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You are here: Home > Bible Commentary > 1 Timothy > Chapter 1 > Verse 4

1 Timothy 1

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1 Timothy 1:4
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1 Timothy 1:4
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Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: [so do].

Note 5 at 1Ti 1:4: The Greek word "PROSECHO," translated "give heed" here, means "to hold the mind...towards, i.e. pay attention to, be cautious about, apply oneself to, adhere to" (Strong's Concordance). This same Greek word was translated "give attendance" in 1Ti 4:13.

We can't always keep wrong information from reaching us, but we do not have to give heed to it. We have the choice, or this would be an unjust command. God would not tell us to do something we are incapable of doing.

Note 6 at 1Ti 1:4: The Greek word "MUTHOS," from which the English word "fables" was translated here, is where we get our English word "myth." Myths and fables are distinguished from truth because myths and fables are always untrue.

Paul was telling Timothy to stick with the truth. People don't need fables to enhance the Gospel. Testimonies of apparitions and other supernatural occurrences don't build true faith. Faith comes from God's Word. The teaching of God's Word builds up and causes faith (Ro 10:17).

It is unclear exactly what myths Paul was speaking of. We know for certain that the Ephesians believed that the statue of the goddess Diana, which they worshiped, fell out of heaven to the earth (Ac 19:35). That was a myth. People who believed things like that probably had many myths to which they adhered.

Christianity is not just a doctrine. It is a real experience with the Lord that produces tangible results and testimonies. It is very important to separate experience, which is subject to interpretation and exaggeration, from the infallibility of Scripture.

Paul warned Titus of the same thing in Tit 1:14.

Note 7 at 1Ti 1:4: The Jews of Paul's day were occupied with genealogies. The priesthood was dependent on proof that the individual came from the tribe of Levi and the household of Aaron. All Jews had to know their ancestry in order to prove they were Jews. This led to false beliefs of superiority based on lineage.

The truth is that in Christ, God doesn't relate to us based on what our ancestors did. There was a time in the Old Testament where blessings and punishments were passed from one generation to another, but the Lord prophesied an end to that (Jer 31:29-30) and accomplished it in Christ (Ga 3:28 and Col 3:11). Where we came from is not as important as where we are going.

Note 8 at 1Ti 1:4: The reason Paul spoke against giving heed to fables and genealogies was because they ministered questions instead of godly edifying that comes through faith. Therefore, anything that counters faith and promotes questions would fit into this same category of things Paul was speaking against.

In the church today, there are individuals who don't promote faith in anything but constantly question everything. They don't have any answers but have an endless supply of questions. Questioning traditional beliefs can be helpful if it is a springboard to greater faith, but caution must be exercised.

There is a time to root out, pull down, destroy, and throw down false belief systems, but it is always followed by a time to build and plant the correct faith (Jer 1:10). The Lord isn't into destroying just for the sake of destruction. He only tears down in order to build. This is the test.

Are those who counter and condemn everything that is being taught offering a better answer? Are they countering a negative in order to produce a positive result? Or are they just negative? It's easy to find fault; it's much harder to offer a constructive alternative.

Those who criticize and condemn without promoting a better way are destructive. It would be better for people to be in error in faith than in confusion and in unbelief. God will bless faith and lead those people into truth (Php 3:15). Unbelief is the devil's playground. God cannot bless those who have no faith.

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