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1 Timothy 1:6 – Swerved

26-09-2023 - Posted by Hans

From which some, swerving were turned aside into vain prating.

Earlier Paul referred to the “some” in Ephesus (1:3). Paul’s charge to them is clear: no other teaching should they teach. But the threefold purpose of that command is also clear: “love from a pure heart,” “a good conscience” and “unfeigned faith” (1:5). It is these things that the mentioed teachers have abandoned. The plural form that Paul uses shows that he is not so much referring to “the charge”, but to “the consummation” of it.

When teachers go off the rails, it is never just a theoretical misunderstanding. It also inevitably has moral consequences. When people derail from “sound teaching”, “love from a pure heart” disappears. Usually people no longer understand that God’s love is truly agape: unconditional and never-ending. One also loses “a good conscience” because one is forced to tamper with the truth. And thirdly, “unfeigned faith” makes way for religious drama that only has the appearance of faith.

Education that is so ‘stripped down’ and lacks ‘love from a pure heart’, ‘a good conscience’ and ‘unfeigned faith’, can only produce meaningless talk. Pompous and pretentious perhaps, but it is empty and vain. What a difference with “sound teaching”!