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You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:1-2
You have a role in God’s plan for the church—the very same one described by the apostle Paul in chapter 2 of his second letter to Timothy. After reminding Timothy to never be ashamed of Christ or his fellow disciples, Paul tells him he is part of something God has done for him and wants to do for others through him.
These are important instructions, delivered with an affection worth noting. In this passage and throughout his letters, Paul addresses Timothy as his child. It’s a term of endearment, which also conveys parental authority—I’m telling you this as my spiritual son, so listen up.
Paul’s next words have often been translated be strong, but that phrase puts the weight on Timothy. The sense of the original is be strengthened, which clarifies that the power does not originate within, but by the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The apostle directed his disciple to the grace of Jesus even before instructing Timothy about his role in the process. What Paul pointed out applies to us. We need to be continuously strengthened by experiencing fresh infusions of the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Why does Timothy need to be strengthened? Like us, he has a job to do. He was a living carrier of God’s Word and was charged to deliver it to others. “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Paul was reminding Timothy that the bulk of what he needed to pass on had been received by word-of-mouth. Biblical instruction during the New Testament age was almost completely by direct spoken word.
Timothy not only heard from Paul, the message was also confirmed in the presence of many witnesses. He wasn’t the only one entrusted with the teaching, but he did have an important role: entrust [it] to faithful men. Entrust here literally means to place before. Paul was saying, Teach what you have learned to reliable people who will pass it on.
One of the tests of faithfulness is passing it on. This is a test many who are regularly exposed to the Word of God are failing miserably. How often do you take what you have been taught and entrust it to others?
You can’t just keep gathering and studying biblical instruction. To hang onto the truth but never give it out doesn’t strengthen you—it drains your strength. You’re not a disciple unless you share what you’re learning with others. Get it, then give it away—and experience the strengthening God longs to give!
Reprinted with permission from Our Journey, copyright 2013 by James MacDonald. All rights reserved. Further distribution is prohibited without written permission from Walk in the Word. James is the Founding and Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadow, IL and the Bible teacher of the Walk in the Word radio program.