2 Timothy 1:13
Hold fast the form of sound words, which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
In these words there is —
1. The character of Scripture-doctrine; it is sound words — sound and pure in itself, and sound in its effect, being of a soul-healing virtue (Ezekiel 47:9).
2. The sum of it, faith, showing what we are to believe; and love, what we are to do (1 John 5:8; John 14:15). This love has a particular relation to Christ, all our obedience being to be offered unto God through Him, as our faith fixes on God through Him. This was what the apostle preached.
3. Our duty with respect to it; to hold fast the form of sound words. This signifies —
(1) To have a pattern of the doctrine in our minds, to which all that ministers teach must be conformable.
(2) To hold it fast; to cleave to, and keep hold of it, without flinching from it, whatever dangers or difficulties may attend the doing so. Both these senses are implied in the words.
I. Let us consider THE NATURE OF THAT FAITH AND OBEDIENCE WHICH THE SCRIPTURE TEACHES, WITH THE CONNECTION BETWIXT THE TWO.
1. As to faith. Divine faith is a believing of what God has revealed, because God has said it, or revealed it. People may believe Scripture-truths, but not with a Divine faith, unless they believe it on that very ground, the authority of God speaking in His Word. And this Divine faith is the product of the Spirit of God in the heart of a sinner, implanting the habit or principle of faith there, and exciting it to a hearty reception and firm belief of whatever God reveals in His Word. Hence we may infer —
(1) That there can be no right knowledge of God acquired in an ordinary way without the Scriptures (Matthew 22:29).
(2) That where the Scriptures are not known, there can be no saving faith.
(3) That there is nothing we are bound to believe as a part of faith but what the Scripture teaches, be who they will that propose it, and whatever they may pretend for their warrant.
2. As to obedience, it is that duty which God requires of man. It is that duty and obedience which man owes to God, to His will and laws, in respect of God's universal supremacy and sovereign authority over man; and which he should render to Him out of love and gratitude.
(1) That there can be no sufficient knowledge of the duty which we owe to God without the Scriptures.
(2) That there can be no right obedience yielded to God without them.
(3) That there is no point of duty that we are called to, but what the Scripture teaches (Isaiah 8:20). As to the connection of these two, faith and obedience are joined together, because there is no true faith but what is followed with obedience, and no true obedience but what flows from faith. Faith is the loadstone of obedience, and obedience the touchstone of faith, as appears from James 2.
II. I proceed now to consider THE MANNER OF THE SCRIPTURE'S TEACHING.
1. The Scripture teaches some things expressly in so many words; as, "Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," etc.
2. The Scriptures teach but externally. It is the Spirit that teaches internally.
III. I come now to consider THE SENSE OF THE SCRIPTURE. The sense of the Scripture is but one, and not manifold.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.