Dr. John Hartmann

Proclaiming the Whole Counsel of God

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The Goal of the Instruction

February 6th, 2011 · No Comments

1 Timothy is a letter written not to a church, but to Paul’s younger co-worker Timothy, whom he has left in Ephesus as his apostolic delegate to oversee the work and affairs of the church there, as stated in 3:14-15: I write, so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. Timothy functions as a steward who has been set over the affairs of a household, an overseer of overseers, who is instructed to train and appoint faithful men to the office of bishop, with a view to 1) the saints being established in the teaching the apostles handed down to the church once for all time, and 2) the affairs of the church being conducted in a way that conforms to the rules God has set up for His household.

The goal of such sound doctrine is love, from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith (1:5). Why is this so necessary? Because some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion. They want to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they or saying or the matters about which they make “confident assertions” (1:6-7). This reference to those who want to be teachers of the Law seems to indicate that Paul is again dealing with Jewish Christian/Jewish teachers who want to bring the church under the yoke of the Law as a requirement for salvation, defining covenant obedience to God by regulations of the Law that according to Paul properly belonged to a time in salvation-history that is now past. Paul speaks about this at length in Galatians 3-4, showing that the Law functioned in salvation-history as a custodian until the fullness of time, when God sent forth His Son to redeem a people who would receive “the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-7).

Turning back to 1 Timothy 1:8-11, our teacher proceeds to offer some very helpful insights with respect to the way Paul attaches a different meaning in various contexts to the expression “the Law”. In this present context (1 Timothy 1:8-11) Paul refers to the skillful use of the Law (the 10 commandments) in bringing sinners to a knowledge of sin so that they might see their need of Christ’s redemption as the only way to be saved from the wrath of God.

Our study ends with a very strong admonition to “catch the vision” with respect to what God will do to build His church, with reference back to various points found in the book of Ephesians.

Tags: Sermons

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