The gospel that God had entrusted to Paul was in turn entrusted to Timothy. Paul refers to “what you heard from me” (v.13). This is the “pattern of sound teaching”—the body of doctrines that conveyed the gospel of Jesus Christ. This originated from Christ, who taught from the Scriptures, and He passed it on to His apostles. This apostolic teaching had a certain “pattern” that was to be guarded and passed on faithfully (v.13). We note that this “good deposit” is not only “sound” but can also be passed on from one person to another, and from one generation to another (vv.13–14).
The early church was infiltrated by false teachers and heresy. They were teaching “a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6–7), a perverted one contrary to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. It was important that the integrity of the gospel was guarded against such challenges. Timothy was to guard and entrust the gospel to others faithfully (2 Timothy 2:2).
Guarding the gospel should take the form of resisting false teaching, faithfully teaching the “sound pattern” of God’s revealed truth, and watching your own life to avoid compromise and falling into apostasy. In short, “watch your life and doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:16).
Entrusting requires that we choose carefully those who will continue the gospel ministry. God had carefully entrusted the gospel to Paul. Paul had entrusted the same to Timothy. It would be necessary for Timothy to pass on the gospel to others who could be trusted (2 Timothy 2:2). What is important here is the trust that is involved. Such trust takes time to develop in a relationship. We must be concerned not only about what happens during our watch, but also what will follow. We must not be like King Hezekiah who, when told that the palace would be raided in the future, was selfishly satisfied that there would be peace during his rule (Isaiah 39:5–8).
A certain church leader put it this way: “A leader must not drop things, but pass them on faithfully”. The baton must be passed from hand to hand without being lost. We cannot do this in our own strength, but with the help of the Holy Spirit (v.14). He helps us from above and from within, for He dwells in us. His help is always available.
Reflect on the “good deposit” that has been entrusted to you. Who have been your mentors (past and present, living and dead)? How are you guarding this deposit?
How does the Holy Spirit help us to guard the “good deposit” both as individuals and as a church? What difference does it make to have the Spirit living in us?