Sound Doctrine and The Law 1 Tim. 1: 3-11 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In 1 Tim 1:3-11, Paul instructs Timothy on properly teaching sound doctrine and the law. Paul tells Timothy to “charge some that they teach no other doctrine.” To charge is to command authoritatively. It’s like a military command. See 1 Tim 1:3, 1:18, 5:7, 5:21, 6:13, 6:17. Doctrine is the principal subject because it is the primary benefit of scripture [2 Tim 3:16]. See these references to doctrine in 1 Tim 1:3, 1:10, 4:6, 4:13, 4:16, 5:17, 6:1, 6:3. This first charge concerns sound doctrine and the law.
Sound doctrine keeps you from fables concerning the law – 1 Tim 1:3-4 – Paul gives instructions to Timothy for the ministry and for ministers. He told Timothy to charge men three things: not to teach any other doctrine (besides sound doctrine) [1 Tim 1:10; 2 Tim 4:3], not to give heed to fables, and not to give heed to endless genealogies.
Sound doctrine is doctrine that is based on truth. 1 Tim 1:10b-11 the glorious gospel is the truth. He told them to stick to the truth, to those things you are certain are true.
A fable is a doctrine that is based on fiction, a myth or a lie. Thus, fables are false doctrine. Fables can be old wives’ tales [1 Tim 4:7-8] like eating chocolate causes acne, going outside with wet hair causes colds, starve a fever – feed a cold, cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis, and so forth. Fables that contradict sound doctrine and have nothing to do with godliness are ones like Christmas, Easter, Lent, etc.
Fables are favored by those who will not endure sound doctrine [2 Tim 4:4], whose ears turn away from the truth. They can’t stand preaching on Biblical truth; they prefer preaching from man’s ideas and philosophies wrapped up in Bible verses. Some of these fables are: you must speak in tongues to be saved; Calvinism; the pre-wrath rapture of the church; the Immaculate Conception of Mary; the Perpetual virginity of Mary; the Assumption of Mary; Transubstantiation; and Purgatory. All these are fables.
Or fables can be Jewish fables and commandments of men that turn from the truth [Titus 1:14]. These are like the fables of Acts 15:1-5 which said that you must be circumcised to be saved and you must keep the law to be saved. Today you find these fables in places like the Church of Christ which teaches that you must be baptized in water to be saved and you must keep the law to stay saved. Similar fables are found in Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons. They all teach salvation by works. All these are fables.
Endless genealogies are used to prove that someone who imagines that he is keeping the law is “righteous” because of his ancestry [faithful to the religion of his ancestors Matt 3:9; Jn 8:39]. I met a lady in my office from Russia who traced her lineage back and she said she was an Ashkenazi Jew [Gen 10:3, a German Jew]. This is why she believed she was “righteous.”
You know what all these do? They minister questions rather than godly edifying. There is strife and there are debates over these fables. That’s why Paul said, “…teach no other doctrine.” When you preach sound doctrine from the words of God according to the glorious gospel there is faith [Rom 10:17]. Faith ministers godly edifying; not questions.
Sound doctrine directs you to the end of the Law – 1 Tim 1:5-8 – end of the law is four things.
- Charity [Deut 6:4-5]. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, and might.
- Pure heart [Deut 6:6, Matt 5:8, 15:8, 15:18-19]. The Pharisees’ hearts were wicked according to their improper application (do what they say not what they do, Matt 23:3) and interpretation of the law (Mk 7 commandments of men).
- Good conscience. Their conscience isn’t good; it’s seared 1 Tim 4:2 and defiled Titus 1:15.
- Faith unfeigned. Hypocrites hide behind hypocritical acting (for to be seen of men) as whited sepulchers. They are faithless [Matt 23:23, 17:17].
You get all four of these through the gospel of Jesus Christ. See 1 Jn 3:23. Paul said that the law is good [1 Tim 1:8, Rom 7:12] if a man use it lawfully. But some swerved from these things that are the end of the law and turned to vain jangling. They don’t even understand what they are saying.
Sound doctrine keeps you from misusing of the Law – 1 Tim 1:9 – the law is not for a righteous man. Righteousness doesn’t come by the law [Gal 2:16]. Righteousness is “in” you [Rom 6:12-13] but it is not produced “by” you. The law does not produce the results that the grace of God does through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sound doctrine keeps you properly using the Law – 1 Tim 1:9-10 – to point out everything that is contrary to sound doctrine. It is the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ [Gal 3:24]. You can use the law lawfully to show a lost man his need of salvation.
Conclusion: We stick with sound doctrine in our church for the same reason that Paul told Timothy. We have been charged to “teach no other doctrine,” [1 Tim 1:3].