As we meet the month of December it is clear that the year 2015 will soon be over, if the Lord will. Consider the last month of the year and we realise how swiftly time passes. In daily life it is clearly necessary that we must determine to keep the Word of God in our hearts and minds, and remember how quickly the pressure of modern society may grip us. Note that those who read Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy prove it to be clear and helpful, as it was in past days, and still is in the present.
This letter to Timothy tells us how close was the relationship between Paul and the young man (1.2) who was called to "stir up the gift of God, which is in thee" (1.6). This challenge was not only for Timothy, but is for all today who have put their trust in Christ Jesus.
"Continue thou" (3.14-15). At the beginning of chapter 3 we learn that the days ahead would be "perilous times" (3.1) with "evil men and seducers" rampant (3.13). The verses leading up to v.13 show how difficult Christian testimony can be when it is attacked by enemies. It is clear from Paul's words that persecution could be expected, but whether that was so or not, it was vital that the Scriptures are the centre of life. Timothy was privileged regarding this when he was young, and was taught the Scriptures from early years (v.15). He displayed the fact that those who taught him knew the truth of the "sacred letters" (JND). These are the Old Testament writings to which Paul refers. What an honour this was indeed, as he sat before the Word of God continuing his interest in that which made him "wise unto salvation" (3.15).
The charge, therefore, was that he, Timothy, was to be fully persuaded regarding the truth that he had learned, and to be marked by competence in the use of it. The confidence and competence that was his would be necessary in his dealings with others.
"Inspiration of God" (3.16). Note first that it is "All scripture" that is given by God and which gradually brought about the New Testament Scriptural books. Now the 0ld Testament and New Testament have come together, all equally of honour and of value. Note the word "inspiration" which teaches us that Scripture is divinely inspired and God breathed.
Doctrine being taught and practised, profitable for reproof, correction, and instruction, all has to be a feature of the life and company of those who are Christians. The wealth of Scripture is brought to the attention of the reader. It teaches that Christians have the privilege of being taught the Word of God. Doctrine found in Scripture is clear, and reproof corrects those who desire to be righteous.
"Man of God" (3.17). The expression "man of God" is twice found in the writings to Timothy (1 Tim 6.11; 2 Tim 3.17). The purpose of the teaching is to show that the desire of the believer should be to act in what the Scriptures call a "perfect", complete way. "Throughly furnished" indicates that which is fitted out, competent and ready to meet all demands, with confidence in what the Scriptures teach.
In the society in which we find ourselves today, Scripture must be read and taught. There is the need of brethren and sisters who will be marked by prayer and by godly living. Many we know already. That is the challenge for Christians and may that continue in the world wherein we live.
It has been my privilege to have written the "From the Editor" column of the Believer's Magazine for seventeen years. Let me finish with what was written in the Magazine of January, 1999. "We believe, however, that despite all the difficulties of testimony today, Scripture can still be effectively put into practice in our private and assembly lives. There is no need to change and compromise, nor is there need to insist that human tradition is truth. In 1999 the Bible is still our only and reliable guide. In the Believer's Magazine, that is the message which we will bring monthly". The date has changed but the words have not. I know that those who are continuing with the work of the Magazine will do so marked by godliness.