One of the Proverbs’ many accurate statements is, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23.7 KJV).
The reason why we need to be careful about what sort of teaching we accept is that thinking determines behavior.
Paul knew this and directed his words to the kind of message that produced Christ-like behavior.
1 Timothy 1.5 – But the aim of such instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.
Paul knew that not every teacher shared his vision.
He told leaders of the Ephesian church that “savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock . . . distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them” (Acts 20.29-30).
When he wrote the letter to Timothy in A.D. 65, the “wolves” were active and had to be combated.
1 Timothy 1.6-7 – Some people have deviated from these and turned to meaningless talk,
Desiring to be teachers of the law without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions.
The false teachers claimed to be teachers of the law, but their message was meaningless and not based on sound doctrine.
A Lesson for Today
Not everyone in the media is a sound teacher. Many teachers, politicians, entertainers, and pundits appear entertaining.
The central question is whether their words conform to Paul’s standard for excellent teaching.
— What sort of behavior do they produce?
— When we admit their teaching into our minds, do the resulting thoughts produce Christ-like attitudes and actions?
The Purpose of the Law
Religious authorities accused Jesus of disregarding the Law.
Jesus countered their argument and said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
“For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5.17-18).
Paul knew that the Law, as completed by Jesus and the Holy Spirit, was very important.
1 Timothy 1.8 – Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it legitimately.
Right-living people need not fear the law. When the law is written on your heart (Romans 2.13-15), you don’t need someone to teach you their understanding of the law.
1 Timothy 1.9. – This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the righteous.
On the other hand, the law exists to convict wrongdoers of their offenses.
1 Timothy 1.9-11 – [The Law is laid down] for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers,
The sexually immoral, men who engage in illicit sex, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching
That conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I was entrusted.
Paul’s list categorizes examples of lawless behavior. His list is not exhaustive, but rather suggestive of the kind of behavior that needs the correction of the law.
The Benefit of the Law
Whether you read the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) or the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), God’s guidance is the best path toward well-being.
Imagine a world where everyone respected life, told the truth, and passionately worshiped God.
When humans are empowered by the Holy Spirit to follow God’s directions fullness of life is the result.
Paul’s goal was excellent thinking about God to produce excellent behavior. He fought against the “wolves,” who engaged in speculation to the destruction of the community.
Let’s learn from Paul and follow his example.
Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.