Contending For The Faith
Guard the Deposit of Truth
1 Timothy 6:20
O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge-
The "deposit" is a trust or thing consigned to one&s faithful keeping. In the modern legal world, it might be called a bailment, like "depositing" your car in the parking garage. In 2 Timothy, the concept of guarding the deposit takes on two objects. First, the deposit of truth is the sound teaching, the word of God. So, the thing entrusted is the Bible. Timothy must do all that he can to preserve this deposit. And, secondly, not only must Timothy undertake this task personally, he is to teach others to do the same (2 Tim 2:2).
Just as Paul has taught the truth to Timothy, so Timothy must reach out and teach others so the deposit may be preserved through the ages. The intent of 1 Timothy 6:20 (above) is the same. The deposit is the Gospel committed to Timothy by Paul. The Greek term "guard" is sometimes found in banking documents, as meaning to guard the bank vault from people like Jesse James or Bonnie and Clyde.
How good of job have we all done at guarding the deposit?
The deposit of truth is of extreme
importance for only the Truth about Jesus Christ gives life. The deposit
is the source of life for all of us because only through the truth may
we discover Jesus Christ. In Romans, Paul tells us that
"Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ." (Romans 10:17, NET)
Thus, if the deposit of truth is not correctly guarded, protected and passed from one generation to the next, future generations will not be able to hear the Word of Truth.
This points to the second object of Paul&s demand to Timothy. Timothy has himself received the deposit of truth through the teachings of Paul. Timothy is to guard these teachings as though they were the Word of God. And indeed they are! Paul&s teachings are available to each of us just as they were available to Timothy. Paul&s teachings may be found in the Bible, the very Word of God. This separates Paul&s teachings from those of the false teachers. The false teachers did not speak from God as did Paul. Their doctrines are not presented in the New Testament as God&s Truth.
Paul&s admonitions to Timothy to teach others points to the process of preserving the deposit of truth. One person cannot do it by himself. All Christians are involved in the process. I have heard a story about a group of prisoners of war in Vietnam. They wrote the entire Bible on scraps of paper from memory. None of them remembered all of it. But, together, they collectively were able to bring to mind the entire Scriptures. This is the process Paul envisioned. Timothy was but one of the early pegs in the board. There have been many, many others since Paul&s young spiritual son.
Guarding the deposit is language found only in the two letters to Timothy. In 1 Timothy, Paul points not only to the need to guard the deposit, but to the sacredness of the task. This is the Word of God. This is the story of God, of Christ, and of God&s loving desire to bring fallen man back into fellowship. This mission is summed up in Christ&s Great Commission to all of us (Matt 28:18-20).