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Guard what has been entrusted to you

At the very end of his letter to Timothy Paul leaves Timothy with a parting thought. Here is what he says:

1 Tm 6:20-21 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge" – which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you.

Notice the plea, "O Timothy." You can see how earnest Paul was about this.

Paul tells Timothy to guard what Paul had entrusted to him. There were a bunch of people opposing sound doctrine and falsely saying that they had true knowledge. Paul was telling Timothy to guard the true knowledge (or sound doctrine) that was entrusted to him.

We can see how important this must have been to Paul for, when Paul writes his second letter to Timothy he reminds Timothy of the same thing in the very first chapter. He writes this:

2 Tm 1:13-14 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

Paul exhorts him to guard, through the Holy Spirit the treasure that was entrusted to him. The treasure was the ‘standard of sound words’ and ‘the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses’. In other words, the treasure was the sound doctrine that Paul taught Timothy.

Sound doctrine is a treasure. It must be sought, received, and applied. Then it must be entrusted to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

2 Tm 2:1-2 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

This was Paul’s last letter, as far as we know, and the big thing on his mind was that the sound doctrine that he preached should be guarded. Did you know that in the entire New Testament we are commanded to guard, or protect carefully, only one thing (other than ourselves from evil) – sound doctrine?

Paul learnt from what he saw in the Old Testament. Here is what he must have seen…

Moses was able to entrust sound doctrine to Joshua and his generation, but Joshua and his generation was not able to entrust it to the next generation.

Jud 2:10 7 The people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the LORD which He had done for Israel. 8 Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of one hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.

Eli knew of the Lord but he failed to entrust it to his sons.

1 Sa 2:12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the LORD.

That is why Paul urged Timothy to guard sound doctrine – he knew that Satan would try to corrupt it as soon as Paul went to be with the Lord.

May God help you to seek, find and apply sound doctrine. Then, may He grant you the grace to entrust it to faithful men who will really be able to understand it, and then be able to teach others also.

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