|Volume 23 Number 1 January 2021
The apostle Paul’s instruction to Timothy and to us concerning Scripture is short and practical. With all of the division in the beliefs of the “Christian” community today, biblical guidance is needed.
First, from 2 Timothy 2:14-17, we read:
Remind them of these things and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene…
These instructions are direct and easy to understand. The problem is that they are not easy to follow because much study is required to “rightly handle” the Word of God. Believers are unwilling to take time and make the effort to achieve this competence in knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures.
Next, Paul made a straightforward statement concerning the comprehensive quality and authority of Scripture. In 2 Timothy 3:12-16, we read:
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
This passage is simple yet powerful. We can put our trust in the Scriptures to provide the information needed to obey and to please God. Nothing is more important, and nothing other than Scripture is dependable. Are you familiar with the content of all 66 books of the Bible and understand how they fit together to become a single, comprehensive, harmonious message for guiding our lives of faith in God and His son Jesus Christ?
While Carrying Burdens
At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus gathered disciples by saying, “Follow me” (Mark 1:17; John 1:43; Luke 5:27). Each man left his old life to begin a new one following Jesus. Our Lord invited anyone to be His disciple by denying oneself, taking up a cross and following Him (Matthew 16:24). However, there were two individuals who did not heed the invitation during Jesus’ earthly ministry (Mark 10:21-22; Luke 9:59-60).
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the apostles (John 21). He asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Each time, Peter confirmed his love for Jesus. Each time, Jesus gave Peter a task to complete. After the third time, Jesus informed Peter of the type of death he would eventually suffer for Christ’s sake. Jesus invited Peter to “Follow me” once again. Peter saw John after he understood the suffering he would endure. He asked Jesus about John and if he would suffer the same. Jesus responded, “If I will that he remains till I come, what is that to you? You follow me” (John 21:22). In other words, “Focus on Me, not John.”
The apostle Paul encouraged the Galatian brethren to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Some of the brethren were overtaken in trespasses. They needed someone to help restore their relationship to Christ. Paul cautioned those who sought erring brethren to use a ‘spirit of gentleness considering themselves lest they also be tempted’ (Galatians 6:1). Later, he emphasized, “For each one shall bear his own load” (Galatians 6:5). Each of the brethren in Galatia had his own burden whether he struggled with sin or not. Just because the Galatian brethren’s burdens were not the same did not mean they did not have a burden to bear.
What a reminder! There are times in our lives when we desire fairness. We may look around and observe the perceived ease of others while considering the hard time we face. We may even judge others because they are not behaving in a way we would desire. However, as Jesus’ disciple, we are to be following Jesus. We each have our own cross to carry (i.e., burdens), just like Peter, Paul and the Galatian brethren. We lose sight of Jesus when we get overly concerned with earthly matters. Let us maintain our focus on Jesus and help ease the burdens of others along the way.