“Remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain people not to preach any different doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3 ESV)
In his instructions to Timothy Paul includes the task of dealing with false teaching that was troubling the church. Paul calls such falsehood “speculations” (v.4) and “vain discussion” (v.6). Those who have seen or experienced the breakup of congregations and fellowships will know the pain and suffering these events cause. Those who leave to follow a false gospel will do nothing to promote peace, love and harmony amongst the brethren – sometimes the rifts last for generations – even within families.
Often, teaching is based upon misunderstandings and half-truths as scripture is manipulated to suit a purpose. As Paul points out to Timothy, the sad part is that the perpetrators do not know what they do not know and are “without understanding” of what they think they do know!
The opposite to this is the true teaching which, unlike the false doctrines which meander all over the place with no form or direction, is focussed, has a clear direction and purpose with a “steadfast aim”.
If a doctrine is preached or “put about” that does not promote authentic, godly, love and peace, which can only come from a pure heart and a good conscience then we should be wary of what is being presented.
The most effective protection against such false teachings to be as familiar with the truth in the scriptures as can possibly be and to hold on to it, no matter what. If we are not well versed in the Word of God we render ourselves vulnerable to the half-truths and misstatements of those attempting to lead us astray.
Jesus defeated Satan in the wilderness by the Word of God … a good example for us all!!
Why not set time aside to do some Bible reading this Lent? There are plenty of on line daily devotion resources for example: “Our Daily Bread’, “Crosswalk Daily Inspirations”, “Living Truth”, there are some paper copies of “Daily bread” in the church.
Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.” 1 Kings 17:24 (NIV)
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5 (NIV)
So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Luke 20:21 (NIV)
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. John 4:23 (NIV)
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31 (NIV)
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 (NIV)