Thursday, November 23, 2006

Supposed teachers of the Law

I haven't expounded on my study of late, so today I hope to clear up a very important issue for some people. The issue is the teaching of the Law (which for ease of understanding, the Ten Commandments can be seen as the example of the Law) to Christians for application. I'll be looking primarily at 1 Timothy 1:2-11. I encourage all to study the Scriptures and see if what I say here is true. I strongly encourage you to reference the Greek instead of some "modern" translations.

As I besought you to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia. That you might charge some that they teach no other doctrine. Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

It's amazing to me how quickly we turn to our own understanding. We want things to be "safe". We want things to be in our control. News flash! The world is neither safe, nor at all in our control. Paul gets to this point next;

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside to vain jangling;

We see here Paul tells us that even just "swerving" from the basis for our faith is the same as turning aside from it and going on to "vain jangling". But what is Paul getting at? He makes his point clearly next.

Desiring to be teachers of the Law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

Paul explains the "vain jangling" to be teaching Mosaic Law without understanding it or even understanding what they use to affirm their supposed teaching. Now these people were "teaching" Christians at Ephesus to "follow" the Law and Paul was writing to Timothy instructing him to deal with them.

But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully.

Paul is clear to say that the Law has it's place, it's "Lawful" use. He also explains it's use in Gal 3:23-25 saying "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." Paul explained there that the Law is not for a Christian. The Law is useful only to condemn and thereby bring us to knowledge of our need for Christ.

Paul, leaving nothing to guess, then explains who the Law is actually for. Watch this closely as his teaching will come full circle giving Timothy the authority he needs to confront the supposed teachers of the Law.

Knowing this, that the Law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawlesss and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers, and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Paul names sinful nature and finishes with "if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;" What is "sound doctrine"? Paul explains in the next verse;

According to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

We need to look at what the "glorious Gospel" is that God entrusted to Paul. The Glorious Gospel entrusted to Paul is found in I Cor 15:1-8. The fact that it is by Grace ALONE and not works is found in Eph 2:8,9. This is the basics of what the Apostle Paul tells the Pastor Timothy is "sound doctrine"

Now getting to the point of this short study, in verse 5-6 Paul tells of these people turning aside from an "unfeigned" faith to teaching the Law without understanding. The Pharisees used the Law to "feign" righteousness. They kept commandments visibly so people would see just how "holy" they were. Now Paul tells Timothy to "charge" these people who would teach Christians to do the same.

The Law is comprised of God's "moral absolutes", and therefore is good. But it's use is to bring the sinner to knowledge and understanding of the need for the Cross. It's been said, and I agree, the Law takes a man to the foot of the Cross but can take him no further. Grace and Faith is what saves him from that dreadful position and his just fate.

So, Brethren (if you ARE a believer), the next time someone says "Thou Shalt Not" to you in order that you might change your behavior encourage that person to "check themselves to see if they be in the faith". Then take their admonishment to heart and do the same for yourself. If you are not submitting to the Spirit it will be "visible" by things in your life which are contrary to God's "moral absolutes". Get yourself straight and get on with it. But don't try to obey Mosaic Law, it's impossible for one thing and worse - if you try to keep even just one part of it you are bound to keep all of it. That's 613 rules you'd have to follow because the Law is indivisible.


Anonymous said...


I disagree with your statement here.

"Paul explained there that the Law is not for a Christian. The Law is useful only to condemn and thereby bring us to knowledge of our need for Christ."

Are you sure this is your position on this scripture?

If Paul taught that the Law, which most likely in context would be understood as either Torah (Five books of Moses) or Torah & Writings & Prophets, was not for the Believer of his day, what scriptures would they have?
They would have been void of any scriptures.
Although the scriptures do brings us to the Cross, that's not there only function.

I view all, " We have Grace, who needs the Law" type statements in the light of Mat 5:17. The words of the Jesus need to trump any misunderstanding we have of Paul or any other Gospel writer of the day.
Matthew 5:17-18 17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Comments welcome

PS Kev please remember we are bothers in the LORD. I am NOT coming against you in any way, just debating your statement. We both stand for the same cause, seeking souls for the Kingdom!


Kevl said...

Hi David,

Thanks for your comments. It's important to understand who Our Lord was talking to and why.

Mosaic Law (which is what I meant by "The Law") is part of a covenant with Israel. Christ has not "abolished the Law" but there is none who are IN Christ who are under the Law. Read Galatians for clarification on this.

Paul clearly teaches in his Epistles that the Christian is not under this Law. Those that voluntarily put themselves under any part of the Law, say the 10 Commandments, are then bound to keep all of the Law which is generally accepted to be 613 precepts, commandments and rules.

In Galatians you will find the answers as they apply to a Christian.

As for non-believers who are not Jews. Mosaic Law does not apply to them either. Not the Law but God's moral absolutes surely do. We all have been given a conscience. And this is what reveals those moral absolutes to us. Just like Noah had, just like Adam had. Just like everyone before Mt Sinai had.

We can use the "10 Commandments" when witnessing because they reveal these absolutes to the sinner, even if they are not a Jew.

Thanks again for your post I hope this helps you.

Anonymous said...


Please clarify some terminology for me.

1. What do you mean by "Law"
2. What do you mean by "under the law"
3. What do you mean by "God's moral absolutes"

Would you prefer to interact via email?

Kevl said...

Hey Again David,

The Law in context of my above and the blog post is "Mosaic Law". It is part of the Mosaic Covenant between God and Israel.

Under the Law means "accountable" to it. For example I'm a Canadian citizen. Though the Laws in the USA can be considered just and good and they are very similar to those in Canada. I am not "under" the laws of the USA. There is no benefit for a Canadian to "keep" American law.

God's Moral Absolutes are the character of God. These are revealed in the 10 Commandments. This part of Mosaic Law was given (in addition to the purposes of Mosaic Law in it's whole) to reveal the character of God. God says "Thou Shall Not Kill" and from this we know that Killing is absolutely wrong. It is a moral absolute.

Just like the Canadian following American laws it is useless for a Christian to attempt to keep the 10 commandments. The Christian who tries to follow law written on tablets of stone ignores the Law of the Spirit which has been given to him. The Law of the Spirit goes well and beyond God's Moral Absolutes. While someone under Mosaic Law is not required to obey the promptings of the Spirit, the Christian IS.

So, if we could (and we can't) spend our lives and never break any of Mosaic Law but not obey the promptings of the Spirit to do something absolutely seemingly silly like say... getting gas at a different gas station today.... we'd be just as guilty as a Jew who had broken one of the 10 commandments.

Worse than this, a Christian who keeps laws written on tablets of stone denies the rule of the Spirit.


Anonymous said...


Lets look at one of these only for right now. Because this can get very broad really fast.

"under the law" I found this phrase several times.

Rom 2:12
Rom 3:19
Rom 6:14
Rom 6:15
1Cor 9:20 (4 times)
1Cor 9:21
Gal 3:23
Gal 4:4
Gal 4:5
Gal 4:21
Gal 5:18

Are these the verses that you are referring to? Or are there others? When you refer to "under the law" meaning "accountable to it" "it" being the Mosaic law.

And we both agree that these verses came from books that were authored by Paul, correct?

Kevl said...

Those books were authored by Paul as inspired by the Holy Spirit yes.

A study of "Law" in the NT is a very broad subject indeed. I'm not prepared to research each of these instances of the phrase.

But please continue where you're going.


Anonymous said...


You said, "I'm not prepared to research each of these instances of the phrase."

My question then, which one of these scripture phrases are you referring to when you say,
"Paul clearly teaches in his Epistles that the Christian is not under this Law."
" but there is none who are IN Christ who are under the Law."

I am assuming that it's in Galatians because you said,
"In Galatians you will find the answers as they apply to a Christian."


Kevl said...

Hi David, make your point.

You are asking me to go well beyond my original blog post. Which is ok, but I'm not going to do so just to be lead into a trap which is what your language indicates you're doing with me.

Law in the New Testament is a very large subject which requires a person to take time and do honest study. While even a light reading of Paul's letters indicates the Christian is not under Mosaic Law but under the Law of the Spirit it would be wrong of me to support the texts you have pulled out without proper investigation.

For an example of what I would likely post back anyway please visit; would have a more direct answer but they are having domain name issues. (those are never fun)

I'm not able to do a full study on this, and anything less than that would result in my giving you false information, and/or leaving me open to some proof-texting trap.

So please just make your point if you will.


Anonymous said...


I am NOT trying to trap you! I am just very careful of what I say, and how I say it.

My goal is clear, it's to cause you think about, and to show me scripture support for your statement.
"Paul explained there that the Law is not for a Christian."

My point is and was:
What scripture(s) are you using to support this statement,
"Paul explained there that the Law is not for a Christian."

I fully understand if have not the time to get into such a debate.

But I really am curious as to which passage(s) your reading in scripture to cause you to make such a statement.


Kevl said...

Hio David,

I'm pretty sick so I don't want to get into a deep debate tonight. However, this can't last much longer or I'll be face to face with He who has all the answers shortly.

I will attempt to put a small "defense" (I really don't like that word) of that statement. It may take until sometime this weekend.


Anonymous said...


I pray that your feeling better soon my friend.

Have a peaceful night, and get some rest.


Kevl said...

Thanks David,

I'm heading into the hospital this morning. Gotta know when to say nuff's enough right?

I did some reading last night and I decided I'd make a new Blog post. Because our conversation is about to get knocked off the front page and will be ignored (if it isn't already).

Off to get poked and prodded!


Kevl said...

I posted what I've termed an "introduction" to the topic on the front page.