4 Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God. — 1 Timothy 1:4 NLT
Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus to continue teaching and mentoring the new converts there. Paul did not want the new converts to be swayed by those who taught false doctrines. These were the people who based their standing on religious traditions and their heritage. As Paul tells Timothy, we are to edify one another in our new faith. We do this by showing love, and having a pure heart that keeps us from straying from our belief in Jesus Christ. People desire to be teachers when they have need of instruction themselves. They become jealous of new leaders and try to sway people from the truth with their false doctrines. Be sure to check everything that you are taught and be sure it aligns with Scripture. Test every spirit to be sure it is coming from God and not satan.
14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work-2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NLT)
God has given us the Bible, His Holy Scriptures, for instruction and guidance. They are the inerrant, immutable, eternal Word of God. They are His love letters to us. The scriptures are His letters to us, much like a wise earthly father would write in His will (testament) to his children. Only they are much better because they come from an omnipotent, omniscient Father, our God. They are also better because He sent His Holy Spirit to explain those letters to us. We can read the letters and if we have questions, we can ask the Author directly for the answer. All Scripture is inspired by God. It teaches us about salvation, truth, and how to live holy lives. If we “talk with God” and not just “to God”, His Word will correct us, teach us what is right, and prepare us to do every good work that God planned for each of us to do before the foundations of the earth were laid. Our part is “to seek first the kingdom of God and all its righteousness”. If we are faithful in doing our part, God will add “all these things to us”. Things like, knowledge, wisdom, righteousness, holiness and everything that we need for living a holy lifestyle.
1 Finally, we couldn’t stand it any longer. We decided to stay in Athens by ourselves 2 and send our friend Timothy to you. He works with us as God’s servant and preaches the good news about Christ. We wanted him to make you strong in your faith and to encourage you. 3 We didn’t want any of you to be discouraged by all these troubles. You knew we would have to suffer, 4 because when we were with you, we told you this would happen. And we did suffer, as you well know. 5 At last, when I could not wait any longer, I sent Timothy to find out about your faith. I hoped that Satan had not tempted you and made all our work useless-1 Thessalonians 3:1-5 (CEV)
As Paul shows us here, it is our responsibility to encourage new converts. Their hearts are tender toward God and ready to receive instruction in His Word. We must be consistent in mentoring new converts. They are eager to learn more and if we leave them in a vacuum, satan will step in and use the persecution to discourage them from God’s work. While we want them to know about God’s love, we must also be sure they understand that offenses will come. God allows those things to happen in our lives for our benefit. He already knows what our response will be, but He allows them so that we know how much we have grown spiritually. We must pray and study so that we, like Paul, can learn to be content in all situations. In good times and bad times, we must never allow our faith to waver.