«Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, to Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord» (l Timothy 1:1, 2).
THIS EPISTLE was written to Timothy while he was pastor of the church of Ephesus. Paul instructs him to behave authentically before God and the flock He has given him. The experienced apostle tells the young shepherd that he has the solemn commission to defend and preach the Word.
In chapter 1, Paul asks Timothy to warn certain people who were teaching doctrine apart from the true doctrine, following fables, myths, and inventions which merely entertain people, perverting the solemn truth of God’s Word (vv. 3—7). Moral law is completely valid and should not be separated from the gospel, because they complement each other in God’s plan (vv. 8—11).
Paul assesses his own life and admits that, were it not for the grace of God, he would be lost, for he is the chief of sinners (vv. 12—17). What alternative is left then, but to give glory and honor to God for His immense love?
For this reason, the apostle reminds Timothy of certain pastoral duties:
To accept God’s revelation through the prophets (v. 18).
To lead according to the principles established in God’s Word (vv. 6, 7).
To discipline for the purpose of restoring those who persist in their own personal ideas, apart from sound doctrine (vv. 19, 20).
In 1893 a cholera epidemic spread throughout the city of St. Petersburg, which was at the time the capital of Russia. In that city lived the famous musician Piotr Tchaikovsky who, ignoring health warnings, followed his own opinion and drank unboiled water. This behavior led him to die from cholera a few months later. Germs from this disease invaded his body and he died at the age of fifty-three.
Cholera no longer kills, but sin always does. It is not safe to be led by our judgment or personal opinions, as they lead us to death. Our conduct should be led not by our opinions or arguments, but by the teachings of «the word of God which lives and abides forever» (1 Pet. 1:23). It is the only thing that is safe and steady.
«No other book is so potent to elevate the thoughts, to give vigor to the faculties, as the broad, ennobling truths of the Bible. If God’s word were studied as it should be, men would have a breadth of mind, a nobility of character, and a stability of purpose rarely seen in these time» (Steps to Christ, p. 90).