“As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith” (1 Timothy 1:3-4 ESV).
1 Timothy 1:3-4 identifies two examples of false doctrine: myths (or fables) and endless genealogies. In the context of this passage, a “myth” or “fable” refers to a legendary account or a fabricated religious story. One such example involves the claim that Jesus traveled to India as a young boy and later taught what He learned there. Another claims that Jesus fashioned small birds out of clay when He was a child and brought them to life.
These mythical accounts have no Biblical support; in fact, the latter account stands in direct contradiction to testimony of Scripture. Yet these fables command the time and attention of those who would be better served by studying the genuine gospel accounts of Jesus’ life.
We might also expand the definition of a myth to include Biblical interpretations that have no basis in the text or context of the Scriptures. As one commentator observes, “…There are various ways to use the word of God deceitfully, or to tamper with it. Using a Bible text to preach a ‘sermon’ that has little or nothing to do with the Bible is one of the common ways of doing it.” (1)
This must have been an ongoing issue in the early church, for Paul the Apostle addressed this topic in another Pastoral epistle…
“…you must be severe when you rebuke those who have followed this false teaching, so that they will come to be sound in their trust and no longer pay attention to Judaistic myths or to the commands of people who reject the truth” (Titus 1:13-14 CJB).
Another source draws our attention to the difference between legitimate Biblical inquiries and myths…
“There is a real difference between ‘myths,’ ‘genealogies,’ ‘speculations,’ and faith. Faith is based on the historical truth of the gospel, not theories. Faith comes from the promises of God (cf. Gal. 3:14,16,17,18,21,22,29), not the philosophical preponderance of humans (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18-31). One is based on revelation, the other on human speculation. One honors God and the other magnifies the human thinker.
This is not meant to depreciate godly scholarship, but to differentiate divine revelation from human reason, speculation, and discovery. Believers are called to love God with their ‘minds’ (cf. Jesus’ quote of Deut. 6:5 in Matt. 22:36-37; Mark 12:28-30; Luke 10:27) and to pass these truths on to their children (cf. Deut. 6:7,20-25).” (2)
(1) Paul T. Butler. The Bible Study Textbook Series, Studies In Second Corinthians (College Press) [p. 93] Copyright © 1988 College Press Publishing Company https://archive.org/stream/BibleStudyTextbookSeriesSecondCorinthians/132Corinthians-Butler_djvu.txt
(2) Dr. Bob Utley. Free Bible Commentary, [1 Timothy 1:4] Copyright © 2014 Bible Lessons International http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/new_testament_studies/VOL09/VOL09_01.html