From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
I. THE DUTY AND NECESSITY OF HOLDING FAST BY THE DIVINE VERITIES. "But do thou continue in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of."
1. The strength and comfort of an undoubting persuasion. Timothy was not to be moved away from the doctrines of the gospel either by persecutions or seductive arts. He found his strength and peace in them.
2. He had really learned them, unlike those ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth; for he had an experimental knowledge of them. He was, besides, fully assured of them, with "the full assurance of understanding." It is a very unbecoming attitude for a teacher of others to be sceptical in his opinions. He ought to affirm with certainty, and if he is fully assured, he has no right to surrender the truth.
II. THE GROUNDS OF HIS CERTAINTY AND ASSURANCE. "Knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a babe thou bast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
1. He had been taught sound doctrine by Lois and Eunice. It is, therefore, proper for parents to instruct children in doctrine from their earliest days.
2. He had been trained from his very infancy in the Holy Scriptures. It was, therefore, a right thing for him to be instructed in the Old Testament, since it was all the Scripture he could have had in his childhood.
3. The Scripture he studied was sufficient to lead him to Christ. "Through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
(1) This marks the means by which the salvation can be attained; for Christ is "the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Romans 10:4).
(2) The effect of the salvation is not merely to instruct, but to make wise in the highest sense - giving spiritual wisdom and understanding in the knowledge of God's will; for men are naturally without spiritual discernment.
(3) The salvation cannot be enjoyed without faith, resting upon the person of the Redeemer. - T.C.
Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned.Job 1:21), we must hold fast the truth (1 Thessalonians 5:21), abide in it and walk in it (Revelation 3:3).
1. This constancy is a note of sincerity, then are we Christ's disciples indeed, when we abide in the truth (John 8:32; Job 2:3), when no storms nor tempests can remove us from it, but we stand like Mount Sion, which never moves, and, like seasoned timber, never warps nor yields.
2. All the promises of heaven and happiness run only to such as are faithful to the death (Revelation 2:10), endure to the end (Matthew 24:13), and continue in faith (Romans 2:7; Matthew 10:22; Colossians 1:22, 23; Hebrews 3:6, 14).
3. Lay a good foundation, dig deep; he that will build high, must lay levy. Our learning doth not hinder but further the work of the Spirit in our souls. Timothy, that had a plentiful measure of the Spirit (for he was an Evangelist), yet must give himself to reading and meditation still. As Moses was faithful, and would not part with a hoof to Pharaoh, so we must not part with a tittle of God's truth to His enemies; for all truths, even the least, are precious; truth is like gold, which is glorious in the ray and spangle, as well as in the wedge. As it is in practicals, he that makes no conscience of little sins, will quickly be drawn to greater; so it is true, and holds in doctrinals, lie that admits of a little error, will soon be drawn to a greater. Though every truth be not fundamental, yet every truth is a guard to the foundation, the outer skin of an apple lies remote from the heart, yet if you pluck that off the heart will soon be rotten. The linger is not a vital part, but a gangrene in the finger will, in a short time, reach to the very vitals and corrupt the blood with the spirits. Not only the garment of truth, but the fringes thereof are useful, and must be preserved (Numbers 15:38-40). We experimentally see that those who forsake truth, in discipline, quickly fall to errors in doctrine. We shall hardly find a man that errs in the one, to be found in the other. As therefore we must count no sin small, so we must esteem no error small; for the least truth of God's kingdom doth in its place uphold the whole kingdom of His truth.
4. If you preserve the truth it will preserve you in the hour of temptation, as Solomon says of wisdom (Proverbs 4:8).
5. It is a great honour to a person or nation to be the conservators and preservers of the truths of God. It is not only our duty, but our glory. There are many spiritual cheaters abroad; the greater will our honour be in maintaining God's truth against them all. Say not I am but one, and a weak one too, but remember what great things the Lord did by and Luther.
(T. Hall, B. D.)Calvin Beza, and all the churches of God. As young lawyers and physicians observe the principles and practices of the serious and grave professors of their way, especially when grounded on maxims and rules of art, so should young divines. It ill becomes a young raw physician to contradict a whole college of physicians, or a puny lawyer a bench of judges, or a young divine a whole assembly of divines.
(T. Hall, B. D.)I. THE THINGS IN WHICH WE ARE TO CONTINUE.
1. We must learn those things in which we are to continue.
2. The things in which we are commanded to continue are the things of which we have been assured.
II. IN WHAT RESPECTS WE ARE TO CONTINUE IN THEM.
1. WE MUST CONTINUE IN THE BELIEF OF THEM.
2. WE MUST CONTINUE TO PROFESS that truth which we believe.
3. We must continue in the practical improvement of the truth. What is the chaff to the wheat? Such is every other doctrine to the doctrine of the Bible; and its energy and effects are proportioned to its excellency, when it is received with faith and love.
(G. Lawson, D. D.)they amount to a belief? Truth that touches a man not merely through a cold perception, but through some warm feeling — that is the kind of truth the Scripture teaches to constitute belief. It may be intellectually conceived; but no moral truth and no social truth is ever presented so as to be believed, unless it be presented in such a way as to carry sympathy and feeling with it — and that is not the case with all kinds of truth. Physical truths, scientific truths, do not touch the feelings, and do not need to. Arithmetic deals with truths that have no relation directly, except with the understanding. They never come with desire, sorrow, pity, or emotion of any sort. Bat all truths that relate to dispositions in men, to moral duties — they never stop with the understanding, but touch the feeling as well. A man cannot be said to believe a moral truth unless he believes it so that he carries some emotion with it. And, in this respect, it makes great difference what a man believes. Let us, then, look at this a little in the light of the experience of men in this world. In regard to the truths of the physical economy of the globe, does it make any difference what a man believes? Would it make any difference to a machinist whether he thought lead was as good for tools as steel? Would it make any difference to a man in respect to the industries of life if he thought that a triangle was as good as a circular wheel in machinery? In respect to the quality of substances, the forms of substances, the combination of substances, and the nature of motive powers, does success depend upon sincere believing or on right believing? Suppose a man should think that it made no difference what he believed, and should say to himself, "I wish to raise corn, but I have not the seed; so I will take some ashes and plant them; and I believe sincerely that they are as good as corn," would he have a crop of corn? What would his sincerity avail? Take one thing further. There are affectional and social truths. Does it make no difference what a man believes in respect to these? Is there no difference between pride, vanity, and selfishness on the one hand, and tenderness, sympathy, and love on the other? As it is with the lower forms of moral truth, so experience teaches us it is with the higher forms of moral truth. There is a definite and heaven-appointed connection between the things a man holds to be true, and the results that follow in that man's mind. All truths are not alike important, and all truths do not show the effects of being believed or rejected with equal rapidity. There are many truths which bear such a relation to our every-day life, that the fruit of believing or rejecting appears almost at once. These are spring truths, that come up and bear fruit early in the season. There are other truths that require time for working out their results. They are summer truths, and the fruit of belief or disbelief does not ripen till July or August. Other truths, in respect to showing the results of belief or disbelief, are like late autumnal fruits, that require the whole winter to develop their proper juices. Thus it is a matter of great importance whether a man believes in his obligation to God or not; whether he believes that he is sinful or not; whether he believes in the necessity of the influence of the Spirit in regeneration. A man's belief is not the only thing that works upon him. There is a great mistake in saying that as a man believes so is he, if you mean that his character depends upon his belief in any technical theological truth. What a man is depends in a great measure upon his father and mother, and brothers and sisters, and friends; that is, it depends partly on the things that he believes, and partly upon the influences that are working upon him in the family, in the society, and in the party to which he belongs. There are a thousand and one circumstances that have much to do with what a man is; and his character is not formed alone by his technical beliefs. Let us apply the foregoing reasonings and explanations to the more important truths which we are appointed to preach. We preach, then, that this life is a very transient scene; that we are strangers and pilgrims here; that we are started here to be transplanted; that we are undergoing a process of education in this life with reference to a life to come. We are taught in the Word of God that all men are sin-struck, and that every man that lives needs the grace, and forbearance, and forgiveness of God, and moral renovation at the hands of God. If a man believes that he is good enough, of course he becomes listless, and heedless, and inattentive. If another man by his side believes that he is sinful, and needs to be born again, with what a constantly quickened and watchful conscience must he needs live! and how, with all his moral power, must he perpetually strive to live a godly life? Does it make no difference what a man believes in respect to the character of God, the nature of the Divine government in this world, its claims upon us, and our obligations under it? What, then, is the application, finally, of this? It is just this: that, according to the tenour of the passage from which our text is taken, it makes all the difference in the world which you believe in respect to those truths that are connected with godliness — with purity of thought, purity of motive, purity of disposition. You must believe right about them. If there are any truths to be indifferent about, they are those that relate to your worldly good; and if there are any truths that you cannot afford to be indifferent about, they are those that relate to your character, to your immortality, and to the eternity that awaits you. Indeed, your character and destiny depend upon your beliefs in truth. If, then, any of you have hitherto been reading the Word of God as a book of curiosity, I beseech you remember that it is not made known to you for the purpose of curiosity. It is made known to you to be your guide from sin, from sorrow, from earthly trouble, toward immortality, and toward glory. Now when I sit in my house, where there is no gale, and with no ship, and read my chart out of curiosity, I read it as you sometimes read your Bible. You say, "Here is the headland of depravity; and there is a lighthouse — born again; and here is the channel of duty." And yet every one of you has charge of a ship — the human soul. Evil passions are fierce winds that are driving it. This Bible is God's chart for you to steer by, to keep you from the bottom of the sea, and to show you where the harbour is, and how to reach it without running on rocks or bars. Is is the book of life; it is the book of everlasting life; so take heed how to read it. In reading it, see that you have the truth, and not the mere semblance of it. You cannot live without it.
(H. W. Beecher.)
(Christian Globe.)1. First among these special lessons of a public school, I will place the value of time. I know not how to express my sense of what we all owe to what I may call a life of compulsory order. Every little duty of the day has, with us, its place and its time.
2. I will mention as one of the lessons of a place like this, the forming a right estimate of yourselves. It is one of the greatest benefits of this kind of education, that it leaves you in no doubt as to your comparative powers and attainments. Be not presumptuous, be not arrogant, be not self-confident. Take a just, not a fanciful, estimate of yourselves, both ways.
3. A third important lesson learned here is, the necessity and the power of adapting yourselves to a variety of persons and circumstances.
4. A fourth lesson here learned is the meaning of a social as opposed to a selfish life.
5. There is a fifth thing taught here, as it can scarcely be but by a system of public education, and that is the great lesson of the consequences of actions.
6. All these things are true, and capable of much enforcement, but I hasten to that chief lesson of all, without which all else would be poor indeed — I mean, the Divine aspect of life; its relation to God Himself through Christ, as our present help, our one hope and object, the very stay and strength and life of our life. That surely is the meaning of all our meetings for worship.
1. The dignity of work. Try to realise how much you owe to the labours of others who have gone before you, and try to labour for others in your turn. Do not be mere triflers and spendthrifts. Lay one stone, if it be one only, in the temple of human progress. Seek to learn something and to do something that is good.
2. The sovereignty of conscience. The age in which we live is democratic. "Vox populi vox Dei" is its watchword. Let me warn you against that great and fruitful error. There is no Divinity in numbers. God reveals Himself not to the many, but to the few. The greatest crime ever wrought was wrought by one who desired to do the people's pleasure. You may sympathise with the people as much as you like, you may hold it right that the will of the people should be done; but nothing that the people say or do can alter by one bait's breadth the law of right and wrong for you.
3. The duty of philanthropy. Every generation has its own duties and responsibilities. Nobody can tell why certain questions arise at a particular time and come to the fore; it is God's will. And there can be no doubt that the distinguishing duty of your generation will be to soften and hallow the lives of the toiling poor.
4. How shall you do this? What shall be your motive power in this great work? It shall be the fourth — the last — of the principles which I have impressed upon you, and which I leave with you as a legacy of remembrance — the paramount value of religion. "I thank God," said Lord Russell on the scaffold — "I thank God for having given me a religious education; for even when I forgot it most, it still hung about me and gave me checks." May it be so with you! May religion be your guide, controlling, inspiring, leading you ever to a higher and diviner life!
(J. E. C. Welldon, M. A.)
Monday Club Sermons.Yield to the influence of authority in doctrine and life. "But continue thou in the things which thou hast heard and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them." This advice is strangely unlike what we are accustomed to hear. Our time is impatient of authority. "The new Timothy" is exhorted to be perfectly unbiassed in the formation of his religious opinions. He must go back to the sources of things, if he can; if he cannot, he must improvise opinions, and thereafter be his own authority. Unverified personal impressions, and conclusions hastily reached, are better than the testimony of the wisest and most faithful witnesses touching the doctrines and duties and experiences of Christ's religion. To Paul it seemed far otherwise. He would have Timothy strongly biassed in favour of the teaching which he received in youth, by the Christian character of those who taught him. Grandmother Lois and mother Eunice gave the testimony of experts. They knew whereof they affirmed. Religion was not to them a matter of opinion merely, it was a life. Their faith was "unfeigned." It had power to rule their lives. Why should not their teachings take on an authoritative quality from their lives? The limits of authority must be carefully set. Discriminations must be made. "Profane and old wives' fables" must be avoided. But the authoritative teaching of a holy life is not to be disregarded because unholy lives assume to be authoritative. Mental freedom is to be coveted; but the freedom which assumes that each age must begin anew the study of the "ways of God" with men is too great.
(Monday Club Sermons.)
From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures
1. He commends them in respect of one special property and adjunct, viz, their holiness. The holy Scriptures.
2. From their effects: they are able to make us wise unto salvation.
3. From their authority, utility, perfection.Now the Scriptures are called holy in five respects.
1. In respect of their Author and principal cause — viz., the most holy God.
2. In respect of the penmen and instrumental cause: they were holy men of God (2 Peter 1:21).
3. In respect of their matter: they treat of the holy things of God; they teach nothing that is impure or profane. They teach us holiness in doctrine and practice.
5. By way of distinction and opposition; they are called holy to distinguish them not only from human and profane, but also from all ecclesiastical writings.
1. This must teach us to bring pure minds to the reading, hearing, and handling of God's holy Word.
2. Take heed of profaning the holy Scriptures by playing with thorn, or making jests out of them.
3. Love the Scriptures for their purity; as God is to be loved for His purity, so is His Word.Many love it for the history, or for novelty, but a gracious soul loves it for its purity, because it arms him against sin, directs him in God's ways, enables him for duty, discovers to him the snares of sin and Satan, and so makes him wiser than his enemies. The Word of God alone is able to make us wise unto salvation (Psalm 19:7; Luke 16:28, 19; John 5:39, and John 20:31; James 1:22, 25). No other knowledge can bring us to salvation, but only the know-lodge of the holy Scripture. The Word of God cannot save nor profit us without faith. Such is our blindness, deadness, dulness, yea, enmity against the Word, that without faith we cannot see, conceive, or receive it (1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 1:16; Hebrews 4:2; John 3:19, 20). If a man offer us never so good an alms, yet unless we have an eye to see it, with a hand and heart to receive it, we are never the better for the tender of it.
1. Observe. Parents ought to instruct their children betimes in the Word of God. It is good seasoning the vessel betimes with goodness. It is a singular mercy to have good parents, and specially a good mother, for she being much about her children hath many opportunities of dropping good things into her little Lemuels, as Bathsheba did into Solomon (Proverbs 31:1). The mothers of the kings of Israel are constantly mentioned, and as they were good or evil, so were their children. But at what ago would you have parents begin to teach their children? So soon as over they begin to learn wickedness, we should teach them goodness; so soon as ever they begin to curse and swear, we should teach thorn to bless and pray. There are many reasons why youth should be seasoned betimes with good principles.
1. In respect of that natural rudeness and ignorance which cleaves so close unto them (Ecclesiastes 3:18; Job 11:12; Jeremiah 4:22, and Jeremiah 10:14). We are all by nature like wild ass colts, unteachable, untractable.
2. The Lord oft blesses this seasoning in youth with good success.
3. It is usually blessed with continuance and perseverance; such as are good young are oft good long; what the vessel is first seasoned withal it will have a taste of it a long time after.
4. This is an excellent means to propagate goodness to posterity. As we see here, Timothy's grandmother teacheth his mother, and his mother teacheth him, and he teacheth the Church of God, etc. So if you teach your children, they will teach their children, and thou mayest be a means to propagate God's truth and honour from one generation to another. So that you may comfort yourselves when you come to die that yet your piety shall not die, but shall survive in your posterity, who shall stand up in your stead to profess God's name and truth before a sinful world.
5. Such well-bred and timely-taught children are usually great comforts and ornaments to their parents (Proverbs 23. 15,16, 24, 25), as we see in Abol, Joseph, Samuel, Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:3), Obadiah (1 Kings 18:18, 12), David, Daniel, Jeremy.
6. Children are the seminary and nursery, of the Church and commonwealth; now, as our seminaries and seed-plots are, such is the nation; as the parents, house, and school are, such are towns and cities.
7. Youth is most teachable and tractable, like soft wax or clay fit to be formed and framed to anything, ready to take any impression. Like a tender twig you may bend it which way you please, but let it grow to be a tree, and you may sooner break it than bend it. We should therefore take this fit season of seasoning youth betimes with saving truths, and killing the weeds of sin which begin to appear in their lives. No creature so wild but it may be tamed if taken whilst young. We see those that would teach or tame horses, lions, hawks, dogs, bears, they begin with them betimes; the horse is broken whilst a colt, and the lion tamed whilst it is a whelp, etc. As in the Ark there was the rod and manna, so in every well ordered family there must be the manna of instruction and the rod of correction. It must stir up young persons to devote the flower and best of their days unto God, who is the best of beings. Show me any that can show better title to thy youth than God can do, and let him take it. He gives the best wages, and so deserves the best work; godliness hath the promise (Proverbs 22:4; Matthew 6:33; 1 Timothy 4:8). And if we serve Him in our good days, He will help us in our evil ones; if we spend our youth in His service, He will support us and supply us in our old age (Isaiah 46:3, 4). If it were in our power, yet we may in no wise deal so disingenuously with our God as to give the devil the marrow of our youth, and reserve the dry bones of our old age for God. It is no wisdom to lay the greatest load on the weakest horse. Old age (though in itself it be a blessing) yet is accompanied with many troubles, sicknesses, and diseases; they are the dregs, the lees, the winter of our days. As all rivers meet in the sea, so all diseases meet in old age — hence it is called the evil day (Ecclesiastes 12:3-5), etc. Then the eyes grow dim, the ears deaf, the hands tremble, and the legs are feeble, and the memory fails.
(T. Hall, B. D.)1. It is more easy; anything taken when it is young is more easily wrought upon. A twig is easily bent; a disease taken in the beginning is easily cured, when everything by delay grows worse. When the fingers are grown stiff, it is ill learning to play on the lute. An old disease is hardly cured. The longer a tree grows, the harder it is to pull up. The further a nail is driven, the harder it is to pull it out again. The acting of sin strengthens the habit, and when sin is become habitual, connatural, and customary, it is hardly cured (Jeremiah 13:23; Isaiah 26:10).
2. It is more fruitful; we shall do more good, and receive more good; to him that hath shall be given. We shall bring forth much penitential fruit, which will bring much glory to God, and in glorifying Him lieth our glory (Job 15:8). Suppose a man should never repent till he were old and ready to die; though such a man may be saved, yet his graces are not so conspicuous, nor can he do that good, nor bring that glory to God as a young man that begins betimes to serve Him. It is a thrifty course to be an early convert; the sooner we submit to the Spirit's conduct the better, the more peace and liberty we shall attain.
3. It is more beautiful and lovely. Everything is beautiful in its season (Ecclesiastes 3:11); now God's usual season for repentance is when we are young.
4. We shall resemble the servants of God; all their obedience hath been prompt and speedy. They are endued with the wisdom which is from above, which is easily entreated to any goodness.
5. Consider the shortness and uncertainty of our days. It is a notable spur to speedy repentance; for as presumption of long life doth harden men, so realising of death, and looking on it as present, doth quicken and awaken men. Now our life in Scripture is compared to a span that is soon measured (Psalm 39:5); to a tale that is soon told (Psalm 90:9); to a vapour that quickly vanisheth (James 4:14); like a flower that soon fades (Isaiah 40:6-8; Job 14:2; Psalm 102:11, and Psalms 103:15; James 1:10; 1 Peter 1:24); like a post or a weaver's shuttle that fly speedily (Job 7:6, and Job 9:25).
6. The seasons of grace are short; time itself is short; but opportunity is much shorter. Every day in the year is not a fair day, and every day in the week is not a market day. Grace is not every day's offer, and therefore we should walk in the light whilst we have the light.
7. In this we may learn wisdom from the men of the world. The smith strikes whilst his iron is hot; the husbandman makes hay whilst the sun shines. The mariner observes his wind and tide, the lawyer his terms, the chapman his fairs and markets, and the gardener his seasons. Yea, shall the stork, the crane, and the swallow know the time of their coming, and shall we not know the day of our visitation? (Jeremiah 8:7). Doth the bee lose no fair day, and doth the ant in summer provide for winter? (Proverbs 6:8). And shall not we in the summer of youth provide for the winter of old age?
8. Neglecting the day of our visitation increaseth wrath, and provokes the Lord to cut off young persons in the flower of their days. If a man should every day be adding sticks to the fire, and oil to the flame, it must needs make the fire very terrible at last.
(T. Hall, B. D.)1. "FROM A CHILD THOU HAST KNOWN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES." That must have been a privilege of no slight importance in the estimation of Paul, which he considered worthy of peculiar mention, at such a time, and in his dying charge to his most beloved friend and companion. And when Timothy himself traced back the course of his life to his earlier years — when the memory of those youthful days rose upon his melting mind, as he perused the apostle's touching allusion, he too would most readily acknowledge the gracious hand of providence in having thus blessed him with the inestimable advantages of an early religious education. Men, who deem themselves philosophers, may sneer at the knowledge of a child, and the piety of a child, thinking it impossible that childhood can intelligently either know or love God. How soon can it comprehend the meaning of a father's authoritative and commanding frown, or the checking and controlling, yet affectionate smile of a mother! And, by the very simple process of combining these perceptions, and comparing in order to elevate them, how soon it may be taught to form some idea of a Being whose authoritative laws are similar, though vastly superior, to those of a father, and yet whose surpassing love, infinitely transcending that of a mother, shall endure when hers may have waxed cold, or waned utterly away, or been hid behind the darkness of the tomb!
II. CONSIDER WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF BEING TRAINED TO KNOW THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. This Paul declares to be, that they are able to make us wise unto salvation. It might be shown, had we at present scope for the investigation, that the wisdom of the world is wholly ineffectual for accomplishing the moral regeneration of man; nay, effectual only, or at least chiefly, in cultivating and enlarging his capacity of evil. It is the knowledge of the holy Scriptures, and that alone, which can make men wise unto salvation. Results so strikingly different must proceed from originating principles not less diametrically opposed. Let us, therefore, briefly examine some of the leading principles of the wisdom of the world, marking the contrast between them and those of the Scriptures. Now, the main intention of the world's wisdom is, to fit men for living on this earth; that of the Scriptures, to prepare them for heaven. Plans constructed upon such very different principles, and for such very different ends, begin to diverge at their very commencement. The world trains children to a similarity with itself — with its pride, its luxury, its self-indulgence, its vanity, and its self-approbation; the Scripture principle is, "the nurture and admonition of the Lord," self-denial, humility, acknowledgment of sin, and dependence upon God alone for help. The world inculcates the love of gain, as a ruling object; the Bible declares that "the love of money is the root of all evil." The world is loud in its praises of these who acquire advancement and distinction in life; Christianity teaches us to be content with such things as we have, threatens the fall of the mighty and the proud, and pronounces a blessing upon the meek, the lowly, and the humble. The world allows, nay, inculcates, selfishness; Christianity bids us seek not our own welfare only, but also that of others. The world approves a bold, contentious spirit, as one likely to force it jostling way through all opposition; Scripture says, "The servant of the Lord must not strive." The world allows dissimulation, selfish delusion, petty fraud, and all the thousand knaveries of common life and business; Christianity requires that the whole life and conduct should be characterised by the very transparency of truth, as ever in the presence of the God of truth and holiness.
III. We come now TO OFFER SOME REMARKS ON THE PRINCIPLE OF THIS SAVING WISDOM — that by which it is accomplished, viz., "Through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
(W. M. Hetherington, M. A.)
(W. G. Blaikie.)
(G. H. Pike.)
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation
(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)
(E. H. Plumptre, D. D.)
(Van Oosterzee.)I. THAT THE SCRIPTURES ARE ABLE TO MAKE WISE UNTO SALVATION. The Scriptures do, indeed, contain the truth that makes wise to salvation, but it is "by faith that is in Christ Jesus." It is when the Scriptures are believed, when they are received in the love of them, that man becomes a partaker of a blessing. Here it may be said, what strange language! — believe the Scriptures! — why, we always believed them! Those who utter such observations may imagine they believe, but they never believed "faith worketh by love" — "faith purifies the heart" — "faith overcomes the world" — faith is not a fancy — faith is not something floating through the mind of man, but it is of the operation of God. If, then, a man is careless about his soul, he does not believe; if he thinks more highly of the testimony of the world than he does of the testimony of his God, he does not believe; if he depends on his own poor doings, and makes them the ground of his hope, he does not believe; "for other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, Christ Jesus." If a man neglects the various relative duties of life, and spends his time and money in satisfying in any way the lusts and desires of his flesh, that man, whatever he may be, or whatever he may say, does not believe.
II. THAT TIMOTHY WAS INSTRUCTED IN THESE SCRIPTURES FROM HIS YOUTH. Here we have a direct answer given to those who would withhold from the young the book of God. No man of sense, or common understanding, or ordinary feeling, would withhold a medicine from his sick child, in consequence of that child being unable to ascertain the nature of the medicine, or calculate the effect of its operation.
(P. Roe, M. A.)I. WHAT THE HOLY SCRIPTURES CAN DO. "Make thee wise unto salvation." Exceedingly high praise: can be affirmed of no other book. Were the Bible a book to teach men the art of becoming rich, many would read it who now refuse; all "that will be rich" would then study their Bibles as diligently as their ledgers. If it taught men to be philosophers, another class would read it more than they commonly do. If it were a mere road book, many would consult it who now do not as they pursue the road of life. But the Bible proposes to make men rich towards God, wise unto salvation, pilgrims on the way to heaven. It teaches the best means of attaining the best end; and that is true wisdom.
II. HOW THE HOLY SCRIPTURES PRODUCE SUCH GREAT EFFECTS. "Through faith which is in Christ Jesus." The Scriptures do not work as a kind of charm. It is not by having the Bible in the house, nor in the school, nor in the church; but it is by having the Bible in the heart, its contents heard, read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested — that they make us "wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." The infidel can read them and scoff; the poet can read them and only admire their sublimity; the historical student can consult them only as ancient records; the formalist can read them just to get through a certain stated portion; yea, wicked persons have read them for bad purposes — to copy the sins which the Scriptures hold up to abhorrence. Of all such it may be said that the Word preached or read "did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." The Word profits when we hear as Lydia heard," whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul." Therefore the study of the Scripture should always be connected with prayer for Divine grace.
III. THE ADVANTAGE OF KNOWING THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, IF POSSIBLE, EVEN FROM EARLY YOUTH. "From a child"; there is the time when Scriptural instruction should begin. The word here rendered "child," denotes childhood in its infantile stage. To early education, blessed of God in His own time and way, the Church has owed some of her greatest ornaments. Augustin, who made a noble stand for the gospel in the fifth century, always attributed his conversion to the prayers, the tears, and the instructions of his mother, . God, in fact, appears to have remarkably honoured Christian mothers, whether they stood singly, or were supported in their endeavours to imbue their children's minds with Holy Scripture. Dr. Doddridge, one of the most eminently pious men among the in this country, used to relate that his mother taught him the histories of the Old and New Testament before he could read, by the aid of some Dutch tiles in the chimney of the room where they usually sat; and her religious instructions were the means of making good impressions upon his mind that were never obliterated.
(J. Hambleton, M. A.)1. Paul found Timothy, in their earliest acquaintance, a person who, though young in years, was fitted to enter the world in situations of great trust and confidence.
2. Paul had to think of Timothy, whilst employed in the onerous duties of his vocation, as one whose bodily constitution was sickly, and hence as one who was liable to severe illness or early death.
3. Paul had to experience the contemplation of being shortly separated from Timothy, having before his own eyes the certain prospect of martyrdom. Yet, in all his reflections, arising from the various circumstances attending his connection with this beloved disciple, one sufficient consolation filled St. Paul's affectionate heart. He knew that Timothy, even from his childhood, had known the Holy Scriptures; and this knowledge relieved him from all apprehension and anxious pain about his beloved friend. He could confidently trust him in the world; he could bear to lose him out of it; and he could with comfort leave him in it, when his own expected death arrived.And you who have children of your own, or are in any way entrusted with the guardianship of the young, will find that those three cases which I have cited concerning Paul and Timothy, may minutely represent your connection with the rising members of the human family.
1. In the first place, many a parent's heart is often anxiously burdened with a conviction that soon the world must be opened to a son or a daughter; that the veil of domestic virtue and innocence, which has hitherto screened these children's eyes from a sight of the vanity and wickedness which exist in the highway of life, must be rent asunder; and that the allurements of pleasure, the fascinations of sin, the temptations of gain, the suggestions of ambition, will all assail their inexperienced feelings, with a force to which their own natural inclinations will only lend congenial aid; and this will be so, even with these who have been most carefully and religiously trained. How, then, are parents to defend their offspring, and how are the young to be secured from the corrupting influence of the ordeal through which, in entering the world, these inexperienced ones must necessarily pass? Shall they be supplied with money, to save them from the thirst of gain, when it will give them the means also of indulging in sinful pleasure? Shall they be highly educated, and taught all that the accumulated learning of the philosopher has discovered, when this may fill the head without cleansing one affection of a naturally depraved heart? Shall they be shut out from the world, when the devil has already taken possession of them in those bosom lusts and appetites which human flesh and spirit universally inherit along with breath? All these resources, and all which are like unto them, are useless, vain, and idle; and the only effectual fortification against the seductions of this world, which it is the duty of all men to enter and purify by a good example, is that Divine knowledge acquired in childhood, which Timothy, when a child, had been taught by a holy mother. Armed with this instruction, the parent may trust his child to the duties of life; and youth may boldly go into the world, to bless and be blessed by contact with its evil influences, to which he will neither conform nor yield.
2. It is the sad lot of many parents to see, in the early life of those for whom a mother's pangs bare been borne, the blighting shadow of infirmity, or the ravages of violent disease, appear, with ominous warning that sickness and death are no respecters of age. Even in the contemplation of a sickly or a dying child, there is a consolatory reaction from the grief which the spectacle presents, if father and mother can then conscientiously feel that, even from a child, their dear one had known the Holy Scriptures, whatever else they might have omitted in their instructions; and that whether renewed health come, or death carry off their treasure, they have thus made their young one wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
3. Parents constantly have the prospect before them of separation, by their own deaths, from those who, naturally, owe their lives to them. It were well, therefore, that they should make provision for this day of consternation and account. To leave riches without righteousness is the poorest of all inheritances; and poverty, though accompanied by patience and decency, will be no excuse for the want of that holiness which springeth only of faith. Happy only, therefore, can be the death of that parent, be he rich or poor, high or low, who can say, with his last breath, to each of his offspring, "From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures."
(A. Garry, M. A.)
(J. Gregg, D. D.)I. THE GLORIOUS PURPOSE WHICH GOD INTENDED HOLY SCRIPTURE TO ACCOMPLISH. To "make them wise." The very statement of such an object is fitted to commend the book that is to accomplish it to our appreciation and our love. What is there, that can be compared with wisdom? It is the greatest acquisition that immortal man can make. But to be made wise "unto salvation" must be the supreme end and aim of all wisdom, worthy of the name. For if man be pregnant with immortality, to have meetness for heaven must be the chief end of man during the days of his pilgrimage here below. Salvation "through Christ Jesus." The end so glorious, how sure and simple the way! "Faith which is in Christ Jesus."
II. THE SUFFICIENCY OF HOLY SCRIPTURE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS GLORIOUS OBJECT. "Inspiration of God": have you weighed the expression? What thanks we owe to our gracious Father, that He has not left us an imperfect, mutilated, shifting, and uncertain standard, but has given us a standard that in itself remains complete and unchangeable as His own eternal throne!
III. THE FITNESS OF HOLY SCRIPTURE TO ACCOMPLISH THAT PURPOSE EVEN IN ONE OF THE LITTLE LAMBS OF THE FLOCK OF CHRIST. The Word of God is of all the books that the world contains the most suited to a child's mind and a child's heart. "I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight."
(H. Stowell, M. A.)I. WHAT YOU OWE TO THE SCRIPTURES IN A WAY OF PRIVILEGE. Is truth valuable? — they are called "the Word of truth." Is righteousness valuable? — they are called "the Word of righteousness." Is grace valuable? — they are called "the Word of His grace." Is life valuable? — they are called "the Word of life." Is salvation valuable? — they are called "the Word of this salvation."
1. Let us view these Scriptures as inspired. They claim no less a pre-eminence for themselves. And how delightful is it, in a world of uncertainties, conjectures, and errors, to find something concerning which we may say, Well, this is truth, upon which we may rely secure. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away."
2. Let us view these Scriptures as preserved.
3. Let us view these Scriptures as translated. The first translation of the Scriptures was the Septuagint, executed by a number of learned men at Alexandria, who translated the Scriptures of the Old Testament into Greek. This was peculiarly overruled by the providence of God. Alexander, by his victories and dominion, was the means of spreading the knowledge of the Greek language, and thus the Scriptures could be easily read; and thus an expectation was commonly entertained of a future Messiah and Benefactor. The New Testament was, also, soon translated into several languages; hut it was a long time before the Bible was translated into our own language. When Elizabeth came to the throne, by an act of grace she opened the prisons, and a number of the citizens addressed her, thanking her for her generosity; but ventured piously and ingeniously to say, "May it please your Majesty, there are four very excellent and worthy men who have been denied to walk abroad in the English tongue — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John"; and from that time they have been allowed to walk at liberty, and to speak to you in your own tongue, in public and private, of the wonderful works of God.
4. Let us view these Scriptures as printed. A certain writer says, when London Bridge was first built, a copy of the Scriptures would cost nearly as much as one of the arches; and the whole of a labourer's work through life would not have been sufficient to have furnished him with a copy l How is it now? Now, you see, by means of this invention, they may be multiplied to any degree; and every family, yea, every individual, may be in possession of a Bible, either by donation or by easy purchase.
5. Let us view the Scriptures as expounded. Now we owe much to many of those who have thus written.
6. Let us view the Scriptures as preached. Nothing in the communication of knowledge has ever yet been found like a living address from man to man. Nothing can produce so much impression and effect.
7. Let us view the Scriptures as experienced. There are many who have the Scriptures without them, but not in them. There are many who have the Scriptures in their own country, in their churches, in their houses, in their hands, and some of them even in their mouths, hut not in their hearts. But there are others to whom they are as a "well of water, springing up into everlasting life."
II. WHAT YOU OWE TO THE SCRIPTURES IN A WAY OF DUTY.
1. Surely you owe nothing less than to peruse them, and to value them, as David did. He said, "I rejoice at Thy Word as those who find great spoil." "I esteem the words of Thy mouth," says Job, "more than my necessary food." And, says David, "The law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver." And what said the celebrated Robert Boyle? — "I would prefer a single twig of the tree of life to all the riches of the world." But let it be remembered that the Scriptures will not profit unless they are "mixed with faith in them that hear them."
2. What less can this duty be than to understand them.
3. Surely this duty cannot be less than the practising of what the Scriptures teach. "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them": and even "faith, without works, is dead, being alone." We read of "obeying the truth," and of "walking in the truth."
4. Surely this duty cannot include less than your distributing them. The Scriptures were designed for all. The Scriptures are not given you as a blessing only to enjoy, but as a talent, also, to employ.
(W. Jay.)I. The work of God's grace in Timothy COMMENCED WITH EARLY INSTRUCTION — "From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures."
1. Note the time for instruction. The expression, "from a child," might be better understood if we read it, "from a very child"; or, as the Revised Version has it, "from a babe." Babes receive impressions long before we are aware of the fact. A special vantage-ground is lost when even babyhood is left uncultured. The Holy Scripture may be learned by children as soon as they are capable of understanding anything. It is a very remarkable fact, which I have heard asserted by many teachers, that children will learn to read out of the Bible better than from any other book. I scarcely know why: it may, perhaps, be on account of the simplicity of the language; but I believe it is so. A Biblical fact will often be grasped when an incident of common history is forgotten. There is an adaptation in the Bible for human beings of all ages, and therefore it has a fitness for children. Give us the first seven years of a child, with God's grace, and we may defy the world, the flesh, and the devil to ruin that immortal soul.
2. It is well to note the admirable selection of instructors. We are not at a loss to tell who instructed youthful Timothy. "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." Nowadays, since the world has in it, alas! so few of Christian mothers and grandmothers, the Church has thought it wise to supplement the instruction of home by teaching held under her fostering wing. I regard this as a very blessed institution.
3. Note the subject of the instruction. "From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures": he was lead to treat the book of God with great reverence. I lay stress upon that word "Holy Scriptures." One of the first objects of the Sabbath-school should be to teach the children great reverence for these holy writings, these inspired Scriptures. The Jews esteemed the Old Testament beyond all price; and though unfortunately many of them fell into a superstitious reverence for the letter and lost the spirit of it, yet were they much to be commended for their profound regard to the holy oracles. Especially is this feeling of reverence needed nowadays. Observe that Timothy was taught, not only to reverence holy things in general, but especially to know the Scriptures. Suppose we get the children together on Sabbath days, and then amuse them and make the hours to pass away pleasantly; or instruct them, as we do in the week-days, in the elements of a moral education, what have we done? We have done nothing worthy of the day, or of the Church of God.
4. Once more upon this point: it appears that young Timothy was so taught as a child that the teaching was effectual. "Thou hast known the Holy Scriptures," says Paul.
II. That this work was QUICKENED BY A SAVING FAITH. The Scriptures do not save, but they are able to make a man wise unto salvation. Children may know the Scriptures, and yet not be children of God.
1. Faith in Jesus Christ is that grace which brings immediate salvation. Many children are called of God so early that they cannot precisely tell when they were converted. You could not have told this morning, by observation, the moment when the sun rose, but it did rise; and there was a time when it was below the horizon, and another time when it had risen above it. The moment, whether we see it or not, in which a child is really saved, is when he believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Notice, that by this faith in Christ Jesus we continue and advance in salvation. The moment we believe in Christ we are saved; but we are not at once as wise as we may be, and hope to be.
3. Observe, that the text gives us a plain intimation that by faith knowledge is turned into wisdom. Exceedingly practical is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. See it in the text. "Knowledge is power," but wisdom is the application of that power to practical ends. Knowledge may be bullion, but wisdom is the minted gold, fit for circulation among men.
4. Learn yet again, that faith finds her wisdom in the use of knowledge conferred by the Scriptures. Faith never finds her wisdom in the thoughts of men, nor in pretended revelations; but she resorts to the inspired writings for her guidance. This is the well from which she drinks, the manna on which she feeds. Faith takes the Lord Jesus to be her wisdom. The knowledge of Christ is to her the most excellent of the sciences.
III. That sound instruction in Holy Scripture, when quickened by a living faith, CREATES A SOLID CHARACTER. The man who from a child has known the Holy Scriptures, when he obtains faith in Christ will be grounded and settled upon the abiding principles of the unchanging Word of God.
IV. As this early teaching creates a fine solid character, so will it PRODUCE GREAT USEFULNESS.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. THE HOLY WRITINGS. Will you mark the force and emphasis of the word? It is not the print; it is the "writings." The Scriptures then were not produced by types and blocks, by the modern mode of producing copies; each copy was written by the hand of man. But it is very delightful to reflect that the exact transcript, the pure and spotless copy of the things written down by the hand of Moses and David, and Isaiah, and John, and St. Paul have come down in their clearness and certainty to us. We know what the writings are to which St. Paul specifically and in this chapter exclusively refers. The Book of Genesis — the details of the fall, and the deluge, and the call of Abraham; Exodus — the emancipation from Egypt and the Decalogue; Leviticus — the laws and ordinances of the Levitical Church; Numbers — their movements and acts; Deuteronomy — a reiteration, or going over again; Joshua — the pictures of the conquest; Judges — the early difficulties and confusions; Samuel — the development of the regal character, the examples and achievements of Saul and David; and so on, through the historical books, to the Psalms and the prophets. In relation to all there we are certain that we have the exact copies, because the Jews preserved them with an unsurpassed care and vigilance, with an interest and a concern which amounted even to superstition. In addition to these, as I have said, we have as the holy writings the four Gospels, the facts of our Lord's life and death and resurrection — the Acts of the Apostles, the early triumph of the faith — the Epistles, opening doctrine, enforcing precepts, explaining ordinances — and to put the crown and diadem upon the head, as it were, of the entire person, the whole body of revelation, that great and marvellous book called the Revelation. Wonderful writings! An amazing richness and extent and vastness and variety and plenitude of truth and fact, of history and prophecy, of doctrine, of knowledge and of wisdom, opened and poured forth from these gushing fountains. But "holy writings." Mark that word: "holy," as emanating directly from God, as being the fruit and product of immediate and miraculous inspiration. And we have the strong affirmation, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." And in this sense, of an immediate dictation from Heaven, a Divine breathing from above, the afflatus of the Holy Ghost, the writers being full of the Holy Ghost — in this sense, as a communication from the infinite and uncreated Mind, as a product of the wisdom and intelligence of Heaven, I take the book to be "the holy writings," to have a style of its own, an authorship of its own, a permanence of its own. A holy book, as the product and emanation of the thrice holy God, and as having in all the parts and branches of it a holy tendency. It is a revelation of God; and God here makes Himself manifest as holy, in connection with the exhortation, "Be ye holy, for I am holy." In every part of it we see sin punished — virtue, obedience fostered; above all, in the great manifestation of Christ — in His sacrifice, sufferings, and death, that God "might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus," we behold ineffable justice; and in the example of the Lord Jesus, which we are required to follow, putting our foot into His footprints, there is the same demand. It is a book marvellously adapted to the wants of a fallen and guilty world — preserving from presumption, on the one hand, and from despondency, on the other — that we sin not; but if we are overtaken by transgression, there is the sacrifice and the propitiation. And as actually producing holiness — as being the cause of this beautiful product, the root (if I may so say) of this sweet and lovely and Divine flower; for the "law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." Men are good in proportion as they direct themselves to the study of the Scripture, and as they walk according to its rules. "I cannot tell," Jonathan Edwards says, "how it comes to pass, but so it is, that the more I read the Scriptures, and the more I familiarise myself with the Divine contents of the heavenly book, the more pure, the more peaceful, the more benevolent, and the more happy I find myself." Why, it is cause and effect. If you put yourself in contact with the cause, the effect will be sure to follow; and you may know that the men who are wise in the Scriptures, and who love the Scriptures, are in the same proportion and degree holy men. The Scriptures help them in their walk with God, in the maintenance and preservation of their piety, in its noblest, sweetest, most elevated and pure aspirations and desires. The Bible, the Holy Bible, is the source and fountain of the light and life and power of the Church.
II. The Holy Scriptures are "ABLE TO MAKE US WISE UNTO SALVATION." "Are able." There is a power, then, affirmed respecting them. They are true, genuine. If put to the proof they will demonstrate their capacity. They are "able,"as supplying the information by the light of which we may be saved. It is said in the Old Testament — "As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My Word be." It is said in the New Testament, "My Word is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword." It is "able," as it brings the likeness of Christ into me, and is accompanied by the enlightenment, influence, and grace of the Spirit; for the Spirit who dictated and indited these heavenly communications abides in the Church, and diffuses His unction and grace upon the understandings and hearts of men, where by, in His light seeing light, they discern the meaning of the expressions and the principles, and are able to appropriate, apply, and bring them home. "Wise." Be upon your guard if any man is going to make you wise. The first thing the devil did was to persuade Eve that he could make her wise. Somebody arises with a new doctrine and a new interpretation — something which is to enlighten the eyes: be upon your guard, to say the least. Yet be "wise" in respect to the truth which is in Jesus; "wise" in respect to what is good — simple in respect to what is evil; in malice children — in understanding men. The Bible will make men "wise." Even the uneducated, what is called by Isaiah "the wayfaring man, though a fool," shall not err in the rudiments and elements, in the great salutary, refreshing, and saving principles. But if you want to be wise up to the full measure — to know the exact meaning of every book, the time of its being written, the purpose for which it was written, the literature associated with every book of the whole Bible, why, it is a vast range of knowledge, and it is marvellous how every kind and variety of knowledge can be made to bear upon the elucidation of the inspired books, so that they come out manifested and revealed in their own light and lustre, amid the unbounded and universal intelligence of men. But "wise unto salvation." If you know the holy writings, and are acquainted with the book, you can answer for yourselves the marvellous questions — "How am I to be saved? How is sin to be forgiven, transgression blotted out? How am I to regain the ancient position, and to be dealt with as though I had never sinned?" The holy writings furnish you with the answer. By being sprinkled from an evil conscience by the blood of the Immanuel, cleansed from all sin by the blood of the Son of God. Faith in Him brings home the light upon this subject. I can know nothing of all this, except by the holy writings. And this is the chief wisdom. You may be wise in the world to get money; you may be wise in philosophy and science, and deep in literature; you may be wise in frivolities and gaieties and fashions and adornments. What will your wisdom amount to? What is it in comparison with wisdom unto salvation?
III. It is "BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS." We are not directed by the apostle to exalt the holy writings against Christ, or Christ against the holy writings, as if there were any competition between the two. It is Christ as revealed in the holy writings. Yet it is not that we are "wise unto salvation" by faith in the holy writings, but by faith in Christ Jesus, the living Christ. The holy writings tell me that the anointed Saviour, the Son of God, has done the work, completed the great and wonderful achievement which the Bible ascribes to Him; and my soul by faith cordially accepts the testimony and reposes upon the truth.
IV. TIMOTHY WHEN A CHILD KNEW THIS. Ah! his mother taught him, and his grandmother — his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois. Oh, sweet child! oh, beautiful teachers! How they taught him! and how he listened! For when Paul says, "From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures," he means not merely the speculative and theoretical doctrines, but the experimental and practical had taken possession of his heart and enlightened his mind. Mothers! hear this. Early education, which is the most permanent in its effects, and the most influential upon character, depends mainly and chiefly upon the mother. Search into the Scriptures, then, and let it be said of you that you know them; that you have a measure of understanding, and that you take means perpetually for its improvement and advance. And those wire teach the children of others voluntarily are greatly to be commended. It is a service acceptable and well-pleasing to God.
(James Stratten.)I. THE OBLIGATIONS WE ARE UNDER TO APPLY OURSELVES TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
II. THE GREAT ADVANTAGE THAT WILL ATTEND THIS STUDY. III. THE PARTICULAR HAPPINESS OF AN EARLY EDUCATION IN THIS KNOWLEDGE.
IV. SOME RULES FOR DIRECTION IN THIS DUTY.
1. We must read the Scriptures frequently, because from hence we shall receive the greatest assistances in understanding them.
2. We must read them with attention. Without this, indeed, barely to run over the words of Scripture in a negligent, cursory manner, is a profane disregard to the Almighty Author, whose name they bear.
3. We must read them with reverence.(1) By reverence I understand that humility of mind which is due from us to our great Creator, that submission and subjection of our hearts and understandings to His Divine will, which disposes us readily to comply with whatsoever He proposes to us, whether it concerns our faith or practice.(2) But besides this reverence to God the author, there is a farther instance of our humility to be shown, in not being too hasty or peremptory of ourselves to determine the meaning and sense of the Holy Scriptures.
4. We must read them without prejudice. A fault we shall never avoid unless we observe the former rule, and approach those sacred oracles with reverence and humility, with an open heart, and a teachable disposition.
(J. Rogers, D. D.)
Through faith which is in Christ Jesus
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