Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 10 October 2015
Page 12

Swerved: To Deviate from Truth

Donald R. Fox

Donald R. FoxIt may be a rebellious trait for some to deviate from a set course of God given principles. Note the following Scripture, “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 unto vain jangling” (1 Timothy 1:5-6 KJV). The King James Version uses the word “swerved.” This word is only used once in the KJV. Other translations such as the American Standard Version and the English Standard Version also use the same word, “swerved,” to describe those who have missed the mark and have turned away from serving God Almighty. According to Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, the definition of “swerved” is to “miss the mark, deviate from truth: err, swerve.” Our English dictionary defines to swerve as to “depart, digress, stray, veer, turn away from a straight or prescribed course, strays from the truth, veered away, etc.”

Note the following brief commentary on 1 Timothy 5-6

It is like useless reasoning, argumentation that gets nowhere, dry as dust disputation, wrangling about fanciful tales anent pedigrees! It has finally landed them in the no-man’s-land of ceremonial subtleties, in the dreary marsh of ridiculous hairsplitting. And the owner of that quagmire is Satan, who heads the welcoming committee. (James Burton Coffman; William Hendriksen)

The Word of God is to be taught with simplicity and without veering from the truth. “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward” (2 Corinthians 1:12). To grasp the thrust of 1 Timothy 1:5 as it reads, “From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling,” it would be wise to read the previous verses 3-4. From the KJV note the following. “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest 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.”

We can readily see that some were teaching other doctrines, fables and genealogies, all of which generated ceaseless questions. Consequently, the result was complete confusion by people who wanted to know what God needed them to do. From my point of view, some Bible teachers are still puzzling folks with doctrines that contradict the pure Word of God. Many have put their trust in biblical opposition of manmade creeds and individual belief systems, along with a host of inconsistent dogmas. The apostle Paul told Timothy that some swerved from the truth using vain jangling. These few verses condemn such behavior and must be taken seriously. As we meditate on these truths, honestly as believers, don’t we owe our allegiances to God and not to men?

What Is Your Position? #2

Paul Clements

Paul ClementsMy position on worship is “straight out of the book.” God said He expects us to worship Him from a sincere heart according to His Word (John 4:24). The first century church met on each Lord’s Day and worshipped through preaching and teaching God’s Word, giving of their means, observing the Lord’s Supper, prayer and singing (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). We should do likewise. Little question is raised about preaching, prayer and giving. Yet, there is often controversy regarding the Lord’s Supper and singing. We observe the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week because of an approved, apostolic example (Acts 20:7). The emblems representing the body and blood of our Savior are unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine because this is what Jesus instituted (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). There is no authority in Scripture for instrumental music in worship. Therefore, my position on music in worship is to have only a cappella (without instruments) congregational singing because that is authorized in Scripture (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).

My position regarding church leadership is that the church should have qualified elders who tend the flock of God. Elders must meet the qualifications found in the New Testament (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). Elders are to oversee all the work of the church (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2-3). The congregation must submit to the authority of the elders and obey them (Hebrews 13:17). The authority of elders is limited to that which is authorized in the New Testament.

Let me share my position on a few other matters. Regarding some moral issues, Christians are to keep from any kind of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). My position on dancing is Christians ought not to participate because it is a form of lasciviousness (“lewdness” NKJV; “sensuality” ESV), which is condemned in Scripture (Galatians 5:19). This word means “indecent bodily movements; unchaste handling of others.” My position on drinking intoxicating beverages is I believe it is wrong and evidently so does God (cf. Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-31; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 6:10). My position on pornography is that no righteous one can have any part in it because it is evil, worldly, degrading and sinful from every aspect. Pornography and these other moral issues would be included in the Christian’s responsibility to keep “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). Things in the world include “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes” (1 John 2:16).

My position regarding marriage is that marriage is for one man and one women for life. The only exception that would allow divorce and remarriage is the sin of fornication (Matthew 5:32; 19:9). The wife is to be subject unto her husband as unto the Lord. The husband is to be worthy of her respect and submission and is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:22-25).

My position regarding proper attire is that what we wear ought always to be decent and becoming to a Christian whether male or female, especially when we gather for worship. Unfortunately, some let the world set their standards instead of the Word of God. God’s Word is clear in this matter. Women are to wear “modest” (respectful, orderly, decent) apparel with “shamefacedness” (“propriety” NKJV, bashfulness, a sense of shame) and “sobriety” (“moderation” NKJV, self-control, sound judgment) (1 Timothy 2:9-10). We ought to all wear only that which is proper for one professing godliness (devotion, piety and reverence toward God). This would require us to eliminate clothes that are too tight, skirts that are too short, shorts that bare more than a modest skirt, tops that are too tight or too revealing, etc. Use good judgment. If in doubt, mimic the dignified Christian ladies with class who constantly set a good example for all.

[Editor’s Note: Unlike shifting contemporary denominational doctrines, conscientious and faithful Christians conform their lives to the changeless instructions of Almighty God about which anyone can read in the Bible. People living today are bound in particular by the New Testament Scriptures. The only religious positions worth noting are God’s positions found upon the inspired pages dictated by God Himself. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]

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