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.
Timothy had known the Holy Scriptures from childhood.
What a blessing!
May the same be said for all our children.
Timothy was an evangelist whom Paul had assigned to labor in the church of Ephesus. Paul wrote this second epistle to Timothy to instruct him in his work. Among other things, Paul was concerned with evil men and seducers, who would grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. How important, then, that Timothy continue in the Holy Scriptures that he had come to know even from childhood. He must teach and preach these Scriptures in Ephesus. He must also follow them in his own personal life. And he must do so because the Holy Scriptures are able to make one wise unto salvation through the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
How important it is that all covenant children come to know the Holy Scriptures, even as Timothy had.
This knowledge will make them wise unto salvation.
There is no greater joy for a covenant parent than to see his children become wise unto salvation in the knowledge of Holy Scripture.
There is no greater calling for a parent than to give to their children the knowledge of Scripture with its great wisdom.
A very appropriate thought to consider as the school and catechism season is once more upon us.
The Holy Scriptures Paul had in mind were the Old Testament Scriptures that were given by God to Israel. They were written by various men of God over the course of centuries. They consisted of 39 books. We ought not to overlook the fact that these books are called the Holy Scriptures. The word “scriptures” means writings. That they are “holy” writings means that they are set apart from all other writings. They were set apart in that they were inspired by God. The men who wrote these books were guided by the very Spirit of God, so that every word is the word of God. And in these Holy Scriptures God revealed Himself to His people as the God of their salvation.
More Scriptures were to follow. The revelation of the Old Testament Scriptures was not complete, being only prophecies of greater things to come in Jesus Christ. With the coming of Christ and the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, the Holy Scriptures were completed with the 27 books of the New Testament.
In our day of apostasy it must be emphasized that these completed Scriptures are the full revelation of God for His church, giving us all that we need to know for our salvation. For that reason they are also the standard for all truth, the rule to determine both faith and practice.
Timothy had known the Holy Scriptures from childhood.
The word “child” means infant, and sometimes even fetus, so that the meaning is that Timothy had known the Holy Scriptures from a very early age.
This is an amazing thing! Because the Scriptures are the revelation of God, they are an infinite deep. The greatest of theologians will confess that they have only scratched the surface. Yet those Scriptures are clear enough for a little child to understand. When a retired theologian of no small reputation was asked what was the most profound truth he had found in Scripture, he cited a song we teach to our children, “Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so.”
Timothy had come to know the Scriptures from infancy. Timothy came to know the Scriptures from his mother and grandmother, Lois and Eunice (). Perhaps this instruction was first with songs and simple Bible stories. But as Timothy became older it was by reading and instruction in both the home and the schools that the Jews maintained. Timothy was also instructed by the godly example of his mother and grandmother, who lived the Scriptures in their home.
The result was that by the time he was a young man Timothy was well versed in Holy Scripture.
Many reading this meditation have also known the Holy Scriptures from childhood through the faithful instruction of the home, church, and Christian school. This is a great blessing of the covenant, especially in light of the fact that the Holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation through the faith that is in Jesus Christ.
Wise unto salvation!
Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. It presupposes that one knows reality. Wisdom is to act according to reality so that one prospers. Foolishness is to ignore or even act contrary to obvious reality so that one fails.
There is a natural wisdom that is found even in fallen man, a wisdom attributable to the remnants of natural light that man retains after the fall. Fallen man is able to discern many realities in the natural world and to act according to them, so that he prospers in earthly things.
But the wisdom attained from Scripture is much higher. It is a wisdom that reaches to the spiritual and eternal realities; and it is found only in Jesus Christ.
The Scriptures deal with the great reality of God and how to prosper under God’s blessing. There is no greater reality than that. To have the whole world but to perish under God’s wrath as a sinner is to have nothing. In His inspired Scriptures God reveals to us our sins and the curse due to us for them. He makes known the salvation He has provided for His own in Jesus Christ. He shows the way to attain that salvation—faith in Jesus Christ. And He demonstrates how to live that salvation so that we enjoy the fellowship of God.
Wisdom is to act according to these spiritual realities, so that you lay hold of the salvation God has provided in Jesus Christ and live that salvation in the fellowship of God.
Not only do the Scriptures teach this great wisdom, they are also able to make one wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Many who are taught the wisdom of Scripture are not made wise by that instruction. The great wisdom of God is laid before them, but they reject it to live in the foolishness of sin without Jesus Christ. This is because of their unbelief. Unbelief makes one spiritually blind to the wisdom of God. Unbelief makes one view the wisdom of God to be foolishness. This is true of all men by nature, including our covenant children.
But God uses the wisdom of Scripture to make fools wise unto salvation.
The key to becoming wise unto salvation is faith in Jesus Christ. Faith gives one the spiritual eyes to see the great spiritual realities set forth in Holy Scripture. Faith also leads one to embrace Jesus Christ as Savior, so that one is able to live according to the eternal realities of Scripture and to find in Jesus Christ the friendship and fellowship of the ever blessed God. The world calls this foolishness. This is because of the blindness of unbelief. But the believer becomes truly wise in his faith.
This all-important faith is a gift of God to His elect people. It was earned for them at the cross. It is worked in them irresistibly by the Holy Spirit. In the covenant this blessed faith is ordinarily worked in God’s elect children at a very early age. It is worked through the instruction of the Scriptures that the parents give at home and provide in the church and Christian school.
Have you seen this faith and wisdom in your children and grandchildren?
Thank and praise the Lord!
God calls parents to instruct their children in the Holy Scriptures. They must teach their children the history of the covenant as revealed in Scripture. They are to teach their children the doctrines of Scripture. They must show their children from Scripture how they are to live in covenant with God through Jesus Christ. They must cause the light of Scripture to shine in every part of their children’s learning and life.
This requires that parents spend time with their children in their home to instruct them.
Christian parents must also bring their children to church to be instructed in Scripture through the preaching on the Lord’s Day and in the catechism room. Their children are also the church’s children. Let every church be faithful to instruct her children in the Holy Scriptures. Woe to that church that fails her children!
Christian schools have also been an invaluable means for parents to meet their covenant obligation to instruct their children. The Christian school provides godly teachers who are qualified to instruct the children of the covenant in every discipline they will need in order to live in this world of learning and technology. But, more importantly, the Christian school gives this instruction from a biblical viewpoint, so that covenant youth are taught how to live as citizens of God’s kingdom in this wicked world. This is what covenant children need. And few parents have all the skills and learning necessary to provide such instruction alone. Thank God for good Christian schools.
This godly instruction is also the desire of all faithful covenant parents for their children. True covenant parents have been made wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. This wisdom leads them to treasure their children as children of the covenant, to desire the salvation of their children through faith in Jesus Christ, and to do all in their power to instruct their children in the Holy Scriptures.
But parents must be encouraged. This work is often difficult, especially when they must deal with a large tuition bill. To encourage us, the Lord promises His blessing on this work. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (). “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” ( ).
But a calling also comes to children and young people. Their calling is to receive and embrace with a true faith the instruction of their parents in the Holy Scriptures. The Proverbs are replete with instruction to children to receive the instruction of their parents. This command to children is necessary in light of the fact that children, and especially young people, often despise and reject the instruction they receive. This is often explained (not excused) by the inexperience of youth and the unbelief that remains in every believer.
Young people, lay hold of and embrace the instruction you receive from your parents, church, and school, remembering that this instruction will make you wise unto salvation. There is no greater joy or success than to be wise unto salvation.