Lately, I’ve been listening in as the Apostle Paul talks to his understudy, Timothy. It becomes quickly obvious that Paul really likes this guy. A lot. In his first letter, Paul refers to Timothy as “my true child in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2), and as “my beloved child” in his second letter (2 Timothy 1:2).
In those letters, Paul speaks personally to Timothy about many issues. This morning as I read, though, one verse struck me. “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’” (1 Timothy 6:20).
I can almost hear Paul lowering his voice and speaking intimately but emphatically. “O Timothy…” Although not every translation includes it, the “O” is in the Greek text. It’s an exclamation. It is there to add emphasis. More than just, “Timothy…,” Paul says, “O Timothy….” This is important.
Paul’s next words speak to the point. “Guard the deposit entrusted to you.” Another translation uses the word “treasure.” Take good care of that treasure you’ve been given, Timothy.
So, what was that deposit, that treasure? We don’t know with absolute certainty, but we at least get a clue from what Paul says next. “Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge.’” The Message translation phrases it like this, “Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts.”
I would suggest that Paul is saying, “Stick to the simple message of the gospel. Don’t get bogged down in all the peripherals. Don’t get all highfalutin, majoring on puffed up head knowledge. O Timothy, guard that simple treasure of the gospel.”
That’s good advice for all of us.