Wednesday, 25 April 2018
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 2 Timothy 3:14
Paul spoke of the “evil men and impostors” who would “grow worse and worse” in the previous verse. Now he contrasts them and their wayward path. He said of them that they were “deceiving and being deceived.” Instead of this, he says now to Timothy, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of.”
Unlike those losers of verse 13, Timothy is to stand fast on the word of God, live out proper doctrine, and act in a holy and openly godly manner. He is to continue walking this path, teaching it to the next generation, and they are to follow suit with this throughout the ages ahead. His walk is to be one which trains their walk. It is to be a doctrinally sound path which does not deviate from the truth of the gospel.
Paul then says, “knowing from whom you have learned them.” The words here are words of surety. Timothy was instructed properly, Paul is aware of this, and he now admonishes his young protege to continue in that sound teaching. However, there is a dispute among the source texts as to whether the word “whom” is singular or plural. It is the difference of a single letter, tinōn or tinōs.
To be dogmatic here is probably not the best option. This is especially so when thinking of the possibilities of who “whom” is then referring to. If singular, is he speaking of himself? Or, is he speaking of the Lord through his word? In the coming verse, Paul refers to the Holy Scriptures. They are given by the Holy Spirit through men of God (2 Peter 1:21). If it is plural, then maybe he is referring to both the Holy Spirit and himself, or himself and Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (see 2 Timothy 1:5).
Any of these is possible. A parent who knows the word, and who has also called on Christ would not purposefully teach incorrect doctrine. Paul wouldn’t refer to himself in this manner unless he was truthful and sound as an apostle and instructor. And the Holy Spirit, being God, is certainly the greatest Source of instruction if we pursue His word while being receptive to His leading. No matter which word Paul actually used, the precept remains true. Timothy was properly instructed, Paul knew this to be true, and he admonishes him now to follow faithfully on this sound path of proper doctrine.
Life application: What is stated here is that we are to follow the correct path of doctrine that we have been taught. Unfortunately, there are things that we were originally taught which are just plain wrong. It is almost universal that people will continue in their doctrine once it is set, and very few will ever change their position. But this is a bad path to follow if what they have been taught is unsound. We must be willing to rationally evaluate each precept we have learned, and then to compare it with what the Bible says. It is never good to blindly follow a teaching without being well versed in how that teaching aligns with a sound interpretation of Scripture.
Lord God, there are innumerable views on certain points of doctrine which stem from Your word. But that doesn’t mean Your word is uncertain. It is we who form opinions without carefully evaluating things in context. Give us sound teachers who will state what is correct, and then give us the wisdom to even check what they say. In the end, our ongoing relationship with You comes down to our application of Your word. Isn’t that worth our time and study? Help us to desire this close and personal walk with You. Amen.