Lord God, your Word is truth. I ask that, through your words for me today, I will walk closer to you.
Read 1 TIMOTHY 1:1-11
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 To Timothy my true son in the faith:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Timothy Charged to Oppose False Teachers
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectCan you think of a time when you had a difference of opinion with another church member? How did you deal with it? How was the matter resolved? (Or is it still ongoing?)
‘Timothy,’ says Paul, ‘I want you to command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer!’
Reading this, I flinch—this sounds like a recipe for an explosive and confrontational church meeting, with both sides getting heated and entrenched. But Paul explains why he is opposed to these false doctrines—‘controversial speculations’ distract people away from advancing God’s kingdom (v 4). The desired outcome of Paul’s command is love between all the believers.
Paul could have been self-righteous. He had warned the Ephesian church years previously to be on their guard against some of their own number distorting the truth and leading people astray (Acts 20:29–31). Instead, he puts in place a costly solution—sending his trusted companion to help the Ephesians get things back on track. I wonder what Timothy felt, being sent on this mission. I wonder how he lovingly tackled those who were leading others astray. I wonder how he gently but firmly set out guidelines for authentic Christian living.
Jesus commanded us to love each other (John 13:34). How well do you keep this command? What would the church look like if every believer made this their priority?
Mighty God, thank you for the gospel applied to my life. Give me your wisdom and strength to live it and declare it with truth and grace.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Discovery is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.