Christians, young in the Lord, often learn from more mature Christians. So, mature Christians must be like Paul if they are going to teach a young man like Timothy. “Timothy” is going to check you out to be sure you are worth following. In 2 Tim 3:10, Paul wrote, “”But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life,” etc. In a way you can say Timothy had checked Paul out. When you’re teaching a Timothy, he’s going to learn from:
Your doctrine – Paul said, “thou hast fully known MY doctrine.” He took the doctrine of the words of God and made it his. It’s not enough to know what you believe. You must know why you believe it. And not only that but you must know that it is the true doctrine of the Bible and not the false doctrine of men using the Bible. You get doctrine from the “holy scriptures,” [2 Tim 3:15]. You get doctrine from inspiration [2 Tim 3:16]. The Holy Spirit teaches you and gives you understanding [Job 32:8; Jn 14:26, 16:13]. You get it like Jesus did in Is 50:4. You get doctrine from a man of God preaching sound doctrine [2 Tim 4:2-4].
Your manner of life – your doctrine should be practical to help you live and change your life. You don’t learn for learning’s sake; you learn so that you can grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that men who learn and do what he said are like a man who built his house on a rock. His house will stand in the storms of life. Men who hear but don’t do what the Bible says are like a man whose house is built on the sand. They will fall [Matt 7:24-27]. Paul’s manner of life was such that Timothy could follow him and grow closer to Jesus Christ [1 Cor 11:1]. As the old saying goes, “Your talk talks, and your walk talks; but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.”
Your purpose – among other things, your purpose in life is God’s pleasure [Rev 4:11]. According to Phil 2:12-13, God works “in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” And so you are to “work our your own salvation with fear and trembling.” A Timothy should be able to tell that what you’re doing is the result of what God is doing in you. Too often, men do what they want to do and confess that what they’re doing is God’s will for their lives. You can destroy a Timothy with a life like that.
Your faith – you should have enough faith to help someone else. In Mk 2:1-12, four men brought a man with palsy to Jesus Christ and Jesus healed him. In Mk 2:5, Jesus forgave the man when he saw “their faith,” that is, the faith of the four men. On a recent flight, I was seated next to a lady who told me about a fellow she had led to the Lord. When she had witnessed to him, he said, I don’t think I have enough faith to trust Jesus. She said, “That’s all right. I have enough faith for you and for me. You can have some of mine.” And with that the fellow prayed to receive Jesus Christ and got saved.
Your long-suffering – when you’re living for God, you are going to suffer persecution, affliction, and reproach, and you’re going to face deception. Timothy is going to watch to see how you do under this kind of pressure. In Paul’s long-suffering, he could put up with anybody and anything. Eric Greitens in The Heart and the Fist, told of an incident during Hell Week, when he just about quit and rang that bell. He and his men were given a ten minute break for an afternoon nap. When he laid down, the sun was shining right in his eyes through a hole in the tent. He was so aggravated that he couldn’t sleep, he got mad enough to quit. However, as soon as he stood up, he remembered his men and immediately got his mind off of himself. That’s all it took for him to snap out of it and keep going till the end. Timothy wants to know if you will endure your hardships for his sake.
Your charity – a phrase is so overused that it has nearly lost its effectiveness. Nevertheless, it is still true. They will never care about what you know until they know that you care. “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth,” [1 Cor 8:1]. The Lord loved you so that you can love others, even though they may be unloveable. Paul certainly loved the Corinthians and the Galatians, though they didn’t love him [2 Cor 12:15; Gal 4:16]. You have to get past your pride and love others who aren’t exactly like you. That’s a big part of the ministry.
Conclusion: as you are growing into a Christian that God can use to help a Timothy, you must remember your patience. It takes time to develop a Saul into a Paul so he can help a Timothy. Paul was saved in Acts 9. But God didn’t start using him to help Timothy until Acts 16, many years after Paul was saved. Be patient and let God develop you into the person whose doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering and charity are worth following.