Sunday, 5 November 2017
…from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 1 Timothy 1:6
“From which” is speaking of the words of verse 4 which included “love from a pure heart,” “a good conscience,” and “sincere faith.” It is these “from which some” have strayed. The term, here translated as “having strayed,” is a word used three times, all by Paul, and only in 1 & 2 Timothy. It means specifically, “off target.” It is a deviating from God’s target (a line) by walking off of that line. It further “emphasizes the divine disapproval that goes with walking ‘off (God’s) line’” (HELPS Word Studies).
What we are being presented here are true Christians, some may even have been once sound teachers, but they have strayed off of the right path. This must be true because if they were not true Christians, then the elders would have no authority over them. But Paul has told Timothy that he is to correct their ways. The intent is to bring them back to the correct line, and to bring them back to a state of approval in accord with God’s will.
For now though, the reason for their departure is that they “have turned aside to idle talk.” Here Paul uses a noun found only here in Scripture, which is well-translated as “idle talk.” It is that which is vain and foolish, like a random babbler. It is the use of words which are unproductive and godless. He will use the adjective form of the word in Titus 1:10.
Paul will further define what this idle talk means in the coming verse. For now, just think of the countless websites and YouTube personalities who make up stuff right out of their own heads, and which have no bearing at all on what is found in Scripture. With these new means of communication, anyone can say anything no matter how unfounded it is. And with a generation of biblically illiterate people who are hungry to be told what to do, there is always a receptive audience ready to swallow their teachings up. This was a problem all the way back at the inception of the church, it is a problem which has continued unabated until modern times, and it is a problem which has literally exploded in scope with the advent of each new type of invention which has arisen.
Life application: Today, there is almost no end to the amount of contradictory information concerning biblical teachings one can choose to listen to. The only way to avoid being completely misled by any of these misguided souls is to actually pick up your Bible and read it – constantly. The more it is read, the less likely one will be duped by crazy ideas which are put forth for public consumption.
Lord God, technology has allowed Your word to reach throughout the world. From the printing press, to the internet, to YouTube, each step has made this precious gift more and more available. But along with this, those who mishandle its precepts have been able to obtain wide audiences. And this for one particular reason – the audiences are filled with people unwilling to pick up the word and to read it for themselves. No wonder the church is in such a state of chaos. The blind are simply leading the blind. Help us, Lord God, to place a high priority on reading Your word day in and day out so that we will be able to discern that which is right from that which is wrong. Amen.