As a child, I was taught to respect my elders. We called adults by Mr. and Mrs., using their last names. Authority figures were to be looked up to. As a child, that meant parents, teachers, etc. Sadly, I don’t see that same kind of respect in today’s youth. However, that can actually come in handy when the teachers we’re “supposed” to respect start going off on tangents that are not in line with our own belief system.
Paul is cautioning Timothy and us to be careful. Paul was using himself as an example of a teacher who was trustworthy. Paul said, you “know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance.” There were no hidden agendas. Paul’s love and devotion for Christ were transparent. He was crystal clear on his mission.
Even in Paul’s day, false teachers were everywhere. Even in the church there were people twisting the gospel message to fit their own liking. Paul warned, “evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.” So how do we protect ourselves?
We must remain faithful in what we have been taught from Scripture. I remember going to Sunday School every Sunday. There were weeks I’d rather stay in bed cuddled under the covers, but my parents knew the importance of learning Scripture. Knowledge is good but only useful when you put it into practice. It’s taken me a lifetime to do a better job of this.
It’s like learning anything new. You can read the instruction manual, but if you don’t follow the instructions, you won’t get any good out of it. I love what these passages say about Scripture. “You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.” Think of it! We have received the wisdom to receive salvation. We know the “secret” is simply trusting in Jesus!
Verse 16 assures us we can trust the Bible (lest there be any doubt). “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” Read that over a couple of times. I hope it resonates with you as much as it does with me. Talk about an instruction manual!
We can spend all day reading Scripture, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing. But we need to put it into action. God wants for us to share his word, act upon his word, live out his word. “God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” What good work are you doing on account of God’s instruction? Take some time today in your quiet time to ask God what work he has for you to be doing.
Let’s pray … Lord, I love how your Word is alive and speaks to me each day. Help me not to just digest your truth but to live it and help others to see your plan for their lives. I feel such freedom in knowing I have this instruction manual from you. Thank you for revealing yourself as the best teacher of all through your word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.