Monday, October 22, 2007

Stay in the Corner

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,
(1 Timothy 1:3 – ESV)

Paul was admonishing Timothy to stay in Ephesus and to stay with the scriptures. Paul had already talked to Timothy personally about it, now he puts it in writing. The importance of doctrine cannot be overestimated. Just because it seems that false doctrine is pervasive and truth is scarce and no one is listening or learning doesn’t mean it is time to leave.

Certain persons were overthrowing the faith of many, and it is important that true shepherds and true believers contend for the faith, fight the wolves, correct, rebuke, admonish and exhort one another, rooting out those little pet doctrines that have ingrained themselves into individual lives and spread out unawares to others in the congregation.

What would be the “different doctrine” Paul was warning about? It would be anything not echoed by the New Testament writers, or logically derived from New Testament concepts, something that wasn’t related to the Gospel. Trying to reinvigorate OT types and shadows as offering some sort of new blessing is speculation at best.

Paul’s concern was not primarily that Timothy himself would begin to teach wrong doctrine. His concern was that Timothy would allow others to spread false doctrine. He had to stand firm against difficult people. No wonder he might have felt like leaving Ephesus. He wasn’t to present doctrine as an option; he was to command it like a military officer.

Timothy was to continue in the doctrine as Paul had taught; something new wasn’t something true (2 Corinthians 11:4,12-15 / Galatians 1:6-9). This applies to us just as much today as it did back then. Of course even old doctrines can be new to our ears. We do need to teach the old doctrines in ways that engage our lives today, but they aren’t new truths.

The old paths laid out for us in the bible have all we need for faith and practice. People who are looking for excitement and who are into novelty and those who are overly emotional want to say that to stick with the scriptures is to stay in a rut. Yet it would be a colossal mistake to underestimate what is being said here by Paul and in the New Testament. Paul is saying that there is absolute, unchangeable, spiritual truth, and that the Apostles were preaching it, and that they had a corner on it! We aren’t in a rut; we had best stay stuck right there in Truth Corner.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Even So... said...

There is room enough for you to learn and grow and know God there...

mark pierson said...

JD, great post!

I've already asked James Lush to post at BC. Could you please watch to see that you put this post at BC at the next opportunity? Please and thank you, sir.


Even So... said...

Will do Blue...

donsands said...

"..old doctrines can be new to our ears."

Spot on JD.

"I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word."

Even So... said...

I love the old songs, they will preach...