And that 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
I have often heard this verse used for the pure doctrine of it, particularly how it relates to the usage of the Scriptures, their predominance in learning of Jesus, and so on, but I want to look at another part of that verse.
Timothy, from his childhood — according to some translations, even from infancy — was taught the Holy Scriptures, having come from a family of faith. We see this in Paul’s mentioning of Timothy’s mother Eunice and grandmother Lois possessing “unfeigned faith” (2 Timothy 1:5).
I learned very little about the Bible as a child. In fact, I remember distinctly thinking why so little of it seemed to be about Jesus, though the only part I ever enjoyed was seeing John 3:16 printed in a few dozen languages in the little Gideons New Testaments.
There was Timothy as a young child, though, propped up on his mother’s lap as she shared with him the Scriptures. She would recount the Creation of the world and why the Sabbath was important, carefully noting the promise made in grace to the undeserving Adam & Eve, that one day the serpent would be crushed.
Later she would recount the exodus, the formation of the Jewish nation, which would become a focal point of God’s dealings for centuries to come. She took care to make known the passover lamb, how it died for the Jews’ sake.
Eventually she would come to what could be called the first gospel, the Prophet Isaiah, sharing with young Timothy about the suffering Savior, born of a virgin, yet called Mighty God, Everlasting Father.
The Scriptures have always been about Jesus Christ, and Timothy was taught them. Having never physically met Christ, his knowledge of the Scriptures probably means that he knew more about Jesus than some of those who were around Him regularly — for how often did they fail to understand His teachings, especially regarding His pending crucifixion. If only they had trusted Isaiah.
It is those Scriptures — the glorious Old Testament books which detail God’s dealings with man over the course of a few thousand years, from the first man Adam down the line to Malachi — which I didn’t know until I was an adult.
And largely, I still don’t know them. I am thankful — oh so thankful — for a new set of Scriptures which very clearly and plainly set forth Jesus Christ and what He did for His sheep. I’m unsure of when Timothy was born and how that date would relate to the writings of the New Testament books, but I can’t see his family having access to much of the New Testament at all, if any…
…yet Paul without a second thought stated that the Scriptures Timothy has always known & loved are able to make one wise to salvation, that they testify of Jesus Christ.
How often do we Christians ignore the Old Testament, foregoing it in favor of the new & exciting New Testament books?
Why is every effort made to repackage the New Testament to make it attractive to children and teens today, perhaps reinforcing the idea that the Old Testament simply isn’t necessary for Christian learning.
Christ committed the Church into the hands of men who knew only the Old Testament. Not a single iota of the New Testament had been penned, yet men were going forth, preaching the Word of God, and boldly proclaiming Jesus Christ.
I’ll be honest: I couldn’t imagine having a thorough understanding of the Old Testament. Such a prospect thrills and excites me, yet I only manage to stumble through my readings of the same. Intellectually, I know all the various ways Christ is to be found in the Old Testament books. I’m aware of the symbolisms of the tabernacle and temple, I’ve read list after list of messianic prophesies, and so on.
But could I read through the Old Testament proficiently, pointing out Christ clearly enough to express Him to an unbeliever based upon the Old Testament? If I could, it would be a clumsy exercise at best.
Yet Timothy had known the Scriptures from a child. He grew up with them. They were a part of his life, and I’ll bet he couldn’t imagine what life would be without the Scriptures, even if he wanted to.
I’ve seen many posters of the variety, “Everything I’ve ever needed to know, I learned in kindergarten.” I wonder if Timothy felt the same regarding the Old Testament?
Mother’s Day is peeking around the corner. If you were raised to be wise in the Scriptures, make sure you express appreciation for it. There is no greater gift in this world that a parent could give a child than an understanding of the Scriptures and a working knowledge of our Mighty God and Everlasting Father Jesus Christ.