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Passing it On

“Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (2 Timothy 3:14).

You do not really believe something until you practice it. James says, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). The process begins with the mind being instructed, then the heart being fully convinced. Then you practice what you believe.

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 to teach them 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. The apostle Paul also made a powerful impact upon Timothy! He never forgot what he had learned, partly because it came through loved ones he deeply respected, those who had answers to the difficulties and problems of life.

The second factor is that this came to Timothy at a very early age. “From a child thou hast 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.

—Ray Stedman, condensed