"Entrust to Faithful Men..."

Paul wrote to his young protégé, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

We are living in an age when many in the religious world are trying to appeal to young men and women through concerts and hamburgers and trips to King’s Island.  The implication is that young people are incapable of being spiritually minded.  The sad irony is that when we set low expectations for our children, they often live down to them.  They deserve to be immersed in true Christianity; the difficulties and sacrifice and service as well as the joy and peace and contentment.

There are three elements suggested in Paul’s admonition to Timothy.  1) Character matters, 2) Knowledge matters, and 3) Teaching ability matters.

Character matters.  Timothy’s focus was to be directed toward faithful men.  Perhaps the greatest task with which Timothy was burdened was to deal with false teachers; men who had assumed positions of influence who were doing more harm than good.  We must be about developing young people with a profound reverence and respect for God and for His word so they will not be led astray by worthless myths and human philosophies.

Knowledge matters.  According to the King James Version, Paul told Timothy to “study to shew thyself approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15).  The key to God’s approval is diligent effort in “accurately handling the word of truth.”  The Hebrew writer rebukes some Christians when he wrote, “Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God” (Hebrews 5:12).  It is our responsibility to provide our young people with the foundational knowledge and the Bible study skills to be able to move beyond the milk of the word and to deal with the meat in a scripturally sound way.

Teaching ability matters.  Not everyone is cut out for the proclamation of the gospel in a public setting, but we all can lead others to Christ.  We should encourage any with an aptitude for teaching and preaching to hone their skills.  Public speaking can be intimidating for a young person with no experience.  They need to understand the importance of preparation and the effort that it takes (Ephesians 6:15).  They need our support and encouragement as they increase their effectiveness through practice and experience.  Our priority must be on developing young people, not with event planning skills, but with spiritual maturity, knowledge, character and aptitude for teaching the gospel.

Over the past five decades, the members of the West Murray church have shown great patience and enthusiastic support for a lot of young men and women by providing teaching guidance and opportunities.  Many are now gospel preachers, elders, deacons and Bible class teachers.  West Murray members get it:  We’re not here to be entertained, we are here to help one another “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).