Wisdom for Salvation
“From childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”- 2 Timothy 3:14–15
Persecution will always be perpetrated against faithful Christians by others both within and without the church, and those who do the persecuting will become more ensnared and more deceived even as the ones being persecuted will find ultimate vindication from the Lord (2 Tim. 3:10–13). Knowing this, we should not be surprised when we encounter trouble, nor should we let it distract us from our mission. Paul begins to describe this mission in detail in today’s passage as he explains what Timothy is to do when he is faced with false teach- ing and must carry on Paul’s mission after the apostle is gone.
Timothy’s mission is the mission of every Christian and it is really quite simple — to continue in what we have learned from the apostles and to keep on believing in their message (v. 14). Believers may not depart from the apostolic and prophetic Word into new and fanciful teachings but must rather study and proclaim the old, familiar story of Jesus and His love that is found on every page of Scripture. Part of our motivation in doing this is our knowledge of the persons from whom we learned this story — the eyewitnesses of the ministry of Jesus and the prophets who did not speak by the will of men but by the power and inspiration of God the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). Our faith is not rooted in fiction but in the reliability of the Word of God, and we do not believe because we are looking for purpose in life but because what we affirm is the truth our Creator has revealed. John Calvin says, “Nothing is more inconsistent with the nature of faith than light credulity, which allows us to embrace everything indiscriminately, whatever it may be, and from whomsoever it proceeds.”
That Paul has in mind a faith based on Scripture is confirmed in 2 Timothy 3:15 when he writes about the “sacred writings,” or more literally, “holy letters.” This was a common way first-century Jews referred to the Bible, and this is how Timothy would have understood the phrase (remember that he was Jewish, Acts 16:1). These Scriptures are able to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus,” a helpful reminder that the Bible is not an end in itself but was given so that the creator God may be glorified and His creation restored.
Scripture has many uses, but its primary purpose is to give the message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ that we might be redeemed from sin and death and thus bring God’s will to bear on earth. This message is not learned once but is to be heard time and again through the consistent hearing of the Word. Let us never think that we have come to the point where we no longer need to hear the simple message of the gospel of salvation.
Passages for Further Study