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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

OTHER DOCTRINES, FABLES, AND GENEALOGIES

1 Tim 1:1-4 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

Most of the letters Paul wrote were directed to specific churches of Christ, or to churches within a certain geographical area. However, this letter was written to Timothy, my own son in the faith. This letter, his second letter to Timothy, as well as his letters to Titus and to Philemon, were written to specific preachers, teachers, and fellow Christians that labored diligently under Paul's direction and influence. The lesson text begins the first of Paul's two letters written to Timothy.

From the Acts of the Apostles, and from other epistles, we know much of Timothy's heritage, life, and service to the Lord. It is general knowledge that he was the son of a Greek father and a Jewish mother. He was born in a district of Asia Minor known as Lycaonia. Here we find the cities as Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium , all of which Paul visited during some of his missionary journeys. Converted to Christianity by Paul, Timothy became his traveling assistant, and, under Paul's guidance, he became a faithful, devoted minister of the gospel of Christ.

In the lesson text we note that Paul was not converted by the teaching of the other apostles of Christ, but was, by the commandment of God, converted by the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. This tells us that Paul was also called by Jesus, just as the other apostles were that became His followers. Therefore, Paul's teaching of Jesus Christ, which is our hope, must be accepted as the will of God, because the same Holy Spirit, that inspired all other apostles, gave inspiration to his teaching as well. And, as he did to most others to whom he wrote letters, Paul tells of his sincere desire that God would grant Timothy the spiritual blessings of grace, mercy, and peace.

As his fellow laborer in Christ, Paul thought it necessary for Timothy to abide still at Ephesus, when I (Paul) went into Macedonia. Timothy was left at Ephesus, not in a teacher of this Christian congregation, but he was besought by Paul to remain there as a preacher, responsible for exposing, and countering errors, that may arise within the congregation, and also to uphold the truths of God's will, which, by inspiration, Paul had previously taught to them. It was on this gospel foundation that the church of Christ in Ephesus was built, and was to diligently remain.

A congregation of Christians loses its identity when it perverts the gospel message of Jesus and His apostles. By doing so, it can no longer be called His body, the church of Christ. Fear that this may happen in Ephesus, was the reason Timothy was left there, that he mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine. Paul's fear of such apostasy taking place within this body of Christ, was evident in his epistle to the Ephesians. His desire was that they grow in faith and knowledge, that they may attain the fullness of Christ; that they not be tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; that, in all things,Jesus Christ would remain the head of the body of Christ in Ephesus (See Eph. 4:13-15).

And why was Paul so concerned about their spiritual welfare? Because the church in Ephesus was a very young body of Christ, they were not fully mature, and were very susceptible to the deceitful teaching of false prophets, who claimed to be sent by God. Paul was afraid they would give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which wouldraise serious, and possibly divisive,questions rather than godly edifying. This was exactly Paul's admonition to Timothy in his second letter.

Because he was afraid young Christians would turn away their ears from the truth, and ...be turned unto fables, Paul told Timothy to preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine (See 2 Tim. 4:2-4). Similar to this exortation,Paul told Titus to affirm constantly the gospel of Christ. To assure godly edifying within the church of Christ, he was to teach only the inspired word of God - teachings that were from of His Son, Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit-inspired writers of the New Testament. Doing so, Christians will avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain (Titus 3:8-9).