In this passage, Paul returns to the main theme he canvasses in Timothy, continuing to mount an attack on false teachers and their “old wives tales.” He explains that these false teachers will come up with ludicrous commands, such as forbidding people to marry, and asking them to abstain from certain foods (v 3) – food which we should acknowledge as God given and receive with thanksgiving.
Acknowledge and praise God’s creation
Verse 4 goes on to emphasise the goodness of God’s creation. During a trip to the beach yesterday, I was reminded of the beauty and simplicity of God’s creation. As I passed Narrabeen Lagoon – a large, sparkling body of azure water fringed by two beaches, I relished in the tranquility and perfection of God’s work.
Be on guard for baseless teachings
Paul goes on to warn the Christians to remain “nourished on the truths of the faith,” and to avoid “godless myths and old wive’s tales.” As Christians, we need to warn our fellow brothers and sisters of the dangers of these false teachings. In this day and age, false teachings can take different shapes and forms.
Having briefly scoured the internet for guidance against false teachings, I chanced across Tim Challies’ Five Tests of False Doctrine, and have extracted them below:
- The test of Origin – sound teaching originates with God and false teaching originates with men or demons (basically, fabrication by someone else).
- The test of Authority – sound doctrine grounds its authority within the Bible, false doctrine grounds its authority outside the Bible.
- The test of Consistency – sound doctrine is consistent with the whole of Scripture, false doctrine is inconsistent with some parts of Scripture.
- The test of Spiritual Growth – sound doctrine is beneficial for spiritual health, while false doctrine leads to spiritual weakness.
- The test of Godly Living – sound doctrine has value for godly living, false doctrine leads to ungodly living.
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)
Remain vigilant and develop your gift
In “setting an example for other believers in speech and conduct”, we cannot shy away from confronting ourselves – and others – with regards to our sin. The first thing that pops in to my mind is my peers whom are dating non-Christians. It is a difficult conversation to have, but we should gently but firmly remind them of the dangers of entering into ungodly relationships.
Second, Paul instructs us not to “neglect our gift.” Whether it be music/worship, preaching, hospitality or encouragement, we should match our faith to our actions and serve the Lord in church with a dedicated heart.