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The Good Deposit
pp. 101 - 106
The Apostle Paul's two letters addressed to his son in the faith, Timothy, were written
to guide him as a leader of the Church. The first one states:
"Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I
am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household,
which is the church of the living God . . . . ." (I Tim. 3: 14, 15, N.I.V.).
The second one, which was written shortly before his martyrdom, concentrates on the
most important truths that Timothy must constantly bear in mind if he was going to be a
faithful teacher and friend. Paul urges him to make the effort to visit him in his prison as
quickly as possible before winter, when traveling would be difficult. Then the Apostle
could give him his last advice, guidance and encouragement personally (II.Tim.iv.9,21).
In both epistles he refers to the truth that the Lord had entrusted to him. This is of
great importance for the Apostle declares that this sacred trust had been committed to
Timothy, who in turn was charged to commit it to others, "faithful men, who shall be able
to teach others also" (II Tim. 2: 2). It is not only termed "that which is committed to thy
trust" (I Tim. 6: 20), but also a "form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me
(Paul)" (II Tim. 1: 13). The translation of the N.I.V. is:
"What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love
in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit (that which has been committed) that was
entrusted to you--guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit Who lives in us"
The Greek verb paratithemi and its substantive paratheke means "to deposit with
another, give in charge" and the substantive "a deposit or trust" (Abbot-Smith).
We need to get a very clear conception of this deposit of truth, for without this, how
can we guard it? One thing we can be assured of, and that is Timothy understood
perfectly what the Apostle meant, for Paul wrote:
"But thou hast fully known my doctrine . . . . ." (II Tim. 3: 9-11).
We can also receive this understanding if we search the N.T. and seek for it, asking for
enlightenment, carefully noting the truths that had been committed to Paul by the risen
Christ. This will save us from imagining that the Apostle was passing on his own
opinions to others. Rather he was the human channel that the Lord Jesus was using to
convey special truth to us. He was the Lord's Apostle to the Gentiles, although during
the Acts period, he put the covenant people of Israel first, for Luke makes clear in the
Acts that Israel had not been cast away, for God in His longsuffering was waiting for
their repentance and turning back to Him (Acts 3: 19-26).