Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 2 Study # 5
There are no differences between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26.
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
6 from which things some having swerved have turned aside unto vain talking;
7 desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm.
(Focus is on 1:6-7)
March 14, 2004
- 1. The "things" are, in summary "love", and in specifics "a clean heart, a good conscience, and an unhypocritical faith".
- a. A "clean heart" is the central motivational core of a person that has been purged of the intent to do evil.
- b. A "good conscience" is, as Paul described it in Acts 24:16, a state of awareness in which no one has any basis for complaint against the one with a "good conscience" (either no sin has been committed against them, or repentance has been exercised and forgiveness has been sought with due consideration for the requirements of restitution).
- c. An "unhypocritical faith" is a genuine conviction that is not compromised by a profession that claims more than is true. Professions of faith abound; faith is another matter.
- 2. The "having swerved" is a term only used by Paul in his communications with Timothy [1:6; 6:21; and 2 Timothy 2:18] and it signifies a certain aimlessness in respect to legitimate objectives [in 1:5 Paul made it very clear that we were suposed to be "aiming" at "love"]. We always have objectives for the things we do, but many of those objectives are illegitimate and many more are thoughtless -- they cannot really achieve what we are attempting to achieve. In the 2 Timothy context, the issue is corrupt doctrine (teaching falsehood) that contradicts the Truth.
- 3. The "turning aside" is a second term that enhances Paul's meaning with the emphasis upon the fact that the "swerving" wasn't accidental; it was determined. Those who depart from the objective of "love" do so because their spirits and souls are void of the love of God and, as a consequence, they are in hot pursuit of others "to love them" -- i.e., to see them as "very profound teachers". Paul uses this term four times in his communications with Timothy [1:6; 5:15; 6:20 and 2 Timothy 4:4] and the author of Hebrews uses it once [Hebrews 12:13]. Otherwise it does not appear in the New Testament. The point of this emphasis is that Paul wants Timothy to understand that it is not simply "ignorance" that causes men to teach falsehood; it is a willful embracing of a false objective and a deliberate implementation of a vain methodology. A 'mistaken' teacher can be "corrected" with gentle persuasion; a 'false' teacher is obstinate and opinionated and is incapable of being corrected.
- 4. The "vain jangling" or "vain talking" means neither "jangling" nor "talking". The word means 'to present a message that has no legitimate substance at its roots'. In other words, these who have turned aside are not just "rattling"; they are, instead, deliberately promoting a full-fledged dogma that is, at root, demonic and insubstantial.
- 5. "Wishing to be..." Here we find the reason for "swerving" and "turning aside": this objective ["wishing to be..."] can only be achieved as a subset of "love" so that anyone who has "swerved" from this objective and "turned aside" to another one has inadvertantly destroyed any possibility of actually achieving this lesser objective. "Wishing to be..." introduces a secondary objective. Wanting to be recognized as a "teacher of the Law" is not what is really going on. What is really going on is connected to the desire to possess what they have who are recognized as teachers of the Law. In other words, being recognized is the deeper objective of the heart. Here is the leaven of Herod and of the Pharisees producing its nefarious fruit. If those who wish to be teachers do not have "love" as their objective, it is because they have never moved beyond the perversion of self-love (using others to obtain the gratification of various lusts rather than giving of oneself so that others may obtain real life). Why would anyone want to be a "teacher of the Law"? There are only two reasons. There are those who see "teaching" as a means of obtaining personal status, and there are those who, having life, wish, by teaching, to share what they have with others. In neither case is "teaching" the real objective. In both cases "teaching" is simply a means to the end. And, the "end" is, on the one hand, completely selfish (status-seeking is invariably selfish), and, on the other hand, completely selfless (the actual communication of life is only done by sacrifice and this is a path where the selfish do not want to walk).
- 6. What is a "teacher of Law"? Paul says in this context that, if used lawfully, the Law has a function in respect to certain types of people. But he also says that this function is not for those who are already within the fold of the Church of Jesus Christ (note verse nine). In other words, the Law has a function in respect to sinners, but within the Church, it is not helpful. Paul, interestingly, considered the Law to be Sin's fundamental source of power (1 Corinthians 15:56). He went to great lengths in his letter to the Romans to make sure that we know that "sin's dominion over us" is "by the Law" and that when we refuse to be subject to Law, sin is dead. It would seem obvious, then, that Paul uses the term "Law" in a particular way that excludes its function of revelation and focuses upon its function of condemnation. In other words, Paul's statements to Timothy in this letter about the Law are not to be taken as a basis for denying the validity of finding out about God and man by means of the words of the Law, but, rather, as a basis for denying the validity of "guilt-tripping" people.