Biblical Concept: Myths


1) Vocabulary: Muthos - a tale, fable, figment, myth. “Myths” in our English language has its origin from the Greek muthos.


2) 1 Timothy 1:4; “Not to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.”


            Conclusions: 1) Note the teaching context of 1:3b.  “Myths” are one of the “strange doctrines,” being taught at Ephesus, that Timothy was to counter.  2) “Myths” lead to “speculations” not “faith” in support of God’s “administration” (oikonomian = house-management).  3) Note the context of 1:5-7.


3) 1 Timothy 4:7; “But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women.  On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.”


            Conclusions: 1)  In 4:7a, “worldly fables” can also be translated: “common myths.”  Myths are nothing special.  Contrast Paul’s statements in 4:7b-8.  2)  Note the contrast of “words of faith” and “sound doctrine” in 4:6, with the “fables” of 4:7a.  Timothy was to totally avoid (“nothing to do with,” a command from Paul) using “common myths” in his teaching of God’s Word.  3)  In contrast to common myths, 4:7b, Timothy was to ‘discipline himself for the purpose of godliness.”  “Godliness” is better translated: “good worship.”  Taking into account the contextual flow of Paul’s argument in 4:6-16, Timothy was to be a “good worshipper” by avoiding “common myths” and use all discipline to teach God’s Word.


4) 2 Timothy 4:4; “And will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.”


            Conclusions:  1)   “Truth” = the “sound doctrine” of 4:3a.   2)  “Truth” and “myths” are opposites.  3)   “Truth” is opposed to the “own desires” of 4:3b.  4) A better translation of 4:4b is: “and they will be turned aside to myths.”  A passive voice is used with “turned aside,” and demonstrates a loss of freedom.  Principle: Loss of truth (4:4a) = loss of freedom (4:4b).  Principle: Negative volition to Bible Doctrine (4:3-4a) = a loss of spiritual reality (myths) and freedom (passive voice).


5) Titus 1:14; “Not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.”


            Conclusions:  1)   ‘Sound faith’ (1:13b) and “myths” (1:14a) are opposites.  2)   That the “myths” are “Jewish” in this context, suggests that the “myths” are of a religious nature that add unnecessary thoughts (“from the truth”) to Church Age Doctrine.  Principle:  Only Church Age Doctrine is sufficient for the spiritual age in which we live.  Note 2:1.


6) 2 Peter 1:16;  “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”


            Conclusion:  Christ, no tales needed.


7) Speculation: Perhaps the “myths” of our day are sermons which are not solidly based on a passage from God’s Word?  They start out using a Biblical text but actually have little to do with the text. “Sermon” is not a Biblical word and my secular dictionary defines it as: “1. A religious discourse delivered as part of a church service. 2. Any discourse or speech; especially, a lengthy and tedious reproof or exhortation.”