“As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that

‘What matters is that we follow Jesus’ or so the story goes.  But what does it mean to follow Jesus? Without sound doctrine no one can know how. It is a strange doctrine that will cause a believer to shipwreck and will keep an unbeliever from getting saved.  “Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.” (1 Timothy 1:19). Shipwreck seems pretty bad to me, it was bad enough that Paul said he was handing  Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan, so that they would be taught not to blaspheme, (verse 20).

One of the definitions of blaspheme is to speak lightly of,

The teacher who says, “Doctrine divides” inevitably says God divides, because God is the author of doctrine. Doctrine is a teaching and that is what God’s word does, it instructs in the ways of God. Paul stated back in verse 3, that Timothy should instruct or (command in the Greek) not to teach false doctrine. Then in verse 5 he tells us what is the goal of commanding

So then, the end result of sound teaching, as over and against false teaching, is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Sound teaching instead of being divisive produces a pure heart, rather than a ad-mixture of good and evil, a good conscience over and above a defiled conscience from doing evil things, and a sincere faith instead of hypocrisy. It is sound doctrine that produces these things, as the Holy Spirit takes God’s word and applies it to the heart of the believer.

In conclusion, Paul gives us in verses 8 through 10 a short list of

Do not fall into the trap of modern teachers who disguise their hypocritical disobedience with flowery words of “love”, while all the time blaspheming the Word of God that is blessed forever, amen.

Final thought: In the church there are matters that are determined by individual conscience (Romans 14). We call these matters of preference; they are not clearly defined or commanded in scripture. An example is the kind of clothes we wear. There are also clearly defined commands either by statement or principle. An example is the 10 commands as a general overview of all the law, which is a law of love for God and man. We call these matters of principle. Confuse principle with preference and you will reek havoc in your own life and the lives of others.

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