I love Paul’s first letter to Timothy, his disciple, written in about 64 AD, because it reveals the battle (and the solution) that teachers of God’s word face.
Paul and some elders had laid hands on Timothy and commissioned him to teach the word at the church of Ephesus. Timothy obviously had a gift and had proven godly character, and Paul and the other leaders saw that in him:
Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress…
1 Timothy 4:14-16
But Timothy, after some time in Ephesus, had grown discouraged. It appears that some were causing disunity and disruption, and some were giving him flak for his age:
Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words. From these come envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among those who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth…
1 Timothy 6:3-5
Avoid the profane chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge…
1 Timothy 6:20
Let no one despise your youth…
1 Timothy 4:12
Despite Timothy’s hardship, Paul urged Timothy to stay, encouraging him that he was meant to be there:
I urge you, as I did when I was on my way to Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach any different doctrine.
1 Timothy 1:3
Timothy wasn’t experiencing hardship because he was a failure or just no good at teaching the truth. Defending the truth would be a fight. It wasn’t going to be smooth sailing. And the best thing that Timothy could do was keep his head down, continue to grow in godliness and teach the truth in love:
…some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith…
1 Timothy 6:10-12
This short letter has inspired me to stand up for God’s word and remain faithful to learning and teaching. Nothing is more important than knowing the truth about God and His heart. And it’s totally worth the discomfort and hardship, because the revelation of truth is what sets people free and leads people closer to God.
If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed.
1 Timothy 4:6