Request your free, three-month trial to Tabletalk magazine. You’ll receive the print issue monthly and gain immediate digital access to decades of archives. This trial is risk-free. No credit card required.Try Tabletalk Now
Already receive Tabletalk magazine every month?
Verify your email address to gain unlimited access.
The Apostle Paul begins 1 Timothy with warnings about false teachers who do not teach sound doctrine (1:3–4). An emphasis on the necessity of public Scripture reading coupled with preaching and teaching of the truth (4:13) is woven throughout the epistle. Paul ends with the reminder to guard the truth that has been entrusted to Timothy’s care (6:20).
First Timothy provides instructions on worship, qualifications for elders and deacons, teaching about the importance of truth, advice about care for the needy, and warnings about the love of money. Throughout, the importance of truth is a reoccurring theme. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth (3:15).
What a blessing that God has revealed Himself in a book. The Bible is revealed truth. According to 2 Timothy 3:16–17, it is all the truth we need to be thoroughly equipped for everything God has called us to do. The Bible is unchanging, always relevant truth. It is an anchor against the drift of the cultural tides that have left our culture without moorings.
This deposit of truth must be guarded and passed from one generation to the next. Guarding the truth from attack is a primary function of the church. Like Nehemiah, the church fights for truth with both sword and trowel. With the sword, the church encounters the enemies of truth. With the trowel, structures of truth are built up and strengthened. Truth that is not artfully displayed and skillfully defended will be lost.
The church must also equip God’s people to pass truth on to the next generation. The importance of this equipping is powerfully illustrated in the Old Testament. Do you remember Joshua’s farewell address in Joshua 24? Joshua reminds Israel of their history: the call of Abraham, the giving of Canaan to Israel, the sojourn into Egypt, and deliverance from bondage. He challenges them to choose whether they will serve Jehovah or the gods of the nations. They affirm that they, too, will serve the Lord. They promise to live according to the truth.
Remember what happened? Judges 2 tells the sad story. After Joshua’s death, a generation grew up who did not know the Lord or what He had done for Israel. Think of that. The first generation to grow up in the land of promise did not know God or what He had done. How could they not know about the ten plagues, about manna in the desert, about water miraculously flowing from a rock, about the walls of Jericho falling down? Who failed? Did the prophets fail? The priests? The Levites?
It was the failure of the family. It was the failure of fathers and mothers to raise their families in the truth. It was the failure of Israel to do what God called them to do in Deuteronomy 6:1–9. They were to have the truth of God on their hearts so that they could impress it on their children. Truth was to fill every conversation when they sat around the house, when they walked along the way, when they rose up, and when they lay down (v. 7).
The primary place for children to learn truth is not the Sunday school or youth programs, as thankful as we are for these ministries to our children. It is the family. The family is the primary place for rooting your children’s thinking in the rich soil of biblical truth.
The church equips you to guard and transmit truth to the next generation. The church provides fully populated paradigms of truth so that you may train your children, but the home is where the truth is passed from generation to generation. In a healthy church, children’s ministry leaders are not activities directors but shepherds augmenting your training of your children in truth. Children’s ministry exists to teach, not entertain. Both at home and in the church, truth should be taught in gracious, winsome, and gospel-centered ways.
The need to provide our children with clear teaching of truth is profound. Secular culture’s presentation of entertainment, the arts, music, literature, manners, sports, work, leisure, and recreation is designed to remove every last vestige of Christian truth from public consciousness. May Christ’s church provide vision and instruction that equips parents to make a compelling presentation of truth to their children. May God give us grace to teach our children how to think about authority, justice, honor, amusement, responsibility, service, and gender in ways that reflect His enduring truth. There is no greater joy than to hear that one’s children walk in truth (3 John 4).