|Volume 21 Number 4 April 2019||
Paul, writing to his son in the faith regarding what the Holy Spirit in 2 Timothy 4:1-5 said in verse 6, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.”
The Truth for Today Commentary on 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus was written by David L. Roper. His observations are so plainly stated on verse 6, help would be needed to misunderstand his point.
When we consider God’s Word as nourishment, many thoughts come to mind. To be nourished by food it is not enough to look at it or examine it. The food must be chewed, swallowed, and then digested. Even so, to be nourished by God’s Word, it is not enough to do a casual reading of a few verses now and then. We need to read the Bible, study it, meditate on it, and apply it to our lives. In this way, we show that [we] have digested the words of faith.
What is faith? It is defined in Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is the substance [realization] of things hoped for, the evidence [confidence] of things not seen.” Is faith necessary? Hebrews 11:6 answers with a resounding, “Yes!” “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Nourished in the words of faith—what does that mean? To be nourished in the words of faith means the Bible must be read, believed and obeyed. How does this faith come that brings about nourishment of the soul? “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Faith comes through hearing the Word of God, and that one and only inerrant source is the Bible.
How is being nourished in the words of faith done? To be nourished in the words of faith occurs through Bible reading, study, prayer, meditation and submission. Reading and study of Scripture is imperative to the serious student of the Word. “Study to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Prayer is the lifeblood of communication with God. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Meditation is that exercise of the mind contemplating biblical truths that makes it possible for us to turn those infallible truths into owned conviction. Psalm 119:15 reads, “I will meditate on your precepts [God’s rules prescribed to us] and contemplate [look into] Your ways.” Submission to the will of God in every aspect of our lives is the divine, crowning and lasting accomplishment to being nourished in the words of faith. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion prayed, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done” (Matthew 26:42).
What are some of the manifestations of being nourished in the words of faith?
To be nourished in the words of faith is a spiritual discipline. Only through God’s guidance and our diligence can it ever become a reality in keeping our lives focused and balanced.
My sister has this hobby that I call creepy cactus cultivation. She loves finding weird, ugly, exotic cactus plants and coaxing beauty out of them. My sister just sent me photos of a cactus she found recently that she calls a caterpillar for lack of knowing its real name. It’s as ugly as sin, motley brown and looks a bit like animal droppings. Nevertheless, one day, a pod-type extension appeared on it, also ugly. Then, a couple of days later, a gorgeous flower flushed out of the pod! The bloom was delicate and sported pretty colors of pink, purple, blue. It was multilayered and beautiful. I saw the photos and thought, “Wow, this is like people!” Thus, the following thoughts emerged.
Beauty can come from ugly. God finds sin uglier than the caterpillar cactus, but He created a way for humans to pretty-up and produce beautiful flowers through Jesus. We’re all obnoxious in sin without Jesus, but in Him we can overcome ugly and produce great splendor! Paul proudly stated that God “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His Beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). Because of this, on a daily basis, we need to take long looks at ourselves in the spiritual mirror and continue transforming ourselves into good, acceptable and brand-new creations in God’s eyes (Romans 12:1-2; 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). God excels in creating beauty out of ugly; He’s the master craftsman in this field (Ezekiel 37).