As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
Before the mid second century, leadership was carried out in the church by a plurality of elders. They would never say, “meet the pastor”, but, “meet the pastors”. And they would have identified them as pastors for what they were doing. Pastor is a role and function and a gift, not a title.
And everyone who is older is not an elder. Elders are appointed to serve and guide. “Elders who rule over you”, actually means, “Come along side you and guide you”.
The command here is to stop majoring on the minors. There is novel teaching that is not edifying. For example, when whole sermons are about interpreting current events. Paul tells Timothy to tell the leaders to get back to the main things.
In the first century, here in 1 Timothy, teachers were getting off-track and teaching about extra-biblical stuff and these endless genealogists that Paul calls strange. This is the context of Paul’s ear tickling comment later.
We can talk about stuff that is interesting, may or may not be true, and that might give us a rush. That is majoring in the minors. Sermons, a whole sermon series, and books written on the blood moons comes to mind as a current example.
People that major on teaching these esoteric things may be asked to stop it or even be removed from teaching roles. When asked to cool it, they will sometimes get offended and quit.
That’s the context here, that’s what this is about.
And the goal of teaching and when we who have oversight, teaching teachers not to teach strange things, is love. What does this mean?
- We need to approach confrontation carefully.
- Our motivation is to help, not hurt the person.
- Don’t let your correction be the cause for losing the person.
- Be loving with them, verbally and non-verbally.
- Loving confrontation expresses care and respect.
- Be honorable.
- Convey and desire mutual understanding and respect.
- Be careful of timing, location, and setting; when you confront.
- Be sensitive to the other person’s feelings, seeing then as a loved person.
- Be open and willing to hear them disagree or confront you back.
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