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2 Timothy 1:3-5

By Sam Tunnell
February 7, 2017

In Family Ministry, there is a passage I often hear brought up that I really love. It’s found in 2 Timothy 1:

2 Tim 1:3-5

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

This passage is found in the introduction of Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy, a young pastor he had discipled. The Pastoral Epistles, as they are called, are unique amongst the New Testament writings because they show Paul writing to an individual rather than to the entire church or churches. In this introduction of 2nd Timothy, we see this intimate picture of Paul’s love for Timothy, as well as the respect he held for the young pastor. But verse 5 is the one often brought up in family ministry discussions. It’s here that Paul speaks of the ‘sincere faith’ that moved from generation to generation and on down to Timothy. It’s a beautiful picture and, very obviously, the desire of any Christian parent.

We all long for our faith to be passed to our children like an inheritance. We hope that our children will seek Christ and love him as we do. The picture of this desire coming to pass in Timothy’s family is both beautiful and encouraging. But it leaves us a question: How, exactly, does one do this?

How do we pass a ‘sincere faith’ down to our children?

If faith is a gift given by God, how can we ensure our children grow to love him as we do? After all, as it is said, “God has no grandchildren”.

Well… if we’re being honest, we must admit we can’t. We cannot make our children fall in love with Jesus.

Then what can we do?

Perhaps the most famous passage in 2 Timothy is found further in, in chapter 3. Verse 16 famously boasts of the sufficiency of the scriptures in all matters of life due to their divine inspiration. It was the pair of verses just before this most famous passage, however, that drew my eye recently as I pondered my part in helping my daughter grow to love Jesus:

2 Tim 3:14-15

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom[a] you learned it 15 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.

“…from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings…”

What a testimony to Timothy’s family! That mother and grandmother did not simply display their faith to him, hoping all the while that it might catch like a flame to a wick with mere proximity… no, they acquainted him with the sacred writings. They took it upon themselves to make sure, from childhood, Timothy was in the word of God. They introduced to him the gift that is divine revelation and they allowed the Spirit to do the speaking and the convicting and the wooing.

This is the hope and the challenge I take from this book. I desperately desire to leave my daughter an inheritance of faith and yet I know that this is one gift I cannot give her. What I can give her, however, is a home where all are well acquainted with the word of God. I can take personal responsibility for introducing my daughter to revelation.

Something we often say in student ministry is “you can’t make someone fall in love with Jesus, but you can set up the date and make it as romantic as possible”.

This is true.

So may we labor to create homes where Jesus is displayed accurately. May we set the table, and dim the lights, and turn on the music, and step back, and let the bridegroom woo his bride to be.