“As I urged you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to spread false teachings” (1 Timothy 1:3 NET).
The following three commentators discuss the importance of sound Biblical doctrine and the danger facing those who fail to separate truth from falsehood in the area of spirituality…
“It is highly significant that the first task the apostle set Timothy to doing in Ephesus was to guard the teaching of the church. ‘Charge certain persons that they must not teach differing doctrines,’ he says. In other words, the teaching is the most important aspect of the ministry of a church. It must be kept pure and unsullied …So when you question a teaching, ask yourself, ‘What does it lead people to do?'” (1)
“…doctrine is important to God and should be important to His people. Today, what one believes – that is, their doctrine – is remarkably unimportant to most people. This spirit of the modern age has also heavily influenced modern Christians. We live in a day where Pilate’s question What is truth? (John 18:38) is answered, ‘Whatever it means to you.’ Yet truth is important to God and should be to His people.” (2)
“The church at Ephesus may have been plagued by the same heresy that was threatening the church at Colosse—the teaching that to be acceptable to God, a person had to discover certain hidden knowledge and had to worship angels (Col_2:8, Col_2:18). The false teachers were motivated by their own interests rather than Christ’s. They embroiled the church in endless and irrelevant questions and controversies, taking precious time away from the study of the truth.” (3)
Doctrine is important because people generally act upon what they believe. To illustrate this reality, let’s take our moral convictions as an example. We can say that every moral belief finds its ultimate source in the doctrines we hold concerning God and other human beings. For instance, a person who…
A.) Believes in the existence of an all-powerful God who has created men and women in His image and
B.) Holds us accountable for our actions towards them
…is someone who is likely to make different moral choices than a person who doesn’t hold those beliefs. This explains why the doctrines we hold are so important, for the things we believe influence the choices we make.
As implied by a commentator quoted above, we can uncover the doctrines we hold by tracing our actions back to our core beliefs. We can then identify what those beliefs led us to do. This simple exercise in “reverse engineering” can help us determine if our doctrines are Biblically-based or if they originate somewhere else.
(1) Excerpted with permission from Guard the Teaching © 1981 by Ray Stedman Ministries. All rights reserved. Visit www.RayStedman.org for the complete library of Ray Stedman material. Please direct any questions to webmaster@RayStedman.org
(2) Guzik, Dave 2 Thessalonians 2 – 1 Timothy 1 – Fighting For The Faith https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/1-timothy-1/
(3) Life Application Study Bible NKJV [ 1 Timothy 1:3-4] Copyright © 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc., all rights reserved.