Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 15, 2020

“you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Timothy 1:1-7.

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:  Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.  But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.”  1 Timothy 1:1-7.  

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“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”  James 3:1.

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  You will know them by their fruits.  Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.”  Matthew 7:15-17.

Jesus said both in Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7:  ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”

“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;”  Ephesians 4:14.

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,”  1 Timothy 4:1.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;  but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”  2 Timothy 4:3-4.

“Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.”  Matthew 24:11.

“I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.”  Colossians 2:4.

“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:14-16.

“holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”  Titus 1:9.

Rev. Ronald Hanko, in his article “A Plea for Creeds”, states the importance of doctrine and creeds.  His article in full can be read at the following link – http://www.prca.org/articles/plea_for_creeds.html

Here is a brief quote from the article explaining what happens when a denomination or church dismisses or minimizes the importance of doctrine:  ” …  by cutting herself off from the church of past, the church today says in effect that every generation must start all over in its searching of the Scriptures and pursuit of the truth.  Thus she sets herself an impossible task – a task that is either set aside as too great so that there is little knowledge of the truth in the church, or which leaves her no time for other things.”

‘This is well-stated by the Presbyterian author, G.I. Williamson:

“The Bible contains a great wealth of information.  It isn’t easy to master it all – in fact, no one has ever mastered it completely.  It would therefore be foolish for us to try to do it on our own, starting from scratch.  We would be ignoring all the study of the Word of God that other people have done down through the centuries.  That is exactly why we have creeds.  They are the product of many centuries of Bible study by a great company of believers.  They are a kind of spiritual “road map” of the teaching of the Bible, already worked out and proved by others before us.  

He adds:

And right here we see one of the most important things about a creed that is true to the Bible – it remains true down through the ages.  It does not need to be changed again and again, with each generation, because it deals with things that are unchanging.  Thus, an accurate creed binds the generations together.  It reminds us that the church of Jesus Christ is not confined to one age, just as it is not confined to any one place.  In other words, there is a unity in what Christians have believed, right down through the ages.  Just think of it:  when we confess our faith together . . . we join with all those believers who have gone before us.  Does not this demonstrate that there is indeed just one Lord and one true faith?” 

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As my final note, in the right column of my web site Reformed Doctrine Daily Devotions under “Links”, you will find four Reformed Creeds which are also known as Reformed Confessions:  Belgic Confession, Canons of Dordt, Heidelberg Catechism, and Westminster Larger Confession. They are all organized and easily readable.  I particularly recommend that you start by reading the Canons of Dordt, because it focuses on the specific subject of salvation which is the distinctive heart of Reformed Doctrine.

“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.”  2 Thessalonians 2:15.

“But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.”  Titus 2:1. 


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