Thursday, 9 November 2017
…for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 1 Timothy 1:10
Paul continues his lengthy list of who the law is intended for. His next target is “fornicators.” The word is pornos. Specifically, it means a male prostitute, however, it is more appropriately speaking of anyone engaging in sexual immorality.
Following this comes “sodomites.” The Greek word, arsenokoites, comes from two separate words which translate as “a male,” and “a bed.” Thus it refers to a man in bed with another. More specifically, it is the perversion which today we call “homosexuality.” Although termed “acceptable” in apostate churches of today, the word of God stands, and such who participate in this perversion are exactly who the law was written for. It is to show them God’s standard, and to reveal to them the punishment due for their abominable actions.
Paul’s next class are “kidnappers.” The Greek word is used only here. It signifies a slave, such as a man taken in war and sold into slavery. What is probably on Paul’s mind here is a person who steals free men and sells them into slavery, or one who steals the slaves of others and re-sells them. The Eighth Commandment refers to stealing. Among all theft, this would be one of the most repugnant types, if not the most repugnant of all.
Paul then goes to “liars.” Here the Ninth Commandment is referred to. In John 8:44, Jesus calls the devil a liar, and the father of all lies. Obviously then, a liar is one for whom the law is written. Should someone follow the path of lying, the penalty of the law is intended to instruct him of his just due for that misconduct.
Next, he notes “perjurers.” Again, it is a word only found here in Scripture, epiorkos. It is derived from two words indicating “against” and “oath.” Thus is is a person who swears falsely. This is also aligned with the Ninth Commandment.
Paul could continue on for a lengthy time with more specific types of people for whom the law is written. Entire chapters of Leviticus identify specific laws, and the penalties for violating those laws. Deuteronomy repeats many of these, and builds upon them. But to sum up his thoughts, he simply says, “and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.” The word translated as “doctrine” is used by Paul 19 times in his letters. He uses it 15 times in the 3 pastoral epistles, and it is found only 2 other times in the New Testament. It means “instruction,” or “teaching.”
The high use of the word in the pastorals shows us the importance of proper teaching in the church, and especially in regards to those in leadership positions. The other two times it is used apart from Paul, it is seen in Jesus’ words when speaking of those leaders in Israel who teach “as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). The teaching of God’s people is to be from the word of God; and it is to be taught carefully, in context, and according to the proper dispensation. In the case of the Gentile-led church age, the proper doctrine is to be from Paul’s epistles first and foremost.
Life application: It is those who are referenced in his lengthy list of offenders for whom the law is written. How can it be that pastors and teachers throughout the world, and throughout the history of the church age, have continuously picked out select portions of the law as binding upon those in the church? Some go so far as to mandate that the entire law of Moses is still in effect. But this is completely contrary to the sense of what Paul presents. Those in Christ are not at all for whom the law is written. Reintroducing the law is shown to be beyond ridiculous when taken in its proper context. Stand firm and fast on the grace of Jesus Christ alone. Stand firm in the liberty by which Christ has made us free. Do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage, which is the law.
Lord God, there is liberty in Christ which is so wonderfully marvelous. We have been freed from the yoke of bondage, which is the law, and brought into son-ship with You through His fulfillment of that law. We can see that the law is written for offenders, not for those who are declared “not guilty.” Help us to remember this lesson, and to live holy lives to You because of Christ and His magnificent work! Amen.