDisciple

Living in the Margin
Jonathan Falwell
Manna Mindset
How Should a Christian View Materialism?
Will You Believe in Miracles?
Chris and Grace Hansen
When He's in Control
Dr. Bill Bright
Follow Us

Want to access more exclusive iDisciple content?

Upgrade to a Giving Membership today!

Already a member? Login to iDisciple