William Barclay's Daily Study Bible

The Chain Of Teaching (2 Timothy 2:1-2)

2:1-2 As for you, my child, find your strength in the grace which is in Christ Jesus; and entrust the things which you have heard from me, and which are confirmed by many witnesses, to faithful men who will be competent to teach others too.

Here we have in outline two things--the reception and the transmission of the Christian faith.

(i) The reception of the faith is founded on two things. It is founded on hearing. It was from Paul that Timothy heard the truth of the Christian faith. But the words he heard were confirmed by the witness of many who were prepared to say: "These words are true--and I know it, because I have found it so in my own life." It may be that there are many of us who have not the gift of expression, and who can neither teach nor expound the Christian faith. But even he or she who has not the gift of teaching is able to witness to the living power of the gospel.

(ii) It is not only a privilege to receive the Christian faith; it is a duty to transmit it. Every Christian must look on himself as a link between two generations. E. K. Simpson writes on this passage: "The torch of heavenly light must be transmitted unquenched from one generation to another, and Timothy must count himself an intermediary between apostolic and later ages."

(iii) The faith is to be transmitted to faithful men who in their turn will teach it to others. The Christian Church is dependent on an unbroken chain of teachers. When Clement was writing to the Church at Corinth, he sketched that chain. "Our apostles appointed the aforesaid persons (that is, the elders) and afterwards they provided a continuance, that, if these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their ministry." The teacher is a link in the living chain which stretches unbroken from this present moment back to Jesus Christ.

These teachers are to be faithful men. The Greek for faithful, pistos ( Greek #4103 ), is a word with a rich variety of closely connected meanings. A man who is a pistos ( Greek #4103 ) is a man who is believing, a man who is loyal, a man who is reliable. All these meanings are there. Falconer said that these believing men are such "that they will yield neither to persecution nor to error." The teacher's heart must be so stayed on Christ that no threat of danger will lure him from the path of loyalty and no seduction of false teaching cause him to stray from the straight path of the truth. He must be steadfast alike in life and in thought.

- William Barclay's Daily Study Bible