A research study by Arizona Christian University found that only 37 percent of American pastors hold to a biblical worldview. Many do not hold biblical beliefs on issues such as salvation and human sexuality. For example, “at least a third of senior pastors in the United States believe one can earn a place in Heaven by simply being a good person.” A similar number see reincarnation as a real possibility.
These pastors were found to spend little time in God’s Word. If we want to hold to sound doctrine, we must know the Bible. In today’s reading, the apostle Paul gave his friend and colleague Timothy, pastoring in Ephesus, a serious charge to “Preach the word” (vv. 1–2). God the Father and God the Son are called as witnesses to this charge. Timothy is to use the Word to correct, rebuke, and encourage. He should always be prepared “with great patience and careful instruction.”
Great patience is required because most people don’t really want sound doctrine (vv. 3–4). Sometimes they won’t even tolerate it. Instead, they prefer to have their ears tickled. They follow false teachers who say what they want to hear (see 1 Kings 22:1 28). They turn away from the truth and toward lies and deceptions. Because of sin and Satan, people don’t naturally love truth. Even believers must cultivate love of truth as a godly habit.
In the middle of this, we are to keep our heads (v. 5). This means we must stay awake, alert, calm, cool-headed, sober, clear-headed, and vigilant. Instead of being pushed or influenced in the wrong direction or seeking to please people or cater to their feelings, we’re to stand our ground on the Word and sound doctrine. Even if we endure hardship, which is inevitable, we’re to continue ministering and remain faithful.
>> There is a lot of so-called Christian teaching readily available for us today. This calls for biblical discernment. Be sure to compare what you’re watching and hearing with Scripture so you can tell if it is truly from God.
Time has shown us cultural evils like slavery that even believers once accepted as good. But not every cultural shift is for the better. As our culture pushes us to endorse new stances, help us interpret these things through Scripture.