The Glorious Gospel
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
"According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust." (1 Timothy 1:11)
In the opening chapter of Paul's first letter to Timothy, his "son in the faith" (v. 2), Paul gives various instructions concerning the proper teaching of doctrine, "which was committed to |his| trust," and which now Paul was passing on to his followers. He took great care to charge Timothy to "hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 1:13, and elsewhere). Before launching into a testimony and defense of God's grace in salvation (vv. 12-17), Paul gives stern warning against false doctrines and false teachers (vv. 3-11). These teachers, "having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm" (1 Timothy 1:6-7). He even lists various sinful characteristics and actions of these false teachers (vv. 9-10), covering basically the same ground as the Ten Commandments.
The things in this list, Paul claims, are "contrary to sound |literally healthy, wholesome| doctrine." This doctrine, which is "according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God," is held up as the standard by which we evaluate any teaching or attitude, not a man-made system of ethics or code of conduct.
This glorious gospel, the good news, proclaiming the entire person and work of the great Creator/Redeemer Jesus Christ, must be the basis for all "sound" teaching and lifestyle. Paul later wrote that these "wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and . . . the doctrine which is according to godliness" (1 Timothy 6:3) bring spiritual health, while any contrary teaching brings spiritual poverty and corruption. "From such withdraw thyself" (v. 5). JDM