Saturday, March 14, 2009

Explanatory Notes: 1 Timothy 1:5-6

1:5-7 For the goal of the commandment is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a genuine faith, with regard to which some have turned aside and wandered into foolish talk, wanting to be teachers of the Law, but neither knowing what they are saying nor about what they have strongly maintained.

The vocabulary in these three verses is very unique for Paul's writings. Three of the words appear only in the pastoral epistles, and two appear nowhere in Paul's writings outside these verses.

The mention of a commandment begins to clarify for us the nature of the fables and genealogies, although not much. The false teachers at Ephesus want to teach the Jewish Law to the believers there, but they do not understand the proper goal of the commandments of the Law. The purpose of the Law is for people to love one another, to love one another sincerely. They are to love in a way that they are not conscious of doing wrong.

The sentiment here echoes things elsewhere in Paul, even if his writings never put it quite this way elsewhere. Romans 13:10 and Galatians 5:14 indicate that love is the fulfillment of the Law. In Romans 14:23, Paul describes sin as anything that is not done on the basis of faith.

The false teachers that Paul/1 Timothy has in view have ideas that they connect to the Jewish Law, and they maintain those views strongly. But the perspectives they hold so vehemently are nothing but foolish talk. They have deviated and wandered off course without realizing it.

1 comment:

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Timothy being a pastoral epistle to 'underwrite the faith' or create a tradition out of Jesus life example, was the attempt to bring peace in the world. This was the "creation of the new humanity" of "the Church" in Ephesians. But, the Church was not to be uniform, but remain diverse, while unified.

"Paul" was writing to defend that peace mind-set, as those who were affirming Jewish boundary maintenance, were defining themselves "against the other", which would lead to divisions, and tensions, definitions, etc...

While unity is a nice "ideal", it leads to a lack of judgment, discernment and discrimnation in reagard to "self" and what "self identifiers" should be. There is nothing innately wrong with identification factors, it is just when these are used to create such strong prejuidice that one cannot identify with the humanity of the 'other"...

The pastoral epistles were meant to "underwrite" Christian faith. But, Christian faith's identifiers are not to become so stignetly held that they become barriers to conversations across tradition's diversities....

Humanity has a commonality and common interest in living in the world 'at peace', but this is a hard road to be won without dissolving boundaries altogether, which I don't think is wise. We are not to beocme all one religion, or culture, or one individual "type". We are to learn tolerance with grace.

Scriptures were written before the Enlightenment and our American experiement, which I think is the "ideal" of diversity in unity accomplished, at least in theory. The military is a neccessary protection to the values that we hold. I don't know whether the "ideal" outcome of world peace is a possiblity and I wrote about this on my blog site today.