1 Timothy 1

shipwreck-1854

Paul, an official of the church, holding the office of apostle, is giving instructions in this letter to another officer in the church, Timothy, as to the organization, structure and the function of the church.

Like many of his letters, there is the call to remain faithful and steadfast in the doctrines that were originally given by Paul. It is of utmost importance for the leaders of the church to be on watch for these things, as will be noted in chapters 3 and 4 of this epistle, because they are the earthly captains that turn the ship. The manner in which the ship is turned is by what doctrines are being taught. Paul does not so much a warn not to heed other doctrines, like Galatians speaks about, as much as it is not to teach strange doctrines. To teach something different than what Paul had taught them would be to teach a different Christ, and it would be a distortion and a twisting of the Gospel. If this is the case, then they are no true teachers of God, but they are false teachers leading people astray from the truth of God into shipwreck

Calvin said that sound doctrine is a most precious treasure, for it contains the truth of God’s salvation. Therefore, sound doctrine is invaluable and we ought to dread for it to ever leave us or for it ever to be harmed or fouled in any way. Since the leaders of the church themselves ought to have their consciences set on this preservation, searching the truth of it- and knowing what it is not- because it is his responsibility to steer away from error. If error is not steered away from, God punishes with shipwreck.

Calvin goes on: “Hence we may learn two lessons. First, Teachers and ministers of the gospel, and, through them all the churches are taught with what horror they ought to regard a hypocritical and deceitful profession of true doctrine, when they learn that it is so severely punished.

“Secondly, this passage removes the offense by which so many persons are greatly distressed, when they perceive that some, who formerly professed their attachment to Christ and to the gospel, not only fall back into their former superstitions but (which is far worse) are bewildered and captivated by monstrous errors. For by such examples, God openly supports the majesty of the gospel, and openly shows that he cannot at all endure the profanation of it.

“And this is what experience has taught us in every age. All the errors that have existed in the Christian Church from the beginning, proceeded from this source, that in some persons, ambition, and in others, covetousness, extinguished the true fear of God. A bad conscience is, therefore, the mother of all heresies…”

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