Do Your Research – Know What’s True
Have you ever tried to unmask error? I used to think I had to be knowledgeable about what was false in order to combat it. But focusing on what isn’t true (what’s fake) can be a stumbling block.
My husband, Steve, is a coffee aficionado. Because he makes quality espresso day in and day out, when we go on a road trip it’s hard for him to find a hot beverage that measures up.
Most coffee house chains use slightly charred beans that were roasted several weeks, if not months, prior. In contrast, Steve only uses coffee beans with the most recent roast dates, and is happy to drive several miles to get what’s freshest.
Instead of just grabbing a bag of coffee from the grocery store shelf, Steve has done his research and knows what to look for when it comes to making a good shot of espresso. And the proof is in the taste. He definitely can’t be duped with an inferior brew.
Know the truth
I realize that’s a humorous example, but did you catch what’s key? My husband is so familiar with the real thing (quality coffee), that he can’t be tricked by just any old cup of coffee (an inferior brew). In our spiritual lives it means:
Know the truth of God’s Word, so you won’t fall for the lies of the devil.
Paul warned Timothy of some false teaching that was threatening the church at Ephesus. His advice? Know the truth, remind the church members of it, continue to grow in godliness, and actively live out what he was teaching and preaching (1 Timothy 4:6-7, 12).
Paul wasn’t suggesting Timothy be out of touch with what was going on in his church – but that his focus needed to be on the right things. The Holman Concise Bible Commentary puts it like this: “As the repository and guardian of the truth, the church continually must be aware of the strategies of the enemies of the truth. Paul stressed that Timothy’s pastoral duties involved guarding the truth and refuting the heretics. The church was instructed to confront the false teaching by teaching correct doctrine and by godly living.” (Dockery, D.S. (1998). The Pauline Letters. In D.S. Dockery (Ed.), Holman concise Bible commentary (p. 605). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Homan Publishers.)
Each issue could be dealt with from the truth of God’s Word. Because they were prone to forget, Timothy was to remind these church members of God’s viewpoint. In this particular situation – that marriage was instituted by God and that it was appropriate to eat any food as long as God was acknowledged as the giver and He was thanked (1 Timothy 4:3-4).
The right thing to do
Paul encouraged Timothy to keep doing what was right:
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.1 Timothy 4:13, KJV
Read – Obviously, copies of God’s Word weren’t readily available in the days of the early church, so Paul stressed the importance of Timothy being devoted to reading the scriptures out loud during their worship services for everyone to hear.
(“Scripture included at least the Old Testament, but it may have referred also to the rapidly growing collection of New Testament writings (see 2 Pet 3:16). The command to read would presuppose a wise selection of passages for reading and an alertness to guard against the reading of suspicious or erroneous words. At a time when believers lacked personal copies of God’s Word, such a practice was essential to promote knowledge of the divine message.”) (Lea, T. D., & Griffin, H. P. (1992). 1, 2 Timothy, Titus (Vol. 34, p. 138). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
Exhort – He was to exhort the believers. Explain the truths he just read. The Faith Life Study Bible gives this beautiful description: “The Greek word used here, paraklesis, often refers to encouragement that helps a person take the right course of action.” (Barry, J.D., Mangum, D., Brown, D.R., Heiser, M.S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., …Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (1 Ti 4:13). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.)
Teach – Finally, Timothy was to teach the people in his church. And to be an effective teacher, he had to learn and apply what he was teaching in his own life first.
No doubt, as Timothy shared the truth in a spirit of love (agape) with his church members, the Lord was pleased. The same thing is true in our lives. When we deal with error today, instead of looking to popular opinion or lashing out in pride, we can choose to major on the truth of God’s Word and share it with a loving spirit.
How do you confront error? What step will you take to deal with it in a way that’s pleasing to God? Let’s talk about it! Share your thoughts here in the comments below then visit our Facebook page for suggested reading, daily devotional questions, and further discussion.
Can I pray for you?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for reminding us that there is a very real spiritual battle going on around us. Help us to be alert. Give us wisdom to deal with false teachings in the right way: to be familiar with the Truth, to apply its teachings to our lives, and to share it in a loving way. In Jesus' name, Amen.Leave a comment on my wall if this post helped you
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