1 Timothy 1:8-11
8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
The point of this passage is that the Jewish law is rather like a map which only marks danger. If you want to know what not to do, the Jewish law lets you know, telling us of attitudes and behaviours we should avoid. But it won’t tell you what you should do; it won’t encourage you to think through and live out the life of love and service which is what being a Christian is all about. Paul adds a catch-all at the end of his list: ‘any other behaviour which is against healthy teaching’.
The point of it all seems to be the law is fine, if you want a map of where all the dangers lie. There are dangerous behaviours out there. But don’t imagine that by teaching the don’ts of life that we make any real progress. What’s more important is to explore the gospel, the message which was entrusted to Paul and the other apostles. When the law was given in the first place, God also revealed his glory to Moses (Exodus 32–34), despite the fact that the people had already broken the law. Here Paul declares that, however good the law is, it is the gospel, not the law, which reveals God’s glory!
Written by Ps. Richard Botta