1 TIMOTHY: Doing church (1 Timothy 1 v 1-11)
Doing church 1 Timothy 1 v 1-11
Pastoring a church is a difficult business. Being part of a church is often not easy either. That’s why the letter of 1 Timothy is gold-dust: because it’s a “how-to” manual for a young pastor and his church. It will teach us how to pray for our church leaders; and it will teach us how to be productive church members.
Read 1 Timothy 1:1
Notice the close father-son relationship between God’s apostle Paul and Timothy.
Read 1 Timothy 1:3
Timothy is leading the church in Ephesus (v 3). But he’s young (1 Timothy 4:12), and he’s facing problems within the congregation.
• What does Timothy need to do (v 3)?
The “myths and endless genealogies” (v 4) is probably a reference to adding to the Old Testament. These teachers seem to have been going beyond what Scripture says; and then devoting themselves to what they’d added.
• What’s the outcome of false doctrine (v 4)?
• What is the aim of opposing it (v 5)?
Good doctrine matters: but it’s not an end in itself. Knowing the truth about God safeguards a congregation’s hearts, conscience and faith.
False doctrine matters, too. It’s easy to be swayed by confidence (v 7); but we need to look at the consequences and not the delivery. Where there is controversy, there will usually be false doctrine (v 4).
• Are you more swayed by what someone says, or how they say it?
• Would you rather your leaders oppose false doctrine even if there’s a cost to your church? Or go for an easy life co-existing with it?
Read 1 Timothy 1:8
We need to use God’s law properly (v 8).
• Who is it not for (v 9)? Who is it for (v 9-10)?
One function of the law is to show us we are not “righteous”. We are the type of people Paul’s talking about in v 9b-10a. The right use of the law is not to make us proud, nor allow us to look clever (like the false teachers, v 7), but to show us our
need for Christ (see Galatians 3:24).
But once we’ve trusted in “the glorious gospel of the blessed God” (v 11), the law has another function: to show us how to
live as God’s people. So we need church leaders to teach us “sound doctrine” (v 11), that is in line with the gospel.
Father, thank you for showing me I cannot meet Your standards, and for pointing me to Christ.
Help me to live according to Your law more today than I did yesterday. Amen.
This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.
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