Hold to Sound Doctrine

KEY VERSE: “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” —I Timothy 1:5

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I Timothy 1:3-11, 18-20

PAUL’S LETTERS TO Timothy and Titus are generally known as the Pastoral Epistles, because they deal principally with instructions for the organization, administration and care of the church. In accordance with these matters, Paul, in both letters addressed to Timothy, his ‘son’ in the faith, has much to say regarding sound doctrine, or teaching. And sound doctrine has been defined as those Scriptural teachings which are true, or those which have not been corrupted.

Paul notes, in II Timothy 1:5, that he had great confidence in his young associate: “I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”

When the apostle departed from Ephesus for Macedonia, he urged Timothy to “stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work, which is by faith.”—vss. 3,4, New International Version

Doubtless he was alluding primarily to gnosticism, a form of speculative, intellectual philosophy then being spread about in the church by certain Greek leaders. Its adherents were said to be dogmatic and arrogant in their views, implanting grave errors, false doctrines, which Paul realized he must vigorously oppose in order to faithfully uphold his appointment by God as “a preacher and an apostle and a teacher to the to Gentiles.” (II Tim. 1:11) In this epistle to Timothy, it is likely that he also had in mind those “unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision,” who were the subject of his warning in his letter to Titus.—Titus 1:10

To be sure, Paul had told Timothy that the true Christian’s goal in teaching and preaching is ‘love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith’. (I Tim. 1:5) But then Paul reminded Timothy, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.”—I Tim. 4:6

Finally, Paul said that he would entrust this charge “unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; holding faith, and a good conscience.”—I Tim. 1:18,19

To ‘entrust’ in someone means to place something valuable under one’s authority or power for safekeeping. As a Christian soldier, Timothy had been chosen by God, having but two weapons placed at his disposal. First: a faith which will not shrink; second: the defense of a good conscience, which really means living in accordance with sound doctrine.

Some have likened our Christian walk, which lasts for a lifetime, to a military campaign of long service, and not simply as a single brief battle. Moreover, as a soldier of Christ, we have agreed to voluntarily serve with joy, never looking down grudgingly upon our calling as an enforced conscription.

Realizing our need for constant encouragement and strength to carry on, Paul directed us to an abundant source: “All scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”—II Tim. 3:16,17

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |