READING: 1 Timothy 1-6
Paul loved Timothy deeply as a “true son in the faith” (1 Tim 1:2), and he trusted him with the responsibility to confront false teachers. The apostle wrote this first letter to offer Timothy guidance and counsel as he ministered among the believers in Ephesus — a city Paul recognized as a center of spiritual evil (Eph 6:10-17). So, it shouldn’t surprise us that Paul again addressed spiritual realities throughout this epistle. He knew he was asking Timothy to “fight the battle well” (1 Tim 1:18) and to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim 6:12).
That battle was evident in the lives of the people of Ephesus. False teachers who “do not know what they are talking about” (1 Tim 1:7) had infiltrated the church and were teaching things of “deceitful spirits” (1 Tim 4:1). The enemy had lured young widows into returning to some kind of ungodly lifestyle, which might have included marrying unbelievers (1 Tim 5:14-15). Some in the church had abandoned the faith, causing Paul to hand them “over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme” (1 Tim 1:20). Paul thus turned the rebels out of the church and over to the destroyer so they would realize the error of their ways.
One way Paul encouraged the Ephesians to stand in faith was to appoint pastors whose lives were fully committed to God and thoroughly prepared to defend against the enemy. They were not to be newer believers, for they might “become conceited and fall under the same judgment of the devil” (1 Tim 3:6). Were they to be baby believers given great responsibility, they might follow the enemy’s lead into arrogance and suffer judgment just as he did. Moreover, the elders must have a good reputation with those outside the church, lest they fall “into the devil’s trap" (1 Tim 3:7). The accuser always stood ready to pounce on sinful and arrogant believers, particularly if they were church leaders.
Apparently, the devil wanted the church to appoint unqualified leaders who would hardly be prepared to fight the fight of faith. We would be wise to hear that word today.
- Prayerfully consider if you have fallen into the devil’s trap of pride. Do you see yourself as better than other believers?
- Send a note of encouragement to the pastors of your church. Pray that they always teach the truth of God’s Word.
PRAYER: “Lord, help me to be alert to false teachings, especially if I dare believe them. Let my church be a church that teaches only truth.”
TOMORROW’S READING: 2 Timothy 1-4