“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
Early in our marriage we took in foster children through our county’s Children and Youth Services department. We were planting a new church at the time and were pleased that a foster child or two added to our fledgling attendance! To be a foster parent required a home study. We made no attempts to hide our faith and the county social worker was fully aware of who were were and at that time probably saw it as positive although I don’t recall her expressing any faith. We unabashedly sought to provide a Christian witness to these children who were from broken homes. To this day we remain in contact with several of them including Chrissy, who came into our home as a little 5 year old. She is pictured with our dog Enoch whom she was hugging after he had a tussle with a porcupine (note the quills).
News abounds of our country’s slide into decadence but a recent report especially caught our attention. Now some states have decreed that foster parents are to affirm the various sexual aberrations including the gender confusion heresy. It would seem to me that this would exclude Bible-faithful Christian parents from providing foster care.
I wonder if we are entering a period described in the Bible as the great falling away in 2 Thessalonians 3. It’s so very important to reinforce our call to continue in faithfulness to God and His Word as we taught in yesterday’s messagewhich begins, “But as for you, continue”.
Today let us consider the phrases that follow, “in what you have learned” and “you know those from whom you learned it.” (We will examine the phrase “and have become convinced of”on Friday ).
“Because you know those from whom you learned it.” Timothy’s early learning, “from infancy”, was from his mother and grandmother whom Paul had mentioned earlier in the book. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5).
This is very instructive in light of the verse that introduces Timothy in Acts 16:1: “A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.” The contrast between “believer” and “Greek” is quite pointed indicating almost certainly that Timothy’s father was not a believer.
That his initial spiritual influence was primarily from his godly mother and grandmother should connect with a lot of people all these centuries later. Although God’s ideal design is that mothers and fathers both spiritually influence their children, we know plenty of grandmothers and mothers who are assuming the primary role of spiritual leader due to absent and negligent fathers. The reverse is true as well with fathers assuming this role without the mother’s participation (though less common).
But Timothy had many others who provided spiritual influence in his life, including his mentor, Paul. Let’s consider that phrase again,“Because you know those from whom you learned it.” For so much of the church’s history teaching would have been face to face giving people an opportunity to personally know their spiritual leader. Now many receive teaching from those they do not know through books, radio programs, the internet, etc. That’s true for us and our teaching role in your life. Some of you know us but many we have never met so you really don’t know us.
Now the point is not invalidating our ministry of course, let alone that of many others who faithfully share God’s Word using technology unavailable in previous generations. I have benefited greatly from many I don’t know personally.
2) Even though we may never know face to face on this side many who provide input in our lives, we should still learn about who they are, their beliefs, integrity, reputation, credentials, accountability, etc.
3) Regardless of the extent we know or may not know our teachers the highest standard is God’s Word. The latter part of the passage states “you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”. This is followed by the majestic passage that states “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). Regardless of where we receive our teaching and from whom we learn we need to practice as the Bereans did, who “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne WeberDaily Prayer: Father, it has been written that he who stands for nothing will fall for anything. Most within our generation stand for very little that has eternal value, in great part because they were never instructed in the Scriptures and had no godly example to follow. We want to fill in that chasm by being hearers and doers of the Word, leading men and women, boys and girls into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus. We are convinced of these teachings by the Holy Spirit, by men and women of deep faith who led and instructed us, and by our own defining experiences in life. Help us to stand unashamedly and fearlessly as people of deep conviction adhering to the Scriptures so that we are equipped for every good work. Amen.
Consider parents raising children in Judea back in about 620 BC. We can read about that turbulent period in 2 Kings 25 and 2 Chronicles 36. It was a terrible time as God’s judgment finally came upon the apostate nation. Jeremiah was a prophet during this period and of course we know him as the weeping prophet. He poignantly wrote in Lamentation 2:11, “Myeyes are spent with weeping.”
Stop and consider with us the godly remnant raising their children during that time period. What about the grandparents who would have greater perspective about the political and spiritual attitudes and changes of the day? Surely they must have despaired at times. Yet God always has a remnant, those who remain faithful regardless of the severe conditions.
Following the destruction of Jerusalem and as the people entered captivity some of this remnant is identified (I am convinced there are many others who remained faithful but are unmentioned). The Bible books classified as “historical” end with three smaller books that chronicle this period (Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther). But the prophetic books also have history and today we consider the well-known stories of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah who are identified as devoted followers of God in Babylon, the latter three youth more commonly known by their Babylonians names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
We can receive great inspiration from their faithful stand. But let’s consider the phrase from our daily text as it pertains to them, “Continue in what you have learned” and “you know those from whom you learned it.”
Someone taught and prepared these young men for their godly stand. As in all generations it was likely their parents and grandparents and other unnamed mentors.