“Have them stop devoting their attention to myths and never-ending genealogies; these divert people to speculating instead of doing God’s work, which requires trust” (1 Timothy 1:4 CJB).
The phrase “what if…” is one of the most useful expressions in our language. For example, “what if” enables us to develop creative solutions to complex problems. It allows us to simulate potential outcomes, weigh our options, and choose the best solutions. But just as is true with many things, this two-word phrase can benefit us or harm us depending on how it is used.
For instance, the phrase “what if…” offers an opportunity to engage in spiritual theories and opinions that may have little or nothing to do with God’s Word or His character. These things often fail to help us “…walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
As we close our look at this portion of Scripture, three sources offer several recommendations that can help us identify and avoid such diversions and devote ourselves to spiritual pursuits that are far more profitable…
“It is possible to get so involved in the study of Christianity academically that we forget why we are studying God’s word (cf. Titus 3:8; Matt. 28:19-20). Just because a text could mean this or that does not mean that it does mean that. Check the historical setting and larger context.” (1)
“Stay away from religious speculation and pointless theological arguments. Such exercises may seem harmless at first, but they have a way of sidetracking us from the central message of the Good News—the person and work of Jesus Christ. They expend time we should use to share the Good News with others, and they don’t help people grow in the faith. Avoid anything that keeps you from doing God’s work.” (2)
“Examples of similar errors in teaching today, would be the overemphases on typology, numerology, or the details of exegesis, along with a failure to emphasize the point of the passage being expounded. This failure to emphasize what the writer of Scripture emphasized, and to emphasize something else, seems to be at the heart of the problem Paul addressed here. [a] ‘I am personally of the opinion that one of the causes of weakness in the churches today is the virtual disappearance from our pulpits of sound, steady, Scriptural, expository teaching, and that a widespread return to that desirable practice is essential to the solid building-up of our members in the faith.'” [b] (3)
(1) 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
(2) 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.
(3) [a] Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p.7, [b] Guy H. King, A Leader Led, p. 19, Referenced in Notes on 1 Timothy 2020 Edition, Dr. Thomas L. Constable https://www.planobiblechapel.org/tcon/notes/html/nt/1timothy/1timothy.htm