Journal 1 Tim 6 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.” 1 Tim 6:1-4
Observation: Methinks Paul is pounding a specific nail to Timothy: “Stay on target, stay on target…” (from Star Wars: A New Hope)
Analysis: Here is 1 Tim 1: “…remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine…rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. THE aim of our charge is: 1) Love that issues from a pure heart; 2) a good conscience, and; 3) a sincere (genuine, honest, truthful, earnest, straight) faith.”
The beginning of the letter and the end of the letter: Fairly consistent, right? Paul is hammering on a point: “Sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ” and “teaching that accords with godliness.”
There have been so many “teachings” over the centuries. Even today, I can see this teaching and that, and the other, and (with a little diligent research) I can discover that there is nothing new under the sun—everything I see today was visible way back when.
Take prosperity teaching: “… (teachers) who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a MEANS OF GAIN.” (1 Tim 5:5b) Doesn’t that sound like prosperity teaching? 2,000 years ago? 60-70 years after the Cross and Resurrection: didn’t take long to twist sound words into something yucky.
Sound doctrine isn’t easy to come by. In every generation there are those who want to package “something different”, a perspective that is easier to swallow, a so-called “truth” that is just a little bit out of tune but isn’t worth the work to get the music absolutely in tune. If it was a picture, then perhaps my face is in complete focus, but my surroundings are just a little fuzzy—that is the effect of “unsound doctrine.”
There is a piece of scripture that can be taken improperly out of context: “Forgetting what lies behind…” (Phil 3:13) It is not saying that history should not be considered; don’t pay attention to the past—it is saying that, in context to the emotional reaction of sin, ‘forget about it and press into Jesus.’
It is a privilege to lean hard on the shoulders of saints that have gone before us. These folks are instruments of Grace and it is from them that sound doctrine can be learned from. “Old, dead guys”—they are harder to read, takes effort—but are well worth it to grow into godliness/holiness. Fortunately, there are good writers today that are in the same doctrinal path as the old guys.
“Sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness” … Godliness is the goal; sound doctrine is the method to get there.
Prayer: Father, I want to whine and complain. I know this message is hard to communicate. There are so many distractions in the Church and too few of the rank and file that burn for godliness.
Lord God, help us to yearn for your presence; to learn of you and your works and ways; to not save our communication to those stranger who possibly don’t know you but to speak of you to friends in the church, family at home; to have the Wonder of your ways on our tongue and in the forefront of my mind daily.
Help me to not be concerned about sounding like a fool with my wife. Help me to communicate with gentleness and grace and not come across like a correcting martinet. You didn’t sound like that—I don’t want to sound like that either.
Cause revival, O Lord. AMEN