PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH (2 Timothy – 13)
READ: 2 Timothy 3:14-17
In his final correspondence with his beloved son, Timothy, Paul gave advice that was true in his day as well as today. He encouraged Timothy to stay faithful (1:1-5) then listed three important qualities of those who would serve God: zeal, courage and faithfulness (1:6-18). Next, he made a series of duties Timothy was to carry out, commands for all pastors and leaders (2:1-4:8). Having said most of what he wants to say, Paul now speaks directly to Timothy (3:14-4:5). Paul orders him to “continue in what you have learned” (2 Timothy 3:14).
Knowing the Bible doesn’t do any good unless we put it into practice in our lives. Timothy must faithfully persevere in the truth and not be distracted by those who oppose and criticize him or by those who teach falsehoods. God’s Word is our only absolute, the only protector from error, the only way to know truth. Our actions are determined by our values, and our values are built on our beliefs. Timothy believes God’s Word; thus his values are the same as God’s values. That is seen in his actions. People’s actions show what they believe. How they treat people reveals their beliefs about the value of others. Timothy first learned these things as a child (verse 15) and Paul is reminding him they are still true.
It is very important to teach God’s Word to young children. Simple stories and games have their place, but children need to learn the truths of God as revealed in His Word. Too often pastors think children aren’t important and ignore them while focusing on ministering to adults. Children have their whole lives ahead of them to serve and are very important. I illustrate this by showing people two pencils. One is full size, the other half worn down and only half size. I ask them which pencil they would choose of the two and they always choose the larger one. When I ask why they say it is because it will last longer and more can be done with it. The large pencil pictures children who have their whole lives ahead of them. The short pencil pictures adults who have already lived much of their lives. When we invest in children we are making a long-term investment into the far future. Timothy was taught the Bible as a young child: “from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures” (2 Timothy 3:15). It alone can “make you wise for salvation” (verse 15).
To show the importance of Scripture in the life of a Christian, Paul writes one of the most-used verses about the Bible: “All (every single word) Scripture is God-breathed (inspired, 100% true and accurate) and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
“Teaching” refers to instruction in truth, conveying knowledge so people know what is right. “Rebuking” is necessary where the truth is replaced with lies, it focuses on revising what is not right. “Correcting” means restoring a person from error, showing what is wrong and what is right. “Training in righteousness” is literally “child-training,” teaching how to live in all areas of life, how to apply to life what God’s Word teaches.
The purpose of teaching and applying God’s Word, is “so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17). The Bible prepares and arms us to serve and live for Him. Knowing and following God’s Word is the only way to be a ‘man of God.’ What better desire can we have in life? What higher reputation can we ever have than being known as a “man of God.” That’s how I’d like to be remembered. What about you?
PAUL’S ADVICE: God’s Word contains His truth for us today. We must learn and follow it in all we say and do.
Who comes to mind when you think of a ‘man of God’?
Do the members of your family think of you as a ‘man of God’? What about the people in your church?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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