Paul's readers knew that financial motives and greed had helped destroy the testimony of some who turned (perhaps) from positions of leadership in the church to become teachers of heresy. If it is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God, it is relatively easy for those who strive to be rich to turn away from it. Wandering from the faith describes the apostasy of these false teachers, whose avarice Paul denounced in 6:5 (1:19; 6:21; 2 Tim 2:18). Fueled by greed, the opponents "lost their way," a sobering illustration of how the desire for riches drives a wedge between the believer and God (Mt 6:21, 24; 13:22; Lk 12:16-21). Paul describes the toll taken in spiritual loss, broken relationships and damaged reputations as griefs that pierce like thorns.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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