Last updated on October 10th, 2019
Hello readers. I was serious about what I meant in my previous post, so here I am again. Today I’m going to be highlighting some things we can learn from First Timothy, and I’m going to start with Chapter 1. I may go through the rest of the chapters in the future. I was re-reading through this book the other day, and I underlined a few things that I found to be helpful for understanding what represents authentic teaching, and also other little things I found of interest. So let’s begin with 1 Timothy verse 3 which states, “3 I urge you, as I did when I was on my way to Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach any different doctrine,” Now throughout 1 Timothy we have a prevailing theme of Paul expressing the difference between false teaching and authentic teaching for the Church.
In verse 4 it speaks of diving training known by faith as teaching that should be focused on apart from myths and endless genealogies. A good question to ask is what is divine training known by faith that is the teaching that should be focused on? Well by following context, the next verse indicates that to us by stating, “5 But the aim of such instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith” So any true instruction of divine training, is to instruct on love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith. Not teaching on “how to find a spouse”, “how I get God’s blessings”, or all these other cultural teachings that are common in some of today’s churches. Paul said the key focus of instruction which is authentic doctrine, and consequently not “different doctrine” as Paul described in the last verse, is on having love with a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.
Moving on to other things I noted as I was reading, we find the statement of Christ’s purpose for coming to earth in verse 15 which states, “15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost.” Note here that it states Christ came into the world to save sinners. Not transform your life to where you finally get all the things you want, not have a “personal relationship”, it specifically states here, and is implied in other places, that Christ came to save sinners. I would say before someone questions this assertion, review the Scripture and share with me where these things that I discounted are specifically taught, if they are taught at all, and also, consider the kind of interactions Jesus had with people, and what kind of relationship Jesus desired from people. Continuing along, through the Apostles, Christ imparted the teachings through them on how to get saved, how to influence others to become saved, and how to continue to be a saved Christian. I used the word continue because the Scripture does not seem to indicate a once saved always saved doctrine, which I’ll gladly post my conclusions on in a future post.
I found verse 17 interesting to note, in that it described an attribute of God, and also the closing lines seeming to note a common means of ending a prayer. Verse 17 states, “17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” It’s presumed often that God is invisible, but I just found it interesting that we actually have a description here stated by Paul that God is in fact invisible. As I also wanted to point out, notice that the closing of this verse states, “be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” You’ll find this statement used often, or sometimes all glory to you forever and ever, in Paul’s letters to the churches as well, which I found to be pretty cool, and is a way in which I choose to end my prayers now.
Let’s pay close attention to what verse 18 states. “I am giving you these instructions, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19 having faith and a good conscience.” Now earlier in this chapter, we discussed that the authentic teachings that aren’t as Paul described, “different doctrine”, focus on love, good conscience, and faith. Question, where does having faith and good conscience come from according to Paul? The correct answer according to this verse is it comes from following the instructions given by Paul. We fight the good fight of faith by following the instructions of Apostle Paul as Timothy did, and also carefully following the instructions of all the other books written by the other Apostles. It’s emphasized throughout Timothy, and also in other books such as Galatians.
The consequences of following “different doctrine” apart from the authentic doctrine can be found in the next verse which states, “By rejecting conscience, certain persons have suffered shipwreck in the faith; 20 among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have turned over to Satan, so that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Hopefully none of us want to be turned over to Satan, which I read a footnote stating this verse is implying being turned over for correction, as you can see in the next verse it says learn not to blaspheme, thus a correction is happening. But nonetheless, it’s important we make sure whatever teachings we’re following are those of Christ and the truthful teachings which He gave through the Apostles via the Holy Spirit. As a closing thought, it’s not so much about reading into the text of Scripture, as it is about reading what the text actually states, and whether our understandings and the teachings we’ve ever heard comply with what Scripture states.