Priest Reading God's Word

A daily devotion for October 8th

The Main Thing

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer.

1 Timothy 1:3

It is highly significant that the first task the apostle set Timothy to doing in Ephesus was to guard the teaching of the church. The teaching is the most important aspect of the ministry of a church. It must be kept pure and unsullied. As someone has well put it, The main thing is to see that the main thing remains the main thing.

The central task of leadership in any church is to see that the teaching is in line with the apostolic revelation, the word about Jesus — which Paul calls the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. (1 Timothy 1:11). This is the body of teaching to which a church should give itself. There are many other subjects that are right for Christians to pursue (the Scriptures encourage us to pursue various dimensions and divisions of human knowledge), but when you come to the church, there is one body of teaching and only one.

The church exists to declare this unique body of truth. Anything that differs is not to be taught in church. This does not mean that many in the congregation will not have things they are struggling with. I have always thought it a mistake to ask brand new Christians to sign a doctrinal statement. How can they sign something they say they believe when they have not yet understood or even studied it? So there may be people in a congregation who are at various stages of doctrinal understanding. But when it comes to teaching, that teaching must be clear and straight and true, and according to the apostolic witness. That is the first thing Timothy is charged to do: Stop the teaching that is different, and oppose these wrong concepts.

It is essential that there be unity in the teaching of a church. There are differences of style that are quite permissible; there are different gifts among teachers; there are different choices of subjects of the revelation of God. The heart of truth, however, must remain unsullied, because the Scripture is the most powerful weapon the church has to correct error and to deliver people from bondage into freedom. The teaching of the truth, therefore, must be central in the ministry.

Thank you, Father, for the truth of the gospel. Grant to me, Lord, that I may learn more fully to believe it and how to appropriate it, that I might enter into life as it is in Jesus; that new life which is available to me. Amen.

Life Application

How does my personal ministry contribute to the sound teaching of Scripture? Am I able to discern when the main thing is no longer the main thing?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Guard the Teaching

Listen to Ray