April 9th, 2007
I recently sat in a school classroom while a teacher was teaching students a lesson on English grammar. The lesson involved breaking sentences down into nouns and verbs and adjectives and prepositions. All seemed to be going well until it became apparent that the teacher had no idea what she was doing. She was firmly of the opinion that the word “is” was a preposition and not a verb. It started to occur to me that she probably really didn’t care whether what she was saying was right or wrong. Perhaps she didn’t even care whether the students learned anything useful. All she wanted to do was get through the class and collect her pay cheque.
Paul’s First Letter to Timothy — Chapter 1
1:1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Saviour, and Christ Jesus our hope, 1:2 to Timothy, my true child in faith. Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
1:3 I urged you, when I was leaving for Macedonia, to stay in Ephesus to prevent certain people from teaching half-truths 1:4 and paying attention to myths and endless genealogies, which cause disputes, rather than God’s work, which is about faith. 1:5 Your goal in preventing them from doing these things is love, arising from a pure heart and a clear conscience and sincere faith. 1:6 Some people have missed the mark and turned aside to empty talk. 1:7 They want to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they say, or what they stridently declare.
1:8 We know that the law is good if someone uses it legitimately, 1:9 but at the same time, the law exists not for righteous people, but for lawless and recalcitrant people, godless people and sinners, unholy and irreligious people, people who kill their fathers and mothers, murderers, 1:10 sexually immoral people, homosexuals, slave-traders, liars, perjurers, and anything which goes against proper teaching 1:11 of the Good News of the glory of the blessed God, which was entrusted to me. 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who gives me strength, because he considered me to be faithful and chose me to serve, 1:13 although I used to be a skeptic, a persecutor, and a bully. However, I received mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 1:14 The grace of our Lord overflowed for me with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 1:15 It is true to say, and this deserves to be fully accepted, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — and I am the worst of them. 1:16 The reason why I received mercy was so that in me, the worst of sinners, Jesus Christ could demonstrate all his patience, as an example for people who were going to believe in him for eternal life. 1:17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.
1:18 I am giving you these instructions, my child Timothy, in accordance with the prophecies which were once made about you, so that you can use them to fight the good fight, 1:19 keeping faith and a good conscience. Some people have thrown these things away and made a shipwreck of their faith, 1:20 including Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, to be taught not to dishonour God.
Entry Filed under: Legalism