By Mike Gilland
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. – 2 Timothy 3:14-15
Paul’s letters to Timothy were in a context of comparison of two streams best described as false teaching and truth. These verses contained an urgent plea to Timothy, for in Paul’s mind, the temptations facing him were great. Paul is calling on his young disciple, to whom Paul himself was like a father, to keep walking in the faith – the faith that was based on what he had learned from his family, and in his study of the teachings of Jesus and His Word.
This kind of impassioned plea can be seen seen throughout Paul’s life. Paul was not wishy-washy in his faith. He had been knocked off his “high horse” – literally, and had an encounter with the Living Son of God on the road to Damascus.
These experiences had made an indelible impression on Paul’s heart. The truth of the Gospel, and Paul’s study of Scripture had the effect of inculcation on his life. To inculcate is to chisel, as an artist would engrave an inscription in stone. The mark left behind is close to permanent. Paul’s heart for Timothy was that kind of serious.
It is as if he were saying, “Timothy, don’t forget the rock from which you were hewn.” “Timothy, continue in what you have learned from the Word. Continue in what you have learned….and have firmly believed.
There is within each of us a very dangerous possibility, which is this: we can know, yet not believe. Apathy does that. Knowledge that is not guarded, truth that is not held dear, can become at risk of functionally becoming mere “words” – not only in our own lives, but also the lives of our children coming after us. I pray regularly for this request – I want to live out what I say I believe.
This process of walking out what we believe from God does something amazing in our lives. It adds wisdom to go along with knowledge. Having both knowledge and wisdom is critical if we are to ever reach maturity.
“One can have knowledge without having wisdom, but one cannot have wisdom without having knowledge. A person without knowledge is ignorant. A person without wisdom is deemed a fool.” -R.C. Sproul
Paul is doing all he can to make sure that Timothy walks in the wisdom that he had been shown. Paul reminds this young man that the source for becoming wise is found only in his study of those sacred writings.
The Scriptures, and they alone, can open our minds to the Gospel, to Jesus, and His salvation. Those scriptures will give us knowledge, keep us from ignorance, and – by God’s grace – prevent us from living the life of a fool.
Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers. In Orlando, The Shepherd is heard on WIWA, AM 1270. In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader. As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to seven grandchildren.