You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,11 persecutions, sufferingsâ€”what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse,deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Â Â Â 2 Timothy 3:10-17 (NIV)
It is the last sentence of this passage that is often quoted to make various points. But as often happens when I read the â€œbefore and afterâ€ I hear something more for me to consider and let simmer in my heart.
I hear Paul, the mentor and teacher of a young disciple of Jesus, pour out his heart and give Timothy a look into his private thoughts and how his experiences have left their mark on him. First, Paul reminds Timothy that he does already know a great deal about him and so what he is about to hear, he can trust to be true.
The life of a disciple of Jesus Christ will involve times when you know the rescue of the LORD. Whether it is a near miss on an interstate highway or the wisdom not to become involved in a relationship with someone who is not who they appear to be, God’s hand holds His children â€“ even in the times of darkness. A disciple’s life will also involve times of great pain. It can be a physical pain when illness, a part of this life, comes and pulls me down. It can be rejection and isolation as I follow Jesus through a desert or path that is narrow and unpopular. God will never abandon His child.
Paul applauds the time that Timothy has put into studying Scripture. The years of reading, studying, and contemplating what he has read has been time well spent and Timothy will see in the days ahead that what he has learned about God will be useful when combined with his faith in Jesus.
All Scripture is useful. It is important that I read and understand all Scripture in context of the all. John 3:16 says that God loved us so much that He gave His Son so that if we believe in Him, we will have an eternal life with God. John 3:17 says that Jesus didn’t come to condemn but to save. In context, as a disciple it is an eternal life that I am promised. It is my life in Jesus that is abundant with His love and strength and wisdom. My earthly life will not be like my promised eternal life but it will be a life of purpose.
2 Timothy 4 goes on to charge Timothy to take this Scripture and faith and share it with others. He is to correct, rebuke and encourage. With the Holy Spirit’s help, he will do these three things in the right amounts. Scripture wasn’t meant to just encourage but neither was it just to rebuke. It is all there to build us up in our relationship with God.
The life of a disciple can seem lonely and often difficult. Jesus showed by His example of living with the twelve that we should come together to encourage each other, learn from each other and break bread. Hebrews 10:5 encourages us to meet together. However well we obey or fail to do that, we can always count on Jesus to meet with us every day to encourage, rebuke and correct, leaving us better than when we arrived.
Healing Rain written and sung by Michael W Smith