‘From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures’, 2 Tim. 3. 15.
There are many lessons that emanate from the early days of Timothy that should be carefully considered, lessons which those of us who are parents and grandparents do well to note, and to which some of us may feel we may not have paid enough attention in the past.
Perhaps the most significant statement made about his childhood days, is in relation to how he was nurtured and nourished in the word of God, ‘from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures’, 2 Tim. 3. 15. I suspect that he not only listened to them read, but he was taught to read the inspired writings, and, from that, learnt them. There is surely a simple lesson, and one that we can all learn. Timothy did not simply know Bible stories, although I am sure he listened to many!
It is stated that he knew ‘the holy scriptures’. All too often, I have to admit, I mistake having a reasonable general knowledge of the Bible with that of knowing the ‘holy scriptures’.
I guess that is why Paul’s wise counsel to Timothy, in 1 Timothy chapter 4 verse 13, to ‘give attendance to reading’, is advice that has never become outdated. Furthermore, we do well to remember, in context, it was in relation to the public reading of the scriptures. Woe betide us if we downgrade or displace such an important element in any of our gatherings!
Returning, however, to the importance of reading the scriptures with our children, in our world, where so many mechanisms are available to educate and convey knowledge, may those with the privilege of children to raise, never lose the importance of reading the scriptures with them. There are many books, DVDs, and other ‘creative tools’, which can convey the essence of Bible stories, and hold their attention, but let us never for one moment allow the uninspired to displace the simple reading (and learning!) of the inspired word of God.
From that distinct and unique respect for the scriptures seen in their parents, grandparents and teachers, children will learn that there is a difference between ‘the scriptures’ and any other ‘story’. They will learn that it is not fiction nor fantasy and distinguish this holy tome of truth from all other writings. I wonder - and challenge my own practice as I write - how often do I read my Bible with care and love to those with whom I have opportunity to do so? When teaching children, is the learning of the text of the ‘holy scriptures’ at the centre of the learning objectives?
I am sure that all the contributors to this magazine would pray that, as you read the articles which they have written, you will find in them an encouragement to read your Bible and that you won’t treat them, or any other book, as a replacement for that most important discipline.
Ministry Articles Editor