Don’t preach that!

1 Tim 1:3-4
Here Paul informs his young protege Timothy that he must charge (paraggellō) or declare that certain persons are to not teach different doctrine. Who are these certain persons? What is this different doctrine? Shouldn’t we just avoid doctrine altogether and focus on practical issues? The answer is a commanding no! These certain persons were not what or who you may think. These persons were almost certainly the elders of the Ephesian church that Paul mentioned in Acts 20:29-30 “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away disciples after them.” The persons that Timothy was to rebuke or command to not teach these things were men on his own elder board! (most likely older men who had lived in Ephesus for a longer period of time and had more established relationships with the people in the congregation.) No doubt a difficult task for this young pastor!

What was the different doctrine? As with all false doctrine it was dividing over man centered issues like “..myths and endless genealogies…” (1:4) These false doctrines were promoting speculations rather than a deeper faith and trust in God. This seems to be a hallmark of all false doctrine, the fact that it promotes speculation and questioning of God and His Word. Thankfully Paul gives us the theme and thrust of proper doctrine “…stewardship from God that is by faith.” Proper doctrine should push you towards faith away from your own ability and work and onto God who has made you a steward of faith in Him. These false teachers in Timothy’s church (and in our own day) were promoting self confidence and their own abilities, whereas Paul (by the power and will of God) was promoting faith in God and not in self. Timothy (and all pastors and all believers) have the task to ensure that people are teaching proper doctrine and that the doctrine they purport is true and real. Next we will see how true doctrine informs your actions and how you live, it is not simply a head knowledge that puffs up (though it does and can do that).

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