By What Authority? – 1 Timothy 1:1-3

I have begun teaching through the book of 1st Timothy and as I continue to expose myself to this book I am constantly seeing the theme of authority. But not an authority that is grabbed for and taken. And not an authority that lords itself over others and is oppressive. But instead a proper godly authority, one that is delegated and truly authoritative. Check this out

  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
    To Timothy, my true child in the faith:
    Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
    As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,
(1 Timothy 1:1-3 ESV)

Did you notice the flow of authority. God who has all authority has placed Paul under authority (“an apostle by the command of God”) and therefore Paul now has authority, but it is an authority that is given to him. Paul then with that God given authority places Timothy under authority to then speak with authority to those who are spreading false teaching. Here are some other similar references in the book.

  • 1 Timothy 1:3
    As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,
  • 1 Timothy 4:11
    Command and teach these things.
  • 1 Timothy 5:7
    Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach.
  • 1 Timothy 6:13
    I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,
  • 1 Timothy 6:17
    As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

Contrast this with the false teachers which Timothy is to be silencing

Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
(1 Timothy 1:6-7 ESV)

The false teachers are striving after the title, striving after the authority, striving after the prestige of a religious office. They don’t care about the people, they don’t care about what honors God, they don’t care about teaching what is right and in fact they don’t even know what they are talking about, all they want is the title “Teacher of the Law”.

  1. Am I more like Paul and Timothy who speak with a borrowed authority or am I more like the false teachers who grasp for my own authority?
  2. Am I concerned with what pleases God or what pleases me?
  3. Where does true authority rely?
  4. Am I submissive to God’s authority?
  5. Am I willing to say the difficult things to others if it’s what God asks of me?
  6. Are the things I speak in line with God’s authority?

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