Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Things That Make You Go "Hmmmm"

This piece is taken from LOGIA, Volume XVII, Number 4, pg 62-65.  It is interesting because I know of an argument made in a different denomination that also posited an argument for using wine at the Lord's Supper. ________________________________________________________________________________

"The Mandated Element of Wine" was presented to the Lutheran Church of Canada East District Pastors' Conference on 13 November 2007 by the Rev. Dr. Thomas M. Winger. It was received with nearly unanimous consent. The footnotes from the original paper have been moved into the text parenthetically.
The use of grape juice in the Lord's Supper at a congregation of our district has recently caused scandal, and threatens our fellowship in the place where it is most intimately expressed. The pastors' conference is surely the appropriate place to discuss, inform, strengthen one another in our common practice. For our historic common practice is the exclusive use of natural bread and natural wine, as the following anecdote from Luther's Table Talk illustrates:
When somebody inquired whether, when a sick person wished to have the sacrament but could not tolerate wine on account of nausea, something else should be given in place of the wine, the doctor [Martin Luther] replied, "This question has often been put to me and I have always given this answer: One should not use anything else than wine. If a person cannot tolerate wine, omit it [the sacrament] altogether in order that no innovation may be made or introduced." (Winter of 1542–1543, AE 54:438)
This story explodes our modern myopia that presumes we are the first to have such pastoral concerns. But it begs the basic question of precisely why this is our common practice. What is the biblical and historical basis for our church's is an exposition of the historical, scriptural, and confessional data and logic that support it.

The Lord instituted his Supper during the last celebration of the Passover with his disciples. Though higher critics have disputed this setting, it is the clear teaching of the Synoptic Gospels (Joachim Jeremias has decisively proven that the Synoptics are to be trusted on this point. See The Eucharistic Words of Jesus, pp. 15–88.) The Passover meal is the historical context in which to investigate the Sacrament's institution. Unfortunately for our investigation, the Old Testament knows nothing of a cup of wine in the Passover. Exodus 12 speaks only of unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and a lamb or goat. For an explanation of the cups, we need to turn to rabbinic sources.

The Mishna, compiled in the second century A.D. on the basis of long-standing oral tradition, teaches: "Even the poorest in Israel must not eat unless he sits down to table, and they must not give them less than four cups of wine to drink, even if it is from the [Paupers'] Dish" (Moed, Pesahim, 10:1). Throughout the discussion the content of the cups is consistently called "wine" (י י ן; yayin). It is sometimes referred to as "mixed," that is, diluted with water. The third cup, known as the "cup of blessing," is thought to be the cup our Lord blessed. It is called the "cup of blessing" because of the action of the pater familias at that point: "After they have mixed for him the third cup he says the Benediction over his meal" (10:7).

Tosefta Moed, a later commentary on the Mishna, elaborates that the cups must contain "a volume of a quarter-log, whether this is straight or mixed, whether this is new or old. R. Judah says, 'But this is one condition that it has the taste and appearance of wine'" (10:1). Lacking a scientific framework, this is the closest they can come to saying that, though it may be old or new wine, good or bad, mixed or straight, it must be real wine, and this fact must be obvious to all participants. (A log is usually defined as about 300 ml. Thus a quarter log is about 75 ml.) Jeremias, 67–68, addresses the question of whether each participant at the Passover had his own cup, or whether one cup was shared around the table. Later rabbinic literature (the Talmud) could be interpreted as describing the former [individual cups], in which case each person drank seventy-five milliliters per cup. But Jeremias argues that earlier Jewish practice was to share one common cup, in which case 75 ml would barely suffice for a sip each. More likely the cup was filled up and shared. In any case, the New Testament account is unequivocal that at the institution of the Lord's Supper Jesus gave one common cup to be shared by all (Mt 26:27; Mk 14:23; Lk 22:17, 20; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:25–27).

The Tosefta goes on to explain the meaning of wine as an element of the Passover:
For the wine is what causes the blessing of the day to be said. . . . A. It is a religious duty for a man to bring joy to his children and dependents on the festival. B. And how does he give them joy? C. With wine, since it says, . . .wine to gladden the heart of man (Ps. 104:15). (10:3–4)
The emphasis on joy demonstrates that the key feature of wine is its alcoholic content, its ability to inebriate, which is further emphasized by the requirement of taking no less than four cups of wine. What of the weak, who could not handle this? Rabbi Judah says, "[One gives to] women what is suitable for them, and to children what is suitable to them" (Tosefta Moed 10:4). He offers no further explanation of what this means, but since he has previously referred to the possibility of diluting the wine with water, this would seem to be what he has in mind.

Joachim Jeremias points out that "In everyday life water was drunk. The daily breakfast consisted of 'bread with salt, and a tankard of water', and even at the main meal bread and water were the chief ingredients" (Jeremias, 51). Jesus' words to the woman at the well (Jn 4) confirm that water was the basic staple of life. Wine thus served a different function. Aside from the Last Supper, only twice is it reported that Jesus drank wine: in Matthew 11:19 (in which Jesus' festive meals with tax collectors and sinners are reported), and in John 2 (in which Jesus provides copious amounts of high quality wine for the wedding at Cana). Jeremias assumes rightly that Jesus would have drunk wine at the festive meals to which he was invited, but otherwise would have drunk water in the customary fashion. But the Last Supper was different. Here, as we have seen, it was the duty of every participant to drink wine: four cups, according to the Mishna. There can be no doubt that Jesus and his disciples observed this rule in their final observance of the Passover. The content of the cup Jesus blessed and distributed was wine.

It may also be possible that the use of wine carried medicinal connotations, as it was normally applied together with oil to effect cleansing and healing (Lk 10:34). Certainly the gift of wine was prophesied (for example, Jer 31:12; Hos 2:22; Joel 2:19, 24; 3:18; Amos 9:13) as a feature of the Messianic age to which the Passover pointed, whose fulfillment began with Christ's gift at Cana and continues in the Lord's Supper.

What kind of wine Christ used cannot be determined with precision. Jeremias makes the assumption that it must have been red wine because he holds to a symbolic view of the Lord's Supper. If it represents blood, it must have been red wine, he concludes (Jeremias, 53). We Lutherans have no sympathy for this view. In fact, as Jeremias demonstrates from the Talmud, white, red, and "black" wine were readily available. Some later rabbinic sources lay down the rule that only red wine may be used at the Passover, but it is uncertain whether this held for the early first century. Thus, there can be no requirement that a particular color of wine be used for the Lord's Supper. (Indeed, prior to modern times, Lutheran practice was almost universally to use white wine: first, because that was what was normally available in Germany; second, because it functioned confessionally against a symbolic view of the sacrament.)

We have established that Jesus most certainly used wine in instituting the Lord's Supper. What should we make of the fact that he speaks of the cup containing "the fruit of the vine"? Some have asserted that Jesus thereby permits us to use grape juice, but this conclusion is illegitimate. First, Jesus does not use the normal word for "fruit," καρπός, which might be used of something like grapes. (The common Greek words for the grape or a bunch of grapes are σταφυλή, and βότρυς.) Instead he uses the noun γένημα, from the verb γίνομαι, which might better be translated "product." Thus, we should translate "product of the vine," which more naturally refers to something like wine that is "produced." Second, Jesus did not invent this phrase, but quotes a standard, rabbinic technical term used in blessing the wine in the Passover cup. Thus, any Jew would recognize "product of the vine" as a liturgical phrase referring to wine. Third, it is a basic linguistic and logical error to conclude that, because Jesus referred to the contents of the cup as "product of the vine," he was permitting us to use any "product of the vine." By this logic we would be as justified in using pumpkin juice as grape juice, for it, too, is "product of the vine." By this logic, when our Lord on the cross said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son" (Jn 19:26), he was permitting each and every "woman" to take John as her son. No, he was referring to one particular woman, Mary. So also at the Last Supper Jesus did not say, "You may take anything that is 'product of the vine' and use it in the repetition of this meal." No, he took a cup of wine, referred to it by an established technical term as "product of the vine," and mandated that we do what he did.

The Formula of Concord is therefore on solid historical and theological ground when it concludes:
For since Christ gave this command at table and during supper, there can be no doubt that he was speaking of true, natural bread and natural wine as well as of oral eating and drinking, (von rechtem, natürlichen Brot und von natürlichen Wein [FC SD 7:48]).
The second edition of the Apology [as printed in Kolb-Wengert, p. 226], rejects the false teaching of the Encratites, who "abstained from wine even during the Lord's Supper" [Ap XV:21]. One must ask even today whether objections to wine stem from a false spirituality that rejects the goodness of God's created gifts. Such words, which are binding on Lutheran pastors, exclude all substitutions. Neither grape juice, nor so-called de-alcoholized wine satisfy these criteria. For though the latter was surely wine once, with the alcohol removed it is wine no longer. (Use of de-alcoholized wine is akin to ordaining a transsexual [a "woman" who used to be a man,] and believing that Christ's mandate has been satisfied.) Some have argued that de-alcoholized wine is chemically identical to natural wine, albeit with a lower amount of alcohol, usually 0.5 percent. (See, for example, "Is 'Non-Alcoholic Wine' Really Wine?" Concordia Journal [Jan. 1991]:4–6, which cautiously approves the use of this product, though it provides no scriptural, confessional, or historical data to support this opinion. This is, however, a contradiction in terms, for the essential meaning of the word "wine" [י י ן in Hebrew; οἶνος in Greek] is fermentation and the presence of alcohol. [In Greek there is a different word for unfermented grape juice or "must" out of which wine is made: τρύξ (see BDAG/3e (2000), p. 701).] That fermentation is the key component of meaning is clear from the fact that fermented beverages made from fruits other than grapes can still be called wine, such as peach or dandelion wine, though they are not included in Christ's mandate to use what he used, and so may not be used in the Lord's Supper. Neither is grape juice or de-alcoholized grape wine included in his mandate, since they are not natural wine.) If we do what the Lord did, if we use what he used, the Formula of Concord concludes, we will have no doubt. The substitution of different elements introduces considerable doubt that we have the gifts the Lord intends to give us. And faith is the very opposite of doubt. Faith clings only to that which is sure and certain.

Ultimately, then, we are left with a theological and hermeneutical question that takes us beyond these questions of history. The Lord's Supper is called the "Lord's" because he instituted it and gave it to us for our good. He instructed us to carry it out in his church according to his mandate. His mandate is that we do it as he did it, that men who represent him in the Holy Office of the Ministry should take bread and wine, consecrating them with the words he gave us, and giving them to repentant and believing Christians to eat and drink for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. Because it is the Lord's Supper, not man's supper, we may not change it to conform to our desires, weaknesses, or unfaith (1 Cor 11:20). For it is indeed unfaith to believe that our Lord would give us something that would harm us. We confess with Luther in the Large Catechism:
We must never regard the sacrament as a harmful thing from which we should flee, but as a pure, wholesome, soothing medicine which aids and quickens us in both soul and body. For where the soul is healed, the body has benefited also. Why, then, do we act as if the sacrament were a poison which would kill us if we ate of it? (LC V: 68).
If such fears lead us to alter what Christ has given, we risk losing entirely his benefits:
For we must believe and be sure of this, . . . that the Sacrament does not belong to us but to Christ, . . . Therefore we cannot make anything else out of it but must act according to His command and hold it. However, if we alter or "improve" on it, then it becomes a nothing and Christ is no longer present, nor is His order (Luther, Concerning the Private Mass and the Ordination of Priests [1533], WA 38:240.24; AE 38:200).
On the other hand, where faith clings to the word of Christ and the sacrament is kept as one undivided whole as he mandated it, it is filled with rich blessings:
See, then, what a beautiful, great, marvelous thing this is, how everything meshes together in one sacramental reality. The words are the first thing, for without the words the cup and the bread would be nothing. Further, without bread and cup, the body and blood of Christ would not be there. Without the body and blood of Christ, the new testament would not be there. Without the new testament, forgiveness of sins would not be there. Without forgiveness of sins, life and salvation would not be there. Thus the words first connect the bread and cup to the sacrament; bread and cup embrace the body and blood of Christ; body and blood of Christ embrace the new testament; the new testament embraces the forgiveness of sins; forgiveness of sins embraces eternal life and salvation. See, all this the words of the Supper offer and give us, and we embrace it by faith. Ought not the devil, then, hate such a Supper and rouse fanatics against it?" (Luther, Confession Concerning Christ's Supper [1528], AE 37:338).

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Prayer that Sends Many to Hell

Last week I received a link from a friend to a video entitled The Prayer the Sends Many to Hell.  Actually, it is a poem by that name followed by a short message condemning what is popularly known as "The Sinner's Prayer."  I listened to the message several times in order to transcribe it.  Here is the message in its entirety.
Every Sunday morning I'd wake up and go to church and participate in the greatest idolatry you could ever imagine. The place might have been called a church, had a pastor, and called the creator of the universe “God,” and even read straight out of the Bible. The fact was I believed in an idol, a false god that had me on the path to hell. I believed in a god that allowed me to live in bondage to my sins and still believe that he'd let me into heaven. I believed in a god that would allow me to backslide and that my faith be shipwrecked and still believe I'd ever been saved to begin with. I believed in a false god that said all I had to do was at one point in my life say a prayer and ask Jesus in my heart. I believed in a god where I didn't have to renounce everything in my life and follow after him. I believed in a god that said my emotional feelings were more important than what Scripture says. I believed in a god that disconnected all biblical threats from reality—a god that had me on a broad way to heaven, not a narrow one; a god that said to save my life for my sake and not lose it for his. The idea that all I had to do was say that prayer had me damned, had me living a lie. Eternity is a long time. I pray anyone who is truly saved will stop playing games with the human soul. The true gospel of Jesus Christ is not one to distort. It is a gospel that will clear out the pews from the churches for people love their sin and don't want to give it up. But if they do not, they will see nothing but hell, for that is why we must tell.

Do not play games with salvation. The fact that hell exists and people have an eternal torment there, will motivate anyone who's truly born again and regenerate to not pervert the gospel. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation Salvation is to be saved from what you were—a self-relying sinner who had multiple pursuits in life. If you're living in the darkness and relying on a prayer years ago to save you, then mark it in the book: you're damned. The evidence that you are saved is that you no longer rely on yourself; you no longer live in bondage to sin; that you'll seek God to be glorified in your life. You will love Christ more than anything, because he replaced that heart of stone; and he gave you that heart of flesh; and he caused you to obey and walk in his statutes. When you seek for God to be glorified, there will be a full-fledged war against all sin that is in your life, for nothing else will matter but Christ—nothing. Biblical salvation's simple. God saves you, and he becomes your very life.

Millions are on their way to hell, yet believe they're not because of the sinner's prayer. And that's what it is—the prayer a sinner says to deceive himself into believing he is truly regenerate and born again by the supernatural power of God. It is by false power from a preacher who learned his doctrine from a verse taken out of context.

Don't be deceived. Examine your lives, and test yourselves. Don't be deceived.
After the fourth time through I replied to my friend and the others receiving this,
The first time I heard it, I was skeptical of the presentation.  After the fourth time, I was certain that this clip is just manipulation.  The speaker gave no real biblical basis for his comments though he did quote John 3:8 and Romans 1:16.  Perhaps in a larger context it would make sense, but I am doubtful.

I understand that the intent of the clip is to halt the idea of what is called fideism, easy-believism, or cheap grace.  In that I wholeheartedly agree.  When a person truly believes, the biblical example is that he does so with the intent of following unwaveringly, however inconsistently that may happen.  But the speaker goes on to mix in the unbiblical idea that true believers cannot fail to grow in the faith or deny the faith or end up living in sin--concepts that can occur and that I think can be supported with Scripture.
I later gave some support.
Leaving the methods aside, I submit that it is possible for a Christian:
1)  To start but not grow for whatever reason (Matt 13:5-7, 20-22; 1 Cor 3:1-4; Heb 5:11-14).
2)  To backslide badly (2 Pet 1:8-9).
3)  To have no reward of service at the final judgment (1 Cor 3:10-15).
4)  To fall under the Lord's condemnation (1 Cor 11:27-32).
5)  To grieve the Lord to the point that he will take his life (Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor 11:30).
6)  To deny (1 Tim 5:8) or abandon (1 Tim 5:11) the faith.
A good Reformed theologian would take issue with this based on the doctrine of Preservation of the Saints.  This is articulated in the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Section 17.1.—They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved. [Phil 1:6; 2 Pet 1:10; John 10:28-29; 1 John 3:9; 1 Pet 1:5,9]

Section 17.2.—This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; [2 Tim 2:18-19; Jer 31:3] upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; [Heb 10:10,14; Heb 13:20-21; Heb 9:12-15; Rom 8:33-39; John 17:11,24; Luke 22:32; Heb 7:25] the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them; [John 14:16-17; 1 John 2:27; 1 John 3:9] and the nature of the covenant of grace; [Jer 32:40] from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof. [John 10:28; 2 Thess 3:3; 1 John 2:19]

Section 17.3. Nevertheless they may through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; [Matt 26:70,72,74] and for a time continue therein: [Ps 51:14] whereby they incur God's displeasure, [Isa 64:5,7,9; 2 Sam 11:27] and grieve his Holy Spirit; [Eph 4:30] come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; [Ps 51:8; Rev 2:4; Song 5:2-4,6] have their hearts hardened, [Isa 63:17; Mark 6:52; 16:14] and their consciences wounded; [Ps 32:3-4; Ps 51:8] hurt and scandalize others, [2 Sam 12:14] and bring temporal judgments upon themselves. [Ps 89:31-32; 1 Cor 11:32]
As this is taught, believers will continue to progress in grace and holiness until the final day or death, although there may be minor setbacks along the way.  This appears to be iron-clad, but look again at the last Scripture proof of the chapter.  The apostle Paul is explaining that the Lord will discipline his own to bypass condemnation, but the discipline being administered in this context is both sickness and death.  If we sin unto death, how can the Westminster divines claim that Christians will not make shipwreck of the faith and end that way?

Can Christians lose their salvation?  No.  The eternal life we receive has both durative and qualitative facets guaranteed by the finished work of Christ.  It is secure because of his work, not ours.  Our works after salvation add nothing.  We do them by faith in the Son of God and so grow to Christ-likeness.

Is there a real danger in making a false profession?  Yes, certainly.  There are some sitting in pews who have a false hope based on confidence in a prayer they gave once or in acts performed that looked correct.  But both of these have the wrong object of faith--themselves.  The true object is Christ.

Let us not resort to these emotional games played by well-intended preachers to stir people to true faith, but rather preach the truth of Scripture and allow the living Word and Holy Spirit to do its effectual work.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Are There Ethics in the Hebrew Bible?: A Response

Philip Davies, Univ. of Sheffield, has posted a piece entitled "Are There Ethics in the Hebrew Bible?" Dr. Davies is a learned (Oxford and St. Andrews) and experienced theologian largely in the area of Hebrew Bible, (i.e. Old Testament), intertestamental period, and rabbinic literature. His thesis is quite simply stated and clear.
I repeatedly hear advocates of religion asserting that it is religion that gives humans ethics that bestow value on human life. I have rarely heard anything so ridiculous in my life.
He then goes on to demonstrate that the Hebrew Bible is monarchial in focus with commands given and obedience expected citing the Decalogue as a prime example, even equating the consequence of expected obedience as likened unto the Nuremberg defense--we were only doing our job. Also, regardless of how good the rules are, people should not rely on rules alone.

Moving beyond the Torah to wisdom literature, the author affirms that the universe "was created with a moral as well as a natural order, and right behavior consists of discerning and respecting that order" with its inherent wisdom, but there are two serious flaws: 1) things do not exactly work out when respecting the order, and 2) the tendency to equate wisdom with divine instruction and even worse to expect the instruction to be written down. And of the prophets, the proclamations ("rants," Davies) are totalitarian in nature because "the Bible is culturally totalitarian—unsurprisingly, because it emanates from a totalitarian world of monarchic societies."
In one sense this line of reasoning is correct: we should expect the prophets to speak in a way that the populace understands, and we are better off obeying from an inward desire. However, we need guidance as to what the expectations are and why they are expected, which leads to Davies' definition of ethics and its concomitant view of guidance.

But ethics is about doing what is good because it is intrinsically good. . . .Ethics develop in a society where individuals have to make their own moral judgments about intrinsic goodness.
This is the crux of the matter, and it begs a question: is there such a thing as intrinsic goodness? This is not easy as to answer as may be thought. Firstly, there is the matter of creation itself as originally formed. In the Genesis 1 account, God saw that his creation was good in days three through five and at the end of day six saw it was very good. God is by nature good (Exodus 33:19) and as creator of the universe, it will bear the marks of his nature and order (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:19-20). So, yes there is goodness in all things insomuch that it is a reflection of God's glory. But, and this is important, creation's goodness cannot be considered intrinsic, but extrinsic, since the source of the goodness is God. Creation has no goodness that is somehow separate from the one who made it.

More to the point is the question: does mankind have intrinsic goodness? The answer is no easier than the above. Genesis 2:7 seems to tell us that man was a special project for God. Rather than speaking him into existence the creator "formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." Psalm 8:3-8 continues this exalted status of the human race:

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
This is a lofty position that would cause someone to acknowledge that man as a race must have intrinsic goodness for God to be willing to place such responsibility into his hands. Couple with that the aforementioned creatorial act, and the case is apparently closed. But it is not. Although man has a higher status than everything around him and is unique in that he carries the "breath of life," any goodness in man is still extrinsic in that it originates in and reflects God. Beyond that is the matter of sin. Romans 3:9-18 gives a scathing review of what mankind is and how we operate as a result of sin. Nobody in that condition would be considered as having intrinsic goodness.
Secondly, could ethics be based on inherent goodness if such was possible? How is ethics defined?[1]

ETH'ICS, n. The doctrines of morality or social manners; the science of moral philosophy, which teaches men their duty and the reasons of it.
1. A system of moral principles; a system of rules for regulating the actions and manners of men in society.
This definition fits Davies' contention that society determines ethics, yet a problem still remains. Who determines what is considered good? What does it look like? How is it measured? To what is it compared? I concede that people have an understanding of goodness. That is not the issue. Rather what is the standard by which people understand goodness. Society cannot determine a proper ethic based on goodness, because society's norms are subjective and changing. The objective standard must exist outside of humankind.

Davies has evidently taken the common position that the writings of the Hebrew Bible are extrapolations of an evolving Torah. Wisdom literature is regarded as religious common sense, and prophets are merely insightful spokesmen who speak out on social issues in a way they believe God would say it, if he would deign speak to them (which of course he never does). This is not the case. Regardless of when one determines the final form of the documents occurred, the standard raised in the Bible is external to mankind. Left to itself humanity, or any segment thereof, could not attain to the standard of goodness given in those pages. We would not know how.

Contra Davies, the commands and precepts given in Scripture are concrete examples of goodness we are to follow. They are not exhaustive. That is not required as we have the example of the triune God in sacred writ. He is our standard and source.

[1] 1828 edition of Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language, found at

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Know It and Share It

Just a few thoughts here from my preparation for our men's Bible study.
In Paul's final letter, sent to Timothy, the apostle wanted to remind his protégé of the necessity to remain in sound doctrine with the idea of passing it along. Four passages are primary to this thought.
1:13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
There are temptations brought about through the instruction of various teachers. One has a certain philosophy or emphasis, while another may promote a different view. Yet another brings something else. What is the base for truth? Paul says to heed his words because they are healthy for the soul, and do so through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.
2:1-2 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Paul desired that the sound teaching should go on. He tells Timothy to give those instructions not to just any person, but to faithful men. Seek them out and instruct them in the things Paul taught publicly. This last point is a safeguard from a misstatement that might bring dishonor to the work of the gospel.
3:14-15 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.
This command helps us see that Paul was not bringing something new to Timothy. Everything that the apostle brought forth was in full agreement with the Scriptures Timothy had previously been taught as a child. Any teacher's doctrine must be weighed accordingly.
4:1-2 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
Finally, in view of the Lord's sure coming and judgment in the final day, pass on what has been learned. Always be prepared because the moment of need will come unexpectedly, but do so with great patience and desire to correctly teach.