In 1 Timothy 1, Shaul imparts a word to his spiritual son, Timothy, giving a subtle reminder that we should all mature into spiritual fathers and mothers who raise sons and daughters in the faith.
Shaul’s request, which is completely relevant today, is for Timothy to “instruct certain people not to teach strange doctrines, nor pay attention to myths and endless genealogies.”
Now I love my religious family and friends, but many times when discussing the Parashat HaShavuah, their words literally “give rise to useless speculation rather than advance the plan of G-d, which is by faith.” Some rabbinic writings can provide rich insight into Jewish culture, history and philosophy, but when these sources completely contradict the Word of G-d, they are not useful but harmful.
However when responding to loved ones who follow the rabbis instead of the TANACH, I try to respect that “the goal of our instruction is love” because this is the message of the Gospel, and this love stems from three sources – “from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith.” I believe that if one of these three elements is missing, we will not be effective in sharing the love of our Messiah.
- A pure heart is the desire of David in Psalm 51:10 – “Create in me a clean heart, Oh G-d, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
- A good conscience is found in 2 Corinthians 10:5 – “We destroy arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of G-d, and we take every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah.”
- A sincere faith is illustrated throughout Hebrews 11 as we’re inspired by the lives of these spiritual giants of our faith.
Woe to those who’ve strayed and pursued, “fruitless discussions, wanting to be teachers of the Torah, even though they do not understand…the matters about which they make confident assertions.”
Of course “the Torah is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that Torah was not made for the righteous but for the lawless” and those who follow “what is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious Gospel of the blessed G-d.”
By making Shaul’s prayer of gratitude personal, we praise “our L-rd who considered us faithful, putting us into service, even though we were previously blasphemers, persecutors and violent aggressors. Yet we were shown mercy because we acted ignorantly in unbelief;
and the grace of our L-rd was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Messiah Yeshua. We found mercy, so that in us, Yeshua might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”
Then Shaul said something that is rarely heard in congregations today. As an elder he encouraged Timothy, “according to the prophecies previously made about him, that by these prophetic words, Timothy would fight the good fight and keep the faith and a good conscience.” In contrast, Shaul mentions two men who rejected prophetic words they received and so “shipwrecked their faith.” Next Shaul explained how he “handed them over to Satan, so that they’d be taught not to blaspheme.”
Honestly that’s a tough concept to grasp as a follower of Yeshua. Yet I suppose it’s somewhat similar to my constant prayer for family and friends whom I dearly love, that Adonai will do whatever He needs to do, so they’ll have eternal life in Yeshua, because nothing else matters and our most passionate hope is that none would perish!
So let us pray for Joel 2:28 prophetic words to resonate within the hearts of our prodigals and the people of Israel, bringing insight, encouragement and joy!
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only G-d, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen!”