Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Forward»

The Youth’s Instructor

May 5, 1898

Timothy

A noble, all-round manhood does not come by chance. It is the result of character-building in the early years of youth, a practise of the law of God in the home. The word of God must be studied, and this requires thought and prayerful research. While some passages are too plain to be misunderstood, others demand careful and patient study. Like the precious metal concealed in the hills and mountains, its gems of truth are to be searched out and stored in the mind. Only by a continual improvement of the intellectual as well as the moral powers, can we hope to answer the purpose of our Creator.

We may learn precious lessons in this respect from the life and character of Timothy. From a child, Timothy had known the Scriptures. Religion was the atmosphere of his home. The piety of his home life was not of a cheap order, but pure, sensible, and uncorrupted by false sentiments. Its moral influence was substantial, not fitful, not impulsive, not changeable. The word of God was the rule which guided Timothy. He received his instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. And the spiritual power of these lessons kept him pure in speech, and free from all corrupting sentiments. His home instructors co-operated with God in educating this young man to bear the burdens that were to come upon him at an early age.

Timothy was a mere youth when he was chosen by God as a teacher. But his principles had been so established by a correct education that he was fitted to be placed as a religious teacher, in connection with Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles. And though young, he bore his great responsibilities with Christian meekness. He was faithful, steadfast, and true; and Paul made him his companion in labor and travel, that he might have the benefit of the apostle's experience in preaching the gospel and establishing churches.

Paul loved Timothy because Timothy loved God. The great apostle often drew him out, and questioned him in regard to Scripture history. He taught him the necessity of shunning every evil way, and told him that blessing would surely attend all who were faithful and true, giving them a noble manhood.

The lessons of the Bible have a moral and a religious influence upon the character as they are wrought into the practical life. Timothy learned and practised these lessons. He had no specially wonderful talents; but his work was valuable because he used his God-given abilities as consecrated gifts in the service of God. His intelligent knowledge of the truth and of experimental piety gave him distinction and influence. The Holy Spirit found in Timothy a mind that could be molded and fashioned to become a temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, because he submitted to be molded.

The words of the apostle Paul just prior to his death, were: “Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned, and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” “These things command and teach.” And lest the churches should despise his youth, he wrote, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

Paul could safely write this; for Timothy did not go forward in a self-sufficient spirit. He worked in connection with Paul, seeking his advice and instruction. He did not move from impulse. He exercised consideration and calm thought, inquiring at every step, “Is this the way of the Lord?”

“Till I come,” Paul continued, “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

The charge given to Timothy should be heeded in every household, and become an educating power in every family and in every school. He was enjoined, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.... Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

In order that the youth may do this, there must be schools similar to the schools of the prophets to educate in the word of God, to “shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” This scripture is directly to the point. Those books which may contain some truth, but are intermingled with “vain babblings,” should not be placed in the student's hands; for they are as seed sown in the human heart which, in time of temptation, will spring into life, and draw the minds of students into paths that lead away from God, away from truth.

“Their word,” said Paul, “will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

This is the instruction and education which young men who enter schools should seek to obtain. These words come to every young man who purposes to enter the ministry, to all youth who shall engage in any part of the work. They need to listen to the word of God through the apostle Paul. That word is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” And what should this furnishing comprehend?—a knowledge of the Scriptures,—a book that our own experience teaches us should be the Book of all books for our schools.

The highest aim of our youth should not be to strain after something novel. There was none of this in the mind and work of Timothy. They should bear in mind that, in the hands of the enemy of all good, knowledge alone may be a power to destroy them. It was a very intellectual being, one who occupied a high position among the angelic throng, that finally became a rebel; and many a mind of superior intellectual attainments is now being led captive by his power. The youth should place themselves under the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, and weave them into their daily thoughts and practical life. Then they will possess the attributes classed as highest in the heavenly courts. They will hide themselves in God, and their lives will tell to his glory.

Mrs. E. G. White

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Forward»