Read 2 Timothy 3:10-17
Paul sent a letter to his spiritual son, Timothy. He encouraged him in his growing faith and reminded Timothy of the example he had set for him. He instructed him in his leadership of the church at Ephesus. He wrote words of encouragement. Words like this: “(E)veryone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted . . . “(v12).
I don’t know about you, but that’s not my idea of an encouraging note. I want words that make me feel good. When I need encouragement, I want words that show me hope beyond the hard situation. And, quite frankly, these words just don’t seem to cut it.
If we look deep, however, we can find a different kind of hope. It’s the real kind. We can discover true encouragement in Paul’s words — the kind that gives courage to Timothy and to us, as well.
We see the hope when we read of God’s faithful rescue of Paul in his persecution. We find it in the reminder of all that we ourselves have been given in the very Word that God breathed. Timothy had all he needed to withstand the persecution. We do, too.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful . . . so that (you) may be thoroughly equipped . . .” v16)
This God-breathed Scripture had become part of Timothy’s DNA. He had learned it from infancy. Taken in “the sacred Scriptures with (his) mother’s milk” (v15, The Message). His mom and grandma had made sure of that. So he knew how the Word of God read. He knew its truth. And it had made him “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus “(v 15).
It has done the same for us.
The Word of God is just as useful today as it was the day Paul wrote to Timothy about it. It’s useful for the godly living you and I are called to. It’s useful for the faith-strengthening we need as we face inevitable persecution.
Paul had faced all kinds of it. He had suffered for all kinds of godly living, too. And he knew firsthand the freedom that came with God’s rescue, God’s faithful hand of rescue.
Yes, persecution will come, he told Timothy. But remember the truth as you stand through the storm of deceitful opposition, proud arrogance, fake godliness. Remember the Word you know. And stand strong with Almighty God. Therein lies the hope. Even now.