Timothy was a disciple and friend of the Apostle Paul. A disciple means a learner, a scholar. When Timothy was a young man, he heard the Apostle preach, and the Holy Spirit blessed what was preached to the good of his soul. From that time he loved to be with so wise and kind a teacher. Sometimes they went on long missionary journeys together, to make known the way in which sinners can be saved, through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. There are two epistles, or letters, in the New Testament which were written by the Apostle to Timothy. If you read these letters, you will see what good advice the Apostle Paul gave to Timothy, and how much he loved him.
We place Timothy among the children of the Bible, because it is said of him, "From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15). He had a grandmother named Lois, and a pious mother named Eunice. When very young, they taught him from the Word of God. Happy Timothy, to stand by the side of a dear mother, and hear from her lips the great things God had done for His people in every age!
Jewish children were taught by their parents at home, and were often taken by them to the temple to see the sacrifices offered. No doubt young Timothy had been told by his pious mother how God saved Noah in the ark, and Daniel in the den of lions; how David slew the giant Goliath with a sling and stone, and how Elijah was fed by ravens in a desert. These, and a hundred other beautiful stories, she told him from the sacred Book. Then, too, she taught him that the Passover was kept because the angel of God passed over the Hebrews, and slew the Egyptians; and that the lamb was offered every day in the temple as an atonement for sin. She must also have told him of the great things God had done for their nation, and that He had promised to send them a Saviour. All this instruction was very useful to Timothy when he grew up and became a preacher of the Gospel. He must often have praised God for giving him such a pious family and friends to care for him and teach him.
Timothy did not have a complete Bible, as we have, nor was his book like what we use. It was probably made of long sheets of parchment, and was rolled upon a short stick. It was not printed, for printing was not then invented, but written with a kind of steel pen. It was too large to put into a pocket and must have cost a large sum of money. A poor child in those days did not have a copy of the Scriptures which he could call his own. He could not say, "This is my own Bible."
As Timothy knew the Holy Scriptures from an early age, so it is important for young children today to know the same Holy Scriptures that they might learn of God and His way of salvation through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Bible is God's inspired Word which He has preseved for us and we need to know it if we are to live lives pleasing to God.
As we conclude this little book of the children of the Bible, let us observe these things about the Bible—
1. It should be read. The word Bible means "book," and Scriptures means "writings." It is the best of all books and all writings; for it is the very Word and will of God. It speaks only truth, and is full of the greatest truths. It has done more good in the world than all other books. Everyone has to do with what the Bible makes known. It teaches about God and man, and this world and the world to come. Good men in all ages have loved it.
2. The Bible should be read by children. It is not for aged persons alone. We have seen that there is much in this Holy Book about the young, and for the young; it was put there on purpose to teach them.
It is true there are some things in the Bible hard to be understood. Many years ago a pious man said, "It is like a river: so deep in the middle that an elephant may swim in it, but along the shore a lamb may wade, and not be drowned." You should be like the lamb. There are truths in the Scriptures which the wisest cannot fully understand; but if we have sincere and prayerful hearts, we may learn all that we need to know. If a child seeks to learn from the Bible, and asks God for His blessing, he will become wise, good, and happy.
3. The Bible can make children "wise unto salvation" through faith in Christ Jesus. It teaches us many things; but its great end is to lead to the salvation of the soul. It tells us of the love of a Saviour, of what He is, what He has done, and what He has promised to do for those who believe in Him. Jesus says that we should "search the Scriptures," for they testify of Him. You should search with as much zeal as men seek for jewels in a mine. It contains "the pearl of great price."
You should read the Bible often, and read it daily. A wise man once said, "Get a little at a time, and as often as you can, and you will soon know a great deal." It is like a gold mine, where a man may dig every day of his life, and find much gold, and yet there will be plenty left for others.
You should also pray to God to teach you. David was a great and pious man, and he prayed thus: "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." If David so prayed, surely you should ask God to help you.
Happy will you be if you should be like a little boy who learned a verse every day, and when he grew up to be a man, that which he had learned in youth was blessed in leading him to love and serve the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.