5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
1 Timothy 1:5-7
History and Context:
1 Timothy belongs to what scholars have labeled as the Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus). They are named the Pastoral Epistles because they deal directly with issues of leadership in the church. Timothy was probably a convert from Paul's first missionary journey, when he traveled to Lystra. After that Timothy begun traveling with Paul and taking various assignments. In other letters we can see that it was often Timothy that would carry Paul's letters to the various churches. At the time in which Paul wrote 1 and 2 Timothy, Timothy was in Ephesus and had been sent there in order to lead the church and to train and build leaders for the church. 1 Timothy is written as general instructions towards the Timothy as a leader.
This is the introduction to the first letter from Paul to Timothy. Directly after introducing himself, the writer, and addressing Timothy, Paul immediately begins talking about the purpose behind the commandments of God and the motivation we should have when we teach them. Paul's first letter to Timothy has a strong focus on the truth and how we should share the truth with others. Paul jumps write into that topic in the first chapter. He says that as we teach the law of God we should be sure to do it in love with pure motivations from our heart, a clear conscience knowing that we walk according to what we teach, and a sincere and unwavering trust and belief in the God of whom we preach. He says that those who do not teach with these things are simple talking idly, or without use. They do not truly understand the Gospel or the message which they preach and therefore they might as well stop preaching.
Do you truly understand the Gospel? Do you truly understand the law? Is your heart pure, your conscience clear, and your faith sincere? We are all called to be teachers in some form or fashion, so these are important questions for all of us. Make sure that your words aren't useless. Let God strengthen your faith and trust in Him, purify your heart, and clear your conscience.
Lord, give me a greater understanding of your word and your commandments. Help me to be committed to studying your Word and strengthening my faith in you and my love for those around me. In Jesus' name, Amen!