Paul has left Timothy in Ephesus and now writes this letter with his expectations for the kind of work he will do among the Christians there. “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, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith”(1 Tim 1:3-4). A major part of Timothy’s work is going to be to limit spiritual discussions that are not profitable—different doctrine, myths, genealogies, and speculations.
“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith”(1 Tim 1:5). Christian teaching is not intended to bring speculation, discussion, and division. Its aim is love—authentic love that acts in accordance with what it knows to be true and genuinely follows God. Timothy’s job is to continue sowing the gospel to produce the fruit of love and sincerity. “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 Tim 1:6-7). Paul gives Timothy an example not to follow—those who seek to be teachers but are not producing more love, faith, and purity.
Christian teaching is not an end in itself—a matter to be debated, asserted, and defended. Christian teaching is intended to produce something—a kind of life, attitude, and community. It changes the heart of the obedient believer—and in turn changes his life, relationships, and the world around him.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Do I have a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith?
One Thing to Pray For: Discernment to perceive what is—and is not—true Christian teaching