2 Timothy 3:14

Can you trust the book we call the Bible? If you’ve trying to convince yourself God doesn’t exist, you might be tempted to try to marginalize it to make yourself feel better about ignoring it, but the truth is that rather than being unreliable, the Holy Scriptures are more worthy of our trust than any other information out there for us to accept or reject.

“But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.” (2 Timothy‬ ‭3:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

Who first taught you about God? Who took you to church? Who said said the Bible is true? Was it your mother when you were little? Your father? A grandmother who cared for you? Was it a beloved friend? A caring neighbor or co-worker? A pastor who stepped outside of himself to help you? Paul penned these famous words to Timothy, his protégée–his son in Christ, as he called him. (In case you don’t know, Timothy was of mixed parentage–his mother was devout, but his father was not. Because of that, he hadn’t even been circumcised, as Jewish boys are supposed to be, according to God’s command to Abraham, and actually had to have this procedure done because his devout Jewish audience wouldn’t listen to his message otherwise). But look at what Paul said: “You know…[the things you have been taught] are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.”

That’s the key to accepting or rejecting any doctrine or philosophy–regardless of whether it is religious, secular, or any other label we slap on it–can you trust those who taught you? Whenever you decide whether to accept or reject a teaching, always look at the life of those who embrace it–at what following it wholeheartedly turns you into.

Elsewhere Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (I Corinthians‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) That’s a bold assertion many of us today would be reluctant to tell another, yet it’s a reflection of how holy our lives as Christians should be–how pure and right and good our conduct, as those who believe in and trust Jesus.

So if you’re trying to decide if a teaching is honest–look at everything else in the life of those who have wholeheartedly embraced it. Is their life honest? If you want to see if a teaching is good–is the life of those who follow that teaching good? What does believing something turn you into?

There are many ideas and philosophies out there, but most of them produce ugly results. Rather than producing good in the lives of those who embrace it, the high and mighty secular intellectual atheism of men and women like Steven Hawkins, for example, produces a self-centered lifestyle, moral ambivalence and confusion, depression–ultimately even despair.

The Bible identifies the kinds of behavior that can show up in the life of a person who rejects Christ as, “…sexual sin, being morally bad, doing all kinds of shameful things, worshiping false gods, taking part in witchcraft, hating people, causing trouble, being jealous, angry or selfish, causing people to argue and divide into separate groups, being filled with envy, getting drunk, having wild parties, and doing other things like this,” (Galatians 5:19-20) and warns that, “…people who do these things will not have a part in God’s kingdom.” (Galatians‬ ‭5:21‬ ‭ERV‬‬)

Genuine faith in God, on the other hand–and not just in any higher power, but in the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” of the Bible–produces beautiful results in those who submit to His authority in their lives:

“But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their sinful self. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do.” (Galatians‬ ‭5:22-24‬ ‭ERV‬‬)

These verses have been often quoted, but have you ever actually thought about what they’re saying? That sophisticated professor who waxes eloquent about mankind’s higher potential, but causes his wife and children grief by his shameful personal conduct, is merely reflecting the result of his belief system. God even warns us about religious hypocrites– “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

There have been far too many examples of leaders who have claimed to follow Jesus as a disguise for getting the trust of gullible people in order to exploit them in some way. That’s why God tells us presenting yourself as a Christian isn’t evidence of Christianity–a holy life is. Jesus warns us to, “Be careful of false prophets. They come to you looking gentle like sheep, but they are really dangerous like wolves. You will know these people by what they do. Grapes don’t come from thornbushes, and figs don’t come from thorny weeds. In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. Every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. In the same way, you will know these false prophets by what they do.” (Matthew‬ ‭7:15-20‬ ‭NCV‬‬)

Or, as The Message paraphrase put it, “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.” (Matthew‬ ‭7:15-20‬ ‭MSG‬‬)

So why can we trust the Bible? Obviously because of the many other evidences of its legitimacy, but also and especially because of the goodness it generates in the lives of those who genuinely love and trust Jesus! Because other than loving God more than anything else in life, trusting that He will ultimately make everything wrong right, and clinging whole-heartedly to Him, the goodness He produces in the lives of those who follow Him, the self-denial in favor of serving others–even going so far as giving up our own lives–makes absolutely no rational human sense! Even Paul acknowledged “If our hope in Christ is for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone else in the world.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:19‬ ‭NCV‬‬)

Dear Lord God,

Help me remain faithful to the things I have been taught, knowing they are true because I can trust those who taught me! Amen.

About essentialdailyscriptures

Do you want to grow in your knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but aren’t sure where to start? Essential Daily Scriptures is a ministry for people who want to study God’s Word, but don’t have a lot of time. Each day’s study covers one verse and takes approximately fifteen minutes, incorporating significant amounts of Scripture directly from the NKJV Bible, so you’re able to get right into God’s Word with a minimal time investment on a daily basis. May “the Father of glory…give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” (Ephesians 1:17b)
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3 Responses to 2 Timothy 3:14

  1. I was a Christian and indeed I learned about it from my parents and community, people I had reason to trust. Then I read the bible and found out that these people whom I trusted never told me the whole story and likely never read the bible themselves. I found my trust had been abused.

    In the bible, I found a god that murdered children for the actions of their parents, something that the bible says this god won’t do (of course it also says this god will do this, so there is no reason to believe either claim). I found a god that either intentionally allowed the serpent into Eden or was unable to keep it out. I found a god that blamed humans for doing what it knew they would do. I found a god that commanded genocide and demanded that young girls be used as sex slaves. I found a Jesus Christ, that tells believers to murder nonbelievers, something that the OT says too, when it commands that a believer kill his family if they do not believe the same way. I also found this Jesus Christ that murders every non-Christian in the “end times” , when this god works with Satan to force humans to work with Satan and then intentionally allowing Satan out again to corrupt the Christians who had bee living under the rulership of Jesus Christ for an eon.

    Humans are fallible and there is no reason to trust them if they are wrong. Just because someone you trust teaches you something, that doesn’t mean it is true. They could be malicious or they could simply mistakenly believing in something that someone *they* trusted said and they never questioned it.

    Every theist claims that their version is the only right version, that they and they alone should be trusted and claims that everyone else is wrong and “evil”. There is no reason to believe any of you.

    • Dear Club Schadenfreude,

      May I ask if your sexual identity, or that of a close friend or loved one, is other than straight? I ask, because my experience is that these are most frequently the individuals who feel anger, hostility, and alienation towards the God of the Bible.

      You’ve clearly thrown a lot out; would you change your heart toward God if I could rebut your comments?

      God doesn’t, for example, demand young girls be used as sex slaves. (This reminds me of the misinformation going around in the first century about Christians, that they were cannibals because they took communion—the “body and blood” of Christ). But you may hate God and just want to sling as much mud at Him as possible…?

      The one thing I would say is that God isn’t a pushover—He isn’t okay with us being less than He made us to be of any kind, and apart from Him seeing Christ’s holiness instead of my sins in me (because I repent of my sins and follow Him), it’s not okay and I’m not okay.

      So if I choose a lifestyle that opposes that which He says is good, I set myself up as His enemy, and yes, He will damn me.

      Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. I don’t have to be rejected; I can be accepted because of Christ if submit to Him.

      “People who believe in God’s Son are not judged guilty. Those who do not believe have already been judged guilty, because they have not believed in God’s one and only Son. They are judged by this fact: The Light has come into the world, but they did not want light. They wanted darkness, because they were doing evil things. All who do evil hate the light and will not come to the light, because it will show all the evil things they do. But those who follow the true way come to the light, and it shows that the things they do were done through God.” (John‬ ‭3:18-21‬ ‭NCV‬‬)

      • I do hate to disappoint you, but I’m straight, and have been with my spouse for 30 years this past May. A lot of Christians want to believe that people who don’t agree with them are just angry at your god or want to “rebel” against your god. Most of us have come to the conclusion that there are no gods, including yours, since there is no evidence to support that claim since Christians don’t agree on what their god wants, does or needs. I do have LGBTQ friends. I don’t hate people for who they love. There are plenty of Christians who agree with me.
        It depends on how you rebut my comments. If your god is the heinous being in the bible, I might believe in it but I certainly wouldn’t worship such a thing. My wonderfully subjective morals are better than that.
        Your god does command that young girls be taken as warbooty for its temple and distributed to its followers. Numbers 31 says is quite plainly. “28 From the share of the warriors who went out to battle, set aside as tribute for the LORD, one item out of every five hundred, whether persons, oxen, donkeys, sheep, or goats. 29 Take it from their half and give it to Eleazar the priest as an offering to the LORD.” And “32 The booty remaining from the spoil that the troops had taken totaled six hundred seventy-five thousand sheep, 33 seventy-two thousand oxen, 34 sixty-one thousand donkeys, 35 and thirty-two thousand persons in all, women who had not known a man by sleeping with him.” I can quote it all if you’d like.
        I don’t hate your god but I can point out how evil it is just like I can with pointing out how evil Darth Vader is.
        Again, we have Christians claiming that they and they alone know what this god made us to be. You claim one thing, another Christian claims another. Now, I suspect you’ll say that any Christian who disagrees with you isn’t really a Christian. That would require you to be able to show that you are. Can you heal people as the bible promises?
        Your god has laws that require its followers to kill people who work on the sabbath. Do you do that? Jesus Christ said that all of his father’s laws are still in play until the earth and heavens end. They haven’t. Do you follow all of those inconvenient laws that have you killing people if they don’t agree with you? Are you okay with killing a child for swearing at their parents? Your god says you need to do so.
        The author of John has to lie and claim that people who don’t agree with him are evil. Sorry, but plenty of people are just as good and humane as any Christian is. We don’t need any god to be benevolent human beings. And just not agreeing with you doesn’t make anyone evil.

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