Updated: Apr 21, 2020
The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions. They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently. (1 Timothy 1:5-7)
You've possibly heard the saying, "Young people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care!" Another way of putting this is that who we are is more important than what we know.
One of the things that can make us reluctant to lead others is a fear that we don't know enough. Yet what Paul is addressing here are those who think they know more than they really do and confidently set out to impress anyone within ear-shot. "They don't know what they're talking about!" he says.
Looking closely at these verses together, it seems their problem wasn't so much their lack of understanding of doctrine. It was more that they'd failed to realise that the ultimate purpose of what they'd been studying was not to inform their minds, but to transform their lives.
The verses tell us that the purpose of any Christian instruction or study is this: "that we would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith."
You've probably been told at some point that you need to read your Bible every day. it's good advice, but it's too easy to actually miss the point of why. Here we learn that it's not so we might excel in discussions and impress people with what we (think we) know.
The reason we're to spend time in God's Word is that we might be transformed into leaders who are more loving and more pure, with a clear conscience and a genuine faith.
These are the things that will make you an effective leader. By all means, grow in your knowledge of the Bible, and study it to understand what it says and means. But don't stop there.
Before you put down your Bible and proceed with your day, reflect on a simple two word question: "So what?!"
Ask God what He wants to say to you through what you've been reading. What needs to happen in order for you to be more loving and pure? Confess any sin that comes to mind and allow Him to clean your conscience and grow your faith.
Be honest, and ask yourself why you read your Bible. Is it to learn more or even to boast or avoid a sense of guilt. Remind yourself of the real reason we as leaders need to regularly be in God's Word. Reflect on how regular Bible reading and study benefits those whom you lead. When you next pick up your Bible to read, remember to ask yourself the two word question.