“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 Timothy 1:6-7, ESV)
(1 Timothy 1:6-7, ESV)
[Read previous articles on 1 Timothy to get the context and background of these verses]. “Certain persons,” Paul writes first in verse 3 then here in verse 6 are not named. No doubt, these people are self-appointed teachers of verse 3 who were teaching “different doctrine” or “other doctrine.” They have “swerving” (Some Bibles translated “having strayed” or “having deviated”), completely missing the mark when it comes to sound doctrine. Paul says they have turned aside.
I read one commentary, the writer explains that this is a medical term which means “to turn or twist.” Like twisting your ankle. This wasn’t something you laughed about. In my own experience, twisting ankle causes me to scream in pain. It brought tears to my eyes. Such painful experience! You had experienced it too, right? This is what these false teachers were doing to the body of Christ. This was no “mere trifling in splitting theological hairs” as some say. It was a serious departure from sound doctrine. Painful and seriously dangerous. The result was “wandered away into vain discussion,” meaning a lot of words that didn’t say anything or lead anyway. Theological debates here and there, bla bla bla. How many times I have listened to the empty preaching of some high-educated preacher who, as Vance Havney says, practised “the art of almost saying something.”
These false teachers who had influenced Timothy’s church at Ephesus professed to be specialists and experts. They “desiring to be teachers of the law” claiming to be experts in the Old Testament law. Although they presented themselves as those who have authorities, they actually didn’t know what they were talking about. They were “without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” Their teaching led in circles and went nowhere, but what they stated they did so with great force and confidence.
They know not what they say or what kind of things they are of which they speak so confidently. Just because someone shouting and stomping in the pulpit and goes through all sorts of gestures when preaching doesn’t mean he or she is saying much or preaching the truth. Or just because someone so confidently claiming themselves a Calvinist or Arminian in Facebook and quoting famous saying of reformers and preachers of old, it doesn’t mean he or she is a true follower of Christ. It’s sound doctrine that counts! The false teachers had swerved from the simplicity that is in Christ. H.A. Ironside writes, “It is ever the object of the Devil to obscure the truth and get Christians occupied with something that will hide the glorious face of the Lord Jesus Christ and becloud the truth regarding His finished work.” Again, it’s sound doctrine that counts!
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.