Just as I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, to remain on at Ephesus so that you would instruct certain people not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to useless speculation rather than advance the plan of God, which is by faith, so I urge you now. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith. – 1 Timothy 1:3-5
It seems that there was a problem with the early Ephesian church that required an “adjustment.” “Certain people” had come to prominence and were teaching “strange doctrines” that led them into rampant speculation apart from clear and concise doctrine. This line of instruction that had crept into the faith community was drawing them into unproductive discussion and away from accomplishment of God’s plan of kingdom advance.
As a biblical inerrantist, I am convinced of the authority and infallibility of God’s Word, but the goal of my instruction must be more than acceptance of this truth. The question must also be asked, “Do those I instruct model love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith?” As a teacher, are my students learning to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Rather than take by faith what the corpus of Scripture gives us, many are drawn to find answers that are not expressly given, to explain the unexplainable. While such “exercise” can be enticing to all, it can become a huge distraction to some, leading them away from weightier matters that lead to the transformation the Holy Spirit seeks.
As teachers, may we always focus on outcomes that transform. As students, may we be transformed by God’s truth and not distracted by speculation.
Really great moral teachers never do introduce new moralities: it is quacks and cranks who do that. – C.S. Lewis