Day 9

Guard the Heritage

from the 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus reading plan

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

BY Guest Writer

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.

Post Comments (36)

36 thoughts on "Guard the Heritage"

  1. Churchmouse says:

    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.

    1. Sara Lagares says:

      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.

  2. Abby says:

    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!

  3. Ivey Broxton says:

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

  4. Annebet Pettit says:

    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.

    1. Abby says:

      So sorry!! Praying!

    2. Caralee Lilly says:

      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.

  5. Ivey Broxton says:

    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 !

    1. Elaine Keller says:

      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.

      1. Churchmouse says:

        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.

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      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

  6. Emily R. says:

    This has filled my heart with such peace and joy.

  7. Kathy Valentine says:

    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.”

    1. Katelyn says:

      Kathy, that’s a really neat insight. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Kathy says:

    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!

    1. CJ says:

      Kathy – I’ve been thinking of you and your husband. How are both of you doing?

    2. Stephanie says:

      Thanks for making this observation!

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