We come in a wide variety of personalities. What we value differs. Our personalities influence how we interact with our world.
Some of us like to mix it up and keep life exciting. We are ever looking for something new and exciting. We want to keep it fresh and avoid a boring routine.
Others of us prefer the familiar, regardless of what that heritage has been. We like what we already know. We turn to tried and true ways. Don’t change things up, stay with what’s safe!
Still others among us gravitate to whatever is efficient and produces the best results. Don’t waste our time with low quality old or new recipes, methods or plans. We want results now.
The letter of 1 Timothy challenges us by pointing to something more important than the desires of our personalities. Its message can guide us into a solidarity with each other.
Paul wrote to Timothy, “stay on in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to spread false teachings” (1 Timothy 1:3). Conflicting teachings plagued the Ephesian church. The problem was not that some had abandoned scripture. Rather, it was how they were using it and their extended speculations from it.
Step with me into the shoes of a Christian in Ephesus. As members in that church we have heard various teachers present different ideas. Then one day, Timothy announces that those espousing conflicting messages with his ministry need to cease! We might ask, “How can he make such a claim?”
Part of the answer comes from 1 Timothy 1:11, where we learn that God had entrusted Paul with the glorious gospel of the blessed God. Paul knew this was not his message to do with as he preferred. Rather, Paul’s task involved preserving that message. Thus Paul knew those other messages needed to stop.
This idea of protecting a deposit appears throughout 1 and 2 Timothy. In fact, later in this letter Paul told Timothy, “protect what has been entrusted to you” (1 Timothy 6:20). One way Timothy could achieve this would be to avoid the profane chatter and absurdities of so-called knowledge.
The gospel is neither our long nor our short list of preferences, permissions or prohibitions. Rather, scripture reveals its message. All of us are called to rally around it, regardless of our personality preferences.
What about us? What is our attitude toward scripture? Do we allow our personalities to rule over God’s message? Or does scripture trump our personal preferences?