2 Timothy 1:13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
When the apostle Paul was writing to his protégé Timothy, he was trying to ensure that the next generation of believers would hold fast to the faith that Paul personally experienced and taught. This would be have been written about thirty to forty years after the Resurrection of Christ. During those 3 or 4 decades, Christianity had flourished across the Mediterranean, especially in the southern region of what we now call Turkey. However, with this wonderful growth, there also came a plethora of different teachers and preachers who all had their own personal ideas of what constituted the Gospel Truth.
Paul’s personal appeal to Timothy in writing reveals to us that the apostle, who was imprisoned at this time, was gravely concerned about the faith of the new churches being hijacked by false teachers and greedy preachers. Paul advised to Timothy to be on his guard against such unscrupulous people who would use their charm, influence, and power to mesmerize believers, in order to lead them down the wrong path and away from Christ. Paul also knew that Timothy, who was destined to become the Bishop of Ephesus, would be very influential among his peers. If the fledgling faith was going to survive in the region, it would require Christian leaders who had been inspired by sound teaching, and who expressed their beliefs through their faith and love in Jesus.
With the amazing amount of information available to us from the Internet, we can sometimes experience difficulty in discerning what is true or false teaching with regard to our Christian faith. New ideas, fresh perspectives, and novel opinions can sometimes attract us, but they may also detract us from following the truth. I personally go back through the four Gospels whenever I’m faced with a new approach to my faith. If I can’t find something that would corroborate the new idea, I set it aside. That may be too simple for some folk but, after almost forty years of trying to be a Christian, I have learned that it works for me.
May God bless you as you grow in faith and enable you to share the love of Jesus.
Questions for personal reflection
Who initially taught me about the Christian faith? How have I passed on my faith experiences to the next generation?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You for the gift of faith which has influenced, shaped, and directed our lives. We praise You for Your true teaching about God. Grant us new opportunities to share our faith and love in You with others around us. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask questions about today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com. Please also feel free to share or forward this message to your own family and friends.
Today’s image is one of my Celtic Cross drawings called ‘Celtic Heart.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click on this link: Cross.