Friday, March 07, 2008

Stay away from it

The next section in 1 Timothy 1 is :
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, 4nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
Paul has left Timothy in Ephesus.
One of the things that Timothy needs to work on in this church is the proliferation of false teachers. These teachers promote (teach) a different doctrine than that of the Christian gospel. They devote themselves to myths and genealogies. These things get people thinking on things they don't need to rather than getting them to focus on "the stewardship of God that is by faith". The folks who have done this have wandered into useless discussions and don't really understand what they so confidently talking about.

Paul reminds Timothy that the aim of the charge to folks is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. That's the love we want to offer. :)

As I read through this section I had some questions
- endless genealogies...what are those? I learned through the People's new Testament (e-sword) that
Philo, a learned Alexandrian Jew who wrote a little before Paul's time, built up a whole system on genealogies. The names in the genealogies with him represented the various conditions of the soul.
- myths/fables --- just what are those? Gill (e-sword) tells me these are
Old wives' fables, or Jewish fables, the traditions of the elders; anything that was not true; or if it was, yet idle, vain, trifling, and unprofitable
Knowing all this, I can understand why that (especially with the genealogy thing) would lead to useless discussion and speculations. People would be coming up with all sorts of things, and since it involves the condition of the soul, would definitely be something that would distract a person from the true gospel. Could make for some fascinating discussions. BUT as Paul puts it, this is a false teaching. And he urges Timothy to put an end to it if he can. What Christians have is all based in our faith in God. Not on our past, our families, our surroundings, it all is based on faith. What we should be dwelling on is the things therefore of God, things that increase our faith rather than detract from it.

So Paul gives Timothy a reminder of what is to be taught. That we are to have a love that comes as a result of our having a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. That's what we as believers are to have. We can't have that if we do things we aught not do, if we question our faith in God through focusing on things that are not of God, and if our hearts are not pure. So we need to focus on God and the things of God to truly show love, this is how one grows love. :)

Paul points out that this is what the problem is. People have "swerved from these". I get the picture of someone going down the road, seeing something in the way and going around it. Granted when one does that you usually get back on track, but these folks haven't done that. They've swerved and gone with it. They've seen this aspect of the law and said...oh...I want to be a teacher of the law. They don't really understand what it means to be a teacher of the law within the context of Christian faith, so they are busy being teachers, without having a clue about what they are teaching. They have swerve away from the essence of faith in Christ to something "other". And despite their confidence, they are still wrong!

Timothy needs to call them away from it.

Serves as a good warning to me. To not get caught up in things of the Christian faith that distract me from what is important in the faith. Learning how to truly love my fellow man which means learning how to truly love my Lord and Saviour. I do that by focusing on the things of God by faith and through that developing a pure heart, good conscience and more sincere faith. To this I must cling. :)

1 comment:

David Porter said...

Wonderful post Annette. It seems to me that this is a good lesson for many Christian bloggers. It is very easy to get our lives caught up in talking about things that don't really matter.

Better to just say here is what I believe, here is why I believe it and move on. Let the Holy Spirit do the convincing.