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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Critical 2

Yesterday I shared some observations on 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:8, suggesting that Paul was outlining for Timothy what was critical for both his own walk and the effectiveness of his ministry to others.  In the comments Chuck offered additional perspective, which I am still processing.  I promised or threatened, depending on your point of view, to comment further on the first observation, “He is to continue in what he has learned.”  Here goes…
How does Paul's command to Timothy impact us?  Or does it?
Paul is contrasting what he wants Timothy to do over and against the general decay of teaching that he describes in 3:1 – 13.  He tells him he is to “continue” in the things he has learned, rather than follow in the paths of the false teachers.  The force of Paul’s command to Timothy rests in the verb, continue.  It is in the imperative mood and is the same word that permeates John 15 that in most of your Bibles is translated “abide” or “remain.”  Not to get too technical here, the tense is present, which indicates continual action.  So Paul is commanding Timothy to constantly, consistently, abide, remain, and continue in the things he has learned.  It is a close echo of the first part of the command in 2 Timothy 2:2.

The core teaching of the Gospel is set.  Doctrine, that is true doctrine, is important.  That doctrine is constantly under attack.  Paul in two places in this virtual last will and testament to his beloved apprentice, commands him to guard, entrust, and abide or remain in that teaching.

One question that rises out of this for me is how did Paul transmit that teaching to Timothy?  A corollary becomes, how are we doing in following his example?