2 Timothy – The miracle of Living Tradition
“…teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” 2 Timothy 2:2
His second letter to Timothy was quite possibly the last letter written by the great Apostle Paul. He had a sense that his time was short. He has no hope of release and his friends are slowly fading away to do other things. He longs to see Timothy again, so he writes this very personal letter asking him to come as soon as he is able. Paul was martyred under Emperor Nero in AD 67.
Think about it, Paul could have written to one or more of the surviving Apostles, his peers and the leaders of the Church. Or possibly Linus, mentioned at the end of the letter, who would become the next Bishop of Rome, succeeding Peter and Paul. He could have written to a best friend, a confidant, even a relative, an aunt or a parent. But he didn’t. He wrote to the next generation. To Timothy, his ‘son in the faith.’
This is the miracle of Living Tradition. Jesus taught Paul who poured his life into Timothy and was instructed to do the same with others.
Guard the Truth – By the power of the Holy Spirit, carefully guard the precious truth – “Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.” (1:13-14)
Pass it on – Teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will do the same – “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” (2:2)
Focus on Jesus – Center your teaching on the simplicity of Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection, and the faithfulness of God, explain it clearly and correctly. �"Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead…"
"This is a trustworthy saying:
If we die with him,
we will also live with him.
If we endure hardship,
we will reign with him.
If we deny him,
he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny who he is.
Remind everyone about these things" (See 2:8, 11-14)
Be Faithful to the Word – Remain faithful to the holy scriptures, they provide the wisdom to receive salvation – “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.” (See 3:14-17)
Paul trusts that the Apostles teaching (which would become the New Testament), plus the Old Testament, along with the inspiration and guidance of God the Holy Spirit, will be enough to keep the Church on track – and, of course, it was.
Paul's charge to Timothy was not meant for strictly for him, though, for each follower of Christ has the same responsibility, the same mantle. To guard the precious truth of the Word of God, to pass these truths along, teaching our children and other trustworthy people. We are to focus our teaching on the resurrection of God the Son and the faithfulness of God the Father. And having done all this, remain personally accountable and faithful to God's Word.
"Tell me the stories of Jesus, write on my heart every word;"
"Tell me the stories most precious, sweetest that ever was heard."
You are part of the miracle of Living Tradition. Take it seriously, carefully, and joyfully as God uses you, along with the Bible and the Holy Spirit, to impart His truth to the next generation. What an honor. Thank you, Lord. May we be faithful to the task in all humility for Your glory and the salvation of the world.