As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.1 Timothy 1:3-7 NIV
The contrast in this passage seems to be between love and false doctrines. Love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. And false doctrine that comes when one abandons a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Love that promotes the kingdom of God. And false doctrine that promotes controversy.
Guard Against False Doctrine
There are many godly and committed believers who have honestly come to differing conclusions about how to understand some passages of Scripture. And yet, in spite of their differences, love and seek to work together to promote the kingdom. Paul is not talking about them. Instead, he is referring to those who twist and distort the Scriptures to support their own teachings. And who lead others astray from love coming from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to guard against false doctrines; emphasizing the importance of sound doctrine. So we also need to be on guard against those who are promoting controversial doctrines that distort the Scriptures. Teaching that serves to elevate the teacher rather than God and his kingdom should be avoided. Instead, we should hold firmly to sound doctrine. Doctrine that is faithful to the Scriptures and that promotes love, purity of heart, a holy lifestyle, and a sincere and well-grounded faith.