Rather than referring to 2 Timothy 2:2 as we usually do to support the principle of passing on biblical teaching to others, I want to help give us the larger context of this verse. We should first ask who was Paul’s mentor? In one sense, Barnabas mentored Saul who became Paul (Acts 9:27). In another sense, the gospel Paul preached (which includes everything that relates to Jesus Christ), was given to him directly from the Lord Jesus. He “received it through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:12). Paul makes up the second generation.
Paul then calls Timothy his child (1 Corinthian 4:17; 1 Timothy 1:2, 18; 2 Timothy 1:2; 2:1) which means that Timothy was the third generation and Paul taught him the gospel and his “ways in Christ.” Titus was also the third generation (Titus 1:4); his “true child in a common faith.”
For both these young men, Paul wanted them to be committed to passing on what they learned to others; but not just anyone, but to “faithful men.” That is the fourth generation. In the same way, Paul tells Titus to “teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). At this point, we might think that Paul would be satisfied with just one more generation. NO! Paul had another generation in mind when he says, “what you have heard from me…entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2), the fifth generation.
Each of us may be able to look back and see previous generations that lead up to where we are, but the real question is, ‘how many generations are we impacting through our testimony and teaching?
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