Fight for Biblical Convictions: A Christian Lesson on Continuing Education

“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them” - 2 Timothy 3:14

Paul addresses young Timothy by saying ‘You, however’, which contrasts the true Christian teacher to a selfish-worldly minded teacher who holds ‘to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power’ (2 Tim. 3:5). These are the types that self-profess their faith, constantly ‘learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth’ (2 Tim. 3:7). To summarize, they’re religious but not saved. They lead Churches but don’t pursue Christ. They teach but don’t teach themselves first. They act in selfishness and fleshly desires (2 Tim. 3:1-6). Self-professing teachers and Christians who constantly pursue unbiblical morality and doctrine become a part of the problem. They advance the ‘difficult times’ that weigh down the Church.

Paul knew the exact recipe for Timothy to prepare for ministry in these difficult times (2 Tim. 3:1-8). Paul exhorted Timothy to be different and avoid their sinful behavior. In application, we as true Christians want to follow the advice of Paul and fight for Biblical convictions.

How do we bring progress to ministry (2 Tim. 3:9)? By fighting against our flesh, fighting against the worldly influences, and fighting for Biblical convictions. Convictions must be pursued morally and doctrinally. We start the fight by following Paul’s advice in difficult times to ‘continue in these things’ (2 Tim. 3:14). Here are several observations from Paul’s advice on growing in Biblical convictions:

Biblical convictions will never be traded-in for temporary possessions, even if you’re offered fame, wealth, and power

  1. Follow Good Teachers – Every Christian should have a ‘sound’ teacher in their life. In fact, earlier in 2 Timothy Paul said ‘retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me in faith and love’ (2 Tim. 1:13). In effect, Paul was telling Timothy that true faith has confidence in what the Bible teaches by learning first, and then applying that learning through accurate teaching. Paul is telling Timothy that he is loving Christ when he is faithful to the accuracy of ‘sound words’ that are balanced with fruitful behavior (e.g. compassion). This is how you grow in your credibility as a teacher and a student of God’s Word, proving to handle accurately the word of truth (2 Tim. 15). Do you know someone who you can follow in behavior and doctrine (2 Tim. 3:10-11; 14)? A good disciple of Christ will learn everything they can from someone who knows more about the Bible than themselves and then seek to find someone who knows less and impart that wisdom and knowledge to them (2 Tim. 2:2).

    • Who do I follow in behavior and doctrine as an example in my life?

  2. Expect Persecution (2 Tim. 3:12-13) – Paul says ‘all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.’ That’s a future promise. We don’t desire persecution for no reason; instead we live godly for Christ Jesus and deal with the temporary consequences in light of our eternal glory (2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Pet. 5:10). Persecution often tests the Church (James 1:1-12) and we find out who the ‘imposters’ are (2 Tim. 3:13).

    • Will my local Church be able to count on my faith being strengthened during times of growing persecution?

  3. Continue Educating Your Biblical Convictions – Paul wanted Timothy to grow in his behavior and doctrinal convictions (2 Tim. 3:14-15). Likewise, we should aim to never stop learning. If the workplace requires CE’s for professional development, shouldn’t we as Christians continue our education for Biblical sound convictions? We must habitually learn more about God’s breathed Word (2 Tim. 3:16) and become convinced of what we learn. Biblical convictions will never be traded-in for temporary possessions, even if you’re offered fame, wealth, and power (Matt. 4:1-11). Biblical convictions won’t leave, even if the person who led you to faith is found out to be an imposter. Biblical convictions don’t leave you, because you are convinced that God is ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6). Many people have knowledge (Latin: notitia), but that doesn’t mean they are convinced for themselves. They may have knowledge because they grew up in the right family (John 1:13), or because they are good learners (2 Tim. 3:7), or because it is intellectually advantageous for them (Latin: assensus), but they lack the personal conviction and faith in what is taught (Latin: fiducia). The word for conviction actually comes from the Greek word for faith (pistoo). Conviction is taking Biblical learning into your own hands so that you are confident and persuaded by its truthfulness. No one can take true convictions away from a real Christian.

    • Is my behavior and doctrine growing together? What are practical ways I can grow in behavior and doctrine (e.g. classes, reading, etc.)?

  4. Practically Live the Sufficiency of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17) – If we are convicted in Biblical truth, God’s Word will be sufficient for living in difficult times (2 Tim. 3:16-17). When we say that Scripture is ‘profitable’, we say that it is sufficient and beneficial for our life. This means we allow it to be the teacher in our lives and ministry. We allow teachers to use Scripture for criticism in our life (reproof), for correcting errors to get new and improved thinking (correction), and for training us in spiritual disciplines (training in righteousness). As Christians, we must avoid saying Scripture is sufficient while running from reproof, correction, and training. Let us fight together against our individual resistance towards the sufficiency of Scripture.

    • Do I invite reproof, correction, and training in my life?

Feel free to pray this prayer for continued growth in your Biblical convictions:

Lord, we desire to worship you with fear and an obedient heart (Eccl. 12:13). Lord, I pray to seek your will for transformation because it is logical for us to do so as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1-2). Lord, I ask for forgiveness for our disobedience in conforming to this age. Lord, I pray for courage in the future to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12). Lord, I ask that you grant us the strength to fight for Biblical convictions in the midst of growing persecution. Lord, prepare my heart for much needed reproof, correction, and training so that I may live righteously. Lord, accept this prayer so that I can continue in these things to grow in our convictions. Amen!

David J. Lupinetti is the Associate Pastor at San Tan Bible Church in Arizona. He has a passion for Expository Preaching, Biblical Counseling, Discipleship, and Evangelism.