As I urged you when I went into Macedonia â€” remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. (NKJV)
Paul had previously told Timothy to stay in Ephesus for these reasons. He is now reminding him, or re-encouraging Him, to continue to do so. The need must still exist if this is the case. There continues to be a need to tell others to not teach other doctrine, or give stage to fables (mythology, Gentiles?) and genealogies (Jews?), because these things cause divisions between people, in contrast to godly edification which produces unity in common faith. Did the need to continue to do so mean that Timothy wasn’t doing a good job, or that people who were continuing to come in to the church kept bringing these things in with them, or that some people simply wouldn’t let it go and were not teachable? Most likely a learning curve on the first option and a combination of the second and third, heavy on the second.
There are some tasks that will never end. There are some people or things that will always need an ear or eye kept on them. There will always be things that sound right and good, but they are not a part of the gospel, and should not be mixed in with the gospel. These things will always come from people. People have feelings and feelings get hurt. But that doesn’t mean I don’t do what I am supposed to do. The end goal when correcting someone is not to only prove them wrong. It is to build them up, and build the body of Jesus up. It isn’t just about who or what is right and wrong and who wins the argument. I need to know right and true doctrine so that I can spot the stuff that isn’t. I need to become educated in the fables and genealogies so that I know how to answer them with the gospel. I also need to constantly try to steer people towards unity in the body. That is the goal.
Jesus, I want to always be a student of you and your word, how to lived your life and how to live out your word. Help me to be firm but gracious, guiding, not squashing, when I encounter enthusiastic people who have become distracted and distractions. I want to be a body builder. Thanks for your patience and grace with me through those you have put around me. In Jesus name, amen.