As apostle Paul neared the end of his life, he took up his pen and wrote to a dear disciple. It would be his last letter. He had an urgent request. Timothy, “Do your best to come to me soon. . . Do your best to come before winter” (2 Tim 4:9, 21a).
Paul not only wanted to see Timothy but desperately wanted his friend to bring him a warm coat, his books, and his parchments (2 Tim 4:13). In all likelihood, the books Paul desired were his copies of Old Testament writings. The parchments may have contained Paul’s study notes. Paul knew which three items he would choose in a survival situation whether on a deserted island or in a Roman Prison.
Though we cannot be sure what those books or parchments contained, we know that Paul was living out what he had been teaching to his pupil: The Word of God is to be treasured. It is to be taught, and it is to be lived. And Timothy, unlike the false teachers of his day, was a good student who emulated his teacher in word and deed (2 Tim 4:10-11). In the increasing hostility to Christianity in the first century, Timothy was both commended and reminded by Paul:
“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”
(2 Tim 3:14-15).
Paul’s statement is remarkable. The “sacred writings” (that is the Old Testament) are able to make a person wise unto salvation “through faith in Christ Jesus.” Scripture, from beginning to end, points to Christ and is powerful to convert hearts, producing faith in Jesus.
Timothy had been groomed from childhood on the Bible. The instruction of his Christian mother and grandmother were not in vain (2 Tim 1:5). His growth in Christ continued as an adult as he heeded, emulated, and practiced the witness of Paul, his father in the faith.
We must remember that the Scripture we teach is powerful and effective. It takes root and produces change. We must also remember that discipleship involves a community and is a long term project. What’s at stake? Souls who, like Timothy, would grow up to live, defend, and proclaim the truth when we’re gone.