2 Timothy 2:2
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Note 4 at 2Ti 2:2: What "things" were Paul referring to? According to 2Ti 1:13, Paul told Timothy to "hold fast the form of sound words" that he had received from him, so certainly, this refers to his teachings. Also in this same letter, Paul told Timothy that he had fully known his doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience, persecutions, and afflictions (2Ti 3:10-11). And it wasn't just what Paul said; his lifestyle was also an important part of what he taught Timothy and what he wanted Timothy to pass on to others (see note 5 at this verse).
Note 5 at 2Ti 2:2: Paul's command to Timothy in this verse was not just for Timothy; it is the Lord's command to every believer of every age. We are instructed to reproduce our faith in others.
Jesus told His disciples the same thing in what is called the great commission of Mt 28:19-20. He said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Jesus never told us to make converts. He said to make disciples (Mt 28:19, New International Version). That only happens as we take the truths that the Lord has given us and impart them to others. One of the blights of modern Christianity is the emphasis on simply being born again (see note 2 at Joh 3:3), instead of leading people to be disciples of Christ.
Some people are appalled at statements like that, but do the math. If 1 Christian led 1,000 people to salvation each year, at the end of sixteen-and-a-half years, there would only be 16,500 Christians. However, if the same person only led 1 person to the Lord every six months and then took the rest of that time to make that person a disciple, who could reproduce his or her faith by discipling others, then at the end of sixteen-and-a-half years, there would be nearly 7 billion believers through the discipling method. What a difference!
Our mass evangelism has made forgiveness of sins and escaping the punishment of hell the goal of most people's steps toward the Lord. Therefore, once people have received salvation, they lose their motivation to go any further. They got what they wanted. As wonderful as having sins forgiven and missing hell are, that is not the only purpose of salvation. Intimate relationship with the Lord is what salvation is all about (see note 94 at Joh 17:3). That is what Christians should be leading people toward. That is what discipleship is.
Paul's instructions to Timothy in this verse are also to each one of us. We must reproduce our salvation experience through discipling others.
Note 6 at 2Ti 2:2: The Greek word that was translated "commit" in this verse is "PARATITHEMI," and it means "to place alongside, i.e. present (food, truth); by implication, to deposit (as a trust or for protection)" (Strong's Concordance). This word stresses much more than simply announcing facts. To accomplish true discipleship (see note 5 at this verse), we have to do more than tell people some truths. We need to find believers to whom we can entrust the Gospel.
Note 7 at 2Ti 2:2: Today most people look for abilities first in those they depend on or employ. Faithfulness is the characteristic that Paul stressed in this verse. Job skills can be taught. Faithfulness cannot. Therefore, faithfulness should be the most important quality looked for in others (see note 8 at this verse).
Note 8 at 2Ti 2:2: As emphasized in note 7 at this verse, Paul stressed faithfulness as the most important quality to look for in those who will be entrusted with the Gospel. However, this does not mean that ability isn't an issue. He also said here that these people have to be able to teach others. They have to be able to communicate effectively. This is the same requirement that Paul gave Timothy for bishops in 1Ti 3:2. Therefore, ability is important, but not the most important, thing.
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