After the short but powerful presentation of his credentials and his greeting to Timothy (1:1-2), Paul gets straight to the point. There are evidently serious problems in the church at Ephesus, a church that was established on his second missionary journey (AD 49-52) by missionary labours of Apollos in Acts 18:24-28 and by Paul in Acts 19. It was on this journey, according to Acts 16: 1-5, that Paul met Timothy (then probably only a boy) and his family. Much water was going to flow under the bridge until about 10 or more years later when he would write his first letter to Timothy, who at this time had been ordained . At this time Timothy had been serving the church in Ephesus, as we read in v. 3: “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine …”. Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus whilst he travelled north to Macedonia. Being a young and inexperienced pastor in a challenging environment is no easy task. I have been there myself when I received the charge from this congregation in 1990. So, in this challenging situation in which the apostolic teaching of the gospel is undermined in Ephesus, what must Timothy do, as he depends upon the grace, mercy and peace from God?
Here’s what Paul offers by way of counsel :
Charge certain persons from teaching any different doctrine! (v.3)
Different doctrine! This implies that there is a body of true doctrine which Paul, Timothy and the New Testament church knew to be the orthodox teaching of Christianity. In Acts 2:42 it was called “the apostles’ doctrine”  - a core of apostolic proclamation and teaching which defined biblical Christianity. It was that teaching which the Ephesians first heard and which they responded to some 10 or more years earlier, and which is now being challenged by this different doctrine. So now Timothy is encouraged by Paul to firmly take hold of the situation by charging or commanding  certain persons to stop teaching doctrine that was contrary to what they had received. Throughout this letters to Timothy we here this charge repeated e.g.
- “command and teach these things” (I Tim. 4:11). “ O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you” (I Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim 1:14).
- “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me….” (2 Tim.1:13).
- “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim.2:2).
The authority of the apostolic Word of God is not to be trifled with. The Bible and the nature of Christ has been challenged by many unorthodox teachers in the history of the early church, and this fact gave rise to the wonderful summaries of the Christian faith in terms of the Apostles creed, Nicene creed, Chalcedonian creeds etc. So Timothy (and Titus in 1:10,11) have a pastoral duty and authority from God to command and silence those that mislead the church of God with this different doctrine. We have the same responsibility today. We must ensure that the church is fed sound doctrine, that conforms to the apostolic teaching as we find in in the Bible.
Now, it is amazing to see how quickly unorthodox teaching enters the church. In Acts 20:29 -31 Paul had previously warned the Ephesian elders concerning the fierce wolves who would not spare the flock, and here we are! It is happening, and now Timothy was confronted with the damage caused by these persons teaching false doctrines to the church.
What was the content of their different doctrine? In v. 4 he elaborates. They apparently “devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations …”.
In v.6 Paul speaks about them having “wandered away into vain discussions”, and in v. 7 he mentions that they “desire to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions…”
Oh how many people you find in the name of the Christian faith indulging in speculative doctrines and myths and endless genealogies. This is very true for Mormonism, a fast growing false religion also found in Namibia. This cult originated with a man called Joseph Smith. He said that in 1823 an angel named Moroni had appeared to him. The angel claimed to be the son of Mormon, the now dead leader of an American race known as Nephites. The story goes that two groups, the Lamanites and the Nephites had migrated from the Middle East to the Americas between 600 B.C. and 400 A.D. The Lamanites eventually defeated and destroyed the Nephites in battle. All this claims to have been written down on tablets of gold and Joseph Smith had discovered them and copied them, and the originals disappeared when he had finished. The detailed account of these myths is now supposedly contained in the book of Mormon. It is interesting to note that the Mormons are obsessed with the genealogies of its members because of their strange doctrine of proxy baptisms for their dead relatives. Millions of people believe all this and this teaching has spread it all over the world. “Myths and endless genealogies” are still alive on planet earth!
Today we also hear of stories of people who say that they have gone to heaven and have come back, and people are enamoured with their stories, but in reality this is all meaningless talk because in the end this produces only speculation and not godliness. The best-selling story of a boy's near-death experience in 2015 was a fake. Alex Malarkey has retracted his story about going to heaven and returning.Co-written with his father Kevin Malarkey and published in 2010, the book purported to tell the story of six-year-old Alex's experiences in heaven after a car accident in 2004, which included meeting and talking to Jesus. Now, however Alex – who was left quadraplegic by the accident – has written an open letter to booksellers including the Southern Baptist Convention's Lifeway business recanting his story and taking aim at other accounts of "heaven tourism", a genre that includes Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and My Journey to Heaven by Marvin Besteman….. Alex confessed : "I did not die. I did not go to Heaven. "I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.
What are the consequences of false teaching ?
Paul says that they promoted speculations (v.4) and apostasy since some in the Ephesian congregation had wandered away from a sincere faith and have turned to vain discussion (v.7). Such people who claim such mystic experiences and enlightenment, often set themselves up as teachers and in the context in Ephesus some of these have set themselves as “teachers of the law” (v.7), but they were the literally the blind leading the blind, as they lead their followers away from Christ and into darkness and confusion.
It is in this context that Paul provides us with a helpful understanding of the use of the law in vv. 8-11. Paul says that the law is good if one uses it lawfully i.e. for the end to which it was intended to be used by God (v.8). But then there is also the improper (heterodox) use of the law. Any good thing from God has been and is being abused. That is the nature of the ongoing Satanic subversion of the truth of God in Jesus. Those false teachers in Ephesus ( the fierce wolves of Acts 20:29,30) speaking twisted things appeared to be . “teachers of the law” (v.7). So these teachers of the law with their mystical and speculative inclinations kept ignorant people in bondage. That, however is not the proper use of the law and so , in vv. 8- 10 Paul helps Timothy to discern the proper use of the law.
The proper use of the law
The law defines what sin is. Paul gives us examples of what sinners are like and what they do in vv. 9 &10. The list roughly follows the outline of the 10 commandments. Sinners are lawless and disobedient. They are ungodly and sinful. They are unholy and profane (irreligious/ polluted). Those are the sins against God. The next few descriptions deal with sins against fellow human beings: disrespect for parents, murder, and sexual immorality of all kinds (homosexuality being explicitly mentioned),those who enslave others, and who lie and commit perjury even under oath and so on!
The law of God is made for such lawbreakers (v.9). The law was given not to condemn those who have been justified by grace through faith in Jesus, but the law was given to judge “the lawless, disobedient, ungodly , sinners, unholy , profane…”. At the end of the ages. When the Lord Jesus Christ shall come to judge the living and the dead, the law will accuse all such people, while those who have trusted in Christ and who have lived in dependence on Him for their righteousness are freed from the accusations of the law.
There is much more that can be said about the function of the law e.g. the fact that the law with its stringent demands is used by God to bring conviction of sin and to drive us to Christ. But Paul doesn’t say it all here. Paul is concerned to help Timothy in his work as a pastor to people who were being enslaved by false teachers . False teachers always lead people away from Christ by making secondary matters (i.e. matters that are in the Bible … there are many mysteries ; there are genealogies , there is the law) into primary matters, thereby losing Christ in the process. Losing Jesus means that we will easily slip back into our pagan lifestyles with its idolatry and immorality - all the things addressed by the law .
So, Timothy is to do all he can to put a stop to the spread of this teaching, such as mysticism and worthless speculations on matters like genealogies. He is to stop this tendency by which people become enslaved by a legalistic framework.
But the work of the pastor does not only consist in dealing with such problems negatively. Timothy must not only teach the Ephesian church in term of what not to do, but he must also instruct the church in a positive way. We see this in v. 4. He talks about that which promotes God’s work, and he says it is “love (for God and man) that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith “ and in v. 11 he gives us the object of that faith: “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God”. The gospel is Jesus Christ, His person and work , and we shall see that Paul continues with that theme in 1:12-17, ending with that tremendous doxology in v.17
Myths and genealogies and legalism promote controversies, but God’s work is promoted by “love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith“. Timothy was sent to Ephesus to save the church from being destroyed. His mission was one of love for God and for the church. That was the reason for silencing the mouths of false teachers, and if Timothy fails to do this then he will not truly love God or the church. Jesus greatest outburst of anger was when He saw the temple of God the House of Prayer abused by unscrupulous marketeers. We too show our love by our zeal for God and for His church. We will never show true love by way of compromising with false teachers and their false doctrine.
So many of our failures are failures to keep the two great commandments, that is loving God with all our hearts and loving our neighbours as we would love ourselves. (Mark 12 :30,31).
Paul's advice to Timothy is therefore : "Timothy, do your work at Ephesus for God with love for God and for the church . Do this from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith . Do this in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted."
 Second missionary journey : Acts 15:36-18
 1 Tim 4:14
 See also 1 Cor 15:1-3 ; Rom 6:17; 2Tim 1:13
 Greek : heterodidaskaleō
 Greek : paranggelō - para ( besides) & angelō (to announce) - to pass on an announcement .