2 Timothy 1:13 – Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard of me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
Words are about as important as anything can be. Words form the basis of communication, understanding, and being able to successfully move forward toward a goal. There are many kinds of words spoken among people. There are foolish words, silly words, and meaningless words. There are sound words, educated words, and eternal words. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). It is a worthwhile activity to go through the Book of Proverbs and study all that Solomon writes concerning words.
Paul encourages Timothy, a spokesperson for Paul and called of God, to “retain the standard of sound words” (emphasis mine). When under pressure, it is easy to speak from our emotions rather than sound, well-thought-through words. Timothy was under pressure as Paul’s deputy to the church at Ephesus. Timothy felt pressure because he was young and correcting older individuals (1 Timothy 4:12) and pressure, because many were “teaching strange doctrines, myths, and endless genealogies” (1Timothy 1:3-4).
There has never been a day like the one in which we live. It is a day of many words from so many people. There are words coming from books, magazines, cable TV, satellites, videos, and talk radio. Consider the diversity of the Internet, such as YouTube, Facebook, Tweet and the like. As we read, watch, and listen, we must take Paul’s counsel to Timothy seriously, “retain the standard of sound words.” This standard, of which Paul speaks, is a standard that begins with the “Word of God.” All truth is eternal! Jesus declares, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). What Jesus spoke in Matthew 24 came to pass in 70 AD in the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. Throughout His ministry, He gave God’s people, Israel, “sound words.” Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostles gave to mankind the writings of the New Testament.
Western civilization has much of its foundation laid in the writings of Scripture. The educational system of America was originally grounded in the words of the Bible. Noah Webster, the Father of American Christian education, wrote the first American dictionary and established a system of rules to govern spelling, grammar, and reading. This master linguist understood the power of words, their definitions, and the need for precise word usage in communication to maintain independence. Webster used the Bible as the foundation for his definitions.
Father, I ask that You help me retain the standards of sound words. Give me an increased love for the Word of God. Holy Spirit, direct my thinking and my words to line up with the eternal truths revealed in Scripture. I ask to be used to help others in their thinking and their speaking as well.