“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:13)
There are several significant pieces to this important command. We must “hold firm” to the “pattern” of the “wholesome words” that have been given to us. And that firm hold must rest in the faith and love that we have in Christ Jesus.
This is not an option. We are to hold to the form of the sound words. Hupotuposis is the Greek term, only used one other time in the New Testament, where Paul insists that his life was to be “a pattern to them which should hereafter believe” (1 Timothy 1:16, emphasis added). We are to be “under” (hupo) the “outline” or “pattern” (tupos) of the wholesome words. The purpose of the two letters to Timothy was to encourage the young pastor to follow the example of his human teacher Paul, who had completely submitted himself to the authority of all Scripture.
To the Roman Christians, Paul was delighted that they “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered” to them (Romans 6:17, emphasis added). To the Corinthians, he reminded them that the events recorded in the life of Israel had “happened unto them for examples” (1 Corinthians 10:11, emphasis added). Paul also insisted that the people of the church at Philippi should “be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17, emphasis added).
Both biblical and church history provide us with patterns to follow. But the sound words of Scripture give what 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” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). HMM III
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