The Pastoral Letters of Paul have always been my favorite Pauline material and despite what my well-intentioned Seminary Profs at Pittsburgh Seminary have taught I do believe Paul (the real one not a fake Paul or a ghostwriter etc...) wrote the Pastoral Epistles. So for the time in between terms (PTS has a two-week break while RPTS only has one-week, but I have a Presbytery meeting that will cause me to miss the first week of class at RPTS so I still have two-weeks off anyway ;) ) I would like to take a look at the Pastorals. I am sure you will find much to disagree as well as much to agree with in my exposition of these great texts.
First we of course come to the 1st Letter to Timothy who is at Ephesus. After the first 2 verses
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope, To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."which are Paul's usual words of introduction we have Paul's first exhortation to Timothy. Paul instructs Timothy that he had him stay on at Ephesus so that he could
"Teach certain men not to teach strange doctrines nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions." V. 3-7So here we have the Apostle Paul instructing Timothy to open up a Seminary here in Ephesus, making sure that the men who are teaching are not leading their people astray with silliness that wastes their time and to focus on the simplicity of the Gospel message. This last direction is encompassed in Paul's mission statement for this Seminary in verse 5, "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."
As you look at this pericope text think back to (or currently at) your Seminary experience and think how much time was/is wasted paying attention to myths, genealogies, and endless speculation that leads directly to neither edifying or fruitful discussion. One wonders if we spent our time in Seminary being taught as Paul instructs Timothy to teach his students how much more we would actually learn?