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 (NIV).
Paul is a delight to read because he talks lovingly to his protégé, Timothy, while also reasoning with him. He doesn’t preach to Timothy; he doesn’t condescend to the younger man. Instead, he uses reason and care that talks with we strangers so many years later. Indeed, break down these two verses and you can digest some of the tones in which Paul communicates with his “son.”
“Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of:” that could almost be a commencement address. Good teaching speaks for itself and convinces us of truth. Convincing us of the truth is the primary goal of all education.
“You know those from whom you have learned it.” Paul is talking about both himself but especially about Timothy’s mother and grandmother, who raised him. They were early followers of Jesus who taught the young man about Christ, preparing him for mission with Paul and then service to the church abroad. They were honest and trustworthy people.
“How from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures.” Then as now, Jewish boys are taught the Torah and the Talmud starting at around age 5. It begins a life-long pursuit of knowing God more through His word. It’s the reason why so many Christians so strongly advocate Christian education for the young.
“The Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise.” True wisdom comes only from God, is imparted only by Him and through His Word. On our own, we the people aren’t wise. With the Lord, His wisdom becomes an inevitable gift of grace.
“Salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Jesus did the work of salvation. He and only He forgave our sins and made it possible for us to live forever. Yet that doesn’t happen if we don’t put our faith in Him. If we choose to reject faith in Christ, He allows us the consequence of our choice. Yes, we will live forever, but the Scriptures say it won’t be with Jesus.
All these things Timothy knew. And he knew that persecution was all around him, and would come for him, too. History says that Timothy eventually became a bishop in Ephesus, in modern Turkey, where he was beaten to death during a pagan feast when he tried to minister the Gospel. He and Paul understood these things because they pursued Godly wisdom from Jesus. We can do the same.
For further reading: John 5:39, Deuteronomy 4:6, Psalm 119:98-99, 2 Timothy 3:15.
Wise Savior, only You are truly wise. Wisdom comes only through You. Thank You for teaching us Your wisdom through people like Paul and Timothy.