Daily Devotional

May 3, 2019

Daybreak: 2 Timothy 3:1-17

“From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15)

Although I was carefully raised in a Christian home, it did not automatically cause me to seek salvation at a young age. This was not for lack of knowledge or opportunity, though, because we had Bible reading and prayer every evening at home. Church was probably the first place I was taken as a baby, and this pattern continued as Dad and Mom faithfully took our family to church every time there was a service. Many times, we children felt that we were too busy playing to get all cleaned up and go to church on a weeknight — it just took too much time! But away we went.

Now, I am very grateful for that wonderful guidance. All of the training from our parents and the church about godly living was so valuable when I finally yielded my life to God. Through Scriptures and Sunday school songs, the Lord called me again in my college years and gently persuaded me to give His way a try. How well I remember telling Him, “But I don’t want to be a Christian. I don’t like it!” The Lord countered with, “How do you know, if you have never tried it?”

That response stopped me because I had no answer. All those years growing up in a Christian home, the Bible had been read to us and we had gone to church regularly. At different times I had prayed, but never actually prayed through to salvation. Therefore, Christianity and attending church just seemed like rules and regulations to me: getting spiffed up, missing free time, not being allowed to wear certain styles that other girls chose, and not joining all of the activities other teens seemed to enjoy. I had not experienced the peace, joy, and freedom I heard about from real Christians.

Walking to and from classes in college, I knew I was missing something. I did not exactly fit in with the pleasure-seeking crowd around me. Nor was I really comfortable with the church group, since I was not saved. The Lord was able to speak to me during those walks, and remind me that He was still there, still waiting. Bible verses from my early years and the little Sunday school songs we sang ran through my head again and again, even though I tried hard to push them from my mind. As the focus verse tells us, the Scriptures were able to make me “wise” enough to know something was missing.

Finally, I told the Lord that if He would give me the peace, joy, and happiness I saw in other Christians, I would do my best to serve Him. Then He saved me! Since then, He has more than kept His part of the bargain, giving me all of that and much, much more. I have done my best to serve Him, and have never been sorry that I chose “salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Life is simply better as a Christian.

My story is a testimony to the value of good spiritual training. Some of the most important “evangelizing” is done by parents and grandparents in their own homes. At church, children are watching the examples set by the Christians around them. What can we do today to help some children know the Lord? Small efforts could have rich results in the future, as Jesus tarries.

Background

In this chapter, Paul warned Timothy about the perilous times that would face the world in the last days, and gave examples of the selfish offenses in which people would indulge. False preachers and teachers would be prevalent, and the Apostle cautioned Timothy on the importance of continuing in the sound teaching he had learned from Paul himself. By holding to his firm foundation, he would be equipped to refute the false teachers of the age. The term false can mean “deliberately untrue” or even “based on a misconception.” Incontinent here means “without self-control.”

The Apostle cautioned about those who had a “form of godliness” but denied God’s power. Going to church, making good-sounding statements, and maintaining religious traditions is not enough. The reference Paul made to “silly women” does not mean that he believed women to be mindless. In Ephesian society, women were considered lower than men and had very little opportunity for religious education. Christianity offered them an opportunity to study, but consequently, they were more susceptible to false teachers. 

Jewish tradition indicated that Jannes and Jambres were some of Pharaoh’s magicians who “withstood Moses” by endeavoring to duplicate the miracles God sent. Timothy must have been familiar with these names, for Paul did not explain much about them. 

Beginning with verse 10, Paul used himself as an example to encourage Timothy to continue in the faith — to persevere. The phrase, “thou hast fully known” indicates that Timothy was very aware of what Paul had suffered. It is possible that Timothy had actually been with Paul on some of the occasions mentioned. However, the point the Apostle was making was that God was able to and did deliver him. Timothy could take courage in that knowledge.

Timothy was to remember the Scriptures that he had learned as a child. Those Scriptures could be used as valuable tools to teach or reprove in a variety of circumstances. This was because they were inspired by God. Inspiration means “breathed into by God,” signifying that God gave His message to the Bible’s writers. 

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III.   Expectation of faithfulness in service
      C.   In the midst of apostasy (3:1-17)
            1.   The essence of apostasy (3:1-9)
                  a.   The morality of apostates (3:1-4)
                  b.   The religion of apostates (3:5)
                  c.   The methodology of apostates (3:6-9)
            2.   The example of the Apostle (3:10-13)
                  a.   The experience of persecution (3:10-12)
                  b.   The explanation of persecution (3:13)
            3.   The effect of the Word (3:14-17)
                  a.   The Word gives divine instruction toward salvation (3:14-15)
                  b.   The Word divinely equips (3:16-17)

A Closer Look

  1. Who did Paul say will suffer persecution?
     
  2. Which characteristics of the last days have you observed recently?
     
  3. How can we be sure we “continue” according to Paul’s instructions?

Conclusion

Any Scriptures and godly principles that children learn when they are young have a good chance of staying in their hearts and producing results in the future. Look for an opportunity to help a child spiritually today.

Reference Materials