But [by way of contrast] you have [a transparent knowledge having] closely followed [step by step] the teaching, the way of life, the goals, the faith, the persistence, the love, the endurance, the persecutions, the suffering, all of which happened in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, and the persecution I endured, from out of which the Lord delivered me. And indeed [from all that I conclude that] all desiring to live with spiritual integrity in Christ Jesus will [also] suffer [some kind of] persecution.
     And so, evil men and frauds will make their pitch [and gain ground], going from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, you should continue on in what you have learned and of what you are convinced is right, knowing from whom you learned it, and that from [the time when you were] a babe you learned the sacred words that are able to make you wise about [your] salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Every such scriptural writing is breathed of God, and most valuable for [your] teaching, for advice, for admonition, for instruction, and building up in right-standing in order that the man of God might be fully outfitted for all the good work [he is to do].
     This is my very solemn commission to you [written here] before the face of God and of the Lord Jesus, the One in place [ready and waiting] to judge the living and the dead, both by His appearing [when He chooses to do so] and by His Kingly rule [now]: proclaim the word, be attentive to doing so whenever it is opportune and even when it is inconvenient, [and so] convict, advise, respectfully implement warnings, exhort with all long-suffering, exercising due care in your teaching. For the time shall surely come when men will no longer tolerate healthy [wholesome] teaching, and simply pander to their own desires heaping up doctrines to tickle their own fanciful imaginations, turning resolutely away from the truth and giving their full attention to mere mythology. But in this context be sober in all matters, endure the evil, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry of service. - II Timothy 3:10 - 4:5/transliteration by Bruce C Wearne.

Open Bible 2

Remember what you have learned, Paul tells Timothy. PICTURE: Aaron Burden/Unsplash.


"There is urgency in what Paul says to Timothy. It is important, not just for Timothy's own vocation and its fulfillment. The word has to get out."

The implication - which is confirmed from what follows - is that those who launch their teaching to oppose the truth from within the company of believers, who develop an opposition to the truth, should be reckoned as reckless inventors of new doctrines that come out of their own undisciplined and whimsical desires. Timothy, by contrast, has been able to observe and experience the way in which true teaching brings forth resistance, how it actually serves to generate opposition from those who cannot abide the truth.

Spiritual integrity, the corollary of life following Jesus Christ, is against the grain of this world. To maintain trust in God in the face of persecution, ridicule and oppression is to be opposed to what is popularly considered “common sense”.

Paul may have met Timothy when he was on the brink of maturity, and the meeting may have been of great and decisive importance for both of them (Luke tells us that Timothy came to Paul's notice after his break with Barnabas). But Paul reminds Timothy that the blessings of the Lord predate their encounter: "[D]on't go forgetting how you learned of the love of God through hearing the stories of the Bible. These are still very much a part of your life and can make you wise."

Here it is, says Paul. You have all you need to grow wise as a teacher, as a worker approved by God. These Scriptures provide you with nothing less than the full outfit of the man of God. This is God's word. This is all about the enduring promise of His faithfulness.

In reflecting upon Paul's admonition to Timothy, and how, through his grandmother and mother he had been nurtured in his Biblical ABCs, [IERA GRAMMATA], Paul is teaching that parental nurture is indeed God's call to prepare an enduring way of life in which faith is nurtured generation to generation.

There is urgency in what Paul says to Timothy. It is important, not just for Timothy's own vocation and its fulfillment. The word has to get out. The context is the Kingly Rule of Christ, the One elected by God who has fulfilled the work of the Suffering Servant, and who is now, ready and waiting, to bring the living and those whose lives have been completed, to their final destination by His judgement. In the meantime, Timothy himself is to be glad to resolutely adopt his role as “servant of the Lord” - and this may also include a measure of suffering. But Timothy is “sent on his way” by Paul to adopt a gentle, firm and persistent proclamation of the word of God's Merciful Rule.

The context in which Timothy is to do his work is one in which there will be a cumulative inability of many to adhere to the truth. There will be a persistent turning away. Sadly, some will take disastrous paths leading to ruin. They will seek, as if by inner instinct, to spin words into their own credible accounts. Their teaching will manifest a determined desire to live within the doctrine of their own fanciful imaginations. Healthy teaching will no longer be tolerated.

It is in this context that Timothy is to fulfil his own vocation. He is to do the work, just as Paul has done, of commissioned messenger. He is sent on an errand. It is of vital importance for those who will listen. It is a message that retains its importance for the one sent to deliver it.