Children of the Bible, Part 22 by Allan McGuirl
We have been looking at children of the Bible the last few months. Timothy is the next child we will discuss, as we draw close to the end of this series. I believe there are some important things we can learn from the life of Timothy, especially as a child, that can encourage our hearts and perhaps help some parents in raising their own children.
Timothy, whose name means “honouring God” or “precious to God,” certainly lived up to his name. Timothy came from a special home setting. You know that at an early age he put his faith in the Lord. The Bible says in Acts 16:1 that Paul had come to Lystra where Timothy lived. His mother was a Jewess and a believer in Jesus, and his father was a Greek. Nothing else is said about his father, but in II Timothy 1:5 the Bible says that Paul longed to see Timothy because he noticed in him the same unwavering faith and the sincere trust in God that was first modelled by his grandmother, Lois, and then by his mother, Eunice. Wow, this is a powerful statement. Three generations of solid believers is a testimony to God’s amazing grace, and it is also a testimony to the way Grandmother Lois and Mother Eunice raised Timothy. Let me ask you grandparents: are you passing on the precious truth of Jesus our Saviour to your children, and in turn, encouraging them to pass it on to their children? You can have a mighty impact on their lives just as Eunice and Lois did with Timothy.
How do we do that? Let’s look at II Timothy 3:14 and 15, where Paul charges Timothy: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Paul goes on to affirm, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Eunice and Lois didn’t wait until Timothy was old enough to even understand to teach him God’s Word. They started when he was an infant. When we sing “Jesus Love Me” or “For God so Loved the World” to a babe in arms do we think they really understand those concepts? Or if we read Bible stories or Bible passages to them do we think they really grasp all that we are saying? Of course not! But we are laying a foundation from the very earliest years that shows a respect for God and His Word. We are placing God’s truths and familiar phrases within their young minds that will take on proper meaning as they mature. We are sowing the seed that will eventually take root in the virgin soil of their hearts and grow to bring forth fruit. The fruit doesn’t appear until a plant is mature. The plant doesn’t begin to mature until the seed germinates in the prepared soil. The seed can never germinate if it is never planted. So, you see, Lois and Eunice sowed the seed of God’s Word early in young Timothy’s heart. They watered it with prayer and tilled the ground to make it receptive for the seed to germinate. Then, as he grew, they continued to sow the seed.
In Timothy’s life this had a huge impact. From an infant he knew God’s Word, by faith he appropriated God’s grace as taught in His Word, becoming a child of God, and then by faith began to live it out. When children are taught early, when they are led to accept Christ as their personal Saviour early in life, when they are taught the truths of Scripture and how to apply them to their lives, and when they understand that God’s Holy Spirit within them lives out the life of Christ through them, there is no more powerful force for the Great Commission than this!
Paul recognized that Timothy was being molded by God from early on. In Acts 16:3, Paul wanted to take him along on a mission trip. What a great choice Paul made in selecting this young man. He was ideal material for mentoring, and Paul was able to pour himself into this young man with little fear that his time and effort would be wasted. Paul also warned Timothy in II Timothy 3:1-4: I can almost see Paul looking him in the eye and warning him that “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God. So, Timothy, this is the world you are living in.” Paul goes on to say, “But you, Timothy, must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of…”
Is this not the world we observe today in North America? Paul encouraged Timothy to be on guard and to recognize that God’s word would be his guide through the hazards of life. And then what did Paul do? He prayed for Timothy constantly. Parents, you want your children to experience God’s best for them. Pray for them continually. Encourage them and affirm them when they do what is right. Set the example. But most of all, pray for them. It is so easy to allow our busyness, our tiredness, our distractions, and our carelessness to keep us from this most important task. Pray that God would keep them in His Word, that they will be able to recognize temptation for what it is, that they will see the consequences of wrongdoing before they allow themselves to be sucked in. Pray for God’s protection around them keeping them from the Evil One, and pray that they will have a hunger to know God better and a desire to serve Him.