Paul is writing a personal letter to Timothy – who he has left at Ephesus to help combat false teaching going on there. This false teaching probably is similar to the false teaching at Colosse – which centered on hidden knowledge for the chosen few. In these verses Paul mentions people wasting time on endless discussions about myths and spiritual pedigrees – about knowing the hidden things, and having the right background. It is the idea that if you only know the “hidden” teaching, then you are better than others.
The truth of Christ is not hidden – it is plain for all to see. Following Jesus does not lead to arrogance, but a pure heart and genuine faith. Even in Paul’s day there were people who were taking the truth of Christianity and mixing it in with pride and selfishness, and excluding others. Unfortunately, this still happens today. The closer we get to Christ, the more humble and gentle and loving and strong we should become. Paul writes to encourage Timothy as he teaches the truth.
What about you? Have you ever come across false teaching? How did you deal with it?
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New Living Translation
Greetings from Paul
1This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope.
2I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith.
May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.
Warnings against False Teachings
3When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth. 4Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations,a which don’t help people live a life of faith in God.b
5The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. 6But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions. 7They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently.
8We know that the law is good when used correctly. 9For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. 10The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders,c liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching 11that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.