1 Timothy 6:5; DRB;

... Supposing gain to be godliness...

1 Timothy 6:5; KJV;

... Supposing that gain is godliness...

1 Timothy 6:5; 1550 Stephanus New Testament;

5 παραδιατριβαι διεφθαρμενων ανθρωπων τον νουν και απεστερημενων της αληθειας νομιζοντων πορισμον ειναι την ευσεβειαν αφιστασο απο των τοιουτων

1 Timothy 6:5; ASV;

... Supposing that godliness is a way of gain...

Generally speaking, Old translations follow the greek text, while the newer translations reverse the meaning interpretively, as we see in: DRB, KJV, Wycliffe and ASV, ESV.

The older translations give hint that gain (commerce) is usury, and it is anyhow anti godliness.

Which translations are more accurate according to textual criticism?

What is the interpretive consequences of the older translations?

1 Answer 1


First, the sentence involved is:

νομιζόντων πορισμὸν εἶναι τὴν εὐσέβειαν = imagining that godliness is a means of gain

There is no textual variant here - the Greek text of this part of the verse is undisputed.

The various translations of this Greek is best summed up by Ellicott:

Supposing that gain is godliness.—Here the translation of the Greek words must run thus, supposing that godliness is a source of gain. The article before the word signifying godliness requires this rendering of the sentence. (See Titus 1:11.)

Bengel's Gnomen correctly agrees:

The article before εὐσέβειαν, and not before πορισμὸν, show the construction to be, “that godliness is a gain,” a way to advance one’s worldly interest not as Engl. Vers., “that gain is godliness.”—ED.

The Pulpit commentary is similar:

The A.V., that gain is godliness, is clearly wrong, utterly confusing the subject with the predicate, and so destroying the connection between the clause and ver. 6.

Note that in the Greek quoted above, τὴν εὐσέβειαν (= the godliness) has the article and is thus the subject of the clause with πορισμὸν (= means of gain) as the predicate. Thus, we must translate (grammatically):

imagining that godliness is a means of gain

  • DRB translation is from latin sources, and it says: gain to be godliness. I hope you understand me. DRB agrees completely with KJV in this verse.
    – salah
    Apr 18, 2022 at 9:36

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