emilynisch

Passing on what you know (thoughts from 2 Timothy)

In Uncategorized on April 29, 2009 at 7:56 pm

This morning I read through 2 Timothy and was surprised to find that one of Paul’s major messages to Timothy has to do with passing on sound teaching. As I came to the end of the book it started to make more sense: Paul believes his life will end soon.

In verse 13 Paul tells Timothy, “what you heard from me, keep as a pattern of sound teaching.” (1:13) Then in 2:2 – “And the things you have heard from me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”

As I was reading through the book, for me the key word in what Paul is saying became and remained, “entrust.”

Later Paul tells Timothy to “preach the word…with careful instruction”, etc and then finishes by telling him, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (4:3-4)

At different times in history, we see a greater turning to and away from sound teaching. I wonder if the greater trend has been turning away (after all, we’re told that things will get worse and worse until the end). I’m not sure. It does seem like recently, even within my own meager lifetime of 24 years, that there’s been a very drastic and widespread trend of turning away to things that tickle our natural ears, of things that confirm the things that bubble up from parts of us that tend in a direction away from God. So, what should we do as Christians who do have the truth?

We entrust it. One way to put into practice in our own world what Paul suggests to Timothy to do is by mentoring. That word can sound a bit daunting, but my interest in it here (and I think what it really means anyway – in whole or in part) has to do with entrusting. If everything around us is getting blurrier, as the spectrum of what’s acceptable becomes larger and larger, then each of us, more than ever, need pass on truth to those around us, especially the people who are younger than us who will continue to live and form the next generation of our world.

My own interest in ‘entrusting’ primarily concerns the bible. I have a suspicion that most people these days – even Christians – don’t really know what the bible says. They might know some things about it, which is good. It’s especially important that we know what’s clear and true – especially if things will get worse and worse, and muddier and muddier.

Sometimes I take this issue to an extreme in my mind. Just as some places in the world are without bibles, or maybe only have a few that they share among each other (due to persecution), what if we who live in America or other free countries find ourselves without bibles someday? Would we remember what the bible teaches?

I’ve travelled to one place like this – where there is persecution. I saw how believers there were often full of faith, which challenged me. But I also saw that there was often a lack of mature teachers. Believers just didn’t know about certain things and were stunted in certain areas of spiritual growth.

It’s so important that we equip ourselves by learning more and more of what’s true, and it’s equally important that we “entrust” those around us with it. This is one thing that will help us to hold fast to God in the midst of, as Paul says, “myths.”

The challenge I pose to myself is this:

1. Read the bible more. Soak it in and understand the spirit and content of what I’m reading. Read it whatever way and amount that I need to for it to soak into me and be retained. Read everything – not just the New Testament, or Pslams. Not just the easy or fun parts. 1 and 2nd Kings are great books and teach a lot about who God is!

2. Find who God has put around me for me to entrust in. We don’t have to take on the whole world. The church is a body, and God knows what each part can handle. Like a good administrator, he has a plan for equipping and entrusting. 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  1. Keep an eye out for fulfilling #2 of your challenge to self. I think dad’s gonna bring a little sister your way.

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