Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. (NLT)
We sometimes hear of traditional skills and crafts in danger of dying out. They need those who now practice them to pass the knowledge and technique on to others. Otherwise, the skills and crafts die out with the practitioners.
Same goes for matters of faith. If our faith is to survive long term, we need to ensure future generations will know what it is about and how to live it out. Our faith may be intensely personal, but it is not at all private. We can’t hug it to ourselves as a precious possession. It needs to be passed on.
But there are a couple of cautions. One is mentioned in our text: those to whom we communicate our faith are to be trustworthy. This is especially true in more formal teaching situations. A wise older teacher may share their wisdom, but if it is to do any good, the person receiving it has to take care to absorb it and in turn pass it on. Some Christian organisations and movements have withered away because the original message was not passed on.
Another caution is that when it comes to teaching truths, it is not just a matter of communicating correct information. Teaching is more than lecturing: it is showing how truth is applied to life and demonstrates it in a pattern of life. Teaching is much more than delivering or hearing a sermon, or reading a book. Passing on the faith involves getting our facts right, but also working on getting our lives right.