The first brick in the wall is for Timothy to remember.
Timothy is to remember what he experienced as he traveled with Paul on the second and third missionary journeys (a good study is to look at Acts 16 – 27 and observe what Timothy saw and heard, the “things” of 2 Timothy 2:2, which Paul entrusted to his child in the faith). Paul has already exhorted Timothy to share what he learned from Paul with those in the community who will be able to equip others, 2 Timothy 2:2.
Throughout Paul’s letters he calls those into whom he has poured his life to follow his example:
- 1 Corinthians 4:16
- 1 Corinthians 11:1
- Philippians 3:17
- 1 Thessalonians 1:7
- 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 9
In 2 Timothy 3:10 – 13, he reminds Timothy of his example, reminding him in the process, that the assignment Timothy has been given is hard. He will be resisted. He will be persecuted. But, one of his defenses in the midst of this difficult assignment under the onslaught of evil men and impostors, is to remember and follow Paul’s example.
So for Timothy, also for us. The Christian life is not a solo enterprise. We need examples. We need mentors. As each of us, based on the great commission, should have a Timothy into whom we are pouring our life; the prerequisite for our helping “our Timothy,” is to have “our Paul.” Who is helping or who helped you?
Not only are we to imitate those men of great faith; not only was Timothy to imitate Paul; but Timothy and we are to be examples for others. Paul exhorts both of his key men to be an example for their communities:
- 1 Timothy 4:12
- Titus 2:7
As we have seen, we face the same challenges of which Paul warned his disciple, Timothy. As Timothy needed a firewall against the impostors, so also do we. One of the important elements for that firewall is both having and being a good example.
But before the second and most important brick Paul shares a promise and a final warning.