1st & 2nd Timothy — Lesson 3
Doctrine in the Pastoral Epistles
I. Greek Words for Doctrine
1. Denotes that which is taught or the act of teaching, but is primarily passive (that which is taught).
2. Occurs only twice in the Pastoral epistles.
1. Denotes that which is taught or the act of teaching, but is primarily active (the act of teaching).
2. Outside of Paul’s writings, this word occurs only in Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7.
3. Occurs 15 times in the Pastoral epistles.
4. English words: Doctor (teacher), Didactic (intended for instruction),
1. To teach some other doctrine; to deviate from the truth.
2. This word was probably coined by Paul. It occurs twice in the Pastoral epistles, and nowhere else.
3. English words: Orthodox (ant.), Heterodox.
II. What is “Sound Doctrine”
A. “Sound Doctrine” is “Healthy or Wholesome Doctrine”
B. It is doctrine that leads to spiritual health. Other doctrines lead to spiritual disease and death.
C. What is contrary to sound doctrine?
1. “the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:9-10)
2. First, it is a mistake to conclude from this list that doctrine involves only the “moral” teachings of Christ.
a) ALL scripture is profitable for doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16)
b) If we peal off a subset of Christ’s teachings and call that “Doctrine,” then we have made a distinction that is not supported by Scripture.
3. However, our doctrine cannot be divorced from our lives.
a) We are the things that we do.
b) If we quote chapter and verse yet lead Godless lives, then we are just as much a “false teacher” as one who twists the words of God.
(1) Gossip is just as much a deviation from sound doctrine as premillennialism. They are both contrary to the teaching of Christ and both lead to spiritual sickness.
c) All of God’s doctrine is important – we can’t pick and choose.
d) If we are leading un-Godly lives, then we are not doctrinally correct.
III. Can We Have Christ Apart from Doctrine?
A. We Cannot Separate Christ From His Doctrine
1. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” (Acts 8:35-36)
2. “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” (John 14:23-24)
a) Logically these verses tell us that the group of those who keep Christ’s sayings is identical to the group of those who love him. There is not one person in either group who is not also in the other group.
3. “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (John 12:48)
4. “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 9)
5. “He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4)
6. But some say that doctrine is not the issue – all we need to do is just “focus on Christ.” Fine – but how do we do that? What does it mean to “just focus on Christ”?
a) The word of God is the source for all that we know about Christ. How can we focus on Christ and ignore the teaching of Christ?
b) If we say that some teachings are “essential” and others are not, how do we decide what is “essential” and what is not?
B. Does Grace Outweigh Doctrine?
1. It is through doctrine that we obtain grace!
2. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” (John 6:44-45)
3. But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: … [examples] … 11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” (Titus 2:1,11-12)
C. Is it Possible to Overemphasize Doctrine?
1. It is possible to underemphasize love – but the solution to that problem is not to also underemphasize doctrine!
2. We must preach the truth in love. (Eph. 4:15)
a) R. L. Whiteside: “Much is said about preaching the truth in love and so it should be preached. But in love of what? The preacher should so love the truth that he will not sacrifice any of it nor pervert it, and he should so love people that he will not withhold from them even one unpleasant truth. He that does either of these things loves neither the truth nor the people.”
b) “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” (2 Timothy 4:3)
c) “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31)
d) Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord. They continually say to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said, “You shall have peace” ’; And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, ‘No evil shall come upon you.’” (Jeremiah 23:16-17)
3. But isn’t it unloving to tell people they are religiously mistaken?
a) No. THE MOST UNLOVING THING YOU CAN DO TO SOMEONE IS TO TELL THEM THEY ARE RIGHT WITH GOD WHEN IN FACT THEY ARE NOT.
IV. Characteristics of the Doctrine of Christ
A. It is eternal
1. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)
B. It is unchanging
1. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
C. It is truth
1. “Thy word is truth.” (John 17:17)
D. It is objective truth
1. “let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4)
2. “Well, that is true for you, but not for me.”
3. Consequences of objective truth in religion
a) Opposing doctrines are false.
b) Opposing religions are false.
c) The Bible can be misinterpreted and misunderstood.
d) There is a correct interpretation of the Bible.
E. It is the only way to God
1. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
2. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
F. It is complete (perfect)
1. “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” (1 Cor. 13:10)
a) “Perfect” here is “teleios” – wanting nothing necessary to completeness.
2. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. 1:16)
a) “Perfect” here is “artios” which also means complete or perfectly fitted for a particular use.
3. “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3)
4. God’s revelation to man is not continuing today. If God’s revelation to man continues, then the Bible is not complete – there must be something else we need.
G. It is powerful
1. “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” (Luke 4:32)
2. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
H. It must be obeyed
1. “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” (Romans 6:17)
I. It saves
1. “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:16)
2. The gospel is doctrine. It makes no sense to say (as some do) that we should focus on the gospel rather than on doctrine.
J. It must be loved
1. “Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2 Thess. 2:9)
2. “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97)
K. It must be focused upon
1. “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)
L. It must be guarded
1. “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust.” (1 Timothy 6:20)
2. “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.” (1 Timothy 1:11)
3. “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17)
4. What must we guard against?
a) We are losing our ability to think.
(1) Logical Thinking
(a) The goal of logic is consistency – not truth.
(b) Logic is a tool for thinking.
(c) Example: If baptism is necessary, then logically the unbaptized are lost. If we say the first half of that sentence, then we have said the second half whether we mouth the words or not!
(i) Some today would say, “I agree that all men are mortal and that Socrates was a man … but I’m not saying that Socrates was mortal!” Of course, they said that Socrates was mortal when they made the first two statements.
(a) According to this view, the reader determines truth and language is a tool of oppression.
b) We are losing our ability to focus.
c) We are becoming marginalized.
(1) Is faith private? (Some people’s faith is so private they don’t even impose it on themselves.)
(2) “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” (Acts 17:6)
(3) “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
(a) Greek “power” is “dunamis” – dynamite.