Our world and the world of the New Testament are no different. Paul encountered people who were teaching something different from what was the doctrine of Jesus. Timothy needed to be ”urged” to teach other people they should not be teaching “strange doctrines” (1 Timothy 1:3).
In order for there to be a “strange doctrine” or a “different doctrine” there must be something that is original. The original teachings of Jesus is what Paul had in mind when he gave these words of encouragement to Timothy.
While traveling with Paul, Timothy had seen Paul preach this original doctrine or message. Timothy had seen Paul present his arguments for why the doctrine of Jesus was true. Timothy possibly saw Paul get very upset with the churches of Galatia for disserting Jesus Christ “for a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6).
When a “strange doctrine” is presented “the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:7) is distorted. Paul did not receive “the gospel of Christ” from some man, but he received it “through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11). Paul made it very clear in his writings that what he taught was the true doctrine of Jesus.
In our world, some may ask the question, “What is doctrine?” The word doctrine is primarily a word used in religion with some references to governments. In religion, the basic meaning is the teachings of someone; “a principle or body of principles that is taught or advocated” (British Dictionary, via dictionary.com). Paul would defined doctrine as being the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 6:3).
To the church at Ephesus where Timothy was located, Paul taught them that they were “no longer to be children, … carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14). Paul even tells Timothy that the person who is teaching “strange doctrines” is a person who is causing friction between themselves and those who were trying to follow the original doctrines or teachings of Jesus (1 Timothy 6:5).
In our world today, we want to think everyone is right. We want to think that regardless of what one is teaching religiously, they are teaching the “doctrine” of Jesus. We think it is incorrect when one tells another they are teaching a “strange doctrine.” However, if our thinking is true, then it has to be in contrast to what Paul taught. He taught there was only one doctrine and it is the one that should be followed.
By practicing the doctrine of Jesus taught by Paul we will not be following “strange doctrines,” but rather the teachings and principles that are necessary to be living God’s way.
Carlton G. McPeak is an evangelist working in the Florida Gateway region. All Scriptural quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Holman Bible Publishers, unless otherwise stated. He may be contacted at email@example.com.