The Word of Truth

by Scarlett Stough


In the early years of Christianity, the apostles had to confront as many misrepresentations of Jesus’ teachings as exist today. Much of the New Testament was written to restate Jesus’ teachings and to counteract false teachings. Paul’s letters to the young Timothy are full of exhortations such as: “Command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer.” (I Timothy 1:3)

Paul exhorted Timothy to “set an example for the believers in speech….” (I Timothy 4:12) The NIV translated the Greek word “logos” as “speech” here, but it is translated “word” in the KJV and also in many places in the NIV. Logos can refer to any “expression of thought” (Strong's Concordance 3056), but it is used most often in the New Testament to refer to God’s “expression of thought.” Within the context of this letter, Paul is urging Timothy to be sure his “expression of thought” was always in agreement with the word (logos) of God found in the teachings of Jesus and the Bible.

Timothy’s speech, his teachings and preaching were to “set an example for the believers” in what they were to teach and to pass on to others. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy he instructed him: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15)

Just as men were told to stop teaching falsehoods, so women were to learn the truth and stop spreading false teachings. (I Timothy 2:11-15)* The apostle James warned that those “who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1) All who teach will be held accountable by God for what they teach. We need to follow the example that Paul set for the young minister Timothy in what we say and teach regarding the word of God.

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God….For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. II Corinthians 4:1-6)

Christians are responsible to continue reading and applying the word of God in their lives whether they have an official responsibility for teaching within the church or not. (James 1:22-27) These letters to Timothy were read to the whole congregation and passed on to others as well. They were preserved for believers today so that we can learn and live by the “example in speech” recorded in the Bible. Not every one will be called upon, or gifted, to teach in an official capacity, but we are all expected to mature so that we can pass on the truth we know (Hebrews 4:11-14), especially to our children. (Ephesians 6:4; II Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15)

All of us as parents, grandparents, and church members need to “set an example for the believers” beginning with our “expression of thought” regarding the word of truth.

*[Editor’s Note: The interpretation of these verses (I Timothy 2:11-15) is debated among sincere Christians. Some believe all women are forbidden to teach; others believe that (as in the case of the command to men in I Timothy 1:3) only women who were uninstructed in the truth are forbidden to teach.]

Bible Study Guide: Set An Example in Speech
Volume 8 Issue 5 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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