...continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of...2 Timothy 3:14b
Timothy acted upon what he had learned. You do not really believe something until you practice it. James says,
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says (James 1:22). It does not do a bit of good to say you believe the Bible from cover to cover, like some people do. Do what it says. Practice the truth; act on it; take it to heart. The process begins with the mind's being instructed, then the heart's being fully convinced. Then you practice what you believe.
I do not know what it was that may have helped Timothy, but I am sure that when he read a statement like,
Do not lie to each other (Colossians 3:9), he was careful to watch his words and stop lying, if that was what he was doing. When he read,
Bless those who persecute you (Romans 12:14), he realized that even though he, like everyone else, felt anger rising within him and he wanted to strike back when he was mistreated, that was the wrong thing to do. The Word of God taught that it was necessary for him to lean on the grace of God, to pray for people and find a way to do something good rather than evil in return. The apostle suggests two factors here that helped Timothy believe the Scriptures.
First, the Scriptures came to him through certain loved and trusted people.
You know those from whom you learned it, Paul says. One of the things that makes believing the Bible much easier is when it comes to us through people we trust. In Timothy's case, his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, were the channels by which he was taught the Word of God. Being of Jewish background, they may have followed the exhortation of Deuteronomy 6, where Moses taught the people how to teach their children. Moses did not say to have a classroom in the home where children were to learn something by rote. Rather, he said,
Teach them when they rise up (when they get up in the morning), when they sit down (at mealtime), and when they go to bed at night. Those are the teachable moments. Use the experiences of a young child's day to reflect truth from the Scriptures that will lock itself into their hearts. What a powerful impact this mighty apostle made upon Timothy! He never forgot what he had learned, because it came through one whom he deeply respected, one whom he saw had answers to the difficulties and problems of life.
The second factor is that this came to Timothy at a very early age.
From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, Paul says. Parents should not miss that emphasis. It indicates that childhood is a wonderful time to get the truth of the Scriptures into a young person's heart. As a young boy, ten or eleven years old, I was given many memory verses in Sunday school and Vacation Bible School that I committed to memory. I remember those verses yet today. What a wonderful thing to have learned from early childhood the truth of the Word of God through those most precious and trusted.
Father, I thank You for this amazing book. I confess to You how infrequently I open it up and let it speak to me. Help me to let this book minister to my heart and mind.
Thinking Christianly requires believing the Scriptures. How often do we study the Word of God to know our Lord and heed Him so that He can live His life through us?