1 timothy 3:14–4:6
The Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn
away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive
spirits and teachings that come from demons (4:1).
You’re having a Bible study with someone, and they
say, “I simply don’t believe in Jesus.” Or perhaps
you discover that a young person you’ve been
discipling is having premarital sex. And you wonder:
Have I done something wrong? Have I failed in my
efforts to teach God’s Word?
Ministering to people can lead to heartache. Yet Paul
exhorted Timothy (and us) not to give up, but to press
on in teaching others. He wrote that we need to neither
be an optimist nor a pessimist, but a realist. Let’s face it,
the Bible and experience reveal that some people will
turn from their faith in Jesus. So apostasy (renouncing
one’s faith) is not a surprising development, nor should
it be considered evidence that we’ve failed. Jesus said
in Matthew 24:11 that “many false prophets will appear
and will deceive many people.”
We also need to see that lost faith is all about spiritual
warfare. Paul described the heretics in Ephesus (1 Timothy
1:3) as those who “[followed] deceptive spirits and
teachings that come from demons” (4:1). The ultimate
origin of all deception is Satan. In 2 Corinthians 10:4, Paul
instructs, “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly
weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human
reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” What are God’s
mighty weapons? His Word and prayer.
Finally, we need to continue to teach the truth
(1 Timothy 4:6). In dealing with the false teaching in Ephesus, Paul told
Timothy to point the believers back to right doctrine—truth revealed from
Scripture regarding God, His ways, and His purposes.
It can be disappointing when people turn away from God, but His truth will
never disappoint us.
—Poh Fang Chia
In colossians 2:6-19, read another example of how to correct false
How are you using right doctrine to correct wrong thoughts, values, and
behavior? How can you actively apply God’s truth to your life?