1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: Day 9

Guard the Heritage


Today's Text: 1 Timothy 6:2-21, Psalm 90:1-17, Matthew 27:11-14

Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 6:2-21, Psalm 90:1-17, Matthew 27:11-14

I have the gift of always ordering the right thing off the menu. Most of the time, I just look at my husband and ask, “Do you just want me to order for us?” (In truth, it’s more of a statement, than a question.) And 99% of the time, I end up with the best dish.

But that other 1% of the time, I end up disappointed and usually blame what I consider to be an erroneous menu description, perhaps one that highlighted the wrong ingredient. Or maybe I’d assumed that something would be roasted and instead is raw—that sort of thing.

When reality doesn’t measure up to our expectations (whether it’s a movie we’ve been wanting to see, a meal at a fancy restaurant, or a blossoming relationship), it can be devastating. Paul is warning the church at Ephesus about this very thing: false teaching leads to bad fruit. And he is calling on Timothy to guard the truth, the legacy of the faith.

Paul chides those who claim to speak the gospel but believe that “godliness is a way to material gain” (1 Timothy 6:5). He lists signposts of their wayward focus: envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions, constant disagreement. He warns Timothy, but then he takes it a step further.

Paul’s warning is not passive. This passage is full of strong action words that charge Timothy and his congregation with the weighty responsibility of representing the faith. John MacArthur wrote that this passage outlines what a man of God should be known for—by what he flees from, follows after, fights for, and is faithful to.”

And what is the north star for this calling, for our calling as Christians? What is the standard to which we should evaluate the things, people, and ideas we flee from, follow, fight for, and are faithful to? What tells us what we should guard? Scripture, that’s what.

When Paul uses the word “guard” in verse 20, he uses the Greek word phylassō, which appears approximately 30 times throughout the Bible. Jesus used it when He said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28).

We represent the Word of God. We image God Himself. We are mirrors, reflecting the beauty of Christ out into the world. And Paul dares us to do so with integrity to the faith as written in the Holy Word.  

In a sermon on this passage, Ligon Duncan said:

“Paul calls on Timothy and his congregation, and us, to retain the truth, to hold fast to it; to refrain from dabbling in worldly speculation and false teaching; to realize that false teaching will lead sheep over the edge into destruction; and to be utterly dependent, as we hold fast to that truth, on the only thing that can hold us up, which is the grace of God.”

Thanks be to God that we have such a steadfast anchor in the person of Christ and in the Word. And in a world marked by postmodernism, swaying between “your truth” and “my truth” and, so often, no truth at all, I pray that we will lean on the Father’s grace as we guard the heritage of our faith.


Melanie Rainer is a bookworm from birth who makes her days writing, editing and reading in Nashville, where she also joyfully serves as the editor of Kids Read Truth. She has an M.A. in Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary, spends as much time as she can in the kitchen, and can’t wait until her two daughters are old enough to read Anne of Green Gables.

  • Elise Leonard

    @denise powers fabian, I think she was just giving an example. The things you mentioned are truly horrific and things I can’t imagine seeing myself. But I’m sure, as just about everyone, this author has been through heart break and pain. I think she was just merely giving an example of how sometimes we ALL get caught up in being upset at the small things that are truly insignificant. Have a great day and thank you for having a heart to work in the field you do!

  • I agree with your thoughts. Only a few days ago I had the same conversation with a young lady. Devastated by spilling a cup of juice on her clothes. ..and there are persons dying daily from worse things. We have lost or way. May these readings help us put things in perspective.

  • Denise Powers Fabian

    I think we are so spoiled. I take issue with this statement in what is called devastating “When reality doesn’t measure up to our expectations (whether it’s a movie we’ve been wanting to see, a meal at a fancy restaurant, or a blossoming relationship), it can be devastating.” those examples aren’t devastating. Maybe the last one…but a movie or a meal…that’s so temporal and insignificant. I see devastating every day — an innocent 16 year old who was a passenger when hit by a drunk driver who sustains a traumatic brain injury never to talk or walk again, a baby in intensive care who may require long-term ventilation indefinitely, a woman whose ministry to help others escape sex trafficking who one day breaks down and dies of an overdose after being clean for years, or a mother whose son’s drug addiction has given him a long rap sheet and prison time…those are devastating. The world is raw and broken. If I have food and clothing, I should be content, as this passage speaks of. Everything else is gravy. People are heartbroken and devastated over things that seem irreparable. Thank God for Lamentations 3.

    • Melanie

      Well said. Thank you for your perspective.

    • Kacy DanielleKincaid

      I agree. Thanks for sharing.

    • Apryl Lopes

      These are what I like to call 1st world problems. I agree, nothing to shed tears over lol. But I think it was a way to try to relate to everyday life disappointments. I was just telling my husband that I need to change something. I feel like all the littles in my life are adding up to big grumpy outburst, I’m letting life get to me and block my view of Christ and all the good that I’ve been blessed with. It’s garbage in, garbage out. As well as perspective. If you allow little things (a disappointing movie, someone you think is a bad driver, crazy kids) get to you every time they happen then it really can add up to outburst of frustration and an ungodly viewpoint of life in general. You’re so right… we are spoiled and need a reality check of what really is something to be upset about.

  • When did Timothy recently admit that he was a big fan of her? At the Golden Globe I guess? Timothy said that about all the actors he met in all the award events that he had been attending since January of this year and Im still waiting for his reaction on J. Law who confessed that she have a crush on him . Recently, he appeared at the Jimmy Kammil Late Night Show, and not once did he say anything about it to at least, let her know hes still interested in her, if its really the case. Imo, he wont say a thing about it because he got his heart on someone else.

  • Sabrina Michelle

    This reading was amazing real in modern application.❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • I love the prayer at the end, may we indeed guard the truth of scripture and challange ourselves to hold our lives against it’s standard

  • I loved the scripture choices today! Thanks SRT for leading us and we walk in truth!

  • Natasha Pavez

    Oops! Mistype! I loved the verses in today’s reading about contentment – and that we aren’t to let the wrong things be our priority. I’m praying that I keep God and His word as my focus instead of the things of this world!

    • Danielle Mutz

      Yes, Natasha, these verses stood out for me too. It is so easy to be discontent with our situation, but instead we need to be content in our identity in Christ.

  • Natasha Pavez

    I loved those verses in today’s reading about

  • I love theMacArthur quote: we should be known by what we flee from, follow after, fight for and are faithful to.

  • Kelly Chataine

    Evil suspicions are one of the signposts, a warning of trouble. I have been isolating myself due to our current situation. Through my isolation, I began to think and be suspicious. God means for us to be in His Word, know His Word, and live His Word but not in isolation. God helped me reach out and I have wonderful Christian women to meet with and discuss God’s goodness!

    • Rachel

      Kelly, I have been encouraged at the way you identify a sin struggle and then quickly turn in obedience and do something about it. Your situation is more difficult than I can imagine, and I’m thankful that you share with authenticity and vulnerability. xo

  • Churchmouse

    I want to know God’s Word so well that I can quickly detect any deviation from it. I want to know the Real so I can easily detect the counterfeit. I want to know the Truth so I am not tempted by the false. That is why my Bible is so worn, because that is where God’s Word – the real and the true – is found.

    • Sara Lagares

      Amen. Constant prayer, fellowship with other Christians, and reading Gods word will help us “fight the good fight” and know his truth. Pray that the Holy Spirit guilds you sister.

  • This passage is so rich…Paul’s relationship with Timothy, his affection, and fatherly protectiveness comes through so strongly in this passage. For those of us without a present earthly Father, I hope we can receive this Word from Paul as a father, for he is a father in the faith. He encourages us, builds us up, points us to Christ and the riches of his grace, steers us away from the religious babble that looks like the truth but isn’t. Dear sisters, you are loved with a strong affection! Rejoice and rest in knowing your Father loves, protects, and guides you!

  • Ivey Broxton

    Sorry for typos –
    Our not hour —- still early !

  • Annebet Pettit

    During a stressful season at work, Psalm 90 comforts: God gives us the work, He qualifies us for the work, the money we receive from the work should be used to advance the Kingdom, and if He takes away the work, He has other work for us.

    • Abby

      So sorry!! Praying!

    • Caralee Lilly

      I echo that thought. Things can be hard working in the world, with the world but wanting to be set apart for the world to see Him. This was incredible timely as I am feeling uneasy at work at present. God gave me this work…I shall do all for His glory.

  • Ivey Broxton

    My husband and I lost a dear friend (only 25) yesterday suddenly – please pray for us and we trust Lords goodness – serve hour friend precious bride of only one year and explain such hard unknowns and the the things we KNOW to be true to our 10 year old son – I can have such a hard time believing in Gods goodness when my expectations are not met – trying to learn new ways and hold steadfast to Gods love and promise of eternal life – to return to the cross and never doubt His plan or goodness ! Thanks !

    • Elaine Keller

      Oh Ivey! If I could hug you in person right now I would! Such pain and sorrow leave us with so many unanswered questions. Last fall my family went through a similar experience. Our sweet granddaughter lost the young man who had been courting her. Their intentions were to marry. He was only 24. This came 1 week after my mother in-law went home to be with Jesus. Then the same week he passed our daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer. It felt like a hurricane! The only place I found any security in was the Anchor of Jesus Who is our hope and stay. We’re still walking through the valley of the shadow of death, but it’s only a shadow! Jesus is the greater reality and for those whose life is hid in Him we are living in the preface of our stories. The best is yet to come! Rest in the arms of the Great Shepherd right now and know you’ll be in my prayers.

      • Churchmouse

        Thank you Elaine for sharing your strength and steadfast hope in the Anchor. What a storm you have had! Jesus is indeed the greater reality.

    • She Reads Truth

      Ivey, we are so sorry to hear this. We’re praying over you and your family today. So grateful that you’re a part of our community. -Margot, The SRT Team

  • This has filled my heart with such peace and joy.

  • Kathy Valentine

    Reading David Guzik’s commentary on I Timothy 6:2, I came across this thought that had never occurred to me. During the time of Timothy’s ministry, there were over 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire. Guzik writes, “The church itself was a place where slavery was destroyed. It was not uncommon for a master and a slave to go to church together, where the slave would be an elder in the church, and the master was expected to submit to the slave’s spiritual leadership! Such radical thinking was an offense to many, but glorified God and eventually destroyed slavery.” http://blueletterbible.org

  • I loved the way this devotion ties into yesterday’s devotion. I want to live in such a way that the world stops and wonders: “Who tuaght her to love like that?” Todays devotion shows me that the only way to live this way is to hold fast to the truth and lean on God’s grace.
    Have a blessed day!

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