Follow Sound Doctrine
There are many people giving and receiving advice today. In our culture, the idea of “coaching” is popular. People from every industry and station of life pay large amounts of money to their “coaches” to help them go to the next level. Through the study of the Scripture we can receive coaching that will encourage us to keep going, help us make course adjustments along the way, and take our place in God’s Kingdom for His glory.
God used the Apostle Paul to write a large amount of the New Testament. Paul was instrumental in spreading the Gospel about Jesus from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and ultimately to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8) The books of 1st and 2nd Timothy are personal letters to Timothy from the Apostle Paul. These books contain Paul’s counsel to Timothy concerning issues of church leadership. By reading and studying these books, we will receive “coaching” from the Apostle Paul himself that will inform, encourage and challenge us.
Toward the end of his life, Paul wrote three letters (1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus) to Timothy and Titus to instruct them as they continued in the work of the church. 1 Timothy 1:1-2 identifies the Apostle Paul as the author of this letter and his “son” in the faith, Timothy, as the recipient.
As a young leader, Timothy was prone to discouragement. Paul is writing to encourage him to stay on the job and fight the good fight. The presence of false teachers in the early church was one of the reasons that Paul encourages Timothy to stay strong and fight against error. Little has changed in the church since Paul wrote these words to Timothy. We have the same charge to fight the false teachers of our day.
The motivation of Paul’s command to fight against error is love. Paul writes, “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5) Paul has a genuine concern for those who have been deceived spiritually. A wrong understanding of the Old Testament Law is part of the false teaching. These false teachers were leading people to legalistic religion rather than a relationship with Christ. “The flesh loves religious legalism because rules and regulation enable a person to appear holy without really having to change his heart.” (New Testament Commentary, Warren Weirsbe) The Law is powerless to save. The purpose of the law is to reveal our need for a Savior.
Paul writes his personal testimony, describing the incredible work God has done in his life. It is not enough to fight false teaching, we must also proclaim the truth of the Gospel starting with our own lives. Paul summarizes the Gospel in one verse proclaiming the power of the Gospel, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15)
1 Timothy, chapter 1 ends with Paul charging Timothy to “fight the good fight” and hold on to his faith and not quit. It is always too soon to quit. The gospel and our spiritual lives are worth fighting for.
While reading and studying 1 Timothy 1 consider these questions:
1. Describe the most important letter or e-mail you every received.
2. How valuable is the content of the Bible in your life? If you did not have access to the Bible, how much would you pay to get it?
3. What are some of the false teachings of our day?
4. How does your testimony help you defend that which is true?
5. What can you do to strengthen your own understanding of the Scripture?
6. What will be the results of better understanding the Scripture?
7. If you could ask Paul any question, what would it be?