“Such things promote controversial speculations…“
We’ve been studying 1 Timothy 1 this week. This morning, I’d like to look at the following passage:
“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.” (1 Tim. 1:3-4)
As a follow-up to yesterday’s passage (Keeping Pastors On Point), I’d like to give a quick word on “…myth and genealogies.“
There’s a lot of speculation on exactly what these false doctrines were. Nevertheless, from other passages and archeological documents, we have some clues. The myths were perhaps,
- “Legends about the origin and propagation of angels,” in the city of Colosse found in Col 2,
- or perhaps, “Jewish fables” found in Titus 1,
- or maybe the “Profane, and old wives’ fables” found in 1 Timothy 4 and 2 Timothy 4. (Jamison-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)
In today’s culture, an example might be if I stood on Sunday morning and said, “When your loved ones pass away, they ascend to heaven and become angels.” Our culture believes it and it feels really good to hear, but it’s simply not found in Scripture anywhere.
It’s a myth.
Genealogies are a bit more complex. Some scholars believe that at least some of these are in fact the genealogies found in the Old Testament. However, the false teachers used them to achieve power.
Jewish Christian teachers would add “…wild allegorical interpretations…” separating “…the Jewish and Gentile converts into two classes—placing the favoured Jew in an altogether different position from the outcast Gentile.” (Jamison-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)
Moreover, in “…both the public and private genealogies of the Jews,” they would try to “…prove themselves priests and Levites…which often produced questions and debates.” And considering how many times the nation of Israel was captured, dispersed and intermingled with other races, it was an endless battle “…to distinguish their tribes and families.” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)
These meaningless discussions led the Ephesian church down a slippery slope to false doctrine. God sees the end result of these false doctrines, and using Paul and Timothy, God’s going to sort it out.
Can I Get Your Feedback?
The leaders in Ephesus were teaching false doctrines, based in myths and genealogies. What kind of false doctrines do we creeping into the church today?