Judging Sound Teaching

I Timothy 4:6-16

6 If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness, 8 for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
11 These are the things you must insist on and teach. 12 Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 15 Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.”  NRSV

Even in Paul’s day, people tried to distort the teachings of Jesus with “profane myths and old wives’ tales.” They mastered the art of religious misinformation for personal gain much like the religious hucksters of our own time. Paul exhorts us to focus on the sound teaching and to be trained in godliness in order to be examples, in speech and conduct, of love, faith, and purity. To judge the soundness of the teaching you simply follow it to its natural conclusion. Who is the ultimate benefactor, self or others?

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