All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
is one of my favorite verses when I’m not sure where to go. Paul meant for it to be an anchor for Timothy as well.
The twist for me was the chapter that back-ends this verse. Paul is warning his disciple about how things are going to get bad…and go to worse. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (v.12-13).
Paul gives Timothy a heads up about the terrible things that will come in the end days. He takes him to the worst possible scenario and guarantees persecution for the godly Christ-follower. For all that he saw and experienced, Paul knew it wasn’t going to get any better.
So what was his consolation for Timothy’s unavoidable fate?
This would have been a great opportunity for him to say, “Hey, Timothy—just conjure up some feelings of courage. Remember how you felt when you were first saved. Just use those feelings to get you through. Don’t you remember that mountain top experience?”
Or Paul could have thrown in a perfect Disney ending and told him to just believe in himself. Isn’t the power every hero is lacking deep down in him somewhere? When things get rough, I’m sure self-confidence would be all Timothy would need.
No, instead Paul leverages the power of God in his story and the authority of scripture to impute Timothy with staying power.
“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” (v. 14-15).
At the end of a rope, I know my feelings won’t give me the fuel I need to keep on. When I promised my wife that I would love her and continue to love her, I knew that the momentum of the feelings I felt on our wedding day wouldn’t see us through to our golden oldies. When things get dark in our relationship, I sit down and look at our vows. What did I say I would do in writing? Returning to these words reminds me the foundation of our relationship is a covenant promises to look out for the other’s best interest.
I think the same is true with me and God. Only His vows to me are timeless and inerasable. He is incapable of default on His side of the promise when he says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).